Vanilla Chai Latte Recipe
Get cosy with a Vanilla Chai Latte made with the Turkish Drinking Spice Blend from Freshly Spiced!
Chai latte is a warming, milky drink brimming with traditional Indian spices. It’s a coffee shop favourite, loved for its comforting flavour and hug-in-a-mug cosiness. Ooooh it’s just lovely – the perfect balance of sweet and spicy!
But don’t keep chai lattes to coffee shops! Find out how to make chai latte at home with this super-simple Vanilla Chai Latte recipe!
What is Chai?
Let’s take a step back before we get to the Vanilla Chai Latte recipe and suss out the terminology.
So, what is chai?
Chai is the Hindi word for ‘tea’. It is derived from ‘cha’, the Chinese word for tea, and refers to any tea (not just the kind we’re making in this recipe). Because chai means ‘tea’, its 100% incorrect to say ‘chai tea’. We sound pretty daft if we do, because what we’re actually saying is ‘tea tea’. And tee-hee to that!
…And what is masala?
Masala chai is what we’re really referring to when we order a ‘chai tea’. Masala means ‘mix of spices’ (hello, chicken tikka masala) in South Asian cooking.
So, put them together, and what have you got? Spiced tea! That’s right! Chai is a lush, spiced tea featuring warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. It’s trendy right now but dates back centuries, first emerging in Indian somewhere between 5,000 and 9,000 years ago. Early chai drinks were a simple blend of spices and black tea. The addition of milk came along in the 19th century with the influence of British tea drinking.
Masala chai remains super-duper popular in India. If chai lovers aren’t making it at home, they’re buying it from street vendors called chai wallahs. Each state has its own recipe, but strong, sweetened with sugar and served with milk tend to be keepers!
What is a Chai Latte?
Chai Lattes combine masala chai spices with the snug creaminess of frothed milk. You might be surprised to learn that there’s no coffee in a chai latte; just tea, milk and fragrant spices. Take a sip and enjoy, as your chai latte spreads through your body and eases your soul with its spice-infused loveliness…
As Tom from Freshly Spiced tells us…
chai lattes should offer a sweet flavour from the cinnamon and spicy warmth from the ginger, cardamom and black pepper.
But wait. If chai is a spiced tea served with milk and chai latte is spiced tea (no coffee) served with… milk, what’s the difference?
Good question! The difference between chai tea and chai latte is the milk. In a chai latte, you froth the milk before adding it to your drink, just as you do with a standard espresso-containing latte. Order chai tea from the chai wallahs (or your fave café), and you’ll enjoy milk that’s been simply heated.
Coffee shops get snazzy with the espresso machine steam wand when they make chai lattes, but you can achieve similar results at home. Keep reading to find out how!
Masala Chai Spice Mix
Cardamom is essential for chai. It’s the coffee to your walnut, and ‘batten’ to your ‘berg’. Floral, earthy and oh-so-slightly astringent, it brings a little peppery bite to this vanilla chai latte recipe.
Lovely cinnamon lends sweetness and woody flavour. It’s punchy, but in a nice, warm-you-from-the-inside-out kind of way. Not got any Turkish Drinking Spice Blend mix left for decoration? Don’t stress! Just dust over a little cinnamon instead.
Spicy ginger in drinks – you know it works! Gingerbread latte, anyone?
Not just for grinding over your fillet steak! Black peppercorns add earthiness and savouriness to your vanilla chai latte. We like to think of it as the ying to its sweet yang.
Cloves come a little further down our Masala Chai Spice Mix list because, while not essential, they feature in many traditional recipes.
Cloves bring a pungent, intense flavour and awesome heat. Freshly Spiced’s Turkish blend contains a carefully measured whisper of ground cloves, so don’t worry – it won’t knock your socks off!
Most chai latte recipes are pretty long-winded. All that weighing and spice-grinding takes time… But with the Turkish Drinking Spice Blend from Freshly Spiced, you can just measure, make and enjoy! Because it contains all the spices you need for a traditional masala chai latte!
Freshly Spiced grind in small batches to bring us the best, tastiest spice mixes around. Their aromatic Turkish Drinking Spice Blend is vegan, entirely natural and free from additives and preservatives. It’s delicious in your favourite hot drinks – this vanilla chai latte being just one! It makes a wicked spiced hot chocolate, too!
What Do Chai Lattes Taste Like?
- Option 1: read this…
Chai lattes are warming and aromatic. Encounter a harmonious trio of sweet, spicy and creamy all tingling on your tongue.
Chai (the tea sort) is generally quite concentrated and strong, but the frothed latte milk characterising a chai latte gives a subtler black tea flavour. There’s also something a little luxurious about the latte variety. Maybe it’s that swirl of frothed milk crowning the top?
Chain café chai lattes can be pretty sweet. Why? Because they use sickly-sweet chai syrup rather than fresh spices. Your homemade chai latte will be beautiful and balanced in comparison – fresh spices leave the synthetic stuff standing!
- Option 2: keep reading to find out how to make chai latte at home – then you can experience it for yourself!
Why a Vanilla Chai Latte?
If you’re a baker, you’ll be fond of your bottle of vanilla extract. You’re probably sitting with it beside you right now, right?
We add vanilla to cakes, bakes and brownies to bring out the sweetness in the other ingredients. It also adds a lovely, perfumy flavour in its own right. We think the addition of vanilla takes this chai latte recipe to the next level, but feel free to leave it out if you prefer!
Vanilla Chai Latte Recipe
- 2 tsp Freshly Spiced Turkish Drinking Spice Blend
- 2 tsp loose leaf black tea such as T is for Pterodactyl English Breakfast Tea
- 300ml milk or a creamy non-dairy alternative like oat
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or 2 tsp vanilla syrup
- 2 tsp maple syrup
Put the Freshly Spiced Turkish Drinking Spice Blend in a saucepan pan and lightly toast the spices for a few minutes.
Add the loose leaf tea to your teapot and pour over 300ml boiled water. Add the toasted spices. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
Heat the milk, vanilla and syrup in a pan over a medium heat until gently steaming. Then use a milk frother or whisk to create foam.
Strain the infused tea to remove the spices and loose leaf tea. Divide it between two mugs or glasses, then pour over the milk and add the froth with a spoon.
Sprinkle with a little additional spice mix, stir to combine and enjoy!
Make all your coffee shop favourites – find more recipes on our blog!
Join the troop
And we will plant a tree