Last summer, I was all about cold brew coffee. This summer, my obsession is iced chai lattes. And my friends, I am deeply obsessed.
The size (and frequency) of my batches seems to have become larger and larger as the summer has progressed. At first, I was just drinking one or two glasses in the morning. And then another glass in the afternoon started to seem perfectly reasonable.
When I switched from water glasses to pint glasses, I knew I was in trouble.
I take a fairly simple, uncomplicated approach to my iced chai — minimum effort for maximum payout.
I like cold-steep my tea for at least a few hours, though sometimes I leave it all day. The beauty of cold-steeping is that the tea stays mellow and smooth even if you forget about it for a while. (There are Quick Steeping directions below if you need your iced chai a little more urgently.)
I think four bags of tea per quart of water makes a nicely spicy cup of iced chai. I recommend starting there, but if you think you’d like your chai lighter or stronger, just adjust the number of tea bags as needed.
I sweeten my chai lattes with a quick honey syrup made of equal parts honey and water. A syrup like this mixes more easily into the tea than straight honey.
You could mix the syrup with the full batch of chai once it’s finished steeping, but I prefer to mix them in the glass. That way I can adjust the sweetness to my taste, or to the taste of any guests who happen to wander by in need of a cool, refreshing beverage.
Top off your glass of iced chai with as much or as little milk as you like. Creaminess is a highly personal decision. I like to use whole milk, but 2% milk, almond milk, or coconut milk are all lovely.
One final thought: If you like to sip your iced tea slowly and don’t want it to get watered down with ice cubes, make an extra batch of chai and freeze it into ice cubes!
Iced Chai Latte Recipe
Double this recipe for more servings. The honey syrup and prepared chai will both keep for at least a week in the refrigerator.
Quick Steeping: If you need to speed up the steeping process, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, remove from heat, and add the tea bags. Steep for 10 to 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags and add the remaining 2 cups of water. Cool to room temperature, then transfer to the fridge to cool completely.
Homemade Chai Blend: If you prefer to make your own chai blend instead of using tea bags, follow the instructions above for Quick Steeping and use the blend of black tea and spices recommended in this recipe for Homemade Chai.
For the iced chai:
- 4 tea bags of chai
- 1 quart water
For the honey syrup:
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup water
- Milk, any kind
1 Steep the tea: Combine the tea and water in a quart-sized jar.
Cover and let steep at room temperature for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours. The tea will become stronger and more infused the longer it stands.
2 Make the honey syrup: Combine the honey and water in a small glass container. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir to dissolve the honey.
Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate until needed. (Honey syrup will keep for about a week.)
3 Remove the tea bags: Once the tea has infused to your liking, remove the tea bags. The tea is ready to be used immediately, or cover and refrigerate for a week or more.
4 Assemble an iced chai latte: Place a few ice cubes in a glass. Pour 1 to 3 teaspoons of honey syrup over the ice cubes. Fill the glass with a cup or so of iced chai and top with as much milk as you like.
Stir to combine and taste. Add more honey syrup or milk, if desired.
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