This matcha chai latte is a creamy blend of spices and matcha, perfect when you want to mix up your drink routine a little bit!
How to Make
This beverage is made of two parts: matcha and (masala) chai. Gold star for you if you guessed right!
The matcha is much quicker to make than the masala chai, so let’s start with the latter.
I want to preface with this: I am not a masala chai pro nor am I from a culture that typically makes masala chai, so I’d recommend referencing the following posts from Piping Pot Curry, Dassana’s Veg Recipes and Indian Healthy Recipes for more info.
Now that I have established myself as a masala chai newb, grab your whole spices and some ginger, and smash them gently.
Ideally, this would be done with a mortar and pestle, but I typically use the flat end of a rolling pin to break the whole spices down in the pot I’ll be using to cook the masala chai in later. We love a good makeshift moment.
The spices don’t need to be ground completely into a dust. So long as the spices are broken open enough to infuse into the milk, you’re solid. It should also be pretty fragrant (if the mix isn’t smelling spicy yet, smush a little more).
Then, add the milk. I like the kind of creaminess that the chai gets when you only use milk, especially since the decadence will be mellowed out by the bitter matcha and a good amount of ice later on.
Also want to point out that this is not the traditional way to make masala chai – you typically would make the tea with water, and then add milk and boil it at the end until aerated and thickened.
Once you add the milk, place the pot over medium heat. Bring the milk and spices to a gentle boil to start infusing the spices into the milk.
Nervous about the pot boiling over? I would recommend 1) sticking around the stove so you can make decisive action before you end up with caked on milk residue messiness in your kitchen and 2) lowering the heat.
In traditional masala chai, letting the milk bubble and boil away helps develop the flavor, so not the end of the world if that does happen.
Once the milk and spices have boiled for a few minutes, add the tea and turn off the heat. Let the milky tea steep for 30 minutes.
Strain off the spices and ginger, and discard them. They’ve done all they can for you and your masala chai.
Stir in a little bit of sugar and salt to season, then set aside.
Onto the matcha!
In a matcha bowl (or another shallow bowl with enough room to whisk), add the matcha and hot water. Whisk (preferably with a bamboo matcha whisk, but a metal whisk could work in a pinch) until the matcha powder is fully combined into the water, and the top is frothy.
Using hot water and whisking thoroughly are key to making sure that your matcha is smooth. You don’t want any grainy matcha bits on your tongue when you sip your drink, do you?
Add a little salt and sugar to the matcha to season that as well, then you’re ready to assemble.
Start by filling a large glass half full with ice.
The next part is dependent on how you want the beverage to look. For anyone who strictly subscribes to the delicious not gorgeous model: dump everything in, give it a stir, and retreat to your couch with your treat in hand.
If you do care a teensy bit, you can try layering or swirling the two layers together.
Pour the chai in first. It’s cooler than the matcha, and milk is already denser than water when at the same temperature, so it’ll stay at the bottom of the cup.
Then, position a spoon with the tip touching the inside wall of the glass. Slowly dribble the matcha into the spoon, and let it drip onto the masala chai from there.
When you use this pouring method, the matcha won’t jostle the chai as much as versus pouring the matcha directly onto the chai.
For anyone who doesn’t want to be quite as careful about letting the matcha fall into place one drop at a time on top, you can pour the matcha a little more quickly into the spoon. You’ll end up with more of a swirly effect.
You can see the layered look in the below photos, and the swirly look in the above pics.
Once you’ve finished enjoying the look of this drink, make sure to give it a good stir to combine the matcha and masala chai. This way, you’ll get plenty of that creamy, spicy masala chai and the slight bitterness of the matcha to cut through.
I’m very vocal about how much I like ginger in my masala chai (in college I feel like I lived off of my friend’s ginger chai), though I know this isn’t a universal opinion. You can always omit the ginger should you want to.
You can also play around with the other spices.
Not a huge fan of nutmeg? Omit or decrease that. In love with cinnamon? Throw in an extra half or whole stick.
It won’t be traditional, but hell, you’re here looking at a matcha chai post made by a Cantonese person, which already isn’t traditional.
Instead of whole spices, you can use pre-ground spices. I would recommend being pretty cautious about the amounts of each that you use, since they can be a lot stronger than the whole spices.
I personally like using the whole spices because they taste fresher to me (hard to tell how long ground spices have been sitting on a store shelf and then how long they’ve been languishing in your home).
Although I use loose-leaf tea leaves in this recipe, feel free to opt for tea bags if that’s more your (or your pantry’s) speed. I’d sub in 2 tea bags in place of the 1 tablespoon of tea leaves I call for here.
Another note – I used Darjeeling from Suraj Tea in this masala chai, although another black tea (like Assam, mmm) would also be delicious.
I would recommend sticking to a black tea, preferably something without any fruity notes. There’s enough going on within this drink without any bergamot oil or fake mango flavors infused into the tea.
You can use decaf black tea. The matcha already has a lot of caffeine, so I understand if you want to turn things down a notch.
I treated myself to some of Roots and Craft’s matcha for this concoction, and it definitely makes a difference to use nice matcha vs the cheap, brownish stuff! Their matcha is really delicious served plain, or in something a little more extravagant like a vanilla matcha latte or a matcha macchiato.
My go to milk for this recipe is soy milk. It’s convenient to keep a few boxes in my closet without it taking up fridge space, and I like the flavor and texture the most of any of the non-dairy milks I’ve tried.
That being said, use any other kind of milk that you enjoy drinking. I’d start with whole milk or coconut milk, or even oat milk (not my vibe but you do you).
Maybe you’re thinking, it’s winter, I want something hot, pleaseeee tell me how to make that.
Easy – don’t add ice. The drink might be too intense without a bit of ice to dilute it, so you can always add a bit of hot water to the beverage if you find that to be true for you.
Make sure to taste some of the masala chai before assembling. In case it cools down too much during the steep period, you can re-heat it at this point.
My preferred method is in the microwave, or you can return it to its original pot to re-warm.
You can make the masala chai ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for up to a few days. This is especially useful if you don’t have time or energy to stand over a pot in the morning (hello there, fellow non-morning people).
I wouldn’t recommend making the matcha ahead of time, since it can get kind of powdery. This is the fastest part though, so it shouldn’t take too long to whip up a little bit of it and pour over the pre-made chai.
- 2 cardamom pods
- 4 whole cloves
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 pods star anise
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 3 black peppercorns
- 1" knob ginger peeled
- 1 cup milk of your choice
- 1 tablespoon black tea leaves
- 2 pinches kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon matcha
- ⅓ cup hot water
Smash the spices under broken down slightly and fragrant. You can do this with a mortar and pestle, or just the flat wide end of a handle of a spatula or the end of a rolling pin.
Place the spices and milk in a small pot and bring to a boil. Add the tea leaves and boil for another minute.
Pull the masala chai off the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves and spices, stir in a pinch of salt and the half of the sugar, and cool.
In a matcha bowl, add the hot water and the matcha, then whisk gently until foamy. Add a pinch of salt and the rest of the sugar.
To a glass, fill it about ⅓ to ½ full with ice. Pour in the chai, then the matcha, and stir before enjoying!
I like using soy milk and Darjeeling tea here, but any other kind of milk and black tea works!
You can make the masala chai up to a few days in advance and store in the fridge. Make the matcha when you’re ready to have this drink, and assemble then!