Oftentimes as you visit a cafe, have you ever noticed the option called chai latte? You must have thought is it tea or latte or what the difference was? Well, in our opinion, the name doesn’t do justice to all the ingredients and amazing taste it brings to your drink.
A small cup of chai latte can be bursting with flavors and fragrances of both the milk, the spices, and the tea. It is not quite latte but it is not completely tea either. It is a heavenly combination of all. It can be an alternative for coffee drinkers looking for something lighter.
It can also be a good option for those who want to try out a new drink. But before you do, let’s look at some background of this heavenly drink and how it tastes!
Why Is It Called Chai Latte
The word chai latte might sound confusing as latte already means a type of coffee. The word “chai” originally meant tea in South Asian languages, specifically Hindi. The latte part was added whenever the tea is made with milk. Tea can be of different types based on different ingredients used to make it. Whenever one of the main ingredients is tea, it is called a chai latte.
How to Make Chai Latte
Chai latte consists of specific masala ingredients, milk, sugar, and base tea. There can be different ways to make the tea depending on the location and the person who is making it. Usually, the term chai latte is used for masala tea with milk. There are some steps that you can follow to make it.
- Collect the ingredients that you will need. For the spices, you need cinnamon, cardamom, clove buds, star anise, ginger, and black pepper. If you want to add different flavors to it you can add more according to your choice. Then you will need the milk. If you use almond milk the texture will be much lighter, Cow milk or any kind of dense one tends to make the tea thicker. Then you will need the base tea. For that, you will find different types in the market. Stronger ones are oolong, black, green, etc. Some have already flavors added to them.
- Add the spices to the water and let them boil. Meanwhile, put the milk in the other pot to boil as well. Wait for the spice water to boil on low to medium heat for about 10 minutes so that the water has flavors and aromas to it. Let it simmer for a while.
- When the water is ready, add the base tea to it. 2 cups of water will need one or one and a half teaspoons of tea leaves. Let it simmer again for 5 minutes until the color of the water changes. The color should be slightly transparent so that you can see the bottom of the pans through it a little.
- Add the steamed milk to the tea. In one cup of tea, you will need half a cup of milk and half a cup of base tea. Once added you can now add sugar to it and stir. And voila! You have your chai latte!
How Is It Different from Coffee
Basically both have caffeine in them. However, the two are very different drinks with completely different ingredients. Coffee is generally made of coffee beans, and then we add foam, milk, sugar, etc to it. On the other hand, tea is made of tea leaves. Chai latte will definitely have added milk and sugar with tea leaves. However, the level of caffeine matters here as well.
The same amount of coffee beans will contain way more caffeine than the same amount of tea leaves. Coffee also tends to have a stronger aroma than tea. While different tea has different smell, tea, in general, has a mild aroma to it. In terms of taste, coffee also has a very different taste than tea. Both are very distinctive as well.
What Does A Chai Latte Taste Like
Chai latte is the perfect example of sweet and spice and everything nice. All the ingredients play a part to produce the unique taste and mindblowing aroma chai latte has. The base tea tastes a bit bitter and dry. Combined with the sugar and spices it creates a sweet and subtly bitter taste that has a mild aroma of cinnamon and star anise.
The spices individually contribute to the taste as well. Cinnamon will have a strong smell and slightly sweet taste. Ginger and cloves will be spicy and a little zing to your tongue.
The milk of the tea influences the texture greatly. It will also smoothen the strong tangy taste of the tea and makes it softer and more subtle. Milk makes the taste creamy, sweet, and mild and adds thickness to the texture.
The taste of chai latte altogether can be compared with pumpkin spice too. Because of the aroma and flavors of the spices coupled with creamy milk, it can taste like a spicy latte with cinnamon with an extra shot of espresso.
What Is The Texture of the Chai Latte
The texture falls on the side of a bit thicker. However, compared with the competitor coffee, it is a bit less thick than that. The aroma and texture are also mild. It is not foamy as you would expect with a regular latte or cappuccino. The texture is pretty similar to that of milk.
Does It Have Caffeine?
Yes, chai latte contains caffeine. But the amount is much smaller. About 25-50 mg is common in chai latte at any cafe you visit. In fact that is less than the amount that's healthy for people according to a Harvard study However, there is no fixed amount.
If you keep the tea leaves boiling for too long or you mix a larger amount of tea leaves, the chai latte will be stronger and it will affect more. Also, some chai will contain a shot of espresso, so you need to be careful if you are trying to cut off on that. Get a dose of chai latte to freshen your mood here!
How To Serve Chai Latte
It is usually served hot and in a small cup-like with green tea. Then you can taste the flavors and smell the fragrance more. However, like iced tea, you can drink it cold too if you like. The cold chai latte will taste more like a frappe.Traditionally people drink it in the afternoon or morning with snacks. So if you feel like a quick cup of hot drink, a chai latte is one of the finest options. It is better to drink with pieces of bread, cookies, and any other light snack. But you can drink it to soothe your mind, improve your digestive system, and feel refreshed as well. Tea is usually known to make you feel fresh and energized.
Now that you have learned and hopefully imagined the taste of a chai latte, do not forget to try it out the next time you visit a cafe. Although it is drunk with snacks, it won’t be a crime if you take it with your meal either. However, just like any other drink with caffeine, it is wise not to drink it with dinner or after the afternoon.
If you are a heavy coffee drinker and are used to it, then go ahead. But for a regular caffeine intaker chai latte, especially those with strong liquor, is recommended as a morning or afternoon drink.