I want to be able to make chai latte at home, but I don't have an espresso machine, and I don't really know if it is worth buying one just for an occasional drink.
Is there a way to froth the milk without an espresso? Is there any other way people know to make chai latte?
Frothed milk is not essential to Masala Chai, it's normally made with plain milk; the frothed-milk version is mostly a Western variation. But I assume you like it with that little extra. You might try using a milk frother, you can get them much cheaper than the deluxe model I've linked to here. If you're very particular about your frothed milk though, it seems from some quite detailed instructions I found, that a proper milk steaming attachment as found on espresso machines is the way to go. The author of the instructions states that “With a little care, you can create steamed milk that is velvety smooth like the texture of wet shaving cream. The bubbles will be so small that you can barely see them! This is the way it’s supposed to be, because this way, it will blend with the espresso, creating a harmony of the flavors instead of a dry, tasteless cap floating on top.” The same author provides instructions on how to make Masala Chai with or without frothed milk:
In its most basic form, chai is black tea that is brewed strong with a combination of spices and is diluted with milk and sugar.
The spices vary from recipe to recipe, but usually consist of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper and ginger. Chai tea is traditionally consumed hot and sweet. The sweetness is needed to bring out the full flavors of the spices.
How to Make Chai
Here is a simple recipe to make chai yourself at home. This is what you will need:
I just love a good chai latte! A chai latte is just the spiced tea mixed with milk that’s steamed from an espresso machine. I love the soft foamy texture the steamed milk adds to the chai.
You can get these at coffee houses, or if you can make them yourself if you have an espresso machine. I have detailed instructions on steaming (or frothing) milk in the coffee section of this site.
You can follow the above directions just don’t add the milk. This makes a strong tea. Then add the steamed milk straight from the espresso machine.
Practice to make velvety steamed milk and use fresh ingredients. This will insure that you make the perfect chai tea latte.
You may also want to take a look at the page titled “Milk Frother Tips” on coffee-makers-cafe.com, which gives a comparison between different methods of frothing milk. But note that that page also states you will get the best results with an espresso machine's steam wand:
The only way to produce true microfoam is with a good quality steam wand that has enough pressure to swirl the milk and the ability to heat the milk to the correct temperature. You won't get microfoam with a frother. Microfoam is like a thick milk... like runny-yoghurt in consistency. If you swirl it around in the jug it has a shiny, acrylic-like appearance.
You don't need anything fancy to make chai. My home made chai latte is pretty simple:
- boil water (as you would for ANY tea)
- steep the chai tea bag
steep normal tea + some spices (some combination of: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice, star anise, cloves, mace or nutmeg, fennel. There are many recipes on the web if you google for "chai spices mix")
- warm milk in a sauce pan, or microwave
- after tea is steeped, remove bag, add milk, enjoy.
A great alteration in the summer is to skip warming the milk, and pour it ice cold into the super strong tea, then add some ice cubes.
Many of the comercial places like *$ use the steam tube on their espresso machine just to heat the pre-made mix they keep in the fridge... on more than one occasion when I've been getting a hot chai latte during peak hours, the steam tube on the espresso machine was busy frothing milk and they've used the microwave instead.
For as much as I enjoy various espresso drinks, I must offer up that simply microwaving your milk and pseudo scalding it will bring out a lot of the richness in it. The microwaving will also change the texture of the milk somewhat. You might consider nuking a few shots of milk at different power levels and times to see what might work best for Chai Latte in particular.
There's also vitamin/protein fortified Bolthouse pre-packaged Chai Latte; it's entirely unauthentic and tastes more like a candy cane than tea, but it sure is tasty nonetheless.
The best chai tea recipe: 750ml cold water 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon cinnomon 4 cardomom pods 3 teabags
Bring water and spices to the boil and leave to simmer for 10 minutes Then add milk and as much sugar as you want! Full fat milk is the best but you can use half fat aswell!
This makes enough for 4 mugs and i just take the teabags out and put the rest in the fridge to heat up for later!! it tastes EXACTLY like the chai lattes from starbucks which i was addicted to until i found this recipe!