Vanilla chai or vanilla chai tea latte is a delicious cup of vanilla-flavoured masala chai with frothed milk. Both terms are interchangeably used in cafes but there is no big difference between the two. The main difference is whether your vanilla chai has frothed milk or not.
Whether you like it with milk that's added or frothed, or even topped with some whipped cream, you can easily make any version at home.
Of course, you can buy both these drinks from a cafe, but why would you want to? With just some simple cooking tips, you'll be able to create the perfect cup every time with our favourite taste-tested recipe! Enjoy it as an afternoon pick-me-up or after-dinner treat.
We spent a lot of time researching various techniques to bring you the best recipe. Therefore, we're sure it will be better than the store-bought versions since you can customise all the ingredients. You can make it as sweet or creamy as you like it. Plus, you can save time trying out different recipes since we've done the homework for you.
Our article will show you how to make a vanilla chai tea latte. You'll also learn how to customise your recipe with different kinds of milk and cooking hacks to best suit your preferences and taste buds.
What is it made of?
A vanilla chai tea latte is a blend of black tea, vanilla extract, chai spices, milk and sugar. The last two ingredients, milk and sugar are added to make the drink creamy. Most cafes will use black tea leaves that are rich and fragrant, such as the Yunnan black variety.
The overall iconic flavour results from a mix of spices which, when blended and steeped, produces a fragrant and delicious taste. Additionally, this drink contains approximately 40 mg of caffeine per serving.
Vanilla chai vs chai
The difference between these two variations is that the vanilla chai tea latte includes vanilla, whilst chai does not. Vanilla chai mixes black tea, vanilla extract or syrup, milk, and spices such as cinnamon and ginger. It is sweet and milky with an overall fragrant flavour.
However, just chai is a beverage made with black tea and various spices—typically cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves. Honey is sometimes added to make the drink sweeter. You can serve both drinks, hot or cold.
Vanilla chai tea calories
There are an estimated 190 calories in a 150 ml cup of vanilla chai tea latte.
Vanilla chai tea latte ingredients
Chai tea bags, sugar, vanilla extract and milk are the vanilla chai tea latte ingredients you need to make this at home.
We will use chai tea bags for our recipe, but you can always make the spiced drink from scratch. Alternatively, you can try our dirty chai recipe if you would prefer to make this drink with coffee and leave out the extract.
Using vanilla extract or syrup
A vanilla chai tea latte that uses pure vanilla beans tastes the most flavourful and aromatic of all the other flavour-inducing counterparts. When using beans, you can decide if you want to use them whole or split. Moreover, the fragrant beans are easy to store as you can keep them in a jar and use them as needed.
However, there are some cons to using beans. Firstly, you will have to do a lot of prep work. This process would include cutting and scraping out the seeds before using them, which is very time-consuming.
Secondly, this preparatory process can often result in a mess and wasted product! Additionally, these beans are considered to be quite costly. Therefore, we suggest that you consider using an extract or syrup.
Firstly, vanilla extract is a very convenient and accessible option. You will often be able to find this extract in most supermarkets if you look in the baking aisle. The smell and taste of the extract are not as sweet, and it is used more for baking. The extract lends the beans' iconic fragrance to cakes.
However, the extract is quite bitter when placed in a drink. There is also often alcohol in it. This is because the extract is created by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol for a long time. Eventually, most of the alcohol will evaporate and leave behind the bean's flavour.
Moreover, a natural extract is clear in colour and adds fragrance to your product. However, many manufacturers will add chemical compounds to strengthen the fragrant taste. If alcohol and chemicals are a big no-no, you should opt for the beans.
Finally, the third option is vanilla syrup. Like the extract, the syrup is easy to find in supermarkets. Additionally, because it is affordable and readily available, you can add as much syrup to your drink as you wish.
However, like the essence, the syrup may have other added ingredients and chemicals.
Despite this, the syrup is an excellent substitute if you don't want to peel beans and if you want to avoid the bitter tendencies of the extract. Moreover, the syrup is often used in cafes, as it adds a wonderful flavour at a lower cost.
