How to make a better chai latte than your local barista

The best chai latte isn't found in any cafe. It's the chai latte that you've lovingly prepared in the comfort of your kitchen, with just the right amount of sweetness, spice, and warmth to satisfy your chai craving. If you've never tried to make a chai latte,, or you want to learn how to make a chai latte, this article is for you. Read on to learn what chai is and all the different ways it can brighten up your day.

What is a chai latte (and what's in it)

A chai latte is a mixture of black tea, spice, sweetener, and hot milk. The particular blend of spices you get will depend on the blend of chai tea used to make your latte. That's because the word 'chai' comes from the Hindustani word for all types of tea. Most chai lattes are made with Massala chai, which can include sugar, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and even peppercorns.

Brew the perfect chai latte

Most cafes that offer chai lattes don't actually brew the tea themselves, they make them by adding powdered tea to steamed milk. There's nothing wrong with this method. But if you do take the time to make a loose leaf chai latte at home, you'll end up with a beautiful drink and a house filled with its delightful spicy aroma.

To brew the perfect chai latte, all you need to do is:

  1. Find the right blend of loose leaf chai for your tastes. While you can start from scratch and add your own chai latte spices to black tea, it is quicker to find a blend you already love.
  2. Add two to three teaspoons of chai to a saucepan with 250mL of milk and brew for five minutes. Strain the brewed chai into your cup and top it up with steamed milk for a cafe experience.
  3. Add honey or sugar to taste. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, try adding maple syrup or condensed milk for a caramel flavour.

This method will help you brew the perfect chai latte for one. Simply double the ingredients if you're sharing the love with someone special.

How to make ice chai latte

Chai lattes aren't just for warming your soul on a wintry night. If you've never tried an iced chai latte on a balmy summer day, you're in for a treat. Making an ice chai latte is simple:

  1. Steep your chai as described above, or if you're looking to save time, dissolve a chai latte sachet in the boiling water.
  2. Add your desired sweetener to your still hot strained/dissolved chai and stir.
  3. Chill the chai in your fridge overnight or, if you'd like an extra frosty beverage, pour the chai into ice cube trays and freeze it.
  4. Mix your chai with your preferred milk, three parts chai, one part milk. Or, you can blend your ice cubes with milk for a delicious chai frappe.

Bon appetite!

Is there caffeine in chai latte?

Chai lattes are made with black tea leaves, which means they will have some caffeine. They are still a good alternative to coffee if you're looking to limit your caffeine intake though, as the average chai latte has about a quarter of the amount of caffeine you'll get in a regular latte.

What is the difference between chai tea and a chai latte?

While chai tea and chai lattes are made with the same ingredients, there is a subtle difference in how these two spicy beverages are prepared. Chai tea is made by brewing loose leaf tea in milk, which gives it a softer flavour and a flatter texture. Chai lattes are made by brewing the tea in water or dissolving a chai latte sachet, then adding steamed milk. This process gives it a creamier feeling in your mouth and more pronounced flavour.

What is a dirty chai coffee?

A dirty chai coffee is a chai latte that has a shot or two of espresso added to it for an extra kick.

How to make a dirty chai latte

Dirty chai lattes are a real treat, especially because they're one of the more expensive items in a coffee shop! The good news is that you can easily make this drink at home. All you need to do is follow the steps for brewing a chai latte, then add a shot of espresso or teaspoon of dissolved coffee powder. Or, for a quick fix, just make your regular coffee and stir in a chai latte sachet before you add milk.