Clean & Dirty Chai

Dosha Considerations:

  • Kapha: Enjoy this recipe “dirty.” Tea and coffee will put you in motion. The spices will jolt your metabolism, senses, and mood. Raw honey cleanses the digestive tract, so be liberal with it. For you, powdered ginger is preferred over fresh. Add a pinch of cayenne if you dare.
  • Pitta: Consider decaffeinated black tea or coffee for a “half dirty” beverage. Omit the cinnamon, anise, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and black pepper. Add coconut milk and/or maca root to help metabolize the caffeine. Use turbinado sugar or maple syrup for sweetener (and plenty of vanilla).
  • Vata: If you are well-rested, go for a “half dirty” beverage. If not, go “clean”: use only herbal teas, or decaf options. Consider ashwagandha powder to boost your energy without the side effects of caffeine. Substitute maple syrup or molasses for honey. Top with frothed milk, ghee, or sunflower seed butter.

Best Enjoyed in: spring

The healing ProperTies of Coffee

THE QUESTION IS: who is it good for and when?

Coffee has both a healthy and unhealthy reputation. Those supporting the beverage tout research on its mental health benefits, cancer fighting antioxidants, gut prebiotics, and ability to enhance athletic performance. On the flip side – the caffeine in coffee has been referred to as a metobolic credit card: offering up borrowed energy, with rest as the increasing debt. Caffeine not only overstimulates the mind, but taxes our adrenal glands, liver, and heart, leading to a state of chronic depletion with long-term use.

Ayurveda supports drinking (caffeinated) coffee in moderation and has different recommendations for each Dosha. Vata types have weakened adrenals making them prone to chronic fatigue. Often drawn to coffee as a fix, they end up exhausting their adrenals further. Rest and warm, non-caffeinated herbal teas are recommended. Kapha types benefit from drinking coffee 3-4 times per week, and should use it to boost energy in addition to lighter food choices and exercise. Pitta types LOVE coffee and can metabolize it well, but should be careful not to develop ulcers and/or acid reflux.

In general, coffee is best consumed in spring and when an individual is well-rested (i.e., their body is up for the challenge). According to the FDA, up to 5 cups of coffee (400mg of caffeine) is safe to consume daily. This is a laughable amount in Ayurveda, as no recommendation would exceed one cup, or be for everyday use.

TaKE Your Coffee With:

  • Vata: ghee, ashwaganda, cinnamon, oat milk & maple syrup
  • Pitta: coconut milk, maca root, turbinado sugar, vanilla & cardamom
  • Kapha: honey, cinnamon & cayenne pepper (no cream)

*Note: clean chai = no caffeine; for best results use an insulated French press, or simmer on very low heat.


  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 4 black tea bags
  • 1-2 Tbs. freshly ground coffee beans
  • 1 two inch piece ginger, grated
  • 20 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 3 star anise, bruised
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 9 cloves
  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Optional: raw honey, turbinado sugar, coconut milk and/or oil, oat milk, ghee, etc.


  • Add all spices, tea bags, coffee, and water to an insulated French press and steep for 15-25 minutes.
  • If frothing ghee, coconut oil, or nut butter: add a small amount to your cup with ~1″ warm chai on top; froth with a fork or handheld frother and top off the rest!
  • Add optional items as desired and per recommendations above.

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