Starbucks Knock-Off Chai Tea Latte

by Heather on February 25, 2013

Starbucks Knock-Off Chai Tea Latte || Heather's Dish

I want to be real with you guys: I am having some serious margarita cravings lately (I blame Jessica, Deb, and my true-blue Texas roots). Sure, it’s still wintery and there are snow storms and ice storms and cold winds galore, but all I see is that warm (nay, HOT) weather is right around the corner. It’s almost time for daylight galore and sipping margs on the back porch.

Oh, and y’all?  Don’t even get me started on grilling. I seriously cannot wait to whip out the grill and move all of my cooking outdoors!

Starbucks Knock-Off Chai Tea Latte || Heather's Dish

HOWEVER.  Even with all of the margarita and grilling and summertime (oh, and did I mention homemade salsa and guac and trying my hand at herb-gardening?!) I still can’t get over how much I enjoy hot coffee and great lattes. When I worked at Starbucks many many many moons ago I thought that the chai tea lattes were a little weird and was super scared to try them. I wish I could remember what changed my mind, but one day I just went for it and fell head-over-heels in love with the stuff.

I should tell you though: I like mine EXTRA chai-y and usually steep an extra chai teabag in my latte. I want it to practically burn my throat on the way down.

And now y’all think I’m weird or you’re nodding in agreement. I understand my little quirks may not be normal ;)

Starbucks Knock-Off Chai Tea Latte || Heather's Dish

Here’s a problem though: when I go to Starbucks I really don’t want to spend a ton of money on a latte, even though I really have no other means (i.e. espresso machine) to make one of my own.  The good news though?  You totally don’t even need one to get a really great latte!  This recipe is specifically for an at-home version of the chai tea syrup that you can make at home and use with hot milk, but if you mix the “steamed” milk with coffee you get a latte-like concoction that will save you a little money too…you know, so you can use it later on a yummy marg and a fabulous patio.

Flavor and extra cash?  Let’s do this!

Starbucks Knock-Off Chai Tea Latte || Heather's Dish


For the syrup:

  • 1 box Tazo Chai Tea bags (I used the whole leaf tea but have used the regular kind as well – you’ll just need 16 teabags)
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup sugar

For each latte:

  • 1 cup milk of choice (the milk in the photo is nonfat cow’s milk, but I have also used almond and soymilk as well)
  • high-speed blender
  • ground cinnamon (optional)

***First let me note that I tried various methods until I got what I considered the best and most authentic-tasting syrup. In short I steep the tea first and then add the sugar and reduce the mixture because I feel like it best condenses the flavor. It does take a little longer than just making a simple syrup and steeping the tea in that, but I found the flavor of the tea is much stronger in the finished product when you do it using the method below.***


Bring the 4 cups of water just up to a boil, then remove from the heat source and steep the teabags in the water for 10 minutes. Remove the teabags, carefully letting them drain completely, and then pour in the sugar. Bring the mixture up to a simmer over medium-high heat, and then reduce to medium. Allow to simmer until it reduces by half, about 15-20 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes or so. Remove from the heat, poor into an airtight container, and let it cool in the container without the lid until it’s at room temperature. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days.


To make a latte, pour 6 Tbsp of the syrup into the mug you want to use for your latte (bigger is better here!). Side note: I usually microwave my syrup for a few seconds to take the chill off. Meanwhile, heat the cup of milk in a saucepan just until small bubbles begin to form around the edges. Pour carefully into your blender and VERY carefully pulse slightly to start to aerate the milk. Blend on low for about 30 seconds, then let it sit for 30-45 seconds to let the milk and foam separate. Pour the hot milk into the mug with the syrup and top with foam and ground cinnamon if desired.



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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laurie {Simply Scratch} February 25, 2013

Yes yes yes! This looks amazing Heather…I’m totally am down with the chai!


2 Julie @Savvy Eats February 25, 2013

I love using the blender to make the milk frothy– I use my immersion blender the same way!


3 Heather February 25, 2013

I’d love to have an immersion blender – not in the cards yet, but some day!


4 Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough February 25, 2013

LOVE the chai! Mmm yes.

