Chai Tea for Two (latte, if you like)

homemade-chai-tea-latte-71-light-682x1024
I  remember the first time I tasted chai, in a friend’s kitchen. The creamy texture and slightly spiced flavor took me by surprise. “Oh wow!” I said. “This is like drinking pumpkin pie!”
image: livesimply.me
Since that first taste, I’ve loved chai, but I don’t drink it often because if you make it with a purchased mix or buy it in a coffee shop, it’s usually loaded with sugar. However, inspired by this recipe for Chai Tea Latte from Live Simply (and modified to reduce the syrup), I’ve been making this the past couple days, and it’s the perfect cold-weather pick-me-up when you want something richer than plain tea. (The original recipe makes enough for four servings, so you can enjoy one right away and then keep the extra on hand in the fridge. Smart! I love make-aheads!)
It uses maple syrup for the sweetener, but you can substitute the sugar or sweetener of your choice. I also replaced the half-and-half with culinary coconut milk; the canned kind; not the thinner stuff that comes in quart cartons. But you can use half-and-half, or another dairy substitute that you like. I’ve also streamlined the process a bit because, well, I’m impatient! I use a ready-made spice mix. And I use the microwave, and just let it steep for two or three minutes. But if you’re patient and have the time, you can let it steep the full five minutes at each step.
Chai mixture:
1 cup water
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice*
1 tea bag or about 1.5 teasp. loose tea — any unflavored black tea will do
1 TB pure maple syrup
1 or 2 grinds of freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Latte additions:
1/2 cup milk of your choice     
    (recommended: something rich and somewhat fatty, like coconut milk or half-and-half.)
maple syrup to taste
Put the water and spice mix in a glass measuring cup or other microwave-safe container and heat until it steams. Take it out, and let sit for at least two and up to five minutes. Cut open the tea bag and pour the contents into the hot water. Add a couple grinds of black pepper if you like. Return it to the microwave and heat again till steaming. Let it steep for three to five minutes.
While it’s steeping, prepare the milk. Heat it slightly in the microwave. Do NOT let it boil. 
Frothing the milk is optional — but it’s the thing that takes this drink from chai to chai latte. There are various ways to froth the milk. You can do this with a stick blender, or by hand, using this method, or just by holding a wire whisk and rolling it quickly between your palms like this: 
(The baby orangutan is optional.)
At this time, you can also preheat your two serving cups, to help the chai stay hotter. Fill them with the hottest water that will come out of your tap, and let that sit till you’re ready to serve.
Once the tea is done steeping, dump the hot water out of your serving cups. Pour the tea mixture through a fine sieve into another container. Rinse the sieve, then pour through it again as you’re decanting the tea into each serving cup. Top with even portions of the milk, and taste to see if you want more sweetness; sweeten to taste.
Then snuggle into a cozy chair and drink that pumpkin pie!

*If you don’t have pumpkin pie or apple pie spice mix, you may use:
1 whole clove (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
pinch ground allspice (optional)

Jana

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *