I don’t think I can say how much I truly love Fall. I feel so lucky to live in a place that has so much color around this time of year, and all this cooler weather calls for those lovely warm Fall spices and flavors. Well… OK. Here’s the truth: I’m really not a huge pumpkin fan. There, I said it. Don’t worry, we can still be friends.
I’m just not that in love with pumpkin in EVERYTHING, anyone get me?? There are just a few things I like it in: pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and my new guilty pleasure… a pumpkin chai latte! YES PLEASE!
I don’t know what it is about them. I’ve never been a huge fan of Starbucks pumpkin lattes or drinks, mostly because they are either too sweet or are loaded with too many calories. However, the other day I came across the idea of adding pumpkin to your chai latte and gave it a shot myself. It was so delicious, I immediately decided I needed to make one every day for the next week. Because why not.
When I made my own version of this recipe, I tried it a few different times with a few different methods. I found that the best method was making it on the stovetop, although microwaving works well too, and by using more milk than water. I also use black tea bags instead of chai tea. This is just a personal preference, as I always have black tea on hand and not chai tea. It won’t take away from the chai flavor, as many of the same spices are still added to this drink. I also add a good amount of cinnamon, which makes this drink taste more like chai tea and a little on the spicier side, but I like my chai that way! If you want to use a chai tea bag instead of black tea, I’d suggest cutting down the additional spices you add in (maybe by half). Here are a few more tips to help when making this:
If you don’t want to make this on the stovetop, you can certainly make it using your microwave. However, I find it easier with this version to just use all milk. Start by placing 1.25 cups of milk in a microwave safe mug (a larger on preferably), and warm it in the microwave. You don’t want to boil your milk, but you want it hot enough to steep the tea. I heat mine a little bit less than what I would normally do with water. After heating the milk, remove from the microwave and add your tea bag. COVER your mug with a small plate or coaster! This will help keep your milk warm while it takes a bit longer for the tea to steep, about 6-7 minutes.
Once done, dunk the tea bag up and down a few times before removing it, and add the rest of your ingredients. Stir well to combine, then add back into the microwave for another short 20-25 seconds just to warm through. The only downside to using the microwave is that you may not get a stronger tea flavor as you would by steeping in water first, like I do with the stovetop version. It also may take a little extra effort to make sure all the spices dissolve. But honestly, it’s a quick way to enjoy the same drink.
If you want to make this all-milk version on the stovetop, see notes at the bottom below the recipe.
If you are looking for a shortcut so you don’t have to measure out and mix in spices every time, try this little hack: mix your pumpkin and spice ingredients together in a bowl in a large batch (double or triple the recipe, or more for an even larger batch!), then cover and place in the refrigerator. When you are ready to make your latte, follow the recipe for steeping the tea… add your maple syrup and vanilla, and then add 3 Tablespoons of the pumpkin spice mixture instead of adding them all separately.
One thing to note is that you can easily double this recipe and make in a little larger saucepan (depending on the size you use). I like to top my drink with some homemade coconut whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. You can also serve it with steamed/foamed milk. Not a tea person, or like a stronger drink? Try adding a little espresso to it. I can only imagine it would be even more delicious.