Masala Chai is a delicious beverage made with aromatic, warming spices and black tea. The traditionally Indian drink has been enjoyed for centuries across the globe. Chai is a usually made with milk, which gives it it’s signature creaminess and golden-brown color – but how well does chai work with popular milk alternatives? Specifically, oat milk is one of the most widely used plant-based alternatives, loved by coffee drinkers due to its ability to froth. How well does it fare with chai?
What is Oat Milk?
Oat milk is a milk-alternative made from whole oat grains, water, and sometimes salt and oil. It has gained immense popularity as a dairy alternative, appreciated for its creamy texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor. Thanks to being plant-based, this alternative is considered quite sustainable.
Combining Oat Milk and Chai
Chai, traditionally made with black tea and a mix of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves, has a robust flavor profile. It’s important to ask: can oat milk complement the bold and intricate taste of chai?
Oat milk's naturally sweet and creamy characteristics harmonize well with the spiciness of chai. The subtle oat flavor adds a pleasant note without overpowering the spices, creating a satisfying beverage. Oat milk is also usually thick enough to replicate the creamy consistency of dairy-based masala chai. Additionally, oat milk's ability to froth makes it an excellent choice for those who enjoy a foamy layer on top of their chai!
Tips for Using Oat Milk in Chai
- Use Unsweetened Oat Milk:
To avoid the oat milk’s own sweetness overpowering your chai’s taste, as well as avoiding added sugar, it’s best to use unsweetened oat milk.
- Froth the Milk:
Oat milk’s signature ability is frothing – so it’s perfect for chai latte recipes. You can either steam your milk or froth heated milk with a frother. Oat milk foam can complement both cold and hot chai tea beverages.
- Try a 2:1 Ratio:
Now, anyone who loves chai knows that the perfect amount of milk is entirely a personal choice. While some may prefer darker, concentrated cups of chai, other might enjoy a creamy, light with a 1:1 ratio of chai and milk, for example. Regardless, if you’re using oat milk for the first time, a good starting point is a chai to oat milk ratio of 2:1.
- Enhance your Oat Milk Chai with Different Flavors:
Oat milk and chai both pair wonderfully with a host of different infusions. One such example is vanilla - vanilla complements both chai and oat milk splendidly, so feel free to experiment with creating Starbucks-esque chai variations such as ‘Vanilla Oat Milk Chai Latte.’ Other flavors could include a Gingerbread Chai (with added ginger powder or fresh ginger) and Oat Milk Pumpkin Spice Chai.
To conclude, oat milk can be the perfect alternative to dairy milk in your cup of masala chai. The creamy texture, subtle sweetness, and frothing capabilities of oat milk enhance the aromas and tastes of the spices and black tea in chai, offering a plant-based alternative that pleases your taste buds! So, whether you're a chai aficionado or a plant-based enthusiast, don't hesitate to give oat milk in chai a try – you might just discover your new favorite combination!