The best iced chai latte is the one made at home, from scratch. Sweet, spicy, and milky– my iced chai latte recipe is one you’ll make over and over again.
What’s an Iced Chai Tea Latte?
Hold on, hold on. First, let me say that the words ‘chai’ and ‘tea’ together are redundant. Chai translates to the word ‘tea’ in Hindi. That’s why it’s incorrect to say “chai tea latte” since you’re just saying “tea tea latte.”
- Chai is any type of tea, but in the US, we mean a drink made of black tea and spices.
- This spiced tea drink is known as masala chai in India but we just call it chai.
- Iced chai latte is made up of ice, black tea, milk, a blend of spices, and sweetener.
- There is no single specific blend of spices that are used by everyone which means tea shops all sell their own version.
- The BEST chai is the one you make yourself from scratch, since you can tailor it to your taste.
- This recipe contains no artificial ingredients and sweetness can easily be adjusted. (The powdered chai mixes are WAY too sweet.)
My chai recipe was created through A LOT of trial and error, mixing a variety of spices. It took about two weeks of testing to get my blend of spices just right.
- Black tea — loose, tea sachets
The base for chai is black tea. Since chai is a beverage out of India, black tea from that area is the natural and obvious choice.
- Filtered water
Use good quality water for a better tasting drink.
- Spice blend: Cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, whole cloves, star anise, black peppercorns, ground nutmeg, ground ginger
The spices that are easy to find and available in India make up the spice blend.
- Vanilla extract
Vanilla smooths out the spice blend notes.
Use any sweetener you like.
Any kind of milk is fine to use — I often make it with oat milk.
How to Make Iced Chai Latte
1. Make chai concentrate
Everything but the milk and vanilla extract is put into a saucepan and simmered. Crush whole spices to it quicker to brew.
The solids are strained out, the vanilla extract is added, and you’ve got yourself a chai concentrate. Let the concentrate cool and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.
If you’re in a rush, you can drop in some ice cubes to cool it down. Although by adding more water, you’ll dilute the concentrate a bit.
2. Assemble drink
I use this ratio: one part chai concentrate to one part milk.
Pour chai halfway into a glass with ice and add milk.
- Add frothed milk to the chai concentrate and it’s a hot chai latte. See how to froth milk at home.
- Blend it with ice and it’s a chai frappuccino.
- Blend it with ice cream and it’s a chai milkshake.
- Add tapioca balls and it’s a chai bubble tea.
- Freeze it and it’s a chai popsicle.
Notes & Tips
- Use whole spices since they’re the most flavorful.
- Make this iced chai latte recipe vegan by using oat milk and maple syrup instead of honey.
- If you want a stronger chai flavor, use less milk and more chai concentrate.
Best Tea for Chai Lattes
Any strong black tea works great for chai but I like to stick with Indian teas like:
- Orange Pekoe (Ceylon & India)
This is an Assam and Ceylon blend.
Darjeeling can get very costly since there is a wide range in quality. For this recipe, get one that doesn’t cost too much.
Tea Sommelier’s Tip: Since the black tea is going to be blended with strong spices and milk, you don’t want to use the highest quality. Tea bags are fine to use for this recipe. Even Lipton tea bags are fine to use if that’s what you have.
RELATED: Where to Buy Tea Online
Chai Spice Notes
If possible, get the whole spice instead of the ground version since that’ll taste the best. (Although I did use ground ginger and ground nutmeg since it was easier to work with.)
RELATED: Chai Latte from Scratch
Make-Ahead & Storage Tips
The great thing about a chai concentrate is that several cups can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in a covered or airtight container. It’ll keep for up to four days.
I don’t mix milk to my chai concentrate since I like to add that later when it’s ready to be served. This leaves it open for anyone who may want something other than whole milk.
Questions You May Have
Yes, iced chai lattes are made with black tea which contains caffeine.
English breakfast tea is a great choice since it’s a strong black tea.
Any baked good or pastry, like a scone or pound cake that isn’t too sweet, is great with chai. I find cakes with icing and pies to be overly sweet for it to be a good pairing. Chocolate also pairs well, especially dark chocolate.
More Chai Recipes
Iced Tea Cheat Sheet
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Iced Chai Latte
- 2 cups milk, any kind
- 4 cups Ice
- 2 ½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons black tea, or 4 tea sachets
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 10 cardamom pods
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
MAKE CHAI CONCENTRATE
- Crush and roughly chop the star anise, cloves, and cardamom pods.
- In a saucepan, add all ingredients for chai concentrate except for the vanilla extract.Use filtered water for a better tasting tea.
- Simmer for 10 minutes.Stir occasionally.
- Strain and discard solids.
- Add the vanilla extract.
- Let cool in refrigerator.Put chai concentrate in the refrigerator for about an hour to chill.
- Fill a cup with ice and pour chai concentrate halfway then add milk.