Indian chai masala

Adapted from LMU München. This chai Serves 2.


  • 1 cup milk (I used ⅔ cup of half and half)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Black tea bags (looseleaf preferable)
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • Cloves (didn’t have, grated some cinnamon stick instead)
  • sugar, to taste


In a saucepan, heat 1 cup milk and 1 cup water on low heat, together with 5 cardamom pods and a few cloves. Then, add a black tea (best looseleaf is Indian or African) and cook over medium heat until the color is a caramel-brown. Add sugar to taste, bring to a boil again, and enjoy on a rainy day with savory pastries!

Fun Fact: “In many Indo-Aryan languages, chai or cha is the word for tea. This comes from the Persian چای chay, which originated from the Chinese word for tea 茶 chá.” (Wikipedia) Hearing about masala chai in grad school, I always thought it peculiar how similar the word sounded to the Mandarin word. If I really wanted to up my game, masala chai is “traditionally prepared as a decoction of green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, and black peppercorn together with black tea leaves” (Wiki).


Royal milk tea

Adapted from Just One and Boba Tea Direct


  • Three-quarter cups full (150 milliliter) of regular tap water
  • Two full teaspoons of golden milk tea/black tea leaves (I used one bag of Tetley Classic)
  • Half a cup (120 milliliter) of whole milk (I used fresh half and half from a glass bottle)
  • 25 milliliter of fresh honey (or 10 grams granulated sugar)


  1. Pour the water into a small pot. Set the temperature to medium. Bring the water to the boil for one minute.
  2. Add the tea leaves into the boiling water and steep between thirty seconds to about one minute. Then, lower heat to a simmer for one minute and thirty seconds to about a full two minutes. **Do not let the tea simmer for more than two minutes, as it will become too bitter.
  3. Slowly pour in the milk into the pot. Allow the milk tea to come back to a full simmer. Do not go beyond boiling point as the milk will cook and curdle in high temperature, which will leave your milk tea lumpy. Turn the heat off.
  4. Warm your cup with hot water beforehand.
  5. Pour your tea into a cup, using a tea sieve to filter out tea leaves.
  6. Mix honey or sugar to your liking.

I was watching an episode of Meteor Garden when the hero changes his order from a cappuccino to Royal milk tea, to avoid drinking the same thing as his betrothed. It sounded delicious, so I looked it up, to find it was a Japanese drink: Roiyarumirukuti (ロイヤルミルクティー). Apparently “The Classic Blend is more of an “everyday” black tea” (FAQ), so next time I need to get the proper “British Blend is made from premium Kenyan and Assam teas” if I’m using Tetley tea bags.


Cold brew chrysanthemum jasmine green tea

Adapted from Lovie Acupuncture & Healing


  • 10 Dried Chrysanthemum Flowers (I picked this up in the real Chinatown of NYC: Flushing. Specifically, The Shops at SkyView Center has a skyFoods)
  • 0.5 tablespoons of Jasmine Green Tea
  • 2 cups of cold water
  • 1 Liter teapot


  1. Put the chrysanthemum flowers in the teapot
  2. Add 2 cups of water to a kettle and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the hot water to the flowers and let sit for 20 minutes
  4. Add the jasmine pearls (I used 4) to the steeping teapot.
  5. Put everything into the refrigerator to chill overnight.

Kombucha tea

Best summed up by The Kitchn

Ingredients to brew Kombucha:
4 cups of filtered water, then 8 cups of cool filtered water
6 bags of black tea (6 grams of loose tea)
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of “starter tea” from last kombucha brew (if you have it)
1 active Kombucha SCOBY

Stock pot to sterilize bottles
1 gallon glass jar
organic cotton cloth / bag
six swing-top bottles w/ caps – 16.9oz, Amber Glass
glass measuring cup


  1. Boil four cups of water.
  2. Add the cup of sugar and dissolve it in a glass receptacle.
  3. Steep the tea bags in the sugar water for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Measure out the eight cups of cool water into your gallon glass jar (emptied and cleaned and rinsed).
  5. Add the four cups of tea to the gallon jar.
  6. If you have two cups of “starter tea” from the last kombucha brew, add it to the gallon jar.
  7. Once the gallon jar is room temperature-cool, slip your scoby into the gallon jar.
  8. Cover the jar with an organic cotton cloth, secure with twine / rubber bands, and set aside in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Ferment for 7 to 10 days.
  9. After seven days, taste the kombucha daily until the sweet-tart flavor is balanced to your preference.

Ingredients to bottle brewed Kombucha:
orange, ginger, lemon, lime, berries, mint, etc.

Directions for second fermentation/bottling:

  1. Prepare fresh tea (as directed above) for your next batch.
  2. Take out the scoby with cleaned hands (rinsed well). Remove the bottom (momma) scoby layer to give away to a friend or toss or save for back-up. Set aside the top (baby) scoby carefully for your next batch in a glass receptacle.
  3. Set aside two cups of this kombucha homebrew as “starter tea” for your next batch.
  4. Pour the fermented kombucha into your sterilized (5 minutes boiled) bottles.
  5. Add sliced flavorings (see above) to bottles — experiment! Leave 1.5 cm. head space in the bottle before capping.
  6. Prep your next batch: clean the gallon jar after emptied. Combine the 4 cups tea, 8 cups cool water, 1 cup sugar, and 2 cups of “starter tea” in the gallon jar. Slip (newest) scoby carefully into jar.
  7. Store these bottles at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2-4 days, and pop the cap open each day to release excess carbonation.
  8. Refrigerate to stop fermentation. Drink within a month.
  9. Repeat

I picked up a scoby from a kombucha-brewing friend (Amber) and used regular Lipton tea bags and white sugar (my grandma saves them from her senior community center in Queens). Avoid any teas that contain oils, like earl grey or flavored teas. Avoid touching metal, especially aluminum. Peel off the bottom (oldest) layer every few batches. Can’t wait to try a berries and mint combination, as recommended by a friend!


“Recipes” for DIY at-home facial

  1. Exfoliate
  2. Steam
  3. Mask
  4. Tone
  5. Moisturize

To exfoliate, mix sugar and honey and olive oil. Rub into skin for a minute. Wash off.

Steam for 10-15 minutes.

To masque, use a clay mask (oily skin) or mix plain yogurt with turmeric (and mashed banana if you have a overripe one). Leave on for 5 minutes. Use a cleanser to remove the mask.

To tone, mix diluted apple cider vinegar with witch hazel and a drop of tea tree oil. Wipe off with some cotton.

To moisturize, some jojoba oil and a drop of tea tree oil. Spot treat acne before bed.

Some other suggestions: Reader’s Digest