Before I married into the Young family, I was pretty coffee agnostic. I would basically drink whatever was in front of me and be happy with it.
The Youngs, though, are coffee people, by which I mean they know how to make a fantastic cup of the stuff. If you want proof, just pop by my father-in-law’s coffeeshop, Scuttlebutts, if you’re ever in Hutchinson. You’ll see what I mean.
One of the glorious coffee drinks I have discovered now that I know what good coffee is all about is actually made with tea: the dirty chai. It sounds awkward to order, but it’s just a chai latte with a shot of espresso.
If you’re not familiar, chai is a highly spiced tea with a lot of delicious, autumnal spices—cinnamon, ginger, cloves, etc.—all the good stuff from a proper loaf of pumpkin bread.
And I discovered this week that it’s way easier to buy a chai latte than make it from scratch, but it does make you feel very accomplished once you have a steaming cup of your own, homemade tea.
So if you want to give chai a shot in your own home, the recipe I tried this week comes from the blog “The Fresh Cooky” by Kathleen Pope. You can find the original post at https://www.thefreshcooky.com/homemade-chai-tea-latte/#recipe. I added extra spices in my version.
Homemade Chai Latte
- 2 cups water
- 3 Darjeeling blend tea bags
- 4 one-inch slices fresh ginger peeled
- 1 two-inch cinnamon stick
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons cardamom
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 heaping tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- dash of nutmeg
- 2 cups milk
- Pour the water in a medium-sized saucepan, and bring it to a rapid boil over high heat.
- Add in the tea bags, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, vanilla, sugar, honey and nutmeg and stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer for five to six minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the milk and return the mixture boiling, stirring often to keep the milk from scalding on the bottom of the pot.
- Once the mixture boils, remove it from heat and use a slotted spoon to remove the tea bags (carefully squeeze them out into the pot), ginger, cinnamon stick and cloves. If you want absolutely no remnants of the other spices in your cups, carefully run the mixture through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. (I didn’t bother with this step.)
- Serve the chai lattes hot or let it cool and refrigerate it to serve it over ice.
- Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator. (This made about four eight-ounce servings.)
This was a good, solid chai latte. Honestly, I like mine way spicier and probably would have doubled the spices that I used yet again, but this one had just the right amount of fall flavor to help me feel better about the colder weather. I sprinkled just a little cinnamon on the top of each cup for effect, too.
It did receive a thumbs up from Joey, so while I didn’t have the true coffee guru of the Young family try it, I figure his son is the next best thing.
At the end of the day, considering the effort of making my own chai latte at home, though, I think I might stick to our local coffee shops most of the time. I’ll save this recipe for any future days of being snowed in.
This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 17, 2022.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.