Chai tea bags vs your own spice
A vanilla chai tea latte with tea bags is a great way to make a quick drink without customising it. However, you won't be able to choose the spices you want to add to your drink.
Despite this, they are very convenient. All you need to do is follow the packets' instructions, and you'll have a delicious beverage in no time. The brewing process is fast and easy, and there is also little room for error. Instead, add hot water, let the bag steep for a few minutes, and then enjoy your drink!
The main con of using tea bags for this sweet drink is that they can be expensive. Especially if you are trying to make a big batch of vanilla chai tea latte. Additionally, the quality can differ between brands.
Moreover, when you buy tea bags, different brands use different spices with differing levels of quality. Commercial versions usually have spices mixed based on price. Therefore, you will find fewer expensive spices like cardamom and more affordable ones like cinnamon and fennel. Furthermore, some companies skip real spices and just add flavouring to save money.
However, if you make your own chai spice mix you can choose the spices you like best. Also, you will have the freedom to customise these spices. So you can determine how spicy your drink will turn out.
For instance, if you prefer the subtle notes of cardamom, you can add more of that! We recommend using fennel teas such as Pukka vanilla chai, or you can opt for any Assam black teas, which taste lovely with the spices.
Using vanilla chai powder or tea bags
While both are great options for your delicious beverage, there are some main differences between them. The powder form gives a concentrated flavour, whereas using the bag results in a slightly more diluted product.
To make vanilla chai powder, use dried beans, and grind them into a fine powder. Then add milk powder and unsweetened tea powder. You can add ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and white pepper if you create your own spice mix. This flavourful powder is excellent to keep around if you want a sweetener for other drinks.
Tea bags are less time-consuming since they are prepackaged. They are a no-mess option that makes brewing this beverage convenient. Additionally, this form is ideal for creating an iced vanilla chai tea latte.
Inside each bag, you will find spices and all the necessary flavours. Therefore, you need to add a little milk and sweetener to bring out these flavours. Of course, you might not get such an intense taste as using bags results in a mild infusion.
Similarly, another option is to use the leaves from the bags. You can cut the bags open and mix them with vanilla powder. If you're ready to make this delectable drink, but the idea of making this powder leaves you feeling like it's a lot of work, we've got you covered.
Furthermore, you can buy vanilla chai latte powder or vanilla chai tea bags at any grocery store. If you are unsure how much to use, follow the instructions on the packet. Additionally, some powders on the market have been sweetened with powdered sugar or filled with synthetic fillers, so check the list of ingredients before you buy.
So you're ready to make a nice cup of this fragrant beverage. But before you do, heed our cooking tips below!
How to avoid scorching the milk
Suppose you add warm milk over very low heat, less than 150 Fahrenheit (around 70 degrees celcius). The milk proteins scorch very quickly, so stir while you heat.
Alternatively, you could place the milk in the microwave oven for no more than 5 minutes at the lowest heat. Then, continue heating the milk in intervals until you get it to the temperature you want!
Good alternatives to using dairy milk
While we recommend using half-and-half, as it makes the drink creamy, some people might be lactose intolerant or on a vegan diet. So, oat milk or soya milk are great alternatives to dairy.
How to make Vanilla chai tea latte creamier
Use full-cream dairy milk to make your vanilla chai tea with milk creamier. You can search for flavoured dairy milk, which will also enhance the sweetness of your drink.
Otherwise, opt for half and half, which has half cream and half milk. For vegans, try using oat milk! Oat milk is a tad sweeter than other plant-based milk and has a rich, smooth flavour.
Vanilla Chai Tea Latte Recipe (Iced)
- Place a tea bag inside a cup and pour in boiling water. Let it steep for approx 3-5 minutes, then remove the bag.
- Add half and half, the extract and sugar in a saucepan. Heat the mixture to medium heat. When you see tiny bubbles forming, the mix is ready.
- Add the mixture in the saucepan to the cup. Pour everything out into a tall glass and fill it up with ice. Now you're ready to serve your vanilla chai tea latte!
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
If you've tried this recipe, we would love to see your yummy creation! Follow us on Instagram @honestfoodtalks and tag us if you've attempted to make our vanilla chai tea latte!