Both coffee and tea pair very well with freshly baked, homemade muffins, but they don’t usually make their way into the muffins themselves. Coffee cake and coffee cake muffins, for instance, are not coffee flavored – they are just meant to pair with coffee. Coffee and tea can both be fantastic flavors for baked goods, muffins included, and you’ll get plenty of tea in these Chai Tea Muffins with Chai Streusel.
The muffins are made with strong chai tea, which gives them a black tea and spice flavor. I recommend brewing double or triple strenght chai tea for this recipe so that you get as much tea flavor as possible. That being said, the muffins are also packed with chai spices, like cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cardamom to ensure that you get a well-rounded chai flavor in every bite. They’re moist, tender and topped off with a spiced streusel topping that adds a nice buttery crunch, as well as a little extra spice.
As you might expect, these pair extremely well with a cup of hot chai tea or with a chai tea latte, but they also pair well with a regular cup of coffee.
Chai tea lattes are one of my favorite types of tea latte. Spicy chai tea is strong enough to stand up to a little milk, which generally takes the edge off some of the more aggressive notes in the chai, and chai can handle a lot of sugar if you like things sweet. They’re hugely popular at coffee shops, and I’ve even seen a few flavors of chai tea drinks come out over the past few months. When I make a chai tea latte at home, however, I like to keep things simple and make up a Vanilla Chai Tea Latte.
As with all tea lattes, I recommend going for a double strength tea, which you can make by using twice as many tea bags/twice as much tea as you normally would for the same amount of water. This means that you’ll have plenty of spicy chai flavor to stand up to the milk and vanilla. The vanilla flavoring comes from my homemade vanilla bean simple syrup, which is something that I always try to have on hand for making drinks. A bottle will keep for weeks in the fridge, which is probably longer than it will take to use it up! You can also buy vanilla syrup specifically made for flavoring coffee, though the homemade syrup adds even more vanilla flavor than the store-bought stuff. Vanilla extract is an easy ingredient to reach for, but it actually adds the scent of vanilla to a drink like this one, not the taste.
Pumpkin spice drinks are huge in coffee shops this time of year, and coffee is a flavor that goes very well with pumpkin. Tea, however, can be an even better match for those distinctive pumpkin pie spices and it is a shame that you won’t see more pumpkin spice tea drinks on those menu boards. Fortunately, they are easy to make at home as long as you have some tea, milk and pumpkin spice syrup on hand.
You can buy a bottle of Pumpkin Spice Syrup from companies like Torani and keep them at home so that you can easily add a hint of pumpkin spice to any coffee and tea drinks during the holidays. I prefer to make my own syrup so that I know it is all natural and contains just the right blend of spices that I like. I start my drinks with a spicy, flavorful tea. Rooibus teas often work very well, as chai chai teas, though they give you a very strong spice baseline to build upon. I sweeten the tea with my pumpkin spice syrup, top it with steamed milk and serve.
The Chocolate Chai Tea Latte is one of Starbucks’ newest seasonal offerings – and it is pretty delicious if you are a chai tea fan. The drink is essentially half hot chocolate and half chai tea, and the end result is pretty similar to a spicy Mexican Mocha, without the coffee in it. They serve it both hot and iced, but I’m partial to the hot version – and since I happen to have some chai tea latte mix at home, I decided to work on a homemade version.
The chai tea latte mix – I used Tazo, but there are different brands – is a strong, spicy tea that comes sweetened. It’s definitely a nice thing to have on hand if you like chai lattes! If you don’t have the mix, you can brew up some strong chai tea and sweeten it to taste, then use that as the base of the drink. I would opt for a double strength tea with that option, just to ensure that you get enough spice in your drink.
The rest of the drink is easy to put together: chai latte mix combines with cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla, and the whole thing is topped of with steamed milk. I used Rodelle vanilla extract and cocoa powder, since that is my go-to brand, but you can make this work with any brands you have at home. Hot, spicy and a fantastic drink to warm up with on a cool day. Continue reading »