Tea lattes have become a popular coffee shop menu item around the country. But did you know the origin of these delicious steaming beverages is rooted in Indian tradition? Masala chai served with milk and sugar is a staple Indian drink going back thousands of years. Chai tea lattes were popularized in the West due to the rise of mainstream coffee shops, like Starbucks. Today, you can find tea lattes in a variety of flavors, from lavender, to chamomile, and pumpkin spice–and even make your own at home.
In this article, we’re talking about all things tea lattes: what they are and how to make your own–plus 8 of our favorite recipes.
What is a Tea Latte?
Tea lattes are a great alternative to caffe lattes. Instead of being made with a base of espresso, they’re made with a base of tea and topped with steamed milk for a warm and tasty treat. Alternatively, tea lattes can be made cold, in which case the milk and tea are poured over ice without being steamed.
To ensure a strong flavor, the tea base needs to be strong. You can achieve this by steeping your tea bag for a few minutes longer than you normally would or by using multiple tea bags. Sometimes, baristas will even use a tea concentrate, which you can purchase yourself from companies like the Republic of Tea or Tazo.
Tea Latte Ingredients
Tea lattes only require three basic ingredients, but might require more depending on the flavor. All you need for a basic latte is brewed tea, your milk of choice, and a sweetener. Tea lattes are often sweetened with simple syrup, but you can also use honey, agave, maple syrup or date syrup. Or, if you prefer your tea latte unsweetened, feel free to omit the sweetener completely. When preparing chilled or blended tea lattes, you will also need ice.
Traditional tea lattes are made with whole milk because it froths the best due its high fat content. However, you can use any type of milk you like, including milk alternatives like soy, oat, and almond milk. If you want to add additional flavors, consider adding vanilla extract or syrup, caramel sauce or a dash of cinnamon to dress up your beverage. You can easily make flavored syrups yourself, or buy them in a tea shop or grocery store.
How to Make Tea Lattes
Follow these steps to create your own tea lattes at home:
- Brew tea. Boil 4oz of water and pour over a tea bag or loose tea. Let steep for 3 minutes. If using loose tea, be sure to strain out the leaves before you add your milk. Alternatively, use a tea concentrate, in which case you won’t need to brew any tea. Just measure out equal parts tea concentrate to the milk of your choice.
- Steam milk. Use an electric milk frother to steam 4oz of milk with 3 tsp of sweetener (if you are using tea concentrate, use equal parts milk to tea concentrate without any sweetener, as the concentrate will already be sweetened).
- Combine. The final step to preparing your tea latte is to combine your tea and milk. Pour the brewed tea into a mug and slowly pour the milk over it. Feel free to add garnishes or spices to the top of your latte to enhance the appearance (and let’s face it, more fun to drink). If you are making an iced tea latte, you can avoid steaming your milk and simply pour tea and sweetened milk over ice. Make sure to blend completely.
8 Tea Latte Recipes
Now that you have a basic understanding of how to make your own tea lattes, here are 8 of our favorite recipes. Or, feel free to experiment and come up with your own!
English breakfast – English breakfast tea lattes have a rich, classic flavor and can be made with any sweetener you like. Try using honey for an added caramelized flavor!
Matcha tea latte – Matcha tea lattes are typically made with matcha tea powder instead of tea leaves for a strong flavor and that beautiful, bold green color. To make, add 1 tsp of matcha powder and 2 tsp of sugar to a mug. Mix with 3 tbsp hot water until dissolved. Top with 6oz of steamed milk and use a spoon to mix, if necessary.
Chai tea latte – Chai tea lattes are one of the most popular types of tea lattes. You can make them with a chai tea bag or you can make your own chai tea blend at home by combining the following spices:
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp whole cardamom pods
- 2 tsp whole allspice
- ½ tsp whole cloves
- ¼ tsp black peppercorns
- ¼ tsp ground ginger (or add fresh when you’re ready to brew)
- 2 tbsp looseleaf black powder
Slightly crush the spices with a mortar and pestle and gently mix in the tea leaves. Store the mixture in an airtight container. When you’re ready to make your latte, combine a third of the mixture with 4oz of water and bring to a boil in a pot. Let steep for 5 minutes and strain out the tea and spices. Pour tea into a mug and top with sweetened frothed milk.
Chocolate tea latte – Chocolate tea lattes provide the delicacy of hot chocolate with the soothing comfort of hot tea. To make, steep a black tea bag in 4oz of boiling water. Next, combine ¼ tsp of cocoa powder and sweetener of your choice with 4oz of milk and steam. Pour over hot tea. Alternatively, you can use a mint tea bag for a chocolate mint tea latte (and don’t forget the mint garnish).
Pumpkin spice tea latte – Most people are familiar with pumpkin spice espresso lattes, but you can also make a similar drink with tea! To make, pour 4oz boiling water over a black tea or chai tea bag and steep. Next, combine 2 tbsp pumpkin puree, 1/4 pumpkin spice mix, and 3 tsp sweetener with 4oz of milk. Combine, steam, and pour over tea.
Honey chamomile tea latte – This tea latte is perfect for bedtime. Just steep a chamomile tea bag in hot water and top with steamed milk sweetened with honey.
Lavender tea latte – Nothing is quite as soothing as lavender, and this tea latte is great for relaxing. Use a lavender tea bag or even fresh lavender buds for your tea and maple syrup for sweetener. Almond milk tastes particularly delicious in this variety, but feel free to use whatever milk you have on hand.
Vanilla tea latte – You can make vanilla tea lattes a few ways, but the easiest way is to use a vanilla tea bag. However, we recommend adding some vanilla extract to your milk for additional flavor, or alternatively, scrape fresh vanilla beans for a truly out-of-this-world concoction!
Check Is Tea Good For You And Learn More about Tea.