Homemade Chai Concentrate + Iced Chai Lattes

It’s my Mom’s birthday today. Well, actually it was Friday, but we chose to push the celebration to today.

I made my Dad a chocolate quinoa cake with vanilla buttercream icing for his birthday in June…

so the pressure was on to come up with something:

  • That didn’t involve a “baked good” because Mom doesn’t really like that kinda stuff
  • Homemade
  • Low in sugar
  • Something my Dad wouldn’t like so he wouldn’t eat it all :P

I was wracking my brain trying to come up with an idea, so I called my Mom to poke and prod at what she’d been enjoying lately. It wasn’t long until she started talking about her Starbucks Chai Latte obsession and the guilt that went along with it.

“Guilt, why?” I asked.

“Because there’s just so much sugar and ridiculous calories.” She said.

“Wouldn’t it be great if Starbucks had a lower sugar option and served it with unsweetened almond milk?”

“Yes. Oh, that would be nice. Maybe they’d do it special just for me because it’s my birthday?”

ding ding ding! I ended our conversation abruptly and headed to the kitchen.

Healthy Chai Concentrate + Iced Chai Lattes
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Refined sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2.75
Healthy Chai Concentrate
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 black tea bags - I used orange pekoe
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ inch section of fresh ginger [or 2 pieces of dehydrated ginger]
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods [or ¼ teaspoon powdered cardamom]
  • ¼ teaspoon aniseed
  • 8 x 6 section of cheesecloth, folded over [doubled]
  • twine
  1. Directions
Option 1: Liquid concentrate - to be enjoyed within 7 days
  1. Lay cheesecloth flat and begin placing ingredients on top. Begin with tea bags, then vanilla bean, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and aniseed. If you're using cardamom powder, sandwich in between 2 teabags to prevent it from dispersing into the mix. Bundle everything into cheesecloth and pinch together. Tie with twine and tie 2 cinnamon sticks with the twine.
  2. Place water and coconut sugar in a medium sized saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and put the cheesecloth bag in. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool before pouring it in an air tight container [mason jars works well] and placing in the fridge to cool.
  4. To enjoy as an iced latte: combine 1 part concentrate with 3 parts non-dairy milk. Serve on ice.
Option 2: Concentrate packet - if you're giving this away as a gift, and you're not sure when the receiver is going to drink the concentrate, you can combine all of the dry ingredients in cheesecloth and give them instructions on how to make the concentrate when they're ready [below]
  1. Lay cheesecloth flat and begin placing ingredients on top. Begin with tea bags, then vanilla bean, ginger [use dehydrated, or candied ginger to prevent the bag from spoiling], cloves, cardamom, and aniseed. If you're using cardamom powder, sandwich in between 2 teabags to prevent it from dispersing into the mix. Bundle everything into cheesecloth and pinch together. Tie with twine and tie 2 cinnamon sticks with the twine.
Provide the following instructions to the recipient:
  1. To make your chai concentrate, place 3 cups of water and ½ cup coconut sugar in a medium sized sauce pan. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and place the cheesecloth bag in. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Allow to cool before pouring it in an air tight container [mason jars works well] and placing in the fridge to cool. To enjoy as a iced chai latte, combine 1 part concentrate to 3 parts non-dairy milk. Serve on ice.

I ended up making 3 batches for my Mom. 1 liquid form for instant gratification, and 2 cheesecloth packets that she can use to make additional batches later.

Oh… and 1 batch for me.


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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. I love chai lattes, but love easy gift giving even more. Thanks for the great gift idea!

  2. Cool! I bet your mom is going to adore this, such a creative idea. She’s going to give you the best ever daughter award!! :P

  3. This looks amazing! I love that you turned it into a concentrate instead of having to go through that every time you want a latte. I meant to make chai latte mix as Christmas gifts last year but never got around to it…I’m definitely doing it this year! :)

  4. What a fabulous idea, Leanne! Thanks again for a great recipe. I was wondering, in the original recipe it says 1 part concentrate to 2 parts milk and then in the low section for making a give away sash it says 1 part concentrate to 3 parts milk. I’m sure I could try it and figure out how I like it, but I wanted to let you know. I’m sure excited to try this out!

