What I'm Drinking: Coconut Iced Chai Latte

I'm a huge fan of chai lattes. I'm pretty particular about how a chai latte should taste -- I definitely prefer a spicier flavor and prefer it to not taste too sweet. I recently made the hour drive south to our nearest Starbucks in Wausau to give the new Oprah Chai a try. Though more expensive than a regular Starbucks chai latte (admittedly, my favorite kind of chai; don't judge), I really did like the flavor of Oprah's version -- the spicy flavors of chai tea (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves) really shine through and the sweetness is just right -- not too much, nor too little.

Unfortunately, given that our nearest Starbucks is an hour's drive away, more often than not, if I want a chai latte, I have to make my own. Recently, on a particularly warm Spring day, I made myself a batch of chai tea concentrate to use in iced lattes. Rather than use milk in my iced chai, I opted to add a little bit of tropical flavor with the addition of coconut milk. You could use your favorite milk -- dairy, soy, almond -- in this recipe. Or if you're feeling particularly indulgent, use half-and-half or cream to really amp up this iced latte's luxurious flavor.

Coconut Iced Chai Latte (printer-friendly version)
makes 6-8 servings

4 cups filtered water
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 whole cloves
3 whole allspice berries
2 whole star anise pods
2 cardamom pods, crushed
6 chai tea bags

1. Add the water, sugar, and spices to a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from the heat and add six chai tea bags.
2. Allow the tea to steep for at least 30 minutes; the longer it steeps, the stronger the flavor will be. (I allowed my tea to steep for one hour.)
3. Remove the tea bags and then strain the mixture to remove the spices. Pour the chai tea concentrate into a pitcher or a bottle with a lid (a large mason jar works well) and place in the fridge to chill for at least one hour.

To serve: fill a highball glass with ice. Then fill the glass 3/4 of the way full with the chai tea concentrate. Top with coconut milk and serve.