West Cape Chai

Tea type
Rooibos Tea
Black Pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Fennel Seed, Ginger Root, Licorice Root, Peppermint, Red Rooibos, Star Anise Bits
Cinnamon, Clove, Earth, Ginger, Licorice, Pepper, Roasted, Spices, Spicy, Wood, Anise, Cardamom, Peppercorn
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Loose Leaf
Caffeine Free
Kosher, Organic
Edit tea info Last updated by Mastress Alita
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 4 g 9 oz / 277 ml

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32 Tasting Notes View all

From Rishi Tea

Rich red rooibos, along with sweet cinnamon and aromatic cardamom, impart a familiar taste to this caffeine free chai blend. Enlivening star anise mixes with assertive ginger, floral and pungent black pepper and the roasted coffee-like character of ramón nut to produce a truly original anytime chai. With its dark red infusion, West Cape Chai is the perfect base for lattes and innovative café drinks.

Tasting Notes: Sweet, soothing West Cape rooibos balanced by exotic masala spices

Origin: Rishi Herb Lab

Ingredients: Organic rooibos, organic cinnamon, organic ginger root, organic cardamom, organic ramón nut, organic star anise, organic licorice root, organic fennel seed, organic black pepper, organic cloves, organic peppermint.


Traditional Brewing:

Mix 2 tbsp chai, 1 cup water, and 1 cup milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sugar or sweetener to taste. Strain into a mug or pitcher and enjoy! Chai can also be enjoyed over ice.

Standard Brewing:

Leaf to Water Ratio: 1 tablespoon per 8 ounces
Steep Time: 5-7 minutes

About Rishi Tea View company

Rishi Tea specializes in sourcing the most rarefied teas and botanical ingredients from exotic origins around the globe. This forms a palette from which we craft original blends inspired by equal parts ancient herbal wisdom and modern culinary innovation. Discover new tastes and join us on our journey to leave ‘No Leaf Unturned’.

32 Tasting Notes

2816 tasting notes

So. very. yum.

Seeing as how I’ve gone through 3 tins of this since January I might just have to break down and order the 1 lb. size from them. Still my favorite rooibos by far…

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

This sounds very interesting – I’m not convinced by rooibos but I love chai with a passion and I’m always looking for a good caffeine-free tea. I will have to look out for this one!


I am just starting to warm up to rooibos myself :)

Scott B

Maybe I will check this out next time they have a free shipping promo-still looking for a Rooibus I like that is not a holiday tea.

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1629 tasting notes

This has become our night time beverage :)

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470 tasting notes

I feel like I am doing something very wrong with this tea unfortunately. When I opened the tin I let out a little gasp of glee—it was so… chunky! I love when chai blends are chunky and you can see all the whole spices. No flavoring or ground-up nonsense here! So I though there would be a big POW of flavor. The first steep was with just under boiling water for 5 minutes, 2 teaspoons for 12 ounces of water. Added milk & sugar as per usual with chai and it was… just okay. You could taste the “chai” part but it was SO weak. Like, it tasted rather similar to lightly spiced milk. Eurgh.

Tried again, 2 teaspoons for only 8 ounces of water and 8 minutes of steep time—I decided to treat it like a rooibos rather than a regular chai (I was afraid the first time 8 would be too long for such strong spices, and my other rooibos chai I do for ~5). I don’t have any experience with green rooibos so perhaps it needs some sort of extra-special treatment? I didn’t really taste the flavor of it in either steep though there was almost an herby background in the second one.

Well, the second cup was just as weak as the first! Actually it was both stronger and weaker in a weird way—a more watered-down flavor but I could actually taste the layers of spice. Cardamom, cloves, and anise mainly. I’m wondering if I got a bad batch because it seems to get rave reviews here… maybe my tin was just weaker overall? A disappointment to say the least—I love love love chai and this is just not cutting it.

EDIT: My email from them lied to me and this isn’t green rooibos. Makes my experience with it a little stranger!

