(Better than Starbucks) Iced Chai Latte
The classic Indian form of spiced tea, chilled … this is a creamy iced chai latte with extra flavor from whole ginger, anise, cloves and cinnamon sticks, sweetened with honey and stevia and topped with light whipped cream, a sprinkle of nutmeg and a little drizzle of caramel.
I decided that in my Indian cooking class that I did this month, it was a beautiful opportunity to share one of my very favorite beverages … chai. I am more than a bit of a chai fanatic. I order chai online and I order a lot of it. I drink 4 – 6 cups of chai every day. Chai settles and comforts me and I can’t imagine a morning without it.
Although it’s September, it was really very warm outside (no, HOT is the right word … we had summer temperature highs) the entire week that we held the class, and since the class was at lunchtime … and since our other menu items were hot, so I decided that our beverage needed to be cold. ICE cold. I looked around at several iced chai recipes and then came up with my own twist. This drink is really pretty healthy, if you use the fat free half & half (or you could substitute coconut creamer if you are avoiding dairy) … there are no refined sugars, and the spices in chai are so good for your digestive system.
I also made a batch to share with my daughter, who sometimes orders iced chai when we go to the coffee shop. She said that my recipe was better than Caribou’s Iced Chai Latte. This is praise that is not given lightly–she will gladly tell me exactly what she thinks of every recipe I make for her (and quite often it isn’t positive). I do appreciate her honesty and no longer take offense if she doesn’t like something because her criticism tends to be constructive … she will tell me exactly what it was she didn’t like about the recipe and that helps me improve things and I like that. But I was totally elated when she told me MY chai latte was better than Caribou’s!
Anyway, since Caribou tends to be better than Starbucks, generally speaking (in our opinion), tastewise (although Starbucks makes some totally awesome coffee mugs which I own many of and am rarely separated from), I’m inferring that this recipe for iced chai latte is also better than Starbucks Iced Chai Latte. I know that Starbucks uses the Tazo Chai which is one of my favorite brands of chai tea bags (and what I used to make this chai), so I do recommend the Tazo chai tea bags. Other good choices for chai tea bags are Stash, Choice, Celestial Seasonings or Flora.
All of my cooking class participants loved this chai latte … as do I (and clearly, daughter does too!) If you’re watching your weight, skip the whipped cream and caramel sauce. It does add a little decadent and fancy “treat” feel to include the whipped cream and drizzle, though, and given that there is so much less sugar in this recipe than what you’d get at a coffee shop, a little indulgence on the top isn’t so much of a bad thing.
- 2 quarts water
- 10 chai tea bags
- Several thin slices of fresh ginger root
- 1 star anise (optional)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 whole cloves
- 1/4 cup honey (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon liquid vanilla stevia (or to taste)
- 1 1/2 cups fat free half & half (or regular half & half)
- For the top: light whipped cream, ground nutmeg & caramel syrup (optional)
- In a soup pot or large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat, add the tea bags, ginger, anise, and cinnamon sticks and let steep for at least 5 minutes or up to an hour (for stronger flavor).
- Stir in the honey, stevia, and half & half until the honey is fully dissolved. Use a slotted spoon to remove the tea bags and spices.
- Strain out any missed spices by pouring the tea through a fine strainer into jars. Cover and refrigerate until the tea is nice and cold.
- To serve: pour over a bit of ice in a glass and (if desired) top with light whipped cream, nutmeg and a little drizzle of caramel sauce.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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This recipe was shared at Hearth & Soul Bloghop.