    • Ops! I’ll fix that. It should be 1 part concentrate to 3 part milk. Thanks for catching that :)

  5. I say Boo ya to Starbucks – We are all chai lovers in our house and I brew it fresh each day – but this is ideal for a cold cuppa – And making notes to buy me some almond milk – funny how the nutty flavors make the drink so much more satisfying –
    You are a sweet daughter indeed and I am sure you mom was bowled over by your thoughtfulness

  6. I too am on a healthy/wellness pursuit which is what prompted me to start my food blog – can’t say I always walk the line, but more often than not, I try to make healthier versions of all my fav foods – do stop by sometime :) Priya

  7. This is awesome! Any suggestions for a caffeine free version? Even decaf black tea makes me all jittery and zoomy, ditto my lovely sister who is a new mom and could use a quick and easy treat. Cheers!

    • I totally know what you mean. It does the same thing to me too! You could try to use a herbal ginger, orange, or other citrus teas. They may mesh really well with the chai flavors.

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming up with this because lately I’ve also been all over those iced chai lattes from Starbucks (read: I crave them everyday), and although I get it with soy milk, I’d much rather use almond milk and yes, less sugar is always good ;) I honestly can’t wait to pick up these ingredients and make about 7 batches…to start haha

  9. This is awesome — I love chai lattes but I haven’t had one in the longest time — the $$$ is ridiculous and my stomach doesn’t like a ton of sugar in it at once, so that means no fancy coffee/sugar drinks.

    So did she love it?

  10. Love, love love chai. I make a huge batch of concentrate and freeze them into ice cubes. Then I always have a supply on hand that takes only minutes to reheat. I also use Rooibos tea instead of black tea mostly because I don’t cope well if I drink a lot of caffeine.

  11. I loves chai tea latte!
    & yes – I also feeling guilty like ur mom when I have those! haha ha!
    Tq for sharing the recipe & story Leane … Happy Birthday to ur mom dear!

  12. I love it! I am currently having an affair with iced chai lattes and this is such a great cost savings!! Sweet indeed!! One question, if I don’t have palm sugar, what else can I use? I am totally going to have to make this!!

    • If you want to keep it sugar-reduced you could use stevia – maybe 1/8 tsp of the white powder. If you’re not too particular about sugar you could try it with honey, or cane sugar.

  13. Okay. Seriously though. I just made a batch of Leanne’s famous chai concentrate and I am naming myself the official spokeswoman for it. Everyone try it! It is SO SUPER DUPER delicious!!! And it is far superior than the Starchucks option, in my opinion. It smells like Christmas in my house (and tastes like it in my mouth) right now.

  14. Oh Leanne, this is amazing! I haven’t had fresh Chai like this is years. I will be giving this a try soon, as I’ve been craving Chai like crazy lately! Thanks for sharing!

  15. This is so great! I love chai … even in coffee. Great idea this and so handy. I always buy those chai spices in sachets and they’re so expensive. I am so going to make this … thanks for sharing! And congrats for getting to top 9 :D

  16. What an awesome daughter you are, Leanne :-) This looks absolutely wonderful! I’ve probably only had a chai latte once. I don’t think I enjoyed it very much. I never thought about it much until my friend asked her sister to make her an iced chai latte using Trader Joe’s powder mix. Perhaps I’ll have to give this a whirl for a fabulous present for her amongst her crazy master’s program studying!

    • I bet she would love this gift! My mom had tears in her eyes she was so happy :D

  17. Congratulations on your top 9!!! Your photos are fabulous and thanks for sharing your delicious recipe. Happy belated Birthday to your mom. Glad to read she liked everything!

  18. I was so excited to find this!!! My 21 y.o. son has a Starbucks NF iced chai addiction….no maybe worse…obsession. He drinks 2 venti sized drinks a day. Now I can make this for him! WhoooooHoooooo!

    • Oh wow! You could charge him $2 a drink, let him save money… and if could become a little side business for you ;) all jokes

  19. That looks great! My mom and I were just at Whole Foods last night and she was so disappointed because she can’t find her favorite vanilla chai tea anywhere. I will definitely have to make this for her. (And keep some for me too!)

  20. What an awesome idea!! I just made some and I love it! Thanks so much for sharing such a wonderful idea and recipe! :)

  21. I made my own version of chai concentrate this weekend, using your recipe and another one as guides. I decided to try out coconut sugar and a bit of raw honey as the sweeteners. It turned out sooo good, I am drinking a mug full of it with some almond milk as I type this! The one this I noticed with my concentrate is that it is cloudy, unlike others that I have seen that seem to be more clear. I can’t tell from your photos if yours is cloudy like mine, or clear. Do you think it is because of the coconut sugar or honey? I added them in at the end, when I strained all the bits out. Maybe I should try adding them in at the beginning. Too bad I drank a huge mug full this morning before I could take photos for the blog. Just gonna have to make it again :)

    • I just made a batch last night and am drinking right now, too! Heh, great minds think a like. I added my sugars at the beginning and let it simmer with the rest of the ingredients. The result should be clear, not cloudy. The palm sugar will take some time to dissolve completely, so my guess is that it’s the palm sugar. Yep, you’re going to have to make it again…. shucks!

      • Ah OK, that totally makes sense. Thanks! I will just make it again and go the route of adding the sugar and honey in at the beginning. I am so obsessed with making this now! It’s so much tastier!

  22. Have you ever tried adding fennel to your chai mix? I add crushed fennel seeds sometimes when I have my (makeshift) chai tea at night. It’s a nice way to add a bit of different flavor to your chai!

    • Thanks Jo, I’ll have to try that next time. I have no doubt it’d be delicious!

  23. I’m going to try making this tonight! To make it a hot chai tea latte, would you just heat it with the concentrate and almond milk? What about adding in a bit of nutmeg? So excited to try this! I have been searching for a great recipe for the amazing hot chai tea I had in India years ago!

    • To make it hot, just add to heated almond milk. That, or we like to add the concentrate to a pot with some almond milk and heat on low for 5 minutes until it comes to a slight simmer. Nutmeg would be great in there too!

  24. The concentrate is wonderful, thank you for sharing it! I also wanted to tell you that Cooking Light has a Chai cream pie recipe, I don’t know if you could adapt it for you, but your mom might enjoy that next year.

  25. I was searching for instructions on how to make chai concentrate today and I found your page. I was ecstatic when I saw that you made it exactly how I was intending to as well- with almond milk! Thanks for the recipe, I’ll definitely be giving it a try.

  26. I am so excited about trying this! I just stumbled upon your site, but have NO DOUBT its going to be a fav!!

    Thank you so much for posting this!


  27. These are great!! I was looking for something that was cheap and easy to make for wedding favours for our wedding next summer. I think I’ve found the perfect thing!!

    • What a great idea to gift something like this! It’s so personal and, as you said, inexpensive, too!

  28. Would this be okay for someone who is pregnant? Like once a day or every other. I am thinking about caffeine.

    • Hi Stephanie – I’ve seen many pregnant women drink caffeine throughout their pregnancies and others avoid it. Best to check with your healthcare provider, just in case!

  29. i cant have black teas. can another tea be used? it’s not about the caffeine.

  30. Hi! This recipe looks amazing & I can not wait to try this..I do have a couple questions..I do not have a cheese cloth to put the ingredients in, can I just place all of gage ingredients loose in the sweetened water? Also I do not have fresh ginger could i substitute it with ground ginger & if so what measurement would you recommend? Thank you!

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