Chai latte from scratch, at home! Using fresh spices and black tea, this is the spiciest, richest chai latte that is better than any coffee shop version. Just 15 minutes to make 2 servings.
Chai latte from scratch
My love for an incredible chai latte at home has been a pursuit since college. I distinctly remember hitting coffee shops with friends before an all-night study session, and ordering coffee like everyone else. Well, after one sip, I never ordered it again. I made the switch to sweet and spicy chai lattes after that. There's something so warm and soothing about all of the spices in a chai with steamed milk that is just better than coffee.
Although, I must confess I do enjoy coffee these days a few ways: an iced caramel latte on a hot summer day is pretty much guaranteed to put a smile on my face. And it really isn't the holidays without a gingerbread latte by the fire! But, for the most part, a chai latte is my drink of choice each morning.
I've made them with chai tea bags from the store with steamed milk, and always found the flavor lacking. At one point, I was steeping 3 tea bags in a cup just to mimic the rich spicy flavor found in a cup from an Indian friend's house! Side note: many thanks to my lifelong Indian friends from high school for teaching me that saying 'chai tea' is silly, because chai translates to 'tea.' So, don't be silly and say 'tea tea,' just order a chai!
My method for making a chai latte is to use actual ground spices! No more chai 'tea bags' that have black tea and the smallest sprinkling of spice. We're using real spices, just like we would if were making pie or any baked good! I use a similar method for my homemade pumpkin spice lattes, and there is no debate about how delicious they are!
I'm also choosing to steep my black tea and spices in a can of light coconut milk. I like my chai with lots and lots of milk, and coconut milk really goes with all of the flavors. In my Indian friends' houses, it's always made with dairy milk, which is insanely delicious, but I save that for a special occasion. My everyday chai has coconut milk so I can save the milk in the fridge for my kids.
- coconut milk: I use a can of light coconut milk. Regular coconut milk has a lot of cream that can make this chai latte too thick, in my opinion.
- honey: You can use granulated white sugar or maple syrup--your choice.
- cinnamon: ground cinnamon, with an optional cinnamon stick for serving
- cardamom: ground cardamom is preferred, but if you can only find cardamom pods, just use 3 pods. Use the back of a knife to lightly crush the pods to open them to expose the black seeds.
- ginger: again, using ground ginger for ease. Fresh ginger is delicious, but requires extra steeping time.
- black pepper: I always put black pepper in my lattes! It brings so much spice and flavor.
- black tea leaves: You can cut open a black tea bag if it's easier to use than buying loose-leaf black tea. The higher quality black tea you use, the better your latte, though!
How to make a chai tea latte:
Ok, I know I just said not to call it 'chai tea' because that's redundant, but the most searched term online to make a chai latte includes the word tea, so I want to be sure it's clear what I'm making for you!
- Gather your ingredients: a can of coconut milk, some water, honey for sweetness, and all of your spices and black tea.
- In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, water, honey, and spices. Whisk vigorously while turning the heat to medium. The honey won't dissolve until the mixture is warm. Keep whisking occasionally until the mixture just begins to bubble.
- Remove the mixture from the heat, and then stir in the tea leaves. Cover the pot with a lid, and let the tea leaves steep for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, strain the mixture into 2 cups. Taste, and add any additional honey, if desired.
If you love the flavor of chai, you should serve this with my chewy chai cookie bars. That would be a little too sweet for breakfast, but very welcome for tea in the afternoon.
Does a chai latte have caffeine?
I foresee a lot questions about the caffeine in this chai latte. It's made with black tea, so yes, it has the caffeine from the tea. You can buy decaffeinated black tea to avoid it, just like you can with my peach iced tea.
Does chai have coffee?
Have you ever heard of a dirty chai? It's when you make a chai latte like this, but you add a shot of espresso. It's absolutely DELICIOUS. I help my best friend at her donut shop one day a week, and she always fuels me with a dirty chai for our 2am baking shifts together. You should try adding a shot from your espresso machine just once. Yep, it will have caffeine from tea AND coffee, but you will love it on days when you need extra energy, I promise!
Another variation you might love is my recipe for a chai hot chocolate! All of the yummy spices from chai plus creamy hot cocoa. It's sumptuous.
- 1 14-oz. can light coconut milk
- ½ cup filtered water
- 3-4 tablespoons honey (to your taste)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch of ground black pepper
- 1 heaping tablespoon black tea leaves
- In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except the tea leaves over medium heat. Whisk vigorously to dissolve all spices. The honey might not dissolve until the coconut milk is sufficiently warm.
- Once simmering, add the tea leaves, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Strain the mixture, then divide between two mugs and serve.
coconut milk: I use a can of light coconut milk. Regular coconut milk has a lot of cream that can make this chai latte too thick, in my opinion.
honey: You can use granulated white sugar or maple syrup--your choice.
cinnamon: ground cinnamon, with an optional cinnamon stick for serving
cardamom: ground cardamom is preferred, but if you can only find cardamom pods, just use 3 pods. Use the back of a knife to lightly crush the pods to open them to expose the black seeds.
ginger: again, using ground ginger for ease. Fresh ginger is delicious, but requires extra steeping time.
black pepper: I always put black pepper in my lattes! It brings so much spice and flavor.
black tea leaves: You can cut open a black tea bag if it's easier to use than buying loose-leaf black tea. The higher quality black tea you use, the better your latte, though! You can buy decaf, if you like.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 260Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 18mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 1gSugar: 35gProtein: 2g