This homemade chai tea latte recipe is internet famous and loved by thousands of readers. And it’s way better than a Starbucks chai tea latte. Made with simple pantry ingredients: black tea, warming spices, and milk. This from-scratch recipe is a tea lover’s favorite: rich and warming chai flavor with the perfect touch of natural sweetness. The perfect balance that makes this tea a must-make.
What Makes This Recipe So Good?
I created this recipe in 2014. I had a costly obsession with a Starbucks chai latte. In an effort to lower expenses, I decided to experiment with making a chai latte at home.
I found a few home chai lattes online, all of which suggested using a pre-made chai tea mix. I tried this option, but they all lacked the coffee shop flavor.
I decided to make my own chai spice blend, using ingredients from my pantry, and pairing this blend with black tea. After researching the spices used to make traditional chai, and seeing what was stocked in my pantry, I decided to go with the following spices…
- Cinnamon: Also used to make banana bread, pumpkin spice latte, and homemade granola.
- Ginger: Used in stir-fry sauce, homemade granola, and delicious in smoothies.
- Cardamom: Delicious in homemade granola, muffins (like zucchini chai muffins), and quick breads. Fun fact: also commonly used as a supplement due to its health benefits: anti-inflammatory.
- Nutmeg: Used to make banana bread, pumpkin spice latte, and many other baked goods.
- Whole Cloves: Something I don’t use very often. In the fall, add to boiling water to make your house smell amazing. If you don’t have whole cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves will also work.
- Allspice: Has the flavor of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg all combined into one; great for baking.
What Readers Say:
“Best Chai Tea I have ever had! And it is very easy as well – very little active time”
I infused the spices in boiling water to release their flavor and added black tea bags. Black tea is on the stronger side, so it balances perfectly with the warm flavor of the spices.
The end result was a DELICIOUS homemade chai tea concentrate that I could store in the fridge and reheat with milk to make a homemade latte. No coffee shop needed!
And the best part? It’s inexpensive to make considering that most of the spices are common pantry items that may also be used in other ways.
What is a Chai Tea Latte?
Chai tea latte originated in India. In India, the word chai translates to “tea.”
So yes, calling this drink a chai tea latte is technically saying “tea tea latte.” Since most of us, in the Western world, order “a chai tea latte, please” at the coffee shop, that’s what I’m going with today.
A traditional chai tea latte is a combination of tea and milk. The homemade chai tea latte recipe we’re going to make today, and what most of us recognize as that infamous chai latte taste, is called masala chai.
The main ingredients are a blend of tea, milk, and different spices (like cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger).
This recipe is inspired by a traditional masala chai, with a rich, warm flavor, but modified to use simple and inexpensive pantry ingredients that are common in American homes: tea bags, chai spices, and milk. Here’s what you need.
For the Chai Concentrate:
- 2 cups water
- 2 black tea bags (like English breakfast) or 4 grams of loose-leaf tea leaves
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 2 TB pure maple syrup
You’ll use 1/2 cup of homemade chai concentrate at a time to make a latte. This concentrate stores well in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks. You can make up to 4 lattes with this concentrate. And the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
To Make a Latte:
How to Make, Step By Step
Total Time: Making the chai concentrate is the most time-consuming part of this recipe (10 minutes). Make the concentrate in advance if you want to enjoy a quick and easy latte for breakfast or a quick drink. Once you have the chai concentrate, the latte takes about 5 minutes to prepare.
Step 1: Make the Chai Concentrate
Heat 2 cups of water and the spices in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove top. Let the ingredients simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add 2 tea bags and maple syrup (or honey).
After another 5 minutes, pour the concentrate (hot water, spices, sweetener and tea bags) through a fine mesh strainer and into a bowl.
Reserve 1/2 cup of this chai tea concentrate to immediately make a latte. And store the remaining concentrate in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Time-Saving Tip: Short on time? Buy a chai concentrate or “chai tea bags” (which pre-mix spices with black tea) from the store. Store-bought concentrates and pre-mixed tea bags lack the strong flavor profile that you’ll get from this homemade concentrate, but they will give you the chai experience if you’re short on time.
Step 2: Warm & Froth the Milk for the Latte
In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup milk, a tablespoon of maple syrup (or honey), and a pinch of cinnamon to a slight boil. Once the sides of the milk begin to bubble, remove the pan from the heat.
