Rachel Lambert: forager, author, guide

Cleaver Coffee Chai Recipe

spoonful of cleaver coffee grains
The inspiration for this drink...

I first went to India in my twenties and quickly got addicted to the wafting scent of freshly made chai served on street corners and eateries. I remember the coffee too – sweet and weak - it was a constant disappointment to my strong coffee loving boyfriend at the time! This is somewhere between the two; a sweetly spiced cleaver coffee drink, with a little caffeine and all the warming and uplifting benefits that spices bring.

As a forager I love to use locally growing weeds, find out all about this plant and where it grows in my blog about how to make cleaver coffee.

Making a drink from roasted cleaver seeds

Sweetly Spiced Cleaver Chai recipe

Made from locally harvested, roasted and ground cleaver seeds and blended with Indian spices. A perfect pick-me-up in the afternoon or a sweet way to end a meal.

Serves 2


  • 2-3 tbsp roasted and ground cleaver seeds
  • 8 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 6 cloves, crushed
  • ½ a large cinnamon stick
  • 4 cm piece of fresh ginger, chopped
  • 600 ml water
  • 200 ml milk of your choice, or water
  • Honey to taste (optional)
Straining cleaver seeds and spices through a strainer

Place the ground cleaver seeds and spices in a small saucepan and add the water and milk. You could add the milk later, if you prefer or not use at all.

Bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and leave to sit for a further 5 minutes, strain and sweeten to taste.

Sweetening cleaver coffee chai with honey

Want to learn more?

I teach about cleaver seeds from late summer through to winter on my foraging courses. Fresh green cleavers are also one of my top 5 spring wild foods.

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