Our baristas are becoming increasingly proficient at getting our coffee to your table tasting great and looking even better. We wanted to develop a new addition to the menu that offered something for the non-coffee drinkers and we felt that the chai latte, with it’s use of exotic spices common in Scandinavian cuisine, was the obvious choice.
We aren’t trying to kid anyone into thinking that we have invented it, the Chai Latte is available in all the chain coffee shops and there are even versions you can buy off the supermarket shelf so we needed to do some research to see what was out there. Starbucks use a syrup and Costa use a powder with the resulting drinks being sweet and creamy, with a certain thick richness and a relatively pleasant aftertaste dominated by cinnamon. From the supermarket we tried the ‘Drink Me’ Chai Latte powder, this produced a similar drink to Costa’s but a swift look at the ingredients on the label and the various thickening agents led to a quick decision that this powder wouldn’t be for us.
It was immediately obvious we were going to have to try something else. We wanted a drink with similar richness and texture to the chain offerings but with spices powerful enough to be tasted through the milk and no nasty extra ingredients.
We decided to go back to basics and after 6 weeks of experimentation we progressed to a drink with a pleasant sweetness and colour, but we realised we needed the help of an expert to get the spicing right.
Fortunately for us we were already working with Syndi Duke from Asharun Spices – a Harrogate based spice merchant. Syndi provides ground cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, caraway seeds, coriander seeds and a few other spices we use on a daily basis in the café so we engaged her help in developing the Chai Latte.
To create our very own chai latte syrup we start by infusing Deluxe Breakfast Tea from The Tea Experience with water. This is then strained.
The remaining liquid is then poured into a pan and sugar and out unique chai spice blend is added. This is left to reduce to a thick syrup texture.
Once the mixture has thickened, the liquid is then strained again to ensure smoothness. It is then danced into a clean bottle and left to cool.
The syrup has been created using only natural ingredients, to serve it we mix with milk and texture with the steam wand to a latte consistency. Our drink is served in a glass with a sprinkle of cinnamon but it has a fiery ginger ‘afterburn’ that sets it apart from the rest.