Boiling 8 min or more
Scott B

Upton has a good Rooibos Chai. Yogic Chai makes a Rooibos Chai, but I’ve never tried it-their regular Masala Chais are good.


I am definitely planning a big Yogic Chai order in the future, they have so many flavors I want to try! I think after my disappointment with this blend I am going to add their Vanilla Rooibos Chai to that list~


Aww. Sorry you did not like this one, it has been a long term fave of mine! I don’t think there’s any green rooibos in though. :-?


Hmm, you’re right—for some reason in the email confirmation it had it listed as green but the ingredients on the tin are different. I didn’t taste it either way though sadly.

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280 tasting notes

The main way I’d describe this tea is very smooth, with different flavors coming out of each cup (sometimes more clove, sometimes more black pepper, or mint, etc.). I liked it a lot. I will have to see how it resteeps.

The best chai I’ve ever had was kashmiri chai that I bought from Benny’s Tee Laden in Loerrach, Germany. I haven’t had a lot of other chais, but so far none have compared.

This morning was just first try so I can’t really compare it to that yet. My first impression is that it is delicious. All the better because of being caffeine free. I had it straight, but will have to try with sugar, and maybe milk at some point too.

I think Rishi’s brewing suggestions (on the bag itself) might be off though — they are suggesting 2 TBSP per 12oz water. 2 TBSP is equal to ~10 grams, which is over half the bag. It’s $3.50/oz and with those instructions, you get to brew the tea just over two times? It wouldn’t seem incorrect if they sold larger sizes (say 4-6oz) for a lower price, but using that much leaf would be too expensive. I think they may mean 2 tsp, which seems to go more along with standard brewing parameters. Has anyone else noticed this?

I brewed a 36oz pot or so using just over 4 tsp. Maybe that wasn’t enough leaf, but it tasted fine to me.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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124 tasting notes

My last cup of this (from the Rishi rooibos sampler). Loved it from start to finish. Such a strange combination of spices. Peppermint? Black pepper? Fennel? Ginger? What!? I taste different flavors each time and its great with soy milk & sugar. I’ve enjoyed this on its own, with sweet breakfast foods, and with last night’s curry. Yum all around. Because I’m so sensitive to caffeine, I really appreciate having a good rooibos based, caffeine-free chai. I’m debating ordering more.

6 min, 0 sec

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45 tasting notes

this is really VERY good, spicy but smooth.

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143 tasting notes

A bit less round and greener Rooibos flavor than the BK Tea Rooibos Chai. Thinner midpalate too. Some licorice sweetness, but an accompanying, slightly off putting seaweed taste.

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1556 tasting notes

I received West Cape Chai as a gift from Mastress Alita. Thanks for sharing one of your favorite Rishi blends!

Her description of this herbal chai is spot on. It’s light but very well balanced and has a perfect spicy kick. There is also a permeating carob-coffee aroma and taste to it as well. The liquor is a vibrant and glowing, cloudy orange-red.

The lightness makes me think it wouldn’t work great for those looking to add milk; it’s rather thirst-quenching without any adornments. That may be a strange thing to say about a chai, but it does leave my mouth feeling clean and refreshed with a mineral taste.

One thing about Rishi’s herbal blends, of the three I’ve tried, they’ve all had some standout quality, whether in uniqueness, depth of flavor or being overall well balanced. Kudos.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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1220 tasting notes

Uuuuuuuugh… so after spending $1140 in car repairs last month, my car is still having the same issues, and I just can’t stand the thought of having to take it back (after five trips to the mechanic already!) and be without a vehicle again after they’ve already screwed me over so thoroughly. At this point I think I’m going to have to be going used car shopping, and who knows how much that is going to cost me… the depression is overwhelming at this point. I just want a car that is going to reliably start on me and get me to and from work, is that too much to ask for? I’m so frustrated at this point…

Anyway, Throwback Thursday! I think one of my biggest issues achieving sipdowns is I tend to sort of forget about older teas in my cupboard, things I’ve reviewed before, since I’m just not the sort of person that logs every single cup of tea I drink (I don’t have the time for that, and trust me, you don’t need to see that, either). But I was thinking that it would be good for me to “remember” those teas and make progress towards them if I went back and revisited them at least periodically, especially since my brewing techniques and palate have likely changed a lot since I last reviewed the very earliest teas I logged. Thus, Throwback Thursday!

