Chillin’ in the fridge
The next morning, I took my mason jars of chai goop into our St. Anthony store and steeped up some Breakfast Assam as the base for my chai experiments. Let me pause for just a minute and say this: none of these non-dairy solutions will have the same taste and feel as the original dairy TeaSource Chai. It can’t be the same because we can’t use the same ingredients. So, from here on, let’s try not to compare it to the original.
1) Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk (made with honey) – I had the most hope for this since it was a naturally thicker milk while still tasting and looking creamy. The reduced milk also had the closest consistency to the dairy sweetened condensed milk. It was creamy and sweet, but the least spicy of them all.
2) Sweetened Condensed Almond Milk (made with sugar) – This one was the first one I tried, and at first it felt thin. But after sampling it and the others multiple times, it grew on me. It was the spiciest and the creamiest of the three.
3) Cream of Coconut – I was so nervous about this one because of the strong coconut smell. However, I was really surprised with how well it cupped. It was creamy and spicy. This one had the closest mouthfeel to the original chai (oops, we’re trying not to compare to the original). Of the three, this one was the sweetest with a fun tropical hint that didn’t annoy me.
In the end, my favorite of these non-dairy chai mixes was the almond milk. Now this is only my opinion and I recognize that we all have different preferences and tastes -- I tend to prefer less sweet and more savory things. However, if I wanted to go with the easiest solution (because let’s face it…I am a working mom of young children and have little time) I would make the cream of coconut and save myself from standing over a stove for 45 minutes constantly stirring milk while it reduced. I would be curious to hear about what you think of these suggestions. Have you tried any other techniques for adding some sort of non-dairy milk or cream to your tea? What’s your favorite way to make Chai? Tell us in the comments below!
**Something else to note: Because of space and health code restrictions, TeaSource is unable to offer these non-dairy options in our stores. Bummer, I know.
TeaSource “Tech Guru”
Non-Dairy Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 3 cups non-dairy milk of your choice
- ½ cup of sugar (or try your favorite sweetener)
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt