Chai adds sweet and spicy flavors to a creamy pumpkin “latte”, making this drink a decadent treat perfect for fall. The pumpkin and chai spices shine through delightfully – kind of like a pumpkin pie in liquid form. Topped with whipped cream, and you won’t miss drinking a fancy coffee shop drink at all. In fact, I prefer my own. (Shhhh…don’t tell, I actually tried a dairy-free version of a pumpkin spice latte at a coffee shop this week. I liked my Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte much better!). Instead of a sugar-high, your body will nourished by this drink’s real food ingredients!
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I got the idea for this recipe when I was having a cup of chai. I realized how the spices in chai would go perfectly with pumpkin and then I remembered a “tea latte” a friend had shared on Instagram. And Ta-Da! This beverage was born.
When I was experimenting with it, my dad came over and I gave him a cup to try. The flavors of the chai and pumpkin came through so much that he didn’t even know that the dollops of coconut whipped cream on top were dairy-free!
A few words about ingredients and dairy-free milk to use.
First, I used this organic fair trade tea, but you can use whatever your favorite is. (Why not use a rooibos chai for a caffeine-free version?). Here is the version of coconut whipped cream I used in these pictures.
And then what milk to use? Obviously, if you weren’t dairy-free, you are free to use milk (I’d suggest whole milk). But when you can’t have dairy, you have a lot of options. Two of my favorites are coconut milk and almond milk. I made this recipe both with canned coconut and with homemade coconut made from coconut flakes. Canned coconut milk is very convenient, but the problem with it (besides being more processed) is that if you don’t water it down, it is very rich, but if you do, it can taste a little watered down (in my opinion). So I ended up using this recipe for coconut milk. I actually used a ratio of 2 cups of coconut flakes to two cups of boiling water (and then just added enough water to equal two cups after straining) for a very rich coconut cream. Let me tell you, I was so full after having this at mid-morning, I had to wait 2 or 3 extra hours for my lunch that day! Not that it tasted too rich while drinking it, but it just satisfied me so well I kind of forget to eat lunch for hours! I was also surprised that my homemade version (as well as the canned) did froth up fairly well.
Speaking of frothing non-dairy milks, I just have an inexpensive IKEA frother . I’ve often been tempted to put one of these automatic frothers on my Christmas wish list (either this one or this one), as I’ve seen them demonstrated and with regular milk, they produce AMAZING results (and simplify the at home process too). But I have been unsure of the results with homemade dairy-free milks. Any one ever tried before? I’ve love to hear about it! (Oh, and there are manual ones like this one too).
Now onto the recipe!
- 3 teabags chai tea
- ¾ cup of hot water
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 cups of milk of choice (I used full fat coconut milk thinned down, and homemade coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (gluten-free, if needed)
- 20-25 drops of liquid stevia or maple syrup or honey (start with ¼ cup and sweeten to taste)
- Coconut whipped cream and cinnamon to top
- In hot water, brew the tea bags for 6 minutes. Squeeze the tea bags,when removing, between two spoons to get the full flavor from the tea.
- Blend tea with the pumpkin puree ( you have to either whisk really well, or blend in a blender. I blended mine to make sure it was truly lump free). Divide between two cups.
- In a small saucepan, add milk of choice, vanilla extract, and and sweetener of choice. If using maple syrup or honey, this is the time to sweeten to taste. Heat until almost boiling, froth (if desired) and split between the two mugs.
- Top with whipped cream and cinnamon and serve.
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