Cafe = coffee. Latte = milk.
Chai = tea. Latte = milk.
Not just any old tea, chai, or masala chai, is a warm, beautiful blend of exotic spices and black tea that has it’s origins in India.
Here in the west we’ve kind-of “sophisticised” chai. For starters, masala chai is first and foremost a street beverage in India and South East Asia. The chai wallahs in India and the teh tarik men in Singapore and Malaysia, ply their trade streetside. Over here, we buy our chai, made with perfect, milky microfoam, stretched by a barista, in ultra-modern, hip n groovy coffee shops.
Lots of us now have a coffee machine and we make steamed milk for our coffee and chocolate as a matter of course. I bought my daughter a coffee pod machine for Christmas, it didn’t have a steam wand so I also purchased a milk frother/steamer jug like this one. It works an absolute treat and they don’t cost a lot if you shop around.
Chaii latte tastes gorgeous made with steamed/stretched milk but don’t let it stop you if you don’t have one. Regular, heated on the stove, or in the microwave hot milk is fine and good.
Homemade chai syrup does not contain any preservatives and will last around 2-3 weeks in the fridge. As it’s easy to make, just make small, fresh batches often, rather than a huge batch that might not last the distance.
Your handmade, all-natural chai syrup is such a nice treat to offer your friends when they come over for “coffee” at your place.
Making this is also going to make your house smell absolutely fabulous.
Easy Vanilla Chai Syrup
*** 1 cup of sugar you can of course use less, it is a matter of taste. Too little sugar will of course not produce a syrup but, hey, that’s ok too.
You can use whatever kind of sugar you like. I have used white, light brown, palm sugar and a mix of all of these in the past. Some honey can be nice but don’t overdo it, honey can overpower your syrup. If you prefer to use a sugar alternative like rice malt, agave or stevia, then by all means experiement with the quantities and go for it.
*** 1 litre of water
*** 8 whole cloves
*** 10 whole, green cardomom, crushed to release the flavour
*** 5-6cm piece of cinnamon bark
*** 4 black peppercorns
*** a couple of grates of fresh nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
*** a couple of slices of fresh ginger – optional
*** a strip of orange or mandarin peel – optional
*** 1 whole vanilla pod, split down the middle
*** 1 teaspoon of ground, roasted wattleseed – optional. Wattleseed is a native Australian ingredient that looks a bit like ground coffee and tastes a bit like coffee, complex and interesting.
Put everything into a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Let it gently boil away until the mixture is reduced by one third.
Remove from the heat and add either:
6 teabags or 3 teaspoons of tea leaves
Leave to steep for 10 minutes and strain through a fine sieve. Decant into a sterilised bottle and store in the fridge.
Makes a lovely gift for someone special. Use an attractive bottle and label. Make sure you remind the lucky recipient to keep their syrup in the fridge.
I normally add about 2 tablespoons of syrup to my cup of chai but, again, it’s all a matter of taste. You’ll know when it’s perfect for you.
If you like, sprinkle some cinnamon or cinnamon sugar on top of your cup of chai latte.
Oh yes, this really is a treat.