Are you one of the millions of people that suffer from pumpkin spice latte withdrawal?
Right now it’s peak pumpkin spice season. October’s crisp air and pumpkin carving activities beg for an appropriate beverage accompaniment. In November it’s only logical to have pumpkin spice, given that for most it’s the only month of the year when they consume actual pumpkin pie. And cinnamon, the basis of any good pumpkin spice recipe, is essentially the signature spice of the December holiday season. Yes, the sources of pumpkin spice everything are plentiful right now, during what some have called the most wonderful time of the year.
But soon comes January, the most barren of months when everything good disappears, including pumpkin spice. In just a few short weeks, those who suffer from pumpkin spice latte addiction will be stumbling through the cold, bleak dregs of winter, desperate for that foamy, frothy sweetness of better days.
If this describes you, then the Chai Spice Latte is your methadone.
You’ve probably see chai on the menu board of your local coffee shop, but if you are unfamiliar with the concept, chai is a sweet spiced black tea that is generally served with equal parts milk. Furthermore, preliminary research revealed that chai tea and pumpkin spice contain a number of the same spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and (surprise!) black pepper. The crucial difference is chai’s inclusion of cardamom and the exclusion of nutmeg, which makes chai more perfumey and less sweet than pumpkin spice.
To order this drink, simply go into any coffee shop (chai tea is a pretty standard drink anywhere, not just Starbucks), and order a chai tea with your desired milk choice and AT LEAST ONE SHOT OF ESPRESSO. It is key that you ask for a shot of espresso, since chai does not traditionally have espresso in it. The standard amount of espresso per drink is one shot of espresso for a 12 oz drink, 2 shots for a 16 oz drink and 3 shots for a 20 oz drink. However, depending on the amount of caffeine you want and how sweet or bitter you like your drink, the number of espresso shots may change.
If you desire a high level of sweetness, further compensation might be necessary, such as adding an extra teaspoon or two of sugar or even a shot of vanilla or cinnamon syrup. If the beverage needs a little extra spice, many places now offer shakers of cinnamon and even nutmeg. For the full experience, you can even ask for the whipped cream on top.
The best part about the chai spice latte? It is available pretty much everywhere and at any time of the year. Depending on the brand and mix of the tea, your chai spice latte may be sweeter or spicier, but it’s nothing you can’t adjust at the sugar and cream station. Also, since the chai flavor comes primarily from the spice blend, a basic chai spice latte has less calories than the pumpkin spice latte, which is flavored with sugar-based syrups.
Don’t let your life be ruled by the whims of Big Nutmeg and the Pumpkin Spice Mafia. Try a Chai Spice Latte today!
(And yes, Big Nutmeg and the Pumpkin Spice Mafia is a totally awesome band name and it would be great to see someone make good use of it).