I’m not a fancy-coffee-shop-drink kind of person. I’m a tea drinker, take it black, have the occasional cocoa, and don’t drink coffee. So when it comes to Starbucks, all of the novelty drinks are pretty lost on me. However, when we headed down to New Jersey for Thanksgiving we stopped at a Starbucks and I noticed the special holiday drink menu. There was one thing that looked delicious: the chocolate chai tea latte. Spicy chai tea, cocoa, and milk – now that I can get behind.
I didn’t realize but Starbucks doesn’t brew fresh chai tea, carefully blend it with fine hot chocolate, and add in perfectly steamed milk. Nope, they heat up a cup full of milk and pre-boxed Tazo chocolate chai latte concentrate. Color me disappointed. (I know, you probably think I’m horribly naive but like I said, I’m not a frequent flier at Starbucks.)
Still, I drank my latte and enjoyed it – it was yummy – but I knew there was a better way to make a drink like this that didn’t involve it being loaded with preservatives and did involve fresh ingredients. So here’s my take on the recipe (which is leagues better than what they are serving at Starbucks, if I do say so myself).
Domestocrat’s DIY Starbucks’ Chocolate Chai Latte (makes 1 serving but can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.)
1/4 cup water
1 cup milk (what kind depends on your preference, I used 1%)
1.5 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1.5 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
A pinch of cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg
For the whipped cream: (makes 6 servings, will keep in the fridge in airtight container for 1 week)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
In a small saucepan bring one chai tea bag and the water to a simmer. I use Bigelow’s Spiced Chai tea – it’s really warm, slightly sweet, and perfectly spiced. Simmer over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the tea has fully steeped.
When the tea is done remove the tea bag and add the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer while stirring slowly. When that mixture has thoroughly combined and returned to a simmer, add the milk. Bring to a simmer again while stirring.
As the milk is simmering, make the whipped cream. It takes 3-4 minutes in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until it forms stiff peaks. This whipped cream will make 6 big scoop servings and will keep in the fridge in airtight container for 1 week.
When the chocolate chai is done, pour it in a big mug, top with whipped cream, and sprinkle with a pinch of cocoa powder.
This homemade chocolate chai tea latte was so good. It was so yummy that writing this blog put me in the mood for another one – so much that I got up and made one halfway through writing this post. No kidding! I can’t wait to make these all winter long. My next version is going to be with almond milk instead of regular milk. Cheers to restaurant recreations!