A chai tea latte (iced or hot) is the quintessential Starbucks order. Delicately spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, then blended with creamy, frothy milk, chai tea lattes are sweet without being cloying and stout without being bitter. Black coffee traditionalists and lovers of sugary fraps alike can find common ground in this tasty latte.
The ultra-cozy blend of spices and warm tea makes a chai latte the perfect drink for cold, wintry, I-don’t-feel-like-leaving-the-house days. But of course, unless you live above a Starbucks franchise, leaving the house is exactly what you have to do to enjoy a flavorful, masterfully frothed latte. Right? Wrong.
Skip the Drive-Thru and Make Your Latte From Home
Making a chai latte like the green-aproned pros is amazingly simple. With only two ingredients and a few minutes to spare, this chai latte recipe is a matter of heating, stirring, whisking, and pouring. No fine culinary prowess or fancy equipment needed! And while we do agree that a quick drive around town or chat with your favorite barista is a great way to combat stir-crazy quarantine woes, this chai latte doesn’t require you to put on pants. Score.
The Secret Ingredient: Chai Concentrate
Chai tea has been a flavorful favorite for thousands of years, meaning there are many ways to prepare the aromatic, toasty blend of black tea and spices. However, we took a cue from the mermaid herself and are sticking with Starbucks’ go-to ingredient for all of their blended chai beverages: Tazo Classic Chai Latte Concentrate. Tazo also makes low-calorie, decaf, organic, Vanilla Caramel, and Pumpkin Spice versions of their signature recipe.
With a relatively high caffeine content and 100 calories per serving (not including milk), this all-in-one concentrate blends black tea, honey, vanilla extract, and a bold combination of spices to create the ultimate chai latte sans tea bags, steeping time, and multiple dishes to clean. For this particular copycat recipe, you’ll need concentrate specifically, not tea bags.
One Down, One to Go: The Second-Most-Important Ingredient
Besides taking five minutes to make, the next best part about this chai tea latte recipe is its second ingredient’s versatility. Starbucks franchises use 2% cow milk by default, so if your go-to order is a grande chai latte as-is, stick with your preferred brand of 2% milk for the closest flavor match. Otherwise, any type of milk can be used in this deliciously easy concoction!
My personal recommendation for the best vegetarian-friendly milk option: Simply Original Almond Milk. I’ve found this brand to have the best consistency and taste, most closely matching the pseudo-watery base and neutral, semi-sweet flavor of cow’s milk.
The Finishing Touches: Whisk It Real Good
While we’re on the topic of vegetarian alternatives: Tazo Chai Tea Latte concentrate contains honey and refined sugar and is not vegan. For a chai latte alternative that can be made completely animal byproduct-free, try this recipe from tea bags and swap the milk and honey with your favorite plant-based staples.
Once you have your concentrate and your milk, all you need is a saucepan, whisk, and a mug to hold your delicious creation once it’s done.
Copycat Starbucks Chai Tea Latte
- 1 cup Tazo Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
- 1/2 cup milk of your choice
- Small saucepan
- Measuring cup
Heat Tazo concentrate in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot (a little too hot to drink is okay; it will cool to perfect drinking temperature while you froth the milk).
Pour concentrate into mug. Return saucepan to stove and add milk, heating until warm.
Quickly whisk the milk for approximately 1-2 minutes or until frothy. Add milk to the concentrate in the mug. If there are milk bubbles left over in your saucepan, use a spoon to gently scoop and place the foam on the top of your latte.
Garnish with cinnamon if desired. Snuggle up somewhere cozy, sip, and enjoy.
- If you’re a two-chais-a-day drinker and want to save your wrists from constant whisking, to achieve the lushest, frothiest milk, consider investing in an electronic milk frother.
- I like a bold, spicy chai, so I’ve found the best concentrate-to-milk ratio is about 2:1. For a milder flavor, stick with 1:1. You are the barista of your own destiny; keep experimenting until you find the latte of your dreams!
- Personally, I think a good chai latte goes well with just about any food: savory, salty, or sweet. But if you’re interested in completing this picture down to the finer details, try this easy-peasy recipe for extra spicy gingersnaps (a match made in winter spice heaven)!