Homemade Chai Lattes

by jenna on May 4, 2011

I’ve been drinking a ton of chai lately!

Actually, let me rephrase that for you.

I’ve been spending a lot of money on chai lattes lately!

My acupuncturist tells me I need to include more “warming” spices in my diet like cinnamon and ginger. I took that as an excuse to treat myself to chai lattes every day at Peet’s. Then, yesterday when I was in my black stretchy pants and too lazy to drive the mile and a half when a craving hit, I decided to take matters in my own hands.

Homemade chai really is super simple to make and will give you immense satisfaction (more-so than charging lattes on your credit card every day since who really carries cash anymore?).

If you’re reading this and smirking because “it’s not really a latte without foamed milk” then…..duh. But I don’t have a milk foaming thingamagig so I’m doing what I can.

You could also double the recipe below and then before you add the milk and sugar (after you strain), stick the tea in the fridge. It’ll last a couple weeks there and then all you have to do when a chai craving hits is simply remove the tea from the fridge, pour it in a mug, heat up and then add milk and sugar.

Totally quicker than going to Peet’s.

Peet’s? I still love you by the way. And your cranberry apple bran muffins.

Homemade Chai Lattes

serves 1-2

Print this recipe!

Ingredients:

2 whole black peppercorns

3 green cardamom pods, gently smashed with side of knife (available at Whole Foods)

3 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin

1 vanilla bean, scraped and seeds reserved

1 T black tea, preferably Assam (you could also tear open a tea bag)

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup milk

1 T sugar or honey

Directions:

Combine peppercorns, smashed cardamom pods, cloves, ginger, vanilla bean and seeds and cinnamon stick with the water in a small pot. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for five minutes. After five minutes, take off the stove (but keep covered) and let steep for 10 minutes, then add the tea and continue to steep for another five minutes.

Pour tea through a fine mesh strainer (I use a sifter) and then add milk and sugar/honey. Warm up if necessary.

Time:

15 minutes

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{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

amy walters, aDESIGNdock May 4, 2011 at 5:11 am

Cute recipe ;) I picked up a little milk frother from Ikea for a couple of bucks. It doesn’t create foam like the coffee shops do, but it’s kinda fun anyways ;)

amy*

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amy walters, aDESIGNdock May 4, 2011 at 5:11 am

Cute recipe ;) I picked up a little milk frother from Ikea for a couple of bucks. It doesn’t create foam like the coffee shops do, but it’s kinda fun anyways ;)

amy*

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Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin May 4, 2011 at 5:14 am

Wow Jenna these sound incredible. You know it’s funny, before this post, i never thought about Chai being anything other than a mix you’d buy at the store!

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Heather @ Side of Sneakers May 4, 2011 at 5:18 am

Iced chai is my favorite so whipping up a batch and keeping it in the fridge sounds absolutely perfect to me!

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Molly May 4, 2011 at 5:19 am

I used to always get a chai lattes at Starbucks with my sister! Yum!

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Chelsa May 4, 2011 at 5:20 am

this looks so good

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Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet May 4, 2011 at 5:20 am

Mmm chai is so warm and comforting. Who knew that’s what a cardamom pod looks like? I sure didn’t! With ice cubes, you have the best summer treat :)

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 4, 2011 at 5:24 am

I am a loyal Starbucks fan but this looks like it might just be superior! Quick question for you… what is the benefit of ‘warming spices’ in your diet supposed to be? I consume a TON of cinnamon but I’m just wondering what the benefits are, according to your acupuncturist? Thanks Jenna!

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megan @ whatmegansmaking May 4, 2011 at 5:25 am

I absolutely love chai tea. I have a recipe on my blog that starts with chai tea bags, but this seems more authentic ;)

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sofia May 4, 2011 at 5:27 am

beautiful chai picture up top! very nice.

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kristy @ kristyruns May 4, 2011 at 5:31 am

So addicted to chai lattes. Great recipe! :)

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Heather (Heather's Dish) May 4, 2011 at 5:33 am

i’ve wanted to make my own chai for a long time now…thanks for the fabulous recipe!

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jenna May 4, 2011 at 5:49 am

mmmm this looks perfect for our rainy morning!!Jenna, that first photo is absolutely gorgeous!!!! :) love it.

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Aundra @ Fit for Life May 4, 2011 at 5:54 am

Love this! I use a simple blend of black tea, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, cardamom, and milk, but I’m definitely going to try your recipe! Perfect!!

