Saturday, October 1, 2011

Latte - Starbucks style! (Chai Tea Latte)

Coffee. Hmm mm? It's probably the most consumed beverage in the world! Too bad I don't contribute to that consumption.... I am a tea drinker. I do not like the smell of coffee and I have never had coffee in my entire life. By never, I mean never had coffee as a beverage. I have had coffee bite (coffee bite is a coffee flavored toffee available in India) when I was a kid, and I really did not like it unlike most kids. Coffee drinkers give me the she-must-be-out-of-her-mind look when I mention my preference of tea over coffee. Why this rant about coffee?... This month's theme for FSB is -Cafe Casa, picked by Deepti. We basically had to concoct our favorite cafe drink along with a side eat. Who doesn't love to munch stuff along with their favorite beverage??? Since I am not a coffee drinker, I chose to to figure out making Chai Tea Latte, inspired by Starbucks.

When I first came to the US, I was under the impression that most Americans drink all their tea black, without sugar or milk. This one time at Starbucks I saw "Chai Tea Latte" as an option on the menu and I inquired about it. The Barista described it as a spiced tea with milk. I was super happy and gathered it was like 'Masala Chai' and tried it out. I made sure I got the smallest size which is still the size of the big glass I have milkshake in! It was not anything like the 'Masala Chai' that you make at home, but I liked it.. and ever since, I have been hooked.

Last year while visiting my cousin and his family, his wife introduced me to "TAZO Tea Concentrate". Having worked at Starbucks as a manager long back, she explained to me that Starbucks used this to make their Chai Tea Latte. We followed the instructions on the pack (not really!) and it came out quite terrible. It was a struggle trying to get it right and we somehow finished that carton. So, after vaguely recollecting the consistency and flavor of the TAZO concentrate, I decided to make my own Chai Tea Latte this month. Here is the recipe for you, so you can make Starbucks style Chai Tea Latte at home when you crave for it!

(Makes 2 small cups of Chai)

For chai latte concentrate:
Water - 1/4 cup
Milk - 1/8th - 1/4th cup
Sugar - 2 tsp Or add as per your preference. The Starbucks chai is a bit on the sweeter side.
Cloves, Whole - 4
Cardamom, Whole - 2-3
Cinnamon - 1 Inch Piece
*Peppercorns - 2-3. Include this if you feel adventurous. I have tried this variant and the results were very good, specially if you have a cold or a sore throat!
Tea powder - 1.5 Tsp ( I used the Indian leaf variety, Taj Mahal  ) Else you could use 2 regular tea bags.

  • Pound together the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and peppercorn (if you opted to include it) with a mortal and pestle. Else you could just grind it up in your food processor or even use a hammer or some heavy object to pound it with contents between a folded paper.

  • In a small saucepan add the water, milk,sugar and the pounded spices. Allow it to boil. You will notice that the color of the concoction is a pinkish-brown hue. If you feel that the liquid has evaporated, you could add some water. 

  • Once It boils over turn the flame to the medium, and add the tea powder/ tea bags.

  • It is not typically recommended to boil tea, however, since we need to create a concentrate, let the above-mentioned mixture boil for a few seconds. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Other Ingredients/ apparatus needed for assembling the chai latte:
2 coffee mugs
Cold milk - 3/4 cup
A tea strainer

Coffee Frother Jug
Milk Frother/ steamer
  • Strain the "Tazo" chai tea latte concentrate into the two cups

  • Take the cold milk in a frother jug and steam it using a milk frother (the attachment that typically comes with an Espresso machine) till it reaches some 150 F (slightly hotter than drinking temperature). You will notice that the milk has a very foamy texture. That is what baristas call "Micro Foam". This foam does not become flat. The foam holds up. It is necessary to start with cold milk to get micro foam.

  • Slowly pour the foamy milk into to the two cups with the concentrate. While pouring out, gently shake the jug, so that the foam doesn't remain in the jug.

Here is a video to better explain the frothing and addition of milk.

For those of you who do not have the steamer or you do not want to use a steamer you can have a look at this video... A wonderful find by Deepti.
You can also get yourself one of these. Ikea / World Market have it for 3-4$ - cheap and effective!

See what else is happening at Cafe FSB - Anu, Deepti, DK, Lata, Mads, Nags, and Siri


  1. It looks just the same as in BIG BRAND COOFFEE outlets! The froth has turned out so well...I tried shking and microwave steaming, not very successful!!! And this is chai, which would have been my prefernece too:)

  2. Step by step and all. Lovin' it. So, you had a steam wand in ur coffee machine? Awesome! I have the IKEA milk brother but I wanted to do it fully manually. I've to try Chair Tea Latte at Starbucks the next time we're on the road. But before that I'll try this one at home!

  3. Sorry that was frother and not brother. Lol!

  4. That's a super frothy awesomcchino! We should all get together and do a cafe hangout!

  5. wow...flavorful n irresistable..
    first time your space..
    very interesting presentation..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite