Vanilla Chai Tea hides behind many veils of some rather unpleasant ingredients. We reveal some intriguing info on how this tea is marketed under some false pretenses and how tea drinkers can get their hands on the “real deal.” Chai tea lovers don’t want to miss this read!
Table of Contents
What Is A Vanilla Chai Tea?
Vanilla Chai Tea is a very popular tea-based drink. This drink has similar components found in a Masala Chai; however, vanilla is the key player that makes a Vanilla Chai Tea uniquely delicious. It’s unclear when and where Vanilla Chai Tea came into existence.
What Is Vanilla Chai Tea Made Of?
The ingredients of a traditional Vanilla Chai Tea start with a base of black tea (usually Assam.) From there, the Assam black tea is infused with various spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Black pepper is also added to give the tea its subtle “kick” it is known for.
The Dark Side Of Vanilla
Most are not aware that some Vanilla Chai Teas may be infused with vanilla sourced from some rather undesirable origins. Chemical Engineering & News published an article on vanilla that mentions the skyrocketing cost of pure vanilla. Vanilla acquired from vanilla beans cost a whopping $11,000 per kg (about 2 lbs.)
As a result of the high cost of the “real deal,” the vanilla flavoring industry has had to lean on other sources to produce vanilla flavoring. As we reveal what these sources are, many may rethink products labeled “vanilla flavored.”
Once source of natural vanilla is castoreum, a gooey secretion expelled from the castor sacs and anal glands of beavers. This secretion is what beavers use in territorial marking. The FDA lists castoreum as “Generally Recognized As Safe.” Products containing castoreum list it as a “natural flavoring.”
The essence of vanilla (vanillin) is synthetically produced in labs using lignin (naturally occurring polymer within a plant.) Synthetic vanilla is marketed and sold as an “artificial flavoring.” One of the largest vanilla producers produces vanillin through the use of a petrochemical known as guaiacol (a phenolic compound.)
Pure Vanilla Extract
This is a vanilla flavoring that comes from the extraction of vanilla bean, which is soaked in alcohol. Pure vanilla typically contains 35% alcohol and may include glycerin, propylene glycol, sugar, dextrose, or corn syrup.
Knowing about how vanilla is marketed and what the true ingredients are is something many tea drinkers should be aware of. Developing an awareness of the different faces of vanilla and how it relates to tea acts as a guide to sourcing good quality Vanilla Chai Tea. Just because it says, “vanilla” does not guarantee it’s indeed true vanilla.
What Does Vanilla Chai Tea Taste Like?
An unadulterated Vanilla Chai Tea is smooth with a creamy-like texture. Upon that first sip, the nuttiness of vanilla presents itself as a precursor of what’s to come. As the tea washes over the palate, the maltiness of the Assam black tea has a back-end snap of an orchestrated spicy finish.
Other Vanilla Chai Drinks
Many of these drinks are made using vanilla chai-flavored syrup. Other ingredients such as alcohol, dairy, ice, other flavorings, tapioca, or coffee are added.
- Vanilla Chai Latte
- Vanilla Chai White Russian
- Vanilla Chai Protein Drink
- Frozen Vanilla Chai
- Vanilla-Maple Chai
- Iced Vanilla Chai
- Dirty Vanilla Chai
- Vanilla Chai Eggnog
- Vanilla-Ginger Chai
- Vanilla Chai Old Fashioned
- Vanilla Chai Bubble Tea
Large-scale coffee and tea shops serve various drinks that have “Vanilla Chai” incorporated into the product name; however, most of these products do not contain the traditional ingredients of a Vanilla Chai Tea. Many “Vanilla Chai” beverages are chocked full of sugars and flavored syrups.
To give our readers an idea of the ingredients used in making a drink with vanilla chai, we have included those things below.
- Flavored vanilla chai powder
- Non-dairy cream (made from corn syrup and coconut oil)
- Soybean oil
- Instant black tea
- Molasses powder
- Artificial vanilla flavoring
- Artificial coloring
- Soy Lecithin
- Milk derivatives
- Other food-stabler ingredients/chemicals
Does Chai Tea Have Caffeine?
Chai tea, whether Masala (known as “chah wallah in India”) or vanilla, has a black tea base. Assam black tea is the typical go-to base for chai teas. A six-ounce cup of black tea yields about 40-60 grams of caffeine. A Vanilla Chai Tea not only has a kick in spicy flavors but also in caffeine.
Does Vanilla Chai Tea Make You Sleepy?
The amount of caffeine in this tea undoubtedly has the opposite effect. Rather than feeling drowsy, tea drinkers find the tea energizing because of the caffeine content. The intentional time set aside to enjoy any tea is relaxing, but it won’t make someone sleepy.
Vanilla Chai Tea Benefits
As luscious and indulgent as this tea is, it’s hard to imagine it as having a healthy element to it. However, there are benefits that quietly exist within a cup of it. So, how is chai tea (vanilla) good for you?
What Is Vanilla Chai Tea Good For?
Vanilla Chai Tea is like a dessert wrapped up into a cup of tea. This tea is an excellent warm beverage to get your mornings going on frigid winter days or for snuggling up in a quiet corner with a favorite book and blanket. Aside from the enrichment of consuming this tea, it also provides tea drinkers with some added benefits.
Antibacterial And Antimicrobial
The Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Services published an article on the antibacterial benefit that tea provides. The article covers the expanse of just how Assam black tea (which is in Vanilla Chai Tea) helps to ward off respiratory infections such as pneumonia. Constituents in black tea also promote dental health by preventing bacterial films from developing on teeth which lead to tooth decay and infections.
Antidiabetic And Anti-Obesity
Researchers who conducted a study entitled “Theaflavins Attenuate Hepatic Lipid Accumulation Through Activating AMPK Human HepG2 Cells” report that theaflavins found in black tea cause the body to activate an enzyme (adenosine monophosphate (AMP) – activated protein kinase (AMPK), which is responsible for optimizing metabolism. The Journal of Neuroendocrinology reports that AMPK acts to suppress the appetite, decrease fatty deposits within the body, and maximize glucose uptake.
How To Make Vanilla Chai Tea
We have a few ways to enjoy Vanilla Chai Tea along with directions that are easy to follow. The complexity of Vanilla Chai Tea’s flavors has many tea drinkers fooled into thinking it’s a difficult drink to make right at home, but it’s not!
Vanilla Chai Latte Tea
- 1 ½ cups of water
- ¾ cup of milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons of loose leaf black Assam tea
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 whole peppercorns
- ¼ teaspoon of ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon of whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon of honey (to sweeten)
- Ground cinnamon (optional)
- Whipped topping (optional)
- Place the water, cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon stick into a pan.
- Heat the water to 185 degrees (F) (85 degrees C.)
- Place the loose-leaf Assam tea into a tea infuser.
- Warm the milk (be careful not to boil or scorch it.) Set aside.
- Pour the hot water through a strainer (to strain out the spices) into a teapot.
- Drop the tea infuser into the teapot.
- Allow the tea to steep for five minutes.
- Pour the tea into a teacup (filling the cup ¾ full.)
- Add the warm milk and honey to the tea.
- Top the tea off with a dollop of whipped cream.
- Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top and enjoy.
Dirty Chilled Vanilla Chai Tea
- ¾ cup of water
- ¾ cup of milk
- 1 shot of espresso
- 2 teaspoons of loose-leaf black Assam tea
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of finely ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom
- 1 ½ teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon of ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon of raw honey
- Ground cinnamon (optional)
- Whipped topping (optional)
- Clear, tall glass
- Prepare the espresso shot.
- Place the water, spices, and vanilla in a pan.
- Heat to 185 degrees (F) (85 degrees C.)
- Place the loose-leaf tea into a tea infuser.
- Drop the tea infuser into a teapot.
- Pour the hot water/spices into a teapot.
- Cover the teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
- Warm the milk (being careful not to boil or scorch it.)
- Once the milk is warm, remove it from the heat and froth it with a milk frother or a whisk.
- Uncover the teapot and pour the tea into a glass to just a little over half full.
- Add the frothy milk to the glass filling the glass to about ½ inch from the rim.
- Add the shot of espresso and honey.
- There should be a nice marbling effect in the glass with the tea, milk, and espresso.
- Top with whipped topping.
- Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top of the whipped topping.
- Enjoy either marbled or stir well for creamy texture and taste.
The Perfect Marriage Of Vanilla, Tea, And Spices
There’s nothing yummier than a homemade Vanilla Chai Tea. This tea is just too good to pass up and worth every sip!