Saratoga Tea & Honey Co.'s

Chai Latte Recipe

Below you will find the recipe we use to make the hot and iced chai lattes we serve at our Saratoga Springs Tea Bar. This recipe is a decidedly Westernized version of traditional chai preparations, as we use a concentrate and add frothed milk rather than brewing the chai directly in the milk. We do this for a couple of reasons: first, it's more practical for us to make a concentrate and add your milk of choice later; second, this is the type of chai preparation that most of our customers are familiar with. If you're interested in how to prepare a traditional spiced chai, keep scrolling!

How to Make Chai Concentrate:

Heat 2.5 quarts of water in a saucepan with 30 grams of the loose leaf chai of your choice (~4 tea scoops) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 60-90 minutes. Cool your concentrate, strain, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks, heating portions to serve. We recommend keeping your chai concentrate as tea without any milk or sweeteners, as it will last longer in the refrigerator.

Yield: 2 quarts chai concentrate

How to Make a Chai Latte:

Hot Chai Latte

Heat the desired amount of chai concentrate on the stove and compose your chai latte using a ratio of 2/3 chai concentrate and 1/3 heated, frothed milk. We recommend using Cinnamon Infused Honey to sweeten your chai.

Iced Chai Latte

Using a ratio of 2/3 chai and 1/3 cold foamed milk, pour your concentrate over ice, sweeten with simple syrup*, and top with the cold foamed milk of choice.

*For all iced drinks, we recommend sweetening with a simple syrup because the liquid sweetener mixes more evenly with iced drinks. Of course, we recommend a 1:1 ratio of honey to hot water to make your simple syrup, but you can also use the sugar or sugar alternative of your choice in the same ratio!

Beyond the Tea Bar

Traditional Chai Preparation

As we mentioned above, the way we make our chai lattes - while certainly more "real" than many of the boxed concentrates used by big brands - is still not a true representation of traditional spiced chai preparation.

To understand the Westernization of chai, let's begin with its name: chai is the Hindi word for tea, and it is actually the words preceding chai that tell you what type of tea it is. For example, Masala Chai is tea with masala spices, a traditional blend for which each family or region may have their own recipe. In the West, we tend to refer to any spiced Indian tea as chai. The major chains that popularized chai lattes took this a step further, adding the word latte. They did so by using the method of adding foamed milk to a concentrate, mimicking the espresso café lattes they were already making.

To learn more about the complex history of chai lattes (and how much caffeine is in chai), click here!

The method for brewing traditional chai is quite different from the concentrate method we use at our Tea Bar, and involves creating your own spice mix. You can also try this method with our pre-mixed Masala Chai and skip the step of adding additional tea!

To brew traditional chai:

1. Combine 1 part milk and two parts water in a saucepan with your desired spice mix and bring to a simmer (avoid boiling, which will scald the milk - ew!). Popular spices for chai include cinnamon, clove, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, peppercorns (our Masala Chai uses three different kinds!), and even mace if you like it really spicy.
2. Reduce the heat and add strong black tea to taste. You want a black tea that is going to have a lot of tannin, so choose something like an Assam.
3. Brew the tea for 5-10 minutes, but don't let it come to a boil. Boiling will not only scald the milk, it will also express too many tannins and make your brew bitter.
4. Strain the mixture into your mug or teapot and stir in sugar or honey to taste.