Homemade Chai Latte from Scratch

Chai latte from scratch with whipped cream is perfect for those cold winter days and nights. You’ll never go back to store-bought chai after making this one!

Chai latte

Chai Latte

Masala chai is a spiced tea drink common in India. In the US, we shorten masala chai to just chai. 

Chai is made by brewing black tea with Indian spices. A chai latte is chai with milk. 

Chai translates to tea. (So it’s incorrect to say ‘chai tea’ since that’s saying ‘tea tea.’) Masala chai means mixed-spice tea. 

There is no universal chai spice blend that everyone uses but you’ll taste some overlapping flavors like cardamom, ginger, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon with each version.

RELATED: Iced Chai Latte

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Chai Spices

Common spices used in making chai:

chai tea concentrate

Chai Made from Scratch

To make chai from scratch, I created my own chai spice blend by trying a whole bunch of different flavor combinations.

I took the flavors and spices that are common in a masala chai and added vanilla extract and topped it all off with a creamy, decadent layer with whipped cream.

I used whole spices as much as possible since it’s less expensive and has a richer depth of flavor than ground spices. 

After two weeks of testing and consuming two cups of chai per day, I came up with my chai recipe, which I must say, is pretty darn tasty.

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Best Tea for Chai

Indian black tea is the best tea to use in a chai latte recipe. Assam with its full-bodied, strong flavor, is great for chai since it can hold up to the strong spices.

Don’t have Assam black tea? Don’t worry, you can use any black tea, even Lipton tea bags.

Since there are so many spices and flavors combined together, you don’t need to use the highest quality black tea.

My Black Tea Pick:

Chai Latte Tips

  • Make a couple of batches of the chai concentrate without the milk and store it in the refrigerator so that you can make a chai latte in a couple of minutes by adding hot milk and whipped cream.
  • I’m using loose black tea but you can use tea bags instead.
  • The chai concentrate can be used to make iced chai lattes in the summer.

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Chai tea ingredients

What I Use to Make a Chai Latte

chai latte from scratch

How to Make a Chai Latte

There are three parts that come together to make this chai latte. Each is made separately then combined to make the drink. 

  • Chai concentrate 
    This can be made ahead of time and into multiple batches to heat up for chai lattes throughout the week.
  • Hot milk
  • Whipped cream

RELATED: Pumpin Spice Chai Latte

Chai tea latte recipe

MAKE CHAI CONCENTRATE

STEP 1: Crush and roughly chop star anise, cloves, and cardamom pods.

Crush and chop the star anise, cloves, and cardamom pods into smaller pieces so that the flavors can be infused better.

RELATED: Chamomile Tea Latte

Chai tea concentrate

STEP 2: In a saucepan, add all ingredients for chai concentrate except the vanilla extract.

The vanilla extract will get added later.

High quality water will make your tea taste better so use filtered water if you can.

Chai concentrate

STEP 3: Simmer on low for 10 minutes.

On low heat, let the tea and spices simmer. Stir occasionally.

STEP 4: Strain out tea and spice solids. 

Use a mesh strainer and pour the chai from the saucepan into a glass container like this one so I can store it easily in the refrigerator.

what is a chai latte

STEP 5: Add vanilla extract.

Always add vanilla extract after the chai concentrate is off the stovetop. If vanilla extract is exposed to heat for too long, the flavor will fade away.

The chai concentrate is now done!

RELATED: Decadent Milk Tea

Chai latte

MAKE HOT MILK

STEP 6: Heat milk.

Heat milk, letting it simmer on the stovetop until you see little bubbles form along the edges. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t boil. 

I used my electric latte maker to heat and froth the milk since I didn’t want to heat the milk on the stovetop. For this recipe though, you don’t need to froth milk so you don’t need the fancy latte maker.

Chai latte whipped cream

MAKE WHIPPED CREAM

STEP 7: Whip together heavy cream and sugar.

There are a few ways to make whipped cream and the easiest I’ve found is using a handheld milk frother to whisk the heavy cream and sugar together. Use a tall container so that you don’t make a mess.

It’s quick, easy, and best of all, very little cleanup.

I like to make the cream with soft peaks and not too stiff so it lays on top of the chai latte better, spreading out on top.

RELATED: Rooibos Latte

Chai tea latte recipe

ASSEMBLE DRINK

STEP 8: Into a mug, pour in the chai concentrate, then milk, and top with whipped cream.

This recipe makes 4 servings so divide each part (chai concentrate, milk, whipped cream) into 4 cups.

Start by pouring half a cup of the chai concentrate into a mug.

Chai tea latte recipe

Add the hot milk, leaving room on top for the whipped cream.

Chai tea latte

Spoon on the whipped cream. 

Oh la la!

Chai latte

OPTIONAL STEP 9: Garnish with ground cinnamon and a whole star anise.