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Kath May 4, 2011 at 5:56 am

Gorgeous photos!!

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Estela @ Weekly Bite May 4, 2011 at 5:56 am

Love Chai Lattes!! The spices make the house smell incredible :)

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Jen @ keepitsimplefoods May 4, 2011 at 5:56 am

Oooh, this sounds lovely. I’m def going to have to try my hand at making my own chai!

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Lori May 4, 2011 at 6:02 am

I usually stop at Starbucks 2-3 times a week for a chai latte. At $4.19 a pop for a venti, that’s $653.64 a year! I will definitely be trying this recipe and if it’s even close I will be forever in your debt!

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Hannah (Culture Connoisseur) May 4, 2011 at 6:05 am

I love coming up with things like this. I’m always looking to save a buck and there are so many ways to “stick it to the starbucks” from home. I found that buying instant hot cocoa and adding that to my milk in my frothing “thingamagig” tastes just like a hot chocolate I buy at SB for 2.99. I put it in a reusable SB mug and top it with whipped cream. Voila! Kicks the craving and costs me zilch!

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Jessica @ How Sweet May 4, 2011 at 6:07 am

It’s chilly here this morning… I could totally use one of these!

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Jenn from Much to My Delight May 4, 2011 at 6:10 am

Man alive…that sounds phenomenal! You know they actually sell little battery-operated milk frother doo-dads to make frothy milk for coffee drinks, but I find that simply whisking it quickly for 20 seconds does the job too. I’m definitely copying this recipe. You’ve soothed my weary soul with this one.

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Mallory May 4, 2011 at 6:15 am

I love Peet’s! I fell in LOVE with them when I was in SF a few years back and am happier than pie that there are stores in Ohio that sell their coffee. I am looking forward to trying this recipe for a chai latte, there is nothing cozier! Have a great day!

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Lindsay May 4, 2011 at 6:19 am

LOVE these pictures…

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Dee May 4, 2011 at 6:20 am

oh my god. can i tell you how much i love this post? because i do.

i really, really do.

like a lot.

LOVE

:P

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Jen May 4, 2011 at 6:20 am

I make chai from teabags at home all the time. I’m actually drinking a cup right now. But I’m sure making it from scratch tastes a lot more authentic. Chai teabags are rarely strong enough for me, and I use TWO teabags whenever I make tea. Thanks for the recipe, Jenna! I’m sure your acupuncturist would be a lot more proud over this than over your Peet’s addiction…the actual benefits you’re getting from the pre-made chai mixes are nothing compared to brewing the spices in their whole and natural form! :)

What kind of milk do you use in your tea?

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Jo May 4, 2011 at 6:26 am

I spend way too much money on chai tea lattes at local coffee shops. So, thank you for this!

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Tasha @ Voracious May 4, 2011 at 6:33 am

Ooooh this couldn’t have come at a better time! We’ve been having a massive shamal (sandstorm) here for the past week so everyone is sniffling and coughing. A hot chai would be perfect. But for some reason, I always think of chai as something that I have to buy (in a little hole in the wall in the Indian part of the souq), and not something I could actually make for myself. I love how you make it look so simple…and delicious! Thanks!

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Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf May 4, 2011 at 6:46 am

You say these things on a day I bring green chai tea to work. Yummmmmm!!!

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Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) May 4, 2011 at 6:52 am

I NEED to make this — I spend way too much money on chai lattes and I’d rather make my own than the packaged chai lattes that have who-knows-what in them.

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Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen May 4, 2011 at 6:58 am

This looks adorable! I managed to “froth” milk my whisking – not quite the same but it does give it the same effect.

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Lauren L. May 4, 2011 at 6:59 am

a coffee shop in the town i went to college has seriously the best homemade chai ever. none of that boxed syrupy stuff, thank you!

the real intent of my comment is to tell you about this great NPR segment on my antonia yesterday – i know you also love that classic. my sister discusses is in a lovely post on her blog, http://www.victoriainvirginia.com, or you can just go to the story here: http://www.npr.org/2011/05/02/133811309/return-to-the-prairie-to-revisit-my-antonia

but really, i thought you would enjoy her prose as well! :)

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Bonnie May 4, 2011 at 7:00 am

Oh, I’ve never made chai like this! I can’t have the pre-mixed stuff in coffee shops, so I use to make them at home by steeping a chai tea bag in milk I heated on the stove (I don’t have a fancy foamer either). Will definitely have to give this a try!

