The Chai Latte, also known as Masala Chai, is a warm beverage that originates from India. It consists of black tea, milk, a mixture of traditional Indian spices, and a sweetener, such as sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
In the Western world, when people say Chai Tea, they usually mean black tea infused with spices. Similarly, Chai Latte means black tea with milk, simmered with spices.
You can order this delicious drink in many coffee shops, including Starbucks and Dunkin’. Of course, each place has its own version of the spicy tea latte and its recipe varies slightly, depending on where it’s made.
In this guide, you will learn how to make a chai latte at home, by following an easy vegan recipe.
Before we move on, it’s important to mention that the masala chai contains caffeine. Whether you order a chai latte at Starbucks or you decide to make it at home, your flavorful warm drink will be caffeinated. So it may not be a good idea to have it right before bed.
With that being said, let’s dive in!
Related Recipe Guide: Making Keto Chai Latte
Chai Latte Ingredients
To make a cup of chai latte at home, you need the following ingredients:
- Black/Earl Grey/Oolong Tea – 1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea.
I prefer using Earl Grey tea when making a homemade chai latte, as I think its flavor compliments all of the other ingredients well. Earl Grey is black tea, flavored with bergamot oil.
That being said, you can also use regular black or oolong tea when making a cup of masala chai.
All of these tea options come from the same plant – Camellia Sinensis, and contain caffeine. The caffeine content per serving may vary, but it’s generally between 40 and 60 milligrams in an 8 fl. oz. (240 ml) cup of tea.
You can add a single or a double espresso shot to your masala chai if you want to raise its caffeine levels.
At Starbucks, a chai latte that’s made by adding an espresso shot is called a dirty chai latte.
- Water – 8 fl. oz. to 10 fl. oz. (240 ml to 300 ml).
More often than not, a traditional masala chai is made by pouring the tea and all the chai spices into milk and simmering the mixture. Nevertheless, I prefer preparing the milk and the spicy tea separately.
I pour all the spices into a saucepan filled with 8 fl. oz. (240 ml) to 10 fl. oz. (300 ml) of water. Because it’s being heated, the water reduces its original volume to about 6 to 8 fl. oz. (or even less if I leave it on the heat for longer).
After bringing the water to a simmer, I filter the spices out and add a tea bag of earl grey tea. I don’t steep the tea while the water is still being heated, as this may result in an unpleasant and bitter taste.
- Masala Chai Spices:
- Ground Ginger – 1/4 teaspoon;
- Ground Cardamom – 1/4 teaspoon;
- Black Peppercorns – 3 or 4 (1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper);
- Ground Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon;
- Ground Cloves – 1/4 teaspoon;
- Ground Nutmeg (optional) – 1/4 teaspoon;
- Star Anise (optional) – 1 or 2;
The chai latte concentrate used at Starbucks is made with an infusion of water, black tea and all of the aforementioned spices except for ground nutmeg.
Anyway, some people would argue that you shouldn’t use star anise in the making of masala chai. Nevertheless, I love its flavor, so whenever I have star anise available, I always add it to the mixture of spices.
Overall, feel free to only use the spices that suit your taste best.
Most chai latte recipes that I’ve come across online use whole spices. I prefer ground spices, not only because I find them more convenient to use when cooking, but also because they release a stronger flavor and result in a stronger masala chai.
If you’re looking for an even easier way to make a chai latte at home, you can use a teaspoon of masala chai loose leaf tea by VAHDAM, for example. It’s a blend of black tea, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and cardamom.
- Almond milk – 4 fl. oz. or 120 ml.
I usually go for a vegan chai latte, which is why I use plant-based milk.
Unsweetened almond milk is my go-to for homemade masala chai, but I also love using full-fat canned coconut milk, as it adds nice creaminess to this yummy beverage.
- Maple Syrup – 1 to 2 tablespoons.
To make a proper chai latte, you do need to add sweetness to it.
Some people add a tablespoon of raw honey, others – a tablespoon of sugar.
I prefer adding one to two tablespoons of maple syrup.
Another option would be to use vanilla syrup such as this one by Monin. It’s 100% vegan and it comes with a pump. I’d occasionally use Monin’s vanilla syrup instead of the maple syrup when making masala chai. The vanilla flavor goes well with all of the other flavorful components.
In case you don’t have vanilla syrup you could make your latte even better, by adding a couple of drops of vanilla extract to it, once it’s ready.
In the following photo you can see all of the chai latte ingredients that I used for this recipe:
How to make a vegan chai latte: Step-by-Step Directions
To make a chai latte (masala chai), follow these steps:
- Pour water into a saucepan and add all masala chai spices.
- Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Run through a strainer.
- Add a tea bag of Earl Grey or regular Black tea and let it steep for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Pour milk into a saucepan, add maple syrup, bring to a simmer, mix and froth.
- Remove the tea bag and pour the tea into a cup.
- Add the frothy milk on top.
Here’s a homemade vegan chai latte that’s made by following this recipe:
As you can see in the photo above, I’ve sprinkled it with a bit of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg to give it a complete look.
It’s not hard to make a cup of delicious chai latte at home. I hope that you liked this recipe.
Here are a few other tea latte recipes, that you may enjoy:
- Vegan London Fog Latte
- Iced London Fog Tea Latte Recipe
- How to make a Matcha Latte at home
- Iced Matcha Latte Recipe
Chai Tea Latte (Masala Chai)
A delicious vegan Chai Latte that you can make at home with ease. This Masala Chai is warm, spicy, and very tasty. If you want to have a cozy tea drink, try this one out - you won't regret it.
- 8 fl. oz. to 10 fl. oz of water (240 ml. to 300 ml.)*
- Black/Oolong/Earl Grey tea* - 1 teabag or 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea
- Almond MIlk - 4 fl. oz. (120 milliliters)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of Maple or Vanilla Syrup*
Masala Chai Spices
- Ground Ginger - 1/4 teaspoon
- Ground Cardamom - 1/4 teaspoon
- Black Peppercorns - 3 or 4 (1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper)
- Ground Cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
- Ground Cloves - 1/4 teaspoon
- Star Anise (optional) - 1 or 2
- Ground Nutmeg (optional) - 1/4 teaspoon
- Pour the water into a saucepan.
- Add all the Masala Chai Spices.
- Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Run the spicy water through a strainer.
- Add a tea bag of Black, Earl Grey tea, or Oolong tea to the strained hot liquid.
- Let the tea bag steep for 3 to 5 minutes.
- While the tea bag is steeping pour the milk into a saucepan.
- Add maple or vanilla syrup and bring to a simmer.
- Mix and froth the sweetened milk.
- Remove the teabag and pour the tea into a cup.
- Pour the frothy milk on top.
- Sprinkle with ground masala chai spices to decorate.
*Don't use tap water, only filtered or bottled. Tea and coffee should always be made with water that you enjoy drinking on its own. If you use tap water the final flavor of your Chai Latte may be worsened.
*I prefer making my homemade Masala Chai with Earl Grey tea. Nevertheless, this beverage is usually made with regular black tea. Oolong tea is also an option, so stick to the type that suits your taste the most. There are also loose leaf tea bags of spiced black tea that you can use to make masala chai. You can check it out in the ingredient recommendations section.
*The Vanilla Syrup I occasionally use when making a Chai tea latte is by Monin and it's 100% vegan (you can check it out in the product recommendations section below).
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Drop me a comment below to share how your DIY masala chai turned out!