Iced Experiments

While I’m not a caffeine addict these days, I still enjoy a nice warm comforting beverage to start my day – lately decaf coffee or a mug of tea.  Yesterday morning after Kona’s early walk the thought of drinking a hot beverage was not so tempting.  Instead, I thought of one of my favourite treats from Starbucks – the chai latte, which is also delicious as an iced latte. 

Via

I treated myself to one yesterday (it was delish!), and thought that this is something I could try making at home.

There are a bunch of recipes out there for both hot and iced chai lattes but many of them involve using a black tea base (i.e., orange pekoe) and adding spices.  I wanted to keep this as simple as possible, so I chose to make mine using store bought chai tea bags.  The ones I had on hand were made by PC Chai, although my favourites are the Tazo Chai, Stash Chai Spice Black or Green tea and Tea of India – Cardamom Chai

I based my method on a bunch of different iced tea recipes.  I wanted to make a concentrate to dilute with milk.  The method I followed was:

  • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. 
  • Turn off heat, add 2 tbsp of honey and 6 tea bags.
  • Cover and steep for 6 minutes.
  • Remove tea bags and let cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes).
  • Chill (refrigerate) for minimum 2 h (I left mine overnight).

In the morning I tried 2 different combinations of tea concentrate and milk (I used 1%).  The first was a 1:1 ratio.  This had the level of creaminess that I was going for, but the chai flavour was not as strong.  The second batch was a 2:1 tea to milk ratio.  This had stronger chai flavour but was not as creamy as I would like.  In both cases the sweetness level was subtle – certainly less than what you’d get at Starbucks, but I would prefer it less sweet. 

Both versions were tasty, but I would prefer the 1:1 ratio with a stronger concentrate.  Next time I would add another 2 teabags (for a total of 8) to the boiling water – several of the sites suggested that to make stronger iced tea add more bags since steeping longer would increase the bitterness.  I also think a different brand may have a stronger flavour so once our current stash runs out I’ll likely try the Tea India brand next. 

Another idea I might try is using sweetened condensed milk as a sweetener to each serving.  I have a feeling this would take it closer to the Starbucks sweetness level!

I’ll definitely continue experimenting with the method until I get it *just right* but for now it is more than tasty enough to enjoy!

 

 

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