Using an immersion blender blend the milk until it’s frothy (just a few seconds). This is the trick to making a homemade latte without a professional milk frother. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a fork and vigorously whisk the milk mixture.
Time-Saving Tip: Use the microwave and heat-safe bowl to warm the milk, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Warm the milk for about 30 seconds, then continue for another 30 seconds if needed, until warm.
Step 3: Combine the Frothed Milk and Chai Concentrate
Pour 1/2 cup of the hot chai concentrate into a mug. Then slowly pour in the frothed milk. Sprinkle the top of the chai tea latte with an extra pinch of cinnamon, if desired.
Time-Saving Tip: Double or triple the concentrate recipe so you can easily enjoy a latte each day. The concentrate will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Shake the concentrate before pouring into a mug and reheating in the microwave. Alternatively, use chilled chai concentrate to make an iced latte with ice and milk.
3 Variations: Iced, Dirty, Pumpkin Spice
Variation 1: Iced Chai Latte
Chill the homemade chai concentrate in the refrigerator. Add 1/2 cup of the cold concentrate to a glass filled with ice cubes, then pour your favorite milk over the top. Follow this iced chai latte recipe.
I recommend doubling the chai concentrate recipe if you plan to make an iced latte frequently. The concentrate will stay fresh in the fridge for up 2 weeks. Just shake before use.
Variation 2: Dirty Chai Latte
A dirty chai tea latte is made with a shot of espresso. Regular coffee just doesn’t have the same rich flavor and creaminess as espresso, but in a pinch you could use about 2 tablespoons of regular coffee (or up to 1/4 cup). Add 1 shot of espresso to a mug, then 1/2 cup chai concentrate, followed by the frothed milk.
Variation 3: Pumpkin Spice Chai
I love my homemade pumpkin spice latte, and recently decided to add pumpkin puree to this chai recipe. So GOOD! Warm 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) with the milk and maple syrup. Then froth the hot milk mixture with an immersion blender or fork. Add the pumpkin milk to the chai concentrate for a pumpkin-flavored chai that beats Starbucks any day.
What kind of tea is best to use?
Make the chai concentrate with black tea bags (like English Breakfast) or black tea leaves (loose). Black tea is strong enough to hold up to the warm, flavorful spices. It also provides a good amount of caffeine, which is nice for a morning pick-me-up.
Green tea and herbal teas aren’t strong enough to hold up to spices and are not recommended.
I think you’ll find the flavor and taste of this homemade drink is far superior to anything you’ll get at coffee houses (including Starbucks). Give it a try and tell me what you think!
Homemade Chai Tea Latte
Homemade Chai Concentrate:
Homemade Chai Concentrate
- In a small saucepan, bring the water and spices to a boil. Whisk the spices in the water. Once the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat and allow the spices to steep in the water for 5 minutes.2 cups water, 2 whole cloves, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- After 5 minutes, turn the heat back on and add the black tea bags and maple syrup. Return to a slight boil (the goal is a hot liquid for steeping). Once boiling, turn off the heat. Steep the tea bags in the water and spices for 5 minutes.2 black tea bags, 2 TB pure maple syrup
- Remove the tea bags and strain the tea through a fine mesh strainer. Reserve 1/2 cup of chai concentrate to make a latte right now. Store the remaining chai concentrate in a jar in the fridge up to 2 weeks.
Make a Chai Latte:
- In a small saucepan, bring the milk, maple syrup, and a pinch of cinnamon to a slight boil (the sides of the milk will begin to bubble), stirring often. Once the sides of the milk begin to bubble, remove the pan from heat.3/4 cup whole milk, 1 TB pure maple syrup, pinch ground cinnamon
- Using an immersion blender, blend the milk until it's frothy. Alternatively, use a fork to vigorously whisk and froth the milk.
- Pour 1/2 cup chai concentrate into a mug. Slowly pour in the frothed milk. Sprinkle the top with an extra pinch of cinnamon, if desired.
- Serve warm.
What to serve with this drink?
There’s nothing like enjoying a warm latte with a muffin, scone, or slice of bread. Here are a few of my favorite baked goods to serve with this latte, for the ultimate at-home coffee shop experience.
Favorite Homemade Coffee Shop Drinks
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