This tea was actually probably the first I ever purchased when I got into collecting looseleaf tea, though it was horribly overpriced and came from the Spice and Tea Exchange (man, did I get ripped off as a complete tea newbie from that place!) (Original review located here, first I published on Steepster! So historical: https://steepster.com/mastressalita/posts/365230 ) The blend there is identical to Rishi’s West Cape Chai, which they sell for $32.00 for a pound; Spice and Tea Exchange sells it as “Rooibos Chai” for — get this — $22.39 for 4 oz. * cough * Yaaaaaaa. Now, I don’t have the space for a pound of tea in my tiny apartment, so when I wanted more of this specific tea after I’d drank up my Spice and Tea Exchange 1 oz. sampler, I ordered this particular bag from California Tea & Herbal (also called “Rooibos Chai”), since they offered 2 oz. sized bags, just the right amount for my collection. And yes, it’s not much cheaper from them than from Spice and Tea Exchange, but when you just don’t need a whole pound of tea at once and Rishi won’t sell you human-sized bags directly…

I’ve had a few different rooibos chais/spiced teas since this “OG” blend, but coming back to this… ya, this is still my favorite. There is something about this particular spice blend that just does it for me. This rooibos is actually a bit more earthy/woody than most I try — usually I pick up sweeter, honeyed notes — but it fits the blend very nicely. I get a strong cinnamon note that hits my tongue initially, with a strong spicy kick of ginger, clove, and pepper that hits the roof of my mouth, and then toward the end of the sip there is a soft sweetness of licorice root. It’s actually quite well blended. It actually leaves a bit more of a spiciness than I usually prefer, but because I like the unique taste of all the subtle flavors so much, I actually hesitate to add milk, and focus on the roasty, earthy, and sweet licorice notes until the spiciness subsides between sips. I probably will try it as a latte sometime, though!

I still really like this blend. I’m lowering the rating just slightly since my personal preference is for a little less spice-burn on the back of the throat, but that is entirely subjective because I’m a spice-wuss; I love everything about the blend and flavor, which is why I’m subjecting myself to the spice-burn regardless. A year later and this one still holds up for me! Probably an especially good choice on a really cold evening like tonight where my toes are frigid!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Earth, Ginger, Licorice, Pepper, Roasted, Spices, Spicy, Wood

Boiling 8 min or more 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Omgosh, that car problem, and their inability to fix it sounds like the worst nightmare :(


I’m so sorry you’re going through that crap. hugs :(

Mastress Alita

Thanks. It has been incredibly stressful, for sure!


Hope you can find a better car. Sucks having a mechanic that can’t fix it the first time.


Ugh, so sorry to hear that this continuing. :(


I hope the car issue is worked out soon. Perhaps seeing a different mechanic is another option? My brother-in-law had a terrible car and his mechanic kept “repairing” it for a whole lot of money (as in the car was bought from the mechanic by my brother-in-law’s Mom and my brother-in-law had to sink almost 10k in repairs). Finally my mom told him to go to our mechanic and our mechanic looked over the car and basically said it was a death trap on wheels and refused to charge my brother-in-law for looking over the car and also wouldn’t even let me brother-in-law drive the car home which was only 5 mins away because of how bad the car was. Hopefully that wouldn’t be what happens with you but maybe a second mechanic’s opinion is what you need…if you don’t necessarily want to go car shopping just yet.

