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

Just like how barley tea is a staple in Korean kitchens, masala chai is a spiced tea drink common in India.

Chai translates to tea. (So it’s incorrect to say ‘chai tea’ since that’s saying ‘tea tea.’) A chai latte is composed of black tea, milk, spices, and sweetened with sugar.

To make chai from scratch, I took the flavors and spices that are common in a masala chai (in the US, it’s shortened to just chai) and added a creamy layer by adding whipped cream.

There is no universal chai spice blend, so no two are really the same, but you’ll taste some overlapping flavors like cardamom, ginger, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon.

I created my own chai spice blend by trying a whole bunch of different flavor combinations. After two weeks of testing, and consuming two cups of chai per day, I came up with my final chai recipe, which I must say, is pretty darn tasty.

RELATED: Iced Chai Latte

Chai tea ingredients

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What I Used to Make This Chai Latte

Best Tea for Chai Latte

Indian black tea is the best tea to use for a chai latte. Assam and Darjeeling are the most popular and well known of Indian black teas.

But really, 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.

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Chai tea latte recipe

Chai Latte Spices

I didn’t want one strong spice to dominate since I hate chai that’s way too spicy with ginger or cloves. I think my chai is really well balanced in flavor.

In order to get that perfect balance of spices, I ended up adding in a LOT of them. So when you look at the ingredients, don’t get too overwhelmed since each one adds so much to it tasting so great.

Cardamom is the most common ingredient in a chai, so of course that’s in my chai latte. Other common ingredients are in there too: ginger, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, and pepper.

I added nutmeg and vanilla extract to round out the flavor.

I don’t use a lot of ground spices for this chai latte. Instead, I used whole spices (then crushed them) since it has a richer depth of flavor. Also, whole spices tend to be less expensive than ground.

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chai tea concentrate

Chai Concentrate

You may not want to get all these different spices for ONE drink but that’s where the chai concentrate comes in.

Make a couple of batches of chai without the milk and store it in the fridge so that you can make a chai latte in a couple of minutes by adding hot milk and whipped cream. (The whipped cream you can also make ahead of time.)

The spices have a shelf life of 2-4 years but I usually finish them in a year by making the chai concentrate for iced chai lattes in the summer and hot chai lattes in the winter.

No more buying too-sweet or too-spicy chai concentrates from the supermarket. By making it from scratch, you can adjust the sweetness or take out any spices you really don’t like.

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chai latte from scratch

How to Make a Chai Latte

I start with the chai concentrate. This can be made ahead of time and into multiple batches to heat up for chai lattes throughout the week.

Chai tea concentrate

Crush or chop the star anise, cardamom pods, and cloves. This will release more of the flavor faster.

Brew together spices, brown sugar, and the black tea in water. Simmer on low for 10 minutes.

Chai concentrate

Take it off the heat and filter out the spices using a mesh strainer.

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Chai tea latte recipe

The last part of the chai concentrate is to add the vanilla extract. It’s too delicate to add with everything else over heat on the stovetop.

The chai concentrate is done!

You can let it cool a bit then store it in the refrigerator in a covered container. It’ll keep for about a week.

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Chai latte whipped cream

While the chai is simmering, make the whipped cream which adds a sweet touch to the chai latte.

You don’t NEED to make a cream layer, but I love it.

To make the whipped cream, I use an immersion blender on low for a few seconds.

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Chai latte whipped cream

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 instead of in tight lumps.

Set aside.

Chai latte

The next part is warming up the milk. I used my latte maker to froth the milk a little but you definitely don’t need to froth milk for this recipe since we’re adding the whipped cream layer which will sit on top of the drink.

Make sure to simmer the milk and to not let it burn by preventing it from boiling.

RELATED: How to Froth Milk

Chai tea latte recipe

All the parts are ready to be brought together for this delicious drink. Yes, I’m calling my own drink “delicious” because IT IS.

Pour half a cup of hot chai concentrate into a mug.

Chai tea latte recipe

Fill the cup with hot milk, leaving some room on top for the whipped cream.

Chai tea latte

Spoon the whipped cream and garnish the drink with some cinnamon or top it with a star anise.

RELATED: How to Make Tea Properly

Chai latte

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Chai Latte

A delicious chai latte made from scratch.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups milk (any kind)
  • Optional garnishes: Ground cinnamon and star anise

Chai Concentrate

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons (6 tea bags) Assam black tea
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powered sugar

Instructions

  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.
  3. On low heat, simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. While chai concentrate is on simmer, make the whipped cream. Combine heavy cream and powdered sugar in a tall container. Using an immersion blender, pulse on low until soft peaks form. Don't whip until it gets too stiff by checking consistency after a couple of short pulses. Set aside.
  5. Warm up milk in a latte maker or by simmering on the stovetop making sure it doesn't boil. After heating the milk, turn off heat and set aside.
  6. Back to the chai concentrate. Strain out and discard the tea leaves (or tea bags) and spices.
  7. Add the vanilla extract to chai concentrate.
  8. Assemble the chai latte by pouring the hot chai concentrate, filling the mug halfway. Add the hot milk leaving room for the whipped cream. Top off with a layer of whipped cream. Garnish with a star anise and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon.

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9 Comments

  • Greensummer
    6 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)
    6 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
    6 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.

  • 6 years ago

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

  • Jee (Oh, How Civilized)
    6 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
    6 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)
    6 years ago

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

  • K. Carrabetta
    6 years ago

    In your recipe you state 1/2 tsp nutmeg but in your photo with ingredients it states 1 tsp. What gives?

  • Jee (Oh, How Civilized)
    6 years ago

    Hi K. Carrabetta, thanks for catching that! It's 1 teaspoon of nutmeg. Just made the change in the post.

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