How about indulging in a very extravagant, luxurious, creamy and flavorful drink? Many of us may think that sipping on a latte is a treat that can be found only in fancy coffee shops. I know I did:). Whenever my husband and I would visit a certain bookstore, we would spend some of our “fun money” from our envelope system to enjoy this wonderful creation. It was fun and we definitely enjoyed it. Rich and delightful, warm and soothing, it’s such a satisfying beverage for a cozy afternoon or evening at a bookstore. There were a few “buts” about it though. First of all, it wasn’t “exactly” how we liked it. There was always something we wanted to tweak. It was too sweet or not sweet enough. It was too concentrated or had too many spices. We would stand at the counter mixing and adding cream, milk, water or sugar. And there’s always the time when you’re craving a Chai Tea Latte when it’s not convenient to drive to the coffee shop and you wish that you could somehow find that lovely drink in your hands.
I’ve got good news for us all! You can recreate this drink with just a handful of ingredients and no pricey equipment required. Yep, I mean it. If a gadget with bells and whistles is not in your budget or you simply don’t want to clutter up your kitchen with yet another appliance, I’ve got you covered. I have nothing against these gadgets, believe you me, especially if you drink these things on a daily basis. If you’re like me, though, and only drink these drinks every once in a while, the recipe and method I’m about to share is just the thing for you.
Now, my husband and I sip a Chai Tea Latte while relaxing on our living room couch and watching a movie, or curling up with a good book. And the best thing is – I only spend a little bit over 5 minutes preparing it in the kitchen, it tastes SO much better than the coffee shop variety, since we adjust the flavoring to exactly what we like, AND it costs a fraction of what we used to pay at the coffee shops. I looked at many, MANY recipes of Chai Tea Lattes and set up a test kitchen for awhile, until we found the one that fit everything that we were looking for. This is the one, and it’s a pleasure to enjoy.
1 1/2 cups milk or half n half
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 vanilla bean, split in half and beans scraped out
1/2 – 1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, allspice, ground ginger, each
3-5 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 cups of black tea
In a small saucepan, combine the milk (or half n half) cinnamon stick (you can use ground cinnamon instead), vanilla bean, peppercorns, cardamom (I could only find the ground cardamom, you can use the cardamom pods), ground ginger, allspice and nutmeg. I really recommend using whole nutmeg, that you have to grate, instead of ground nutmeg, because it makes a HUGE difference in taste.
You can also use vanilla extract or ground cinnamon, instead of the whole spices. You can also adjust the flavors of the drink by adding more or less of an ingredient, or omitting some that you don’t like. That’s the beauty of making this at home, that you can adjust it to YOUR personal preference and make it perfect.
The milk frother is a tiny, magical machine. It’s battery operated and can be very easily stored. I keep it in a drawer with all my other small kitchen tools. You can find one anywhere from $5-$20. It makes all the difference in making your mundane drink fancy with a beautiful and delicate foam gracing the top of your beverage. You can check out the one I have in my Store.
- 1½ cups milk or half n half
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half and beans scraped out
- 5-7 peppercorns
- ½ - 1 teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon nutmeg, allspice, ground ginger, each
- 3-5 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 cups of black tea
- Steep the tea, making it as strong as you like, using whichever tea you prefer.
- In a small saucepan, combine the milk (or half n half) cinnamon stick (you can use ground cinnamon instead), vanilla bean, peppercorns, cardamom (I could only friend the ground cardamom, you can use the cardamom pods), ground ginger, allspice and nutmeg. I really recommend using whole nutmeg, that you have to grate, instead of ground nutmeg, because it makes a HUGE difference in taste. Add the brown sugar, as much as you like.
- Bring the milk to a simmer, turn it off and let it steep for about 5 minutes. Keep in mind that the milk will be much stronger in flavor, but will balance out when you add it to the tea.
- Strain the milk through a fine mesh sieve.
- Froth up the milk with the milk frother.
- Pour the milk into the tea. Spoon some of the foam on top of the Chai Tea Latte.