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Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food May 4, 2011 at 7:00 am

it’s so true that buying from Pete’s, Starbuck’s, Caribou, is such a money drain!

Thanks for sharing a delicious recipe that will save my bank account :)

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R @ Learning As I Chop May 4, 2011 at 7:09 am

I love chai. The chai lattes from Starbucks are my guilty pleasure

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Jolie August 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I hear ya! I’m the same way… I do prefer them Iced from SB.

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Lucy @ The Sweet Touch May 4, 2011 at 7:13 am

Mmmm, we had the best chai at the little bakery I used to work at and now I can make it myself!

Thanks for sharing!

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Cait @ Beyond Bananas May 4, 2011 at 7:15 am

Sounds awesome. Believe it or not, I’ve never had Chai Before!!

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Morgan @ Life After Bagels May 4, 2011 at 7:22 am

you should package up your spice blend for gifts … my friend Kate gave me a lovely package with empty tea bags as a gift for Christmas and it was one of the most awesome gifts I got this year!

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MMiller May 4, 2011 at 7:45 am

This sounds wonderful! I have been sipping Chai tea a lot lately! I bought the loose tea at Teavana and it is quite good, but this will be much cheaper too! Can’t wait to try it! I usually add some honey, but no milk!

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Justeen @ Blissful Baking May 4, 2011 at 7:47 am

I love chai tea lattes! Definitely going to make myself a HUGE batch, so I can have them whenever I get a craving!

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AshleyH May 4, 2011 at 7:49 am

I LOVE Peets there scones are amazing!!

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Anna (Munching Mamacita) May 4, 2011 at 8:35 am

I absolutely love making chai tea from scratch. Not only do I feel earthy and warm while making it, my house smells remarkable! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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Jasmine @ Eat Move Write May 4, 2011 at 8:36 am

You need a milk frother! They sell them for very cheap at World Market. I think they are like $4.99 or something equally ridiculous like that. Totally worth it!

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Stephanie May 4, 2011 at 8:41 am

Here’s an easy milk foaming technique- just throw everything into a blender once you finish! You can froth up the tea/milk/honey mixture by just pulsing it for a few seconds before serving. It dirties another dish, but it gives that great foamy satisfaction :)

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Daisy May 4, 2011 at 8:54 am

shake the milk! thats how i make mine foamy ;)

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Elizabeth May 4, 2011 at 9:00 am

They don’t have the milk frother doodads in India (chai’s birthplace) either, but they get the froth instead by pouring back and forth a few times between two pans that are about 2 feet apart vertically. (It works best with 2% or whole cow’s milk, but it will aerate any liquid.) I bet this is delish with your addition of the vanilla bean – I’ll have to try it!

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Meredith @ An Epic Change May 4, 2011 at 9:05 am

My new boyfriend is from India and he’s really into chai so lately I’ve been drinking it a lot at his apartment and I’m totally obsessed with it. I made it with hot, frothed milk for dessert and it was delicious! Friday I’m posting a recipe for an Indian cookie that I learned to make from him and it tastes delicious dunked in chai!

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Becky May 4, 2011 at 9:20 am

You can totally make froth with an immersion blender if you have one! It’s not quite the same as steamed milk, but it’s fun nonetheless. Looks delicious, and I love love love the first picture!

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Kristen May 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

I just froth my milk for homemade lattes by lighting warming it in a glass jar (lid removed) for 30 seconds at a time until milk is slightly warm; then add agave, a touch of pure vanilla (if I’m feeling it), place lid back on and start shaking! yumm

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Cat May 4, 2011 at 9:26 am

I think not foaming your milk is more legit anyway. Pretty sure they don’t do that in Delhi ;) Though I agree with the other commenters that you should get one of the cheap-o frothers. I got one at Ikea for less than $5. You can also foam milk in a french press (which I’m sure you knew) as long as it’s hot. I learned that from some adorable German girls!

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stephanie May 4, 2011 at 9:52 am

Wow! I am impressed! Your pictures are also gorgeous. Why did your acupuncturist say you should include warming spices? What effect do they have on the body? Thanks!

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jenna May 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I get awful migraines so she said that warming spices may help…we’ll see!

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Maria May 4, 2011 at 9:57 am

Love the photos! I bet homemade are even better!

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Julie (Food & Other Things) May 4, 2011 at 10:10 am

I love chai lattes, I got addicted to them when I worked in a coffee shop in college! Thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to make my own!