Also, let me know when you’ll be drinking those margs on your porch and I’ll be right over. ;)


5 Lindsey (Lou Lou Biscuit) February 25, 2013

This is genius! I love dirty chai lattes (add a shot of espresso), but they are even MORE expensive than a regular chai latte! I should dust off the espresso maker and give this a shot.


6 janetha February 25, 2013

Oh, yum! Great idea! Now that I don’t drink coffee, chai is my go-to. I have at least one a day!


7 Heather February 25, 2013

You will LOVE IT!


8 Kristen February 25, 2013

I may have a slight Starbucks addiction that needs curbed. I love this recipe! Can’t wait to try it :)


9 Heather February 26, 2013

I hope you like it! I’m telling you, the milk thing is a life-changer!


10 Megan February 25, 2013

I’m in love with the chai, it’s so frothyyy I wanna dieee!!!


11 Heather February 26, 2013

OMG I’m in love with this comment! HAHAHA!


12 Urban Wife February 26, 2013

This is AWESOME! I love chai tea lattes but not so much the $5 every time at Starbucks. I can’t wait to try this version at home.


13 Heather February 26, 2013

I think you’ll love it!


14 Juliana Shideler June 17, 2013

Honesty? I like this one better than the Starbucks one. I made it once, when it finishes I just bought the syrup at Starbucks (after all it cost just $6,00). But I didn’t like… so I’m making my own syrup again. It taste better !!!!!


15 Mariah K July 15, 2013

Love this! I think I’m going to use a little less sugar in my next batch just so I can really get the POW of the chai. This was super easy and I loved the blender/milk trick. SO AWESOME and so much money saved. Sorry Starbucks.


16 Heather July 16, 2013

Haha true, sorry Starbucks ;) I think I may try the less sugar thing on my next batch too!


17 Rob September 8, 2013

Hi Heather! Do you have a recipe for the iced chia latte? They’re dreamy. They used to make me think of pumpkin pie but I didn’t get that feeling, yesterday, when I had one for the first time in about six years. It had so much ice that it was gone in two minutes. I then remembered why I quit Starbucks. Haha So glad I found your website it’s cute. Take care. Rob


18 Heather September 9, 2013

Hey Rob! You know, I never even tried the iced chai when I worked at Starbucks! You may be able to make the syrup and then refrigerate and add milk/ice as you want. If you try it let me know how it works out – I would love to try it iced finally!


19 colleen November 17, 2013

hi rob did you ever try the iced chai wight his recipe? i would love to try it!


20 Hannah September 20, 2013

hi!! love the recipe, I was wondering how much it makes?? I’m dying to try it out cos chai lattes are my FAVE!! thank you!! :)


21 Heather September 20, 2013

Hey Hannah! It makes enough syrup for about 10-11 lattes!


22 Jackie January 23, 2014

Thanks for sharing this, Heather? I’m enjoying my first chai knock-off as I type! I ended up with about 1.5cups of syrup. Does that sound right? Don’t see 10 servings from that though. But, hey! Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised to learn that I will indeed get that many servings.

I’m with Mariah K. Inasmuch as I will try less sugar. BTW – I used Splenda and it was great. Like you, I LOVE my chai spicy… So… Less sugar… More spice! #OccupyChai


23 Olaf October 8, 2013

You said you also used the whole leaf chai tea, how much do you use of that?
AWESOME recipe, finally an alternative to infusing money into giant corporations!

Greetings from the Netherlands!!


24 Heather October 8, 2013

Hey Olaf! I’m going to be honest, I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was an entire canister of Tazo chai. So maybe 16-ish individual bags? I hope that helps! For me, the spicier the better!


25 Olaf October 9, 2013

Based on what I’ve seen this cannister from Tazo has 1,58 OZ or 45g in it! I cannot buy this in the Netherlands, so I had to find an alternative to it. Still a great recipe!!


26 Steve October 14, 2013

You say 6 Tbsp. of syrup but don’t really say a size of cup/mug. Granted I know it’s really a “to suit your taste” thing but generally are we talking like 1 part syrup : 4 parts milk or some other proportion?
Oh, for nice frothy milk, I highly recommend a Breville milk frother. I’ve had one for a year now and it’s fantastic! Temperature controlled and super quick cleanup.


