Best tea for decaf chai
September 21, 2017 10:08 AM   Subscribe

I love to make my own chai, but can no longer have caffeine. What should I substitute for the tea?

I used to use a strong, cheap black tea like Jivraj 9. I've tried substituting with decaf black Yorkshire English Breakfast and various brands of red tea, but none of them have a strong (good) flavor that stands up to the chai spices.
posted by congen to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Oyéah at 10:24 AM on September 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I don't know how it would stand up in chai, but the strongest tasting decaf tea I've found is Typhoo.
posted by booky at 10:28 AM on September 21, 2017

If it's that strong black tea flavor you want, what about a cheap decaf like Lipton (I've never had Typhoo but it does kind of look like the Strong Cheap Black Tea type)?

I did find one brand of black tea extract, made for flavoring baked goods. There are probably others on specialty baking sites/shops, but it's annoyingly difficult to search for.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:36 AM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

There's some decent quality decaffeinated black tea out there. I'd look for a ceylon or an assam because those flavors go well with chai blends.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:58 AM on September 21, 2017

PB Tibs has good strong decaf tea, although I usually have to let it steep for longer than regular tea.
posted by suelac at 11:23 AM on September 21, 2017

For decaf, I like Barry's Tea best, Typhoo second, and PG Tips third. That said, I'm not fully satisfied with any of them, so am watching this space carefully. Why is it so hard to make a good decaf black tea?
posted by chocotaco at 11:56 AM on September 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've had premade Rooibos chai tea and they were acceptable. Yogi tea also makes a yummy "Sweet Chai" (not actually sweetened) that is quite flavorful caffeine free. You might also want to look for a decaf Irish Breakfast tea as it's got a much stronger, dark flavor; decaf English Breakfast would be a bit weaker option.
posted by stillmoving at 12:22 PM on September 21, 2017

They definitely make rooibus chai. I know there was one I got from Tea Sparrow that was like an African chai or something that was spicy. They also do make decaf black chai if you can handle the tea itself. And I've also heard of people mixing up their own chai spices and brewing it with tea.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:57 PM on September 21, 2017

Bengal Spice Herbal Tea is my go to herbal chai equivalent, and the ingredients are listed on the link. That might give you some ideas.

Rooibus has its own thing going on which while not bad is certainly different, IMO.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:16 PM on September 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: For a strong (and slightly bitter, I won't lie) flavor that can stand up to heavy spices and has no caffeine, I really like roasted chicory root. I get mine in the bulk section of my local coop and from a specialty tea & herb store. The fineness of the grind and the darkness of the roast, like coffee, will make a difference in how dark & bitter it is, so you'd have to see what you can get and experiment with your steeping preference. I haven't made it into a proper chai, but I do enjoy it with milk or cream and have put a handful of spices into it on occasion.
posted by carrioncomfort at 1:25 PM on September 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

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