Mastress Alita

@VariaTEA : Oh, I would love to get a second opinion or go somewhere else. My problem is I live alone and have no family/friends that live in my town, so I don’t have a second driver that can help me out. The place I’ve been going offers a shuttle service that will at least get to me work and come pick me up to get me back to my car, so I’ve felt “stuck” with them as I rely on having to have some way to get to work/back to my car while it has been constantly in the shop. To go anywhere else, I would need an entire day off of work during “business hours” (which pretty much never happens) to take it in, and then be stranded at the shop all day waiting on the repair. I don’t even have a cell phone to pay for a taxi. :-(


Ack… I’m so sorry about your car. Also, dumb questions…doing five seconds of research… you need a smart phone to even use taxis now? Not only to use an Uber or Lyft app but then you can only pay in credit/debit cards? You can’t use cash? Or call them with a non-smart phone? So they just assume everyone has a smart phone?

Mastress Alita

At least my town is backwards enough the taxis around here haven’t required cells, I guess I just feel shy/awkward asking a business if I can use their “behind the counter” phone or if they’d call me one. I obviously have problems with assertiveness… >_>

Mastress Alita

That said, I have been in many a situation where several places/things are designed with the assumption that everyone does own a cell phone/smart phone. I refuse to get one because I simply don’t want one/don’t like them. It’s very annoying.


Yeah, I don’t think it will be great when it’s just Uber or Lyft and no other taxis. I like diversity in everything. haha.


I get being uncomfortable asking to use a phone. I wonder if another mechanic has a shuttle service though? I know the ones I have used all had a shuttle service. I mean if you want to go that route. Sometimes it just makes sense to cut your losses and look for something new(er in the case of a used car)


Ugh, expensive car repairs are the worst. Definitely get a second opinion though because even trusted places get it wrong sometimes. Recently my auto service shop told me that I had a timing gasket leak that would cost thousands to repair, more than what my car was worth. Luckily I found another mechanic that fixed it for less than $400 and no issues since knock on wood. Whether you keep the car or get another one, look into an extended warranty…that can give a little peace of mind in the event of unexpected repairs.

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676 tasting notes

This is a very spice heavy tea. In a blind smell test, one could easily mistake this for garam masala. There are strong notes of cinnamon, star anise, clove, and cardamom. It’s the kind of potent aroma that reminds me of walking into an Indian spice shop.

I prepared this both as a chai and steeped it the normal way following Rishi-Tea’s instructions. The chai turned out to be a complete fail. It smelled and tasted like roasted gram/chickpea flour. There was some cinnamon and an odd cayenne note but I couldn’t get past the weird chickpea flour taste and ended up chucking it after a few sips.

It fared a little better when brewed on its own. The spices were tamer and I could actually taste some of the rooibos base. The dominant notes were cinnamon, star anise, and tellicherry peppercorn in the finish. I didn’t really like the sharp peppery flavor though and had to add a little sweetener to take the edge off.

I think Rishi had the right idea with this blend but bad execution. The combination of spices doesn’t really work and overwhelms rather than complementing the tea. I haven’t dabbled in blends for a long time, but this inspires me to create my own chai blend using the 1 lbs of rooibos sitting in my cupboard.

Flavors: Anise, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Peppercorn, Spices

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Mastress Alita

Ah, the power of different taste buds! This is actually my favorite chai. I like the rooibos over how most chais use assam (not my favorite tea) which I find sweeter/more honeyed, and I like the sweetness the licorice root brings to the spices (though I realize the majority of folks around here seem to have a dislike of that particular ingredient). My only problem is that Rishi only offers it in a pound, and I refuse to buy any tea — even one I love — in that quantity. I simply don’t have the space in my tiny apartment for that much of any one tea and would never be able to drink it before it started to go stale/lose its taste. So I’m always stuck having to buy it in smaller quantities at inflated prices from folks who wholesale from Rishi just because they don’t offer it in 2 oz. or 4 oz. options. Infuriates me!


I love all of the individual spices in here, it’s how they come together in this tea that doesn’t work for me. I totally feel you on the 1 lb portions. I’ve made the mistake of buying a pound of tea because it was more economical, only to get sick of them from drinking so much or have it go stale on me.

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