Iced Cocoa Nib Chai Tea Latte
Have you ever noticed that it’s almost impossible to get an unsweetened (or even lightly sweetened) chai latte in coffee shops, tea shops, cafes or bakeries? Chai lattes are almost always made from a chai concentrate, a fancy name for chai flavored syrup, which means you can’t have an unsweetened chai latte. I don’t enjoy sweetened drinks and this is one of those things that I find extremely frustrating, second only to fine dining restaurants serving awful tea. I understand that most establishments have constraints in the preparation of drinks, but there must be a solution.
I was craving a good unsweetened iced chai tea latte and my only option was to make it myself from scratch. My recipe is unsweetened (except for 1 teaspoon honey for depth and flavor, added to 2 ½ cups chai tea). If you like, you can add a sweetener of your choice to the finished latte, before pouring over ice. Cocoa nibs add depth and body to the chai tea and a nice crunchy topping.
Iced cocoa nib chai tea latte
3 teaspoons cocoa nibs
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 allspice berries
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds (the little ones inside the pods)
Fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 cinnamon stick
2 ½ cups water
3 teaspoons black tea (I used Ceylon and India by Harney and Sons)
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup almonds soaked overnight, skin removed
1 cup water
To blend and garnish the latte
½ teaspoon cocoa powder, sifted
Lightly crush the black peppercorns, cloves, allspice berries and cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle. Place them in a medium saucepan over medium heat and toast for a couple of minutes. Add the water, cinnamon stick, ginger and cocoa nibs and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tea, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let steep for 5 minutes. Pour through a strainer and stir in the honey. Chill until ready to assemble.
In a blender or using an immersion blender, blend almonds and water until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and / or a cheese cloth. This yields approximately ¾ - 1 cup almond milk (reserve the almond solids for a second batch of almond milk or use in other recipes, like oatmeal or granola). Chill until ready to assemble.
To assemble 1 latte:
Blend ¾ cup chai tea with ½ cup almond milk and ½ teaspoon cocoa powder. Pour over ice and garnish with cocoa nibs. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I was not paid to mention or review businesses, products or services. This is my honest opinion.