Cardamom Tea – The Throne of the Crescent Moon

“Tea. Adoulla leaned his face farther over the small bowl and inhaled deeply, needing its aromatic cure for the fatigue of life. The spicy-sweet cardamom steam enveloped him, moistening his face and his beard, and for the first time that groggy morning he felt truly alive.”

The Throne of the Crescent Moon, by Saladin Ahmad

Cardamom Tea - The Throne of the Crescent Moon

Cardamom Tea


Now, let’s start with the simple fact that I love cardamom. As soon as I heard about this beverage, I knew I had to try it.

The book is set in a quasi Middle Eastern setting, which I took as my starting point. Having lived in Turkey for a year, I know how essential tea is to everyday life. I decided to go for spiced added to a base of actual tea (rather than just an herbal/spice infusion).  As I constructed the recipe, though, the realization slowly dawned that I knew this beverage I was making.


What a wonderful example of how slightly changing the name of something defamiliarizes it enough for us to discover and wonder over it all over again. The flavor of the tea is rich and spicy, with the cardamom and ginger at the forefront. 

Cardamom Tea Recipe

Making: 15 minutes

Makes 2 servings

Cook’s Notes: As with all recipes, feel free to tweak this one to suit your own tastes!


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 ” fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 cloves
  • 7 cardamom pods, crushed (or 1 tbs. seeds)
  • 1 heaping Tbs. black tea leaves
  • Milk 
  • sugar or honey to taste

Combine ingredients except for milk and sugar in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Keep on the heat for about 5 minutes, then strain into serving cups. Add milk until it is a rich tan color, and sweeten to taste. Enjoy!

Cardamom Tea | Food Through the Pages


One thought on “Cardamom Tea – The Throne of the Crescent Moon

  1. Aww. I like chai (and I’ve bookmarked your recipe!), but I was hoping for Afghan-style choi i yale (black tea with cardamom). It’s served without milk, and either without sweetening or in the peculiar teahouse style, that goes like this:
    Put the tea (and I guess the cardamom) into the pot, pour in boiling water. Fill a small heavy glass with sugar, right up to the brim. When the tea’s steeped a little (1-2 minutes), pour as much tea as will fit into the glass (not much). Drink a bit of this sticky syrup. Pour in more, now stronger, tea. Drink some. Pour in more… At the end you’re drinking unsweetened tea that’s been (slowly) steeping for up to an hour – at which point you put in fresh tea and water and fill your glass with sugar again.
    I used to drink it unsweetened or with just a bit of sugar, when I was a kid. Only adult males got to do teahouse style. There’s a definite cardamom twang to the flavor (along with strong black tea), but I’ve never found anything that described methods or proportions (whole pods, crushed, powdered? How much in comparison to the amount of tea?). I suppose I could experiment – but I get it seldom enough I don’t really remember how it’s supposed to taste, only that I like it.

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