It’s easy to leave lattes and cappuccinos in the hands of the experts, but they’re surprisingly easy to make at home. While we love a good coffee shop and appreciate our favorite baristas, sometimes you just want to do things yourself. With a few grocery store ingredients and basic kitchen equipment, you can amaze your tastebuds — and your friends.
Today, we are going to teach you how to make a chai tea latte. This is a simple drink, consisting of just chai tea and hot milk. 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 spices 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, invigorating 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 brew chai using tea bags or loose leaf mixtures, which is what we will be using today. You can also buy chai concentrates at the grocery store.
A basic chai latte doesn’t contain any coffee, but since this is Coffee-Channel, we’re making ours with a shot of espresso. This is often called a “dirty chai latte.” 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.
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.
If you’re using tea leaves, heat water and steep the chai. If you’re using a concentrate, heat it over low to medium heat in a small saucepan. You’ll want your chai to be around the same temperature as the milk, so we recommend 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the chai is ready, add sugar to taste.
Over low to medium heat in the same small saucepan, heat up the milk. You’ll want to heat it to around 160-170 degrees, well below boiling. 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, chai, and espresso shots into a cup. If you really want to go over the top, sprinkle on some cinnamon to give it that cafe look and feel.
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.
So, there you have it! Pretty simple, eh? Until next time, happy sipping!