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Sarah @ The Pajama Chef May 4, 2011 at 10:42 am

oooh i love this! my favorite way to drink a chai latte is actually iced. but i moved away from my favorite coffeeshop that did iced chais right (i.e. they were really cold) and now i can’t get ‘em like i like to. this is a lifesaver! yay!

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Lauren May 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

I LOVE that first picture! Beautiful!

Your recipe sounds great, too. :)

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Emma (Namaste Everyday) May 4, 2011 at 11:26 am

this sounds so delicious! my roommate loves them and can’t afford to buy them everyday! I should try and whip this up for her :)

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Michelle | GOLD-HEARTED GIRL May 4, 2011 at 11:30 am

I got SO excited to read this one. I love chai tea, and can’t wait to make this. I made the mistake of straining with milk water…it doesn’t work, lol.

http://goldhearted.etsy.com

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Lisa May 4, 2011 at 11:39 am

You don’t need frothy milk anyway. This style is authentic. One of my best friends is from India and minus the vanilla, this is pretty much exactly how he makes it except he uses loose black tea leaves. Btw, you can get all of these spices from in Indian grocery store for dirt cheap and in huge quantites.

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Katrina May 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm

This is my all time favorite lattes! Love this :)

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Chelsea May 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Awesome photo, Jenna! I’m studying for finals (distracted…), and I think I need one of those right now.

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Kristina May 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Don’t stress on the lack of foamy milk – in India, the Chai I always had was just tea with spices and milk added, so the way you’re making it is more authentic anyways :)

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Baking 'n' Books May 4, 2011 at 12:35 pm

lol – I don’t have any peppercorns hanging around here ;)

Why are you seeing an Acupuncturist?? I would love to – for many different reasons – but can’t afford it and no insurance right now.

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Jen of My Tiny Oven May 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I love Chai! Thanks for sharing I am totally going to try this and save myself $4 a day!

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Natalia - a side of simple May 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm

LOVE the first photo. Though, I don’t mind pretending it’s some pb hot chocolate you’re pouring, either ;)

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Ally (oatsandspice) May 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Chai lattes are the besttt – I love how you found a way to create a homemade version! Looks so awesome!

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Elena @ GagaForGrapefruit May 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm

i LIVE for chai teas! have you tried oregon chai? i found it at trader joe’s on Monday and have practically gone through the whole carton already! DELISH!

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) May 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I can just about smell the aromatic nature of this tea just from reading this post..oh, great job Jenna! Cardamom, ginger, cloves….all of it…So wonderful!

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Moni'sMeals May 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm

yes please. asap!

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Gabby @ Gabby's Gluten-Free May 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I definitely have to make this soon. It’s rainy and gloomy here – perfect day for a chai!

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Teresa May 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I love chai tea.
I’ve watched them make chai tea lattes at Starbucks and it ‘s a syrup they use, it is not the real thing. There are so many amazing tea companies to choose from that make awesome chai teas.

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Happy When Not Hungry May 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

This looks so warm and comforting! I’ve never made homemade chai, but this def looks easy. Nice job!

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Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food May 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Chai is my all-time favorite! Thanks for the recipe! I can’t wait to try it! :-)

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Lynne May 4, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Oh, I love chai tea!

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Ruth May 5, 2011 at 1:03 am

Those photos are amazing!

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Charise May 5, 2011 at 5:25 am

I just keep Tazo’s chai-spiced black tea bags on hand and throw in a little milk and honey after brewing. But this homemade version sound awesome!

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Curly J May 5, 2011 at 9:54 am

YUM!! I’ve been using the Chai tea concentrate from Costco, but this would be so much cheaper. Now I just have to find the ingredients… Thanks for posting!

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Anneliese May 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I love Chai Lattes! I use the Two Leaves and a Bud brand Chai so that I don’t have to gather all of the spices.

Secret to homemade frothy milk: a coil whisk and a fast arm.
I just heat up some milk with the tea bag in a small saucepan and whisk until it starts foaming.

Voila! Frothy milk in your homemade chai latte. :-)

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elise May 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

jenna you can totally froth milk with a french press. just pump it back and forth (sounds bad, but you know what i mean), and microwave it after.
ps you cant warm it first or it wont froth

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Chad @ thebreakupnote November 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm

mind = blown

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Molly @ RDexposed November 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm

At first glance I thought that was caramel being poured into the saucer! I’ll take either the chai or tea cup of caramel. I’m not that picky.

