Travel may be a little tricky these days, but you can still traverse the globe with these delicious drink recipes to try at home. 

Today's drink hails from East Africa – Cardamom Tea.

What is it?

The recipe and its ingredients may borrow from other lands, but East Africa has managed to fuse the cash crops of its colonists and the fruits of faraway traders into a hot drink that is uniquely its own. 


Like India and Sri Lanka before them, the highlands of East Africa were earmarked for tea plantations by British colonialists in the late 19th century. It wasn’t long before tea drinking caught on, and as Indians experimented with adding a mixture of spices to their tea to create what became known as masala chai, East Africans looked to just one of them – cardamom – to give their cup a sweet, aromatic kick. 

You'll need (serves 1)

24–48fl oz (700–1400ml) boiling water 
3–4 tsp Earl Grey tea 
6 green cardamom pods, bruised 
milk, to taste 
honey or sugar to sweeten, if desired 


Step 1: Add the water, tea and lightly crushed cardamom pods to a saucepan and bring to the boil. 
Step 2: Add the milk, ideally enough to turn the mixture to a pale beige color and sweetener. 
Step 3: Bring the mixture to the boil again. 
Step 4: Take the saucepan off the heat and allow the mixture to steep for several minutes before straining and serving. 

Tasting notes

When the humble cardamom pod was brought to East Africa by spice traders from the East Indies, it was embraced locally as the perfect way to add depth of flavor to the classic British brew with the added benefit of freshening breath, detoxifying the body and aiding digestion.

These days, many “African chais” blend cardamom with spices such as cassia, vanilla, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. But even on its own, the woody notes and citrusy (some say grapefruity) undertone of cardamom effortlessly manages to transform afternoon tea into an immersive adventure. 

For additional cocktail recipes, check out our Destination Drinks page 

This article was originally published in May 2020 and updated in November 2020.

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This article was first published May 2020 and updated November 2020

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