In the world of coffee, it’s easy to submit to the idea that you need your local coffee shop to get the best drink possible, but we are here to teach you otherwise. While we love a good coffee shop, sometimes you just want to do things yourself. The great news is that preparing a wonderful drink from the comfort of your own kitchen is quite easy! All it takes is desire and a few items easily found at your local grocer. Even better, once you know how to make your own drinks, it opens up a world of possibility for conversation between you and your local barista.
Today, we are going to teach you how to make a chai tea latte. This is a simple drink, as it only consists of two ingredients, but it’s not so easy that you can’t accidentally mess it up. Before we go any further, let’s learn what chai actually is.
Chai is a drink with a long history. Chai is not one leaf, but several ingredients mixed together. It is of Indian origin and originally created to be a healing drink. Its rumored origin dates back 5,000 years, when a mystery king had a scratchy throat and a bad belly. Every ingredient in a chai recipe had a purpose. The black pepper and ginger were used to stimulate digestion, cardamom cheered you up, cloves were used to heal pain, anise freshened the breath, and cinnamon encouraged good air and blood flow. It must have worked because the drink became wildly popular throughout India and then spread across the continent. Depending on the region, the recipe would change a bit, but the idea was the same: Chai was a healing drink.
In the mid-1800s, black tea leaves, milk, and honey were added to the drink, creating what we know as the chai tea latte today.
Quite simply, a chai latte is chai tea mixed with milk. Yes, it is that simple! You can find mixtures of chai in your local grocery store, which is what we will be using today, but you can also make your own chai if you’d prefer.
Now, let’s get to making the drink!
As you’ll see, this is a simple process. The most difficult part is that you need to keep an eye on the temperatures of both things that you are heating up. You should have a delicious chai latte in five to 10 minutes.
Over low to medium heat in a small saucepan, heat the chai tea. You’ll want it to be around the same temperature as the milk, so we recommend 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not boil the tea!
Pour the chai into the cup you will be mixing the drink in. Rinse the saucepan before returning it to the heat source.
Over low to medium heat in the same small saucepan, heat up the milk. You’ll want to heat it up to around 160-170 degrees. You can go even cooler if you like. In fact, the lower the temperature, the softer the drink will feel.
Pour the milk into a different container in order to whisk it to create froth. You can do this by placing the whisk in between your hands and rolling it back and forth as if you were starting a fire.
Pour the milk in with the chai, and you now have yourself a wonderful chai latte! If you really want to go over the top, sprinkle some cinnamon on top to give it that cafe look and feel.
Many places will mix the chai and milk together before heating them up. This won’t affect the flavor of your drink and could be a time-saver, but we appreciate aesthetics, and watching the milk mix with the chai is especially nice.
Also, if you want a chai latte, but you don’t want a hot drink because it’s too warm outside, easy enough! Instead of heating the two liquids, pour them cold over ice and enjoy a wonderful iced chai latte!
Maybe you have heard of the vaunted “dirty” chai latte? This is the same drink, just with added espresso. It’s quite surprising how well they mix together, as the chai is still strong enough to be the most noticeable flavor, while the espresso is more subtle.
So, there you have it! Pretty simple, eh? Until next time, happy sipping!