The chai latte is one of the most requested drinks from the ubiquitous chain of coffee shops Starbucks. If you have ever drunk it and fallen in love with it, we want to teach you how to prepare a simile of its recipe at home, which is not that complicated either. You dare?
This drink, according to the description of the North American company, is prepared with black tea, cinnamon and a variety of spices, and is crowned with a smooth and spicy foam at the same time.
Now, before we get into the recipe, let’s up our teapot culture a bit.
The history of chai tea (latte)
Even if you have seen chai tea at your local Starbucks, this drink is not his invention at all.
Let’s go back to the 19th century, when the British Empire decided to promote the cultivation of tea in India, which at that time was not a great producer. The Indians were not big tea drinkers either, so the English decided to increase the domestic demand for tea by carrying out a series of actions to introduce its consumption into Indian society.
At first, society, accustomed to drinking coffee, was not attracted to this infusion, which the Indians considered bland. In fact, legend has it that Gandhi referred to the custom of drinking tea as a colonial practice. However, after World War II, tea began to be adopted as a drink after meals.
To enhance the flavor of the tea and adapt it to the Indian palate, those who drank it began to incorporate milk and large doses of sugar.
Although there is no documented data on when and why spices were added, it is believed that chai tea was born as a fusion between English tea and traditional Indian medicine that uses spices to treat different ailments. Some tea experts argue that the addition of milk and sugar was due to a need by the working class to convert their teas (made from the cheapest tea, i.e. powder and broken leaves) into a more nutritious and hunger-masking beverage.
In India, Masala Chai or spiced tea is one of the most widespread infusions and there are as many recipes as there are tea vendors. Every city and even every family is capable of preparing a delicious drink with small variations.
Many decades later, Starbucks took the traditional recipe and added an important tagline: latte. Chai tea is already commonly drunk with milk, so it’s a bit redundant. Surely, in the process of reinterpreting the Indian drink and adapting it to the Western world, the example of cafe latte was taken and chai became chai latte tea.
Chai Tea Latte Recipe Inspired by Starbucks Version
Let’s see step by step how you can prepare a real chai latte at home, with little effort and money.
As we already pointed out, chai lattes are basically prepared with black tea, milk and various spices, as well as a lot of sugar. It is worth noting that different publications have drawn attention to the enormous amount of sugar that the North American firm includes in this drink. So if you want a healthier version, opt to reduce the sugar when making it at home.
For two cups.
- 350 ml of water.
- 1 heaped tablespoon of Assam black tea.
- 100 ml of milk.
- 10 cardamom pods.
- 3 tablespoons of sugar.
- 4 grains of black pepper.
- 1 cinnamon stick.
- 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger.
- 1/4 teaspoon of fennel seeds.
- cinnamon and nutmeg powder to decorate.
- Add the cinnamon, peppercorns, fennel seeds and cardamom in a mortar and grind until small pieces are obtained. Don’t continue grinding, as if you turn everything into a powder, you can waste flavors and aromas.
- Put half of the milk together with the water in a pot.
- Add the ginger and spices you worked with the mortar to the pot, as well as the sugar.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 7 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and when the temperature drops to 95°C, infuse the black tea. Keep in mind that if the water is too hot, it can affect the flavor of the tea. Let stand between 3 and 5 minutes depending on your taste.
- Meanwhile, take the milk that you had left aside and heat it.
- Beat the milk with the help of a hand mixer until you get a soft white foam Booking.
- Strain the tea and serve in a tall clear glass mug.
- Top the cup with the milk foam.
- Decorate with cinnamon and nutmeg powder.
Chai Latte Variations
As we have already told you before, you can reduce the amount of sugar to obtain a less caloric and healthier drink. You can also substitute stevia or even honey for sugar, but keep in mind that these changes can affect the flavor of your tea.
If you wish, you can use skim milk to reduce the final calories of the drink, as well as change it to plant-based milks, such as soy, oat, coconut, almond or cashew milk. In this way, you will obtain a vegan chai latte, ideal for those who do not consume dairy products either by conviction or necessity.
In any case, we recommend drinking chai latte tea sporadically as it is quite a caloric drink (although delicious). What do you tell us? Do you dare to prepare a true chai tea like the one at Starbucks at home?