Cardamom Chai Tea - Emmanuel's Story

Today I'm sharing a recipe for authentic, Sweet & Spicy Cardamom Chai Tea - make it at home, sit back, and know you're doing something good in the world. Let us tell you Emmanuel's story of the Rwanda Genocide.

Earlier this week I posted about Rwanda's 20th Anniversary of the Genocide Against the Tutsi, and the impact that education can have on society. The response to this blog post was really overwhelming. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read about Rwanda, it's history, and its future.

People were moved by the stories, the hopes and dreams of this nation, and the individuals who are working each day to better themselves, often with little support. I spoke about how the youth are the future of the nation, and how by educating our children, we provide them with the skills needed to pull themselves out of poverty.

Many of you have asked how you can help.......

Today we have a proposal for you. Instead of buying a cup of coffee or tea, why not donate it? Ryan and I have pledged this week to send an amazing guy to university. All that stands between him and his dream is $1500. So we ask of you - our family, our friends, our fellow countrymen, and anyone else out there, if you have something small to spare, please consider giving it towards someone's future. ***note - the campaign is now closed and we fundraised the amount required. Thanks to everyone!***

We have 30 days to find the money - can you help?

To read more and donate, click here. What is small change to us will literally change someone's entire life path here in Rwanda. The largest donation will get a Little Jars gift basket full of local goodies - shipped anywhere in the world!

Meet Emmanuel


Emmanuel is 28 years old. When he was 8 years old, the genocide came to his village. His father hid over 10 of his relatives, Tustis, when they themselves were Hutus. Emmanuel told me "the murderers came to my house, and my father paid them to go away, telling them there was no one in the house. They came back the next day, harassing us again, and my father gave them more money. Each time they came, my father sold what he owned to pay them off. My family hid in the drainpipes of the house, and inside the wall crevices. But they found them, all of them."

Eventually, Emmanuel's family was bankrupted, and the murderers came. Emmanuel and his brothers ran off and hid in the fields, and witnessed all of their family being slaughtered, even some as young as he was. His father was the only survivor left in the house, left to tell the message that hiding people on the "listed to be exterminated" had dire consequences. Despite this past, Emmanuel was a lucky one, who not only survived, but who went on to complete school. And, he did amazingly well, getting top marks, a sure candidate for university.

However, with limited places for university, he was not able to receive funding to attend. He wants to study business and commerce, and become a secondary school teacher. Let me tell you, Emmanuel will make an amazing teacher, as he is so personable, supportive and bright.

Instead, Emmanuel worked as a primary school teacher, but when it didn't provide enough income to live on, he had to take on different employment. We started to lend him books. He is so eager for education, that he's read every book in our house, making summary briefs in his books, so that he will not forget the key facts. When we exhausted the books, I lent him my Ipad. Emmanuel watches Ted Talks, and reads book after book, after book, after book. He even enrolled in an evening computer course, so that he could write summaries for us on word, asking us to mark his work.


We've looked into MOOC's, and other learning opportunities, but have decided that what Emmanuel needs is to go to university - to get an accredited degree that will enable him to secure a professional job which will allow him to cultivate his passions and contribute to Rwanda.

All that stands between him and his dream is $1500 - the cost towards a Bachelors of Commerce from Mount Kenya University (a good programme with a campus in Kigali). So, to commemorate those lost in 1994, Ryan and I have committed to securing the funding to send him to university.  ***note - the campaign is now closed and we fundraised the amount required. Thanks to everyone!***

Sometimes, there are so many people in need that it becomes overwhelming to think about how to help, and where to direct our limited resources. Each day I witness extreme poverty, and meet families with so many needs to improve their livelihoods.

But it's not everyday that I meet someone like Emmanuel. There is something about him, I know in my heart that he is the kind of person who will change his community in Rwanda. He is a natural leader, and so inquisitive - he is our Rwandan brother. And I would never let my brother put off university if he couldn't afford it, not when I could see his future and know that I could make a difference.

It's not often that I do this - asking the world, but I know this is the right thing to do. Instead of buying a coffee or tea today, make it at home with the recipe below. If you have an extra $5, or £5 in your pocket, and want to donate it to Emmanuel towards his university, I can promise you it won't go to waste.

We have 30 days to find the money - can you help? If so, visit our campaign website, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Emmanuel thanks you too, he is so overwhelmed that we are even mobilising for him - he said no one's ever done this before.

Now, onto our favourite chai recipe.


I learned this recipe when I was about 13 years old, from a lovely friend, with an even lovelier Biji (grandmother). I used to love going to her house and watching Biji make a delicious tea. Then we'd sit and chat and she'd teach me how to count in Punjabi. I remember my friend telling me that you could only use so many "magic seeds"  (fennel) or else the tea was spoiled. I think 8 was the maximum number for each cup of tea. Nowadays, I still make this tea the way they did, but I add cinnamon for a little extra kick. I also am more liberal with the magic seeds! I hope you don't mind Biji!


Sweet & Spicy Cardamom Chai

There’s nothing I like better than a little mug of sweet & spicy cardamom tea to unwind and let the warmth calm you.


  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of milk (I use almond milk, but be careful not to heat too hot or it will separate). You can use any milk your heart desires.
  • 1 tablespoon black tea leaves (you can also just throw in a tea bag)
  • About 5 green cardamom seeds
  • One pinch of fennel seeds (about 15-20)
  • A one-inch stick cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (I used agave)


  1. The key to good chai is to make it in a pot on the stove. Bring the water to a boil, and add in the tea and spices. Turn the heat to medium and simmer for 3 minutes, or until the tea has really infused the water.
  2. Add in the milk and sugar, and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  3. Strain into cups, and enjoy.