I don’t know about you, but my absolute favorite winter tea is a steaming hot chai latte, flavored with the spice and smoothness of the cold season. All winter long, I choose chai over coffee, the perfect warming method with its light sweetness. Of course, spending nearly $5 per chai latte gets expensive, so making an at-home variety is more cost effective. With a few ingredients, you, too, can craft a chai latte on your stove top — and you can even incorporate vanilla into it. Here’s how to brew a fantastic vanilla chai tea at home.
(Note: Our friends over in India are going to cringe at the phrase “chai tea”, but we want to distinguish between a typical coffee latte and this one. In India, they use “chai” to refer to tea, so it can sound like we’re saying a vanilla tea tea latte.)
Ingredients for a vanilla chai tea latte
In order to make the perfect at-home vanilla chai, you’ll need to gather a few ingredients. Pick up the following:
- Whole peppercorns (8)
- Allspice (1.5 teaspoon)
- Cardamom pods (2)
- Cinnamon stick (1)
- Cloves (4)
- Chai teabags (8)
- Honey (1 tablespoon)
- 2 percent milk (2 cups)
- Vanilla extract (1 tablespoon)
- Heavy whipping cream (0.5 cups)
- Confectioners’ sugar (1.5 teaspoons)
Now, it’s your choice as to which version of the vanilla chai tea latte you choose to make. Taste of Home, Southern Plate, and All Recipes each offer step-by-step instructions on how to make this delicious drink.
How to Brew It
A core component of the vanilla chai latte, of course, is its tea-based origin. Without a tea variety, you can’t turn herbs into a milky, delicious beverage. So, hot water and a few tea bags are necessary. Boil and steep your chai tea bags as you normally would — slip the bags into perfectly tempered water, and allow them to sit for about two minutes. Afterwards, it’s time to add vanilla and heated milk, if you want a hot drink. Follow your recipe of choice, and combine the tea with the milk and other spices. Once it’s all blended together, you can choose to top your warm and wonderful tea latte with whipped cream, or sip it without any addition decoration.
Where to Buy It
If you don’t want to spend significant amounts of time brewing up a homemade batch of vanilla chai, you don’t have to — in fact, as a popular wintertime tea beverage, there are many alternatives to the homemade version.
Want to achieve the same taste in a simply brewed cup of tea? Choose the Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea variety, a selection of vanilla chai teabags that offer the same delicious taste as the home-brewed version. Available at both Target and Amazon, you can refill your vanilla chai supply any time. You don’t have to make a handmade latte to achieve the same taste; additionally, you can turn to Adagio and find a Rooibos vanilla chai that’ll fulfill your sweet tea cravings.
Of course, if you’d like a hot or cold milk blend, you can purchase that without expending any effort — Bolthouse makes a smoothie drink in Vanilla Chai Tea that mimics the flavor and texture of the homemade variety.