Chai latte

Categories: Product of the week

A warming, sweetly-spiced drink from The Colombian Coffee Company

“Chai latte is based on the recipe for chai tea,” says Ryan from behind the counter at The Colombian Coffee Company. “It is a similarly spiced drink, but chai latte is made with hot milk—not water—with cinnamon dusted over the top. The milk is steamed and frothed, which caramelises the sugars and brings out the milk’s natural sweetness. We also add some panela, which is an organic cane sugar from Colombia. This is unrefined, so it is less sweet and retains some of the flavours of the cane, adding depth to the chai.”

Cinnamon is not the only spice to be found in this cross-cultural, eminently delicious drink. Other spices include cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and star anise. “The mix we use is made with freshly ground whole spices and single origin black tea, hand blended in south London. It being in teabag form means that the customer gets to decide how strong the drink is,” Ryan explains. “The longer the bag is in the milk, the spicier the drink. We sell it with the bag in the cup and recommend leaving it in for two to three minutes. However, people who really like a strong flavour can leave it in for the whole time they drink it—this really brings out the spicier elements of the chai.”

Christmas feel
The spices in this warming drink definitely give it a nice wintry feel—like a non-alcoholic mulled wine, perfect for enjoying while wandering around the Market on a cold January day. “For those who want an extra caffeine hit we have the ‘dirty chai’ where, after putting the bag in, we add a double espresso shot before pouring in the steamed milk. You get the kick of the caffeine and the coffee flavour cutting through the milk,” says Ryan. “But the original chai latte is the more popular of the two. I think there is something comforting about the combination of textures and flavours, especially as the temperature drops.”