A toasty, spiced drink always hits the spot on a crisp fall day. This pumpkin chai latte warms me up just thinking about it. A good way to celebrate fall, don’t you think?
Love chai, but most chai lattes out there are way too sweet for my taste. Why is everything so sweet? Ditto for the boxed chai concentrates you find in grocery stores; not surprisingly, they contain a fair amount of sugar. As for the boxed chai concentrates, sugar (i.e., evaporated cane juice) is more often than not the first ingredient (water being the first), followed by tea, and, lastly, the spices. The great thing about making chai yourself is that you can customize the sweetness and spice levels to your preference.
The concentrate is super easy to prepare. Just bring a pot of water to a boil, add the spices, simmer, and strain. That’s it. You can store the concentrate in the fridge for about a week or so. Then, when you’re in the mood for a cup of chai, just mix 1 part chai concentrate with 1 part milk or your favorite milk substitute (used a combination of almond and cashew milk), and heat until warmed through. I also added a little pumpkin puree — in keeping with the seasons — which adds a nice smooth texture to the chai.
Enjoy and stay warm….
I used rooibos or red tea, but you can also use black tea. Rooibos has been touted for its high antioxidant polyphenolic content.
The cookies are teff/spelt peanut butter.
Snapped this picturesque photo of the autumn leaves in Georgetown as I was strolling home; alas, I cannot call one of these lovely brownstones my own.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. Hope it is filled with lots of good food and wine!
Pumpkin Chia Latte
makes 1 cup
1/2 cup chai concentrate (recipe below)
1/2 cup milk (or milk substitute)
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
Heat the chai concentrate, milk, and pumpkin in a small pot until warmed through. Enjoy.
Chai Tea Concentrate
4 1/2 cups water
8 rooibos or black tea bags
3 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split in half or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (3-inch) piece of ginger, sliced
12 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 whole star anise
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 to 4 tablespoons honey or brown sugar (more or less to taste)
Place the cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, ginger, cloves, cardamom pods, nutmeg, star anise, black peppercorns in cheesecloth and secure with kitchen twine. Alternatively, you can place the tea and spices directly in the boiling water and then strain through a fine mesh sieve.
Bring the water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the cheesecloth with spices and tea bags, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the tea. If using vanilla extract, add it now. Add the sugar and honey to taste. Store in an airtight jar up to a week.