RELATED: How to Make Tea Lattes

 
 
Homemade chai latte
 
Chai Latte

Chai Latte

Yield: Makes 4 servings

A delicious chai latte made from scratch.

Instructions

MAKE CHAI CONCENTRATE

  1. Crush and roughly chop star anise, cloves, and cardamom pods.
  2. In a saucepan, add all ingredients for chai concentrate except for the vanilla extract.
    High quality water will make your tea taste better so use filtered water if you can.
  3. Simmer on low for 10 minutes.
    Stir occasionally.
  4. Strain out tea and spice solids.
  5. Add vanilla extract.

MAKE HOT MILK

  1. Heat milk.
    Simmer on low until you see little bubbles form along the edges.

MAKE WHIPPED CREAM

  1. Whip together heavy cream and sugar.
    Use a handheld milk frother to make the whip the heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Whisk the ingredients in a tall container so you're not making a mess.

ASSEMBLE DRINK

  1. Into a mug, pour in the chai concentrate, then milk, and top with whipped cream.
    This recipe makes 4 servings so divide each part (chai concentrate, milk, whipped cream) into 4 cups.
  2. OPTIONAL: Garnish with ground cinnamon and a whole star anise.

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17 Comments

  • Greensummer
    7 years ago

    Good Morning ! :)thank you for posting this. oh, i like the part where you wrote " Full of flavor with the milk and sugar mellowing out any harsh spice notes" Will try it as soon I can complete all the ingredients. Hmmm.. smells so good ! 🙂

  • Jee (Oh, How Civilized)
    7 years ago

    Hi Greensummer,

    Yes, getting everything needed to make this was the hardest challenge! A bonus to making this is that it fills your entire place up with the scent of chai.

  • Indian chai drinker
    7 years ago

    FYI. There is no such language as "Indian". Chai is the hindi word for Tea. Hindi is one of the main languages of India (there are over 20). Chai is also the word for tea in several other Indian languages. But not all. Love the idea of the post, but this just really irked me. Thank you though for reminding folks that saying "chai tea" is redundant. Another thing that really irks me! Finally, vanilla extract really doesn't seem to fit in chai, if you want it to be authentic. If authenticity is not a primary goal, then no worries, enjoy.

  • 7 years ago

    Homemade chai really is the best and yours looks so delicious! Love your photography and style!

  • Jee (Oh, How Civilized)
    7 years ago

    Hi Indian chai drinker,

    Thanks for the correction! Just made the edit change. As for the vanilla extract, I added that in since I thought it added a fuller flavor to the chai. I was looking to create my own chai blend, not so much to keep it completely authentic.

    Hi Hannah, I agree, homemade chai is the best! Thanks for the compliments on the post!

  • Indian chai drinker
    7 years ago

    Appreciate the edit. I'll have to give vanilla a try some time and see how it tastes, thanks for the idea! Also agree with Hannah that your photography really draws the viewer in, I love the stylized look of the captioned photo at the top of the post.

  • Jee (Oh, How Civilized)
    7 years ago

    Thanks, Indian chai drinker! I've noticed my photography has really improved since I started this blog.

  • Roxy
    1 year ago

    My kitchen smells amazing right now!!! Can you give a suggestion for using this concentrate to make dirty Chai?

    • Oh, How Civilized
      1 year ago

      Hi Roxy, I KNOW, I LOVE the way my kitchen smells after making chai! For dirty chai, try adding 1/3 cup of concentrate to your coffee.

  • Alisha
    11 months ago

    How long would you say the concentrate lasts in the fridge?

    • Oh, How Civilized
      11 months ago

      Hi Alisha, I would say about 4-5 days in the fridge.

  • Rebeca Torre
    11 months ago

    Hi, it is imperative the black tea? I have a vegan restaurant and many of my clients dont like to drink caffeine, so, I do it without black tea, I think it is delicioous, please tell me your opinion

  • Lucy
    11 months ago

    I loved finding your blog! I made it without the whipped cream and vanilla extract and enjoyed it! The next time I try it, I will reduce the amount of sugar. Tastes really good — thank you for sharing!

  • Alexa Forbes
    6 months ago

    Lovely thank you. I am drinking mine with coconut milk. Not traditional, but delicious.

    • Oh, How Civilized
      6 months ago

      Hi Alexa, as long as it’s delicious, that’s all that matters!

  • Lola
    4 months ago

    This was really yummy! I omitted the sugar and vanilla and it was great!! What do you suggest I should do if I want the taste to be stronger? Less water? Or longer steeping?
    Thank you for the great recipe! I look forward to trying your other teas!

    • Oh, How Civilized
      4 months ago

      Hi Lola, add more tea to make it stronger. Steeping it longer will just make it taste bitter instead of stronger. Happy you made the chai latte!

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