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.
How to Make the Best Iced Chai Latte
I like to 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 nice 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!
What Is Chai Latte?
Chai is black tea infused with spices cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and star anise. It's usually sweetened with honey or sugar. Mixing chai tea with steamed milk and topping it with foam makes it a latte. Chai originated in India where they steep water, milk, and spices and add it to tea. The word latté to describe this tea preparation—and the foam on top of the drink—are Western additions.
How to Shop for Chair Tea Bags at the Supermarket
You'll find chai tea bags — black tea with spices — in the tea aisle of the grocery store. Make sure to look for chai tea bags that are not pre-sweetened. You'll be adding your own sweetener to taste for this iced chai latté, so pre-sweetened teabags won't work for this recipe.
Best Sweeteners to Use for Chai Lattes
This recipe calls for a honey syrup as a sweetener, which is just lovely, but other sweeteners work, too. Just remember that the sweetener gets added to a cold base so any granulated sweetener may not completely dissolve in the drink.
- Simple syrup
- Maple syrup
- Agave nectar
- Coconut sugar
- Date palm sugar
The Best Milk to Use in Chai Lattes
- 2% milk
- Whole milk
- Coconut milk
- Cashew milk
- Hemp milk
- Oat milk
How to Store Chai Latte to Enjoy All Week Long
The steeped tea and the honey syrup will keep separately for at least a week in the refrigerator. You can double or triple the recipe, depending on how much you'll be drinking, to make a week's worth. Add the milk just before serving.
If you find you have some extra prepared chai tea that you won't be using, you can freeze it in ice cube trays to add to future glasses of iced chai lattés or even regular iced tea.
More Chai Recipes to Try!
- Homemade Chai
- Creamy Chai-Spiced Vegan Rice Pudding
- Boozy Chai-Spiced Apple Cider Punch
- Chai Ice Cream
Iced Chai Latte
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
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.
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.)
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.
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.
The prepared chai and the honey syrup will both keep for at least a week in the refrigerator.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 1g||2%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||4%|
|Total Carbohydrate 20g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|Total Sugars 20g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||1%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|