Chai Latte

I love coffee.  A few years back I bought a small home espresso machine, so I could make fancy coffee anytime I’d like.  Which also means that I get to have fun and experiment with syrups.    I typically make my own since stores in my area have very limited flavor availability.

After I read a food-centric graphic novel for Cook the Books club, I just knew I wanted to make a chai syrup.

Here my review of Relish:

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the more enjoyable memoirs I've read. As a cartoonist, Knisley writes about her childhood in graphic novel format, which lends itself to this foodie memoir. At the ends of chapters, she adds graphic recipes which are informative and visually appealing.

Overall the book seems honest, without all the name dropping and pretentiousness that often comes with memoirs written in this time period. Highly recommend.

View all my reviews

In the book, the author includes a recipe for the “spice tea” her mother used to make.  I made my own tweaks to the recipe, omitting the black tea in favor of espresso and adding brown sugar right away instead of adding honey later.  

The result is a sweet, spicy syrup that’s perfect for a morning latte.  I also love syrups because you can add as much or little as you prefer!  Me?  I prefer just a kiss of sweetness with 1 tablespoon of syrup, but those who really like a kick of flavor and sweetness can add more!

Recipe note:

-In the original recipe black tea bags were added to the chai syrup while it steeped (I skipped this step since I was adding espresso)

-I added a second cinnamon stick in place of star anise, which I did not have

-the original recipe was sweetened with maple syrup, I prefer brown sugar

Chai Latte

1 shot espresso

6 ounces milk or milk substitute (I used almond milk)

1-3 tablespoons chai syrup (recipe below)

Mix together all ingredients.  Top with milk foam, if desired.

Chai Syrup

Adapted from Relish by Lucy Knisley

2 cups water

8 whole cloves

3 cardamom pods, crushed

1-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1-2 cinnamon sticks

1 vanilla bean, cut in half

1 cup brown sugar

Place all ingredients except the brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 15 minutes, then stir in the brown sugar until dissolved.

Pour the syrup into a jar, while straining out the solids.  Cover and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book, Amy. I agree with you that the graphic novel format worked nicely with the content. I also appreciated her honesty and the recipes are fun. Great choice for your beverage and lovely mug :) Thank you so much for your contribution to Cook the Books :)

  2. It was a very different read for me but I did enjoy it. I am not a huge fan of flavored coffees but I do love the flavor profile that you created.


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