Latte at work

So, I just made the best chai latte this morning. Not the best I've ever had, to be sure, but the best I've ever made from a chai teabag. Even the best coffeeshops, as far as I've seen, use a syrup or powder to make the chai latte drink on their menu. While this is well & good, I have quite a few chai teabags that I'd like to use, and attempt to recreate the same flavor. Until this morning, I've been unsuccessful, for a variety of reasons:
  • The first obvious attempt with a chai teabag was to brew it like any other tea. I discovered this resulted in a spicy drink much too strong for my liking. I understand now why the popular way to drink chai is with lots of milk and sugar. Attempts to shorten the brewing time also failed.

  • Next, I tried preparing the chai by brewing different amounts of water and adding milk & sugar to the tea when it was done brewing. First lesson: you can't just brew a cup o' tea and add milk like you would to coffee. Still too strong. and you get this weird watery-milk taste that's no good.

  • I got to where I was brewing the tea in just half a mug of water and adding milk and sugar. The flavor was much better. The downside: the milk was cold, so having a mug 1/2 full of a cold liquid did not make a hot drink, even with extra, really hot water added right before drinking. Though some coffeeshops do market a cold chai, I was going for a hot drink.

  • Today's attempt: I brewed a little over half a cup of tea for over 4 minutes. While it was going, I got another mug, filled it halfway with milk, added a bit of cinnamon-vanilla creamer I found in the fridge because it sounded like a good idea, and heated the milk mug up in the microwave. I added some sugar to the milk, and combined the tea & milk when the tea was done brewing. What resulted was sweet, creamy, chai-y, and warm, and was gone in a very short amount of time Seriously, I chugged it. It wasn't the same as having fancy coffee equipment and chai syrup, but was pretty good for a mid-morning-at-work treat. Also, this was way cheaper than forking over $4 at Starbucks (and I don't even like Starbucks chai that much. Borders is the way to go. or The MT Cup in Muncie. But Borders is closer.)

I will surely continue to refine the chai latte at work, but I'm glad all my failed attempts finally paid off. Yay.


Melissa said...

Ohh, tasty! Where did you get the chai tea bags? Or what kind are they?

I'd buy 'em and try out what you've done!

MMmmm chai!

I do think you can get a carton of chai tea concentrate(??) from Borders and I've thought about trying that before.

Joanna said...

The stuff I used this morning was actually a gift, it's Israeli, but I have some chai tea bags at home that are made by Lipton. Twinings & Tazo also sell chai tea bags. (Oh, and a coworker of mine is in India right now and said he'd bring me back tea... I wonder if I'll get REAL Indian Chai...)

Ashley said...

I'm a bit late, but happy birthday to Josh! :-)

I think the only time I've ever had chai tea was at Starbucks. So I'm guessing I don't know what I'm missing? :-) I'll have to try this recipe.

Anonymous said...

If you are interested in other ways of making chai, in Africa (where chai is a staple), they boil the tea leaves (loose black tea), milk, sugar and spices all together. They do not add any water. The blend of spices they add (and boil with the rest) is called marsala, or you can use cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla to create a similar taste. You can add nutmeg, too. And of course, loads of sugar makes it authentic:) Enjoy!


Ashley said...

So I found out yesterday that Josh shares a birthday with Oprah! I bet he's excited about that! :-)


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