I want to be real with you guys: I am having some serious margarita cravings lately (I blame Jessica, Deb, and my true-blue Texas roots). Sure, it’s still wintery and there are snow storms and ice storms and cold winds galore, but all I see is that warm (nay, HOT) weather is right around the corner. It’s almost time for daylight galore and sipping margs on the back porch.
Oh, and y’all? Don’t even get me started on grilling. I seriously cannot wait to whip out the grill and move all of my cooking outdoors!
HOWEVER. Even with all of the margarita and grilling and summertime (oh, and did I mention homemade salsa and guac and trying my hand at herb-gardening?!) I still can’t get over how much I enjoy hot coffee and great lattes. When I worked at Starbucks many many many moons ago I thought that the chai tea lattes were a little weird and was super scared to try them. I wish I could remember what changed my mind, but one day I just went for it and fell head-over-heels in love with the stuff.
I should tell you though: I like mine EXTRA chai-y and usually steep an extra chai teabag in my latte. I want it to practically burn my throat on the way down.
And now y’all think I’m weird or you’re nodding in agreement. I understand my little quirks may not be normal 😉
Here’s a problem though: when I go to Starbucks I really don’t want to spend a ton of money on a latte, even though I really have no other means (i.e. espresso machine) to make one of my own. The good news though? You totally don’t even need one to get a really great latte! This recipe is specifically for an at-home version of the chai tea syrup that you can make at home and use with hot milk, but if you mix the “steamed” milk with coffee you get a latte-like concoction that will save you a little money too…you know, so you can use it later on a yummy marg and a fabulous patio.
Flavor and extra cash? Let’s do this!
KNOCK-OFF STARBUCKS CHAI TEA LATTE
For the syrup:
- 1 box Tazo Chai Tea bags (I used the whole leaf tea but have used the regular kind as well – you’ll just need 16 teabags)
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1 cup sugar
For each latte:
- 1 cup milk of choice (the milk in the photo is nonfat cow’s milk, but I have also used almond and soymilk as well)
- high-speed blender
- ground cinnamon (optional)
***First let me note that I tried various methods until I got what I considered the best and most authentic-tasting syrup. In short I steep the tea first and then add the sugar and reduce the mixture because I feel like it best condenses the flavor. It does take a little longer than just making a simple syrup and steeping the tea in that, but I found the flavor of the tea is much stronger in the finished product when you do it using the method below.***
Bring the 4 cups of water just up to a boil, then remove from the heat source and steep the teabags in the water for 10 minutes. Remove the teabags, carefully letting them drain completely, and then pour in the sugar. Bring the mixture up to a simmer over medium-high heat, and then reduce to medium. Allow to simmer until it reduces by half, about 15-20 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes or so. Remove from the heat, poor into an airtight container, and let it cool in the container without the lid until it’s at room temperature. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days.
To make a latte, pour 6 Tbsp of the syrup into the mug you want to use for your latte (bigger is better here!). Side note: I usually microwave my syrup for a few seconds to take the chill off. Meanwhile, heat the cup of milk in a saucepan just until small bubbles begin to form around the edges. Pour carefully into your blender and VERY carefully pulse slightly to start to aerate the milk. Blend on low for about 30 seconds, then let it sit for 30-45 seconds to let the milk and foam separate. Pour the hot milk into the mug with the syrup and top with foam and ground cinnamon if desired.