Snow on our back deck, right before Thanksgiving!
My theory is, if it's not going to be sunny, it should at least be either warm, pouring down rain, or snowing. Dark, dreary, cold, and drizzling? No thanks! :)
This year, we got a nice dusting of snow before Thanksgiving. It lasted a few days, and the children especially loved playing in it! I liked just being able to open the shades/curtains and see a beautiful whiteness outside while I stayed in the house and sipped my hot tea. ;)
But, whether it's snowy right now where you live, or only cold and dreary (as most of the Seattle winter seems to be!), one of my favorite Winter luxuries is a hot fresh Chai Tea Latte!
I've made from-scratch chai tea, and while it is delicious, sometimes I want something a little easier and, okay, I'll admit it... something that tastes a little more like Starbucks. ;)
The "secret"? I use Celestial Seasonings India Spice Chai tea for the base. Add some organic sugar and cream, and this chai tea latte is deliciously similar to Starbucks Chai Tea Lattes. I would say exactly like but, tasted side-by-side, it is not exactly 100% like. Very, very close though!
Starbucks uses the Tazo brand chai tea concentrate, which can be purchased in the coffee and tea section of the grocery store. The concentrate does taste very much like the teabags used in this recipe, but when Joshua and I did side-by-side comparisons, we definitely preferred this recipe versus making chai from the Tazo concentrate. The Tazo concentrate has a strange aftertaste (almost a "boxed" taste to it, which I didn't expect) whereas this recipe tastes fresh and vibrant.
I have had Starbucks' Chai Tea Lattes on two occasions, and I think this homemade version comes really super close to their flavor. Add in the convenience of making them at home and cost savings, and this is definitely the way to go, even over buying boxes of Tazo concentrate! :) And, helping to confirm my opinion that the Celestial Seasonings India Spice Chai tea tastes like Starbucks Chai Tea Lattes, I noticed several reviews of this tea at Amazon.com mentioning that this is the closest they've come to recreating the Starbucks Chai Tea Latte. :)
I sometimes get the Celestial Seasonings India Spice Chai tea at grocery stores with a coupon, or at Big Lots (usually $2/box) or on sale at Rite Aid ($1.49/box). Our local Big Lots has been out of this tea, and I haven't had many coupons or spotted good sales recently, so I ordered a 6-box case at Amazon.com for $15.31, using SwagBucks gift certificates. These Chai Tea Lattes are one of my favorite winter treats and I also love serving them to guests! :)
Cost comparison for 12 ounces:
Starbucks Chai Tea Latte $2.95 (or more)
Chai tea latte made with Tazo concentrate: $1.15
Chai tea latte made with this recipe: $0.40 ($0.32 if using milk instead of cream)
So while this recipe isn't my typical from-scratch recipe, it is "mostly homemade" and remarkably like Starbucks Chai Tea Lattes -- for a fraction of the price. :) (The bonus is that in my homemade version, the sugar can be adjusted to taste. See the recipe for notes on sugar content of Starbucks! It's a lot!!)
Have you re-created a favorite Starbucks beverage? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section! :) Or, if you've tried this Celestial Seasonings India Spice Chai tea, I'd love to hear your thoughts! From all the boxed/bagged chai teas I've tried, I think this one is the best!! :)