27 Heather October 14, 2013

Hey Steve! When I said cup for the milk I meant 8 ounces of milk, so the ratio would be 6 Tbsp of the syrup to every 8 ounces of your milk of choice. I hope that helps! And thank you for the tip on the Breville milk frother – I need to get my hands on one of those!


28 Avery October 31, 2013

I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for so long I’m glad I found this one. I add a shot of espresso and use cold milk and ice to make iced dirty chai teas. My roommate and I agree, it is better than Starbucks!


29 Heather October 31, 2013

I’m so glad you guys liked it Avery! And I need to try a dirty chai someday – that was one I was always intimidated to try!


30 Riley November 21, 2013

I think this is the awesomest recipie EVER!!!!!!!! When I was making this, I found out that, once you put the mixture in the mug, it helps to pour a bit of syrup on top……in my opinion!


31 Velma :) November 23, 2013

Oooohhhh eeeeemmmm geeeee! This recipe is Chai-tastic! Seriously!

A few weeks ago I made the mistake of treating my daughter to her first Chai latte at Starbucks. She’s been bugging me for it ever since(at least once a week) and Lord knows I can’t afford it every week – LOL! I am sooooo glad I found your recipe thanks for sharing! :)


32 Heather November 24, 2013

Thanks Velma! I’m so glad you liked it!


33 Jessica December 5, 2013

I just tried this recipe and it’s delicious! Just like Starbucks if not better :) My only question is when making the “syrup” should it become thick like a syrup? Mine tastes good but it stayed liquid when reducing..


34 Heather December 5, 2013

Hey Jessica! Mine was not super thick either; and realistically you don’t want it to be suuuuuper thick because then it wouldn’t mix with the milk as well!


35 Karen January 8, 2014

Thank you so much for this recipe Heather. I just LOVE the Starbucks soy chai tea latte but only treat myself to it on occasion b/c of expense/budgeting, so this was a gem to find. I just made your version. It didn’t have that spice kick to it like I was expecting (and based on your blog I know you like that too. ;-) ) so I thought I did something wrong. And I think I did. I just used 16 tea bags, like you said, however, there are 19 tea bags in the Tazo box, so I had 3 to spare. LOL). Once I’ve used up this batch of syrup I’ll try it again using the whole box & see if those 3 bags make the “spice” difference.

Thanks again! :-)


36 Heather January 9, 2014

Thanks Karen! I hope you like it!


37 Peggy January 8, 2014

Really good, but I would cut the sugar at least in half next time I make it. It’s REALLY sweet.


38 Heather January 9, 2014

Thanks so much for the feedback Peggy! That actually would maybe make it more potent in the spice department – TOTALLY fine by me! :)


39 Jacob January 12, 2014

This looks great! I really like the dirty chai frappuccino as well, do you have any experience with making something similar at home? I would love to try your recipe for the chai tea latte as well as a frap knock off if you have one, Thanks!


40 Heather January 13, 2014

Thank you Jacob! I don’t have any experience with the dirty chai, but I’ve heard a lot of readers really love it! As for a frappuccino knockoff I don’t have one yet, but I’ll work on one for when it warms up a little bit :)


41 Jacob January 16, 2014

Sounds good Heather! I’ll look forward to hearing from you and I’ll let you know if I come up with something good!


42 emily January 29, 2014

Just made an apple chai version and it was amazing and way easier than I thought! Just sweet enough and my magic bullet froths the milk perfectly!


43 Heather February 1, 2014

Hold the phone: APPLE CHAI?! I have GOT to get my hands on some of that!


44 emily February 8, 2014

haha, it was pretty unreal – Im glad it worked because it was the only chai tea I had at the time :)


45 Jessica February 17, 2014

This recipe is amazing. I just made it and I think it’s even better than Starbucks!! Thank you so much!


46 Heather February 18, 2014

YAY! I’m so glad you liked it Jessica!


47 Olivia February 21, 2014

Is it ok if I just blend in kitchen aid mixer with whisk attachment ?


48 Heather February 22, 2014

Hey Olivia! Truth be told I haven’t tried it so I don’t know for certain but I bet it would work! Really you just want to aerate the milk so that it gets nice and foamy!


