Chai latte – quite an intriguing term for all the chai lovers out there, right? Well, though it seems to be a ‘foreigner’, it is an Indian beverage. Yes, you heard it right. It is India’s very own Masala Chai or its variants. The demand for this milky, hot and fragrant, mildly spicy drink has been on the rise and is a popular item in almost all cafes even around the world. Often, consumers mistakenly ponder about the presence of coffee in this beverage, though there isn’t even a speck of it, despite the ‘latte’ in its name.
Chai is a popular drink in India and even across the world. The most-loved Chai has an age-old recipe. But it is quite surprising to know that there is a huge surge in demand for Chai lattes across numerous cafes, during recent times. This modern variant of ‘Masala Chai’ appeals to people belonging to all age groups. Café owners say that many have been switching from the regular tea and caffeine-rich cappuccinos to the Chai latte. Often health-conscious consumers prefer this hot beverage as the best alternative, to limit their caffeine intake.
How is Chai Latte prepared? It is prepared by mixing steamed milk with black tea, infused with spices. The process is very similar to preparation of Masala Chai. Cafes might use chai syrup or powder for the ease of brewing. They also add foam toppings to the tea. But, in India we can see Cafes using natural milk froth as the topping. Certain cafes create their signature special blends for Chai latte and often won’t disclose the secret recipe. Chai latte is often presented to the customer by decorating it with cinnamon powder and star anise. It cannot be called a true latte as it does not contain even a hint of espresso. Usually at cafes, milk of the customer’s choice will be served along with freshly steeped chai and a teeny-weeny bit of vanilla syrup.
It is believed that Masala Chai originated in India almost 9000 years ago and the earlier form of Masala Chai contained no milk, but black tea, spices and herbs. Assumptions are that Masala chai was earlier served as Ayurvedic medicine.
Just like Masala chai is loved by all, the Chai latte also has a wider acceptance among the public. Café owners and tea experts believe that its popularity won’t fade away soon. Chai lattes prove to be the perfect key for chai lovers to dive into the past while embracing modernity and this makes it a nice blend that is rich in history as well as in flavour. Be it Chaiwallah’s Masala Chai in the streets or Chai lattes in cafés, India and its very own population still love to discuss anything and everything under the sun, over that cup of hot tea.