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes November 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Great recipe! I loves me some chai :D

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Sarah March 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Would you know how to make herbal chai??

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hollymolly August 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Not to be nit-picky, but a latte has steamed milk, a capuccino has frothed. Frothing involves holding the steamer wand closer to the top to create more bubbles (thus creating foam), steaming is just holding the wand near the middle or bottom of the milk to heat it.

Worked as a barista… made me a little crazy.

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Fleur September 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm

So delicious. Im drinking it now and such a yummy way to start a chilly day down the coast.

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PENNY October 21, 2012 at 8:55 am

THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH. THIS WAS JUST WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR SIMPLE AND TO THE POINT. I WAS ABLE TO PRINT ON ONE PAGE. BEST RECIPE YET. BIG FROSTY SMILE TO YOU.

PEN

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Bettina Christensen October 29, 2012 at 12:56 am

Hi,
I am on the search for a good soothing reciepe for chai.Yours looks very good !
I have been buying chai online and stumbled on a fairly good instant chai on
http://www.chaichai.eu/ – but i must say that yours is a must try -)
All the best
Bettina

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Emily January 26, 2013 at 10:27 am

One of the many bitter sweet moments about living in San Francisco is the wonderful coffee from the 500 specialty coffee shops that charge $5 for a 12 oz drink. I am even guilty of working at one so I don’t ever have to pay such a ridiculous amount for coffee that I make for myself! Fortunately, I bacame a barista after I stopped drinking coffee. It was too much for my system. I was getting acne and headaches while building a tolerance to caffeine. I, like many of you lovely people, found joy and relief from enjoying a great cup of chai. Thanks for the recipe!

In terms of the foam, putting it in a blender for a minute or two will do wonders. I am not sure how true this is for all blenders but mine makes pretty nice foam.

I grew up in a traditional Chinese household and my mom was an acupuncturist in China. I am familiar with these “warming” spices but never really took them seriously until I got older. Basically, warming spices allow your blood, chi, energy to flow more smoothly in your body. Sometimes, stress (mental, emotional, and physical) blocks the energy flow which can manifest into physical discomfort. Ginger, cinnamon, and other “warming” herbs can loosen any tight spots we might have in our bodies.

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Stacey E. November 11, 2013 at 3:54 am

I’ll never understand what anyone thinks is so magical about foamy milk. Goofy. Anyway, you can get cardamom seeds at middle eastern markets and they’re wonderfully cheap. I bought a jar for I think about $3 a couple of years ago, and I still have about half a jar left. (and I drink homemade chai a lot). I have never found a brand of chai tea bags that comes anywhere close to brewing your own. They are all pathetically weak in comparison. I also don’t skimp on the ingredients, there’s usually about a half handful of all of those ingredients, except the cardamom. Cinnamon bark is also preferable to using the sticks.
Try making this using half and half instead of milk, it is unbelievable. Unfortunately, it’s also not very healthy. Some recipes call for using condensed milk, but that stuff is sort of creepy.
The middle eastern markets also sell cardamom tea bags called “elachi” but I skipped right over that when I spotted the jar of seeds. These aren’t the pods by the way, but the little black seeds inside.
If you bother to look up all of the ingredients that make up chai, you’ll discover that every one of them has health benefits. Every one of these spices is an antioxidant of some kind. I don’t think you get those benefits by having someone pour syrup into a cup of overpriced milk. (with ridiculous foam on top)

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Andrew November 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm

I made this for Thanksgiving morning and the whole family loved it–thanks for the fantastic recipe! I tripled the ingredients and it made about 3.5 servings. I also let each person add sugar to taste in their own serving–this came as a huge relief as we all find the brand-name store-bought mixes are a tad too sweet for our liking. Simply delicious!

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Matilda April 17, 2014 at 1:32 am

While reading another blog, they had a recipe for Chai latte, it wasn’t paleo, so then I decided to google, and that is how I came across your website.
I was like, “how have I never come across this website before?” Eat live and & run, that’s me to a tea, so I’m now adding you to my list of blogs to follow.
Thanks for the recipe, I look forward to trying it out soon.

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lois July 23, 2014 at 3:28 am

I’m having a soya Chai Latte right now but will try to make it at home. IF people are looking for frothy milk by half pint of milk and shake it vigorously for a min and voilĂ …frothy milk :)

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