Chefs' Recipes

Shy ben laben (Ethiopian white spiced tea) by Saba's Ethiopian Restaurant

A winter warmer.

By Saba Alemayoh
  • 5 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
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"This is like a chai latte, but so much better," says Saba Alemayoh, owner of the now-closed Saba's Ethiopian Restaurant in Melbourne. "It's a great winter warmer, especially with a splash of Amarula – a liqueur from South Africa that has lovely earthy flavours."


  • 1 litre (4 cups) milk
  • 30 gm loose-leaf black tea
  • 2 cassia quills, or large cinnamon quills, broken into pieces
  • 1 tbsp tbsp white sugar or light unrefined sugar such as coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp Amarula, to taste (optional)
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods


  • 1
    Combine all ingredients in a stove-top tea pot or saucepan over low heat and simmer until infused (10-15 minutes).
    (You will need to open the top and stir it once in a while to stop overflow.)
  • 2
    Strain tea into cups and serve, adding extra sugar or Amarula if desired.


If substituting a dairy alternative, choose one with a subtle flavour and creamy texture, such as oat milk. 30gm loose tea leaves will produce a strong-flavoured tea. Add less if you prefer a weaker tea.