49 Katie March 12, 2014

I just found this recipe and I am so excited to make my first batch of syrup tonight. I even went out and bought the chai on my lunch break. This will save me so much money! I have a serious Starbucks chai addiction!


50 Heather March 13, 2014

I hope you love it Katie!


51 Savannah Phares March 19, 2014

If i use loose leaf tea, how many tablespoons will i need ?


52 Heather March 19, 2014

Hey Savannah! Since I didn’t use loose leaf tea I can’t give an exact amount, but I would assume it would be about 13-14 tablespoons of tea. Again, that’s a guess, but based on the average tea bag that’s what I came up with :)


53 Savannah Phares March 19, 2014

Oh ok! thank you !i tried to.make me a chai tea latte this morning and it just was not.good
. Im going to try this.tomorrow!


54 anna March 22, 2014

is this for 1 cup of chai????


55 Heather March 23, 2014

Hey Anna! The recipe makes enough syrup for about 10-11 cups!


56 Chris April 1, 2014

Hey I was wondering, when you get hot chais at starbucks, do you order them without water? and is this comparable to that?

because i normally get iced sbux chais which don’t get water added, so i’m wondering if i’ll need to use less water in the syrup if so.

i have tried the boxed tazo chai concentrate that sbux sells but i think it’s pre-watered and kinda weak so i’m trying to find an alternative to that, and cheaper than sbux obviously.

thanks btw, gonna try this recipe this week hopefully. definitely can NOT afford this stuff at sbux as often as i’d like it


57 Heather April 2, 2014

Hey Chris! When I worked at Starbucks they told us that the hot water was supposed to help “activate” the tea concentrate; since this recipe is for the tea concentrate in general I *think* that it’s comparable to a water-less hot chai. When I worked there I would get my chai without water and then also get a Chai teabag steeped in the warm milk for extra spice as well!


58 Kathy April 8, 2014

Hi Heather and thanks so much for this recipe! It’s steeping right now and I can’t wait to try it – love really spicy chai!


59 Kirsti April 21, 2014

THANK YOU!!! Best chai tea lattes ever! I use the Kroger, “Private Selection” to make it even cheaper! I always drink them iced because it is so quicker, perfect for a college student on the go!


60 Heather April 22, 2014

Oh, great tip Kirsti! I’ll have to grab a box at the store next time I’m there!


61 Melina April 22, 2014

Thank you. I’ve tried a million ways, never the right one. I’m going out to buy a half dozen boxes of Tazo Chai tomorrow. Thank you thank you thank you!


62 Heather April 23, 2014

Yay! You’re welcome Melina!


63 Amber Cobb May 13, 2014

I have been on a chai making binge for a week trying to perfect making it at home because while I was on deployment in Afghanistan we had this coffeehouse called GreenBean, and as whenever I had a break from deployment life (once every other week or so) I would go get a chai tea latte…and I loved Starbucks chai tea before….but Green Bean’s version was so much better. Now I’ve been home for a few months because I got sent back 7 months into my deployment for heart problems, not only can I no longer run marathons and keep up and play with my 5 year old boy who just wants to play football with his mommy after she’s been gone on deployment for months, now I can no longer have caffeine (which makes me sad because I love my chai tea and the occasional cup of coffee) and Starbucks doesn’t offer chai in decaf. So I’ve gone through boxes and boxes of chai tea and quite a few recipients trying to get it right. I use Stash’s chai spice in decaf (because it’s the only brand that I’ve found that offers chai in decaf. I just made your recipe…in fact I’m drinking a cup now, and I’m in love….it’s better than Starbucks and Green Bean. It’s the best cup of chai tea I have ever had. THANK YOU THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! It’s been hard adjusting from being young and healthy to having cardiac problems and not being able to do things I used to…let alone not being allowed to eat or drink the same. I know it’s not the end of the world losing out on tea….but sometimes it’s the small things that can make you feel a little bit better. Thanks to you I just took back chai tea. It’s a small step, but it just made my day.


64 Heather May 13, 2014

Thank you so much for sharing your story Amber, and I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’re loving this recipe! Thank you so much for your service :)


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