When the sweltering summer heat is at its peak, a cool and soothing iced kratom chai tea is just what you need to find relief. If you’re an adventurous tea enthusiast looking for a unique flavor experience or a kratom lover who’s tired of consuming powder day after day, we have just the recipe for you.
This creamy kratom chai latte has all the benefits of your favorite Mitragyna speciosa leaves and warm spices, without the caffeine.
Looking for a quicker recipe? Check out our previous post on how to make kratom chai tea and dirty kratom chai tea. There, you’ll find chai tea recipes that also incorporate black tea (and caffeine).
If you know which kratom tea bags you’d like to use and how kratom measures up to black tea in chai, jump down to the recipe below. If not, read on! We’ll discuss chai tea and the basics of how to decide what type of kratom chai latte you’d like to brew.
In the Top Tree Test Kitchen, we love fusing flavors and cultural traditions to create truly special kratom drinks, familiar in some ways and totally unexpected in others. We’re in this for much more than just the physiologic benefits of kratom. We’re here for the community, for learning from others, and for making kratom a normal and exciting part of our daily lives. We hope you’ll join us in brewing this kratom chai tea latte and experiencing more of what kratom has to offer!
Masala Chai vs. Chai with Black Tea
Chai is a Hindi word that means tea, and masala is a blend of spices. Chai tea (which literally translates to ”tea tea”) is popular across the globe. It’s typically a mix of black tea, spices, milk, and sweetener. The numerous variations of chai teas and lattes that we’re familiar with today all originate from Masala Chai. Masala Chai is a blend of aromatic spices brewed into a hot or cold drink. It dates back to the 7th century in India. Emperors drank Masala Chai as an Ayurvedic medicine and as a stimulant.
The addition of black tea to chai didn’t occur until the 1800s. It was incorporated as a result of British intervention in, and later colonization of, the Indian subcontinent. The British encouraged a midday break for workers to drink caffeinated beverages, to stimulate productivity later in the day.
Why substitute kratom for black tea?
Black tea is a “true tea.” It’s an extraction of leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant using boiling water. We now use the term tea to refer to hot-water extractions of a variety of plants, from chamomile to lemon — and also kratom. Kratom leaves have been brewed into a tea for hundreds of years in communities throughout Southeast Asia, where kratom trees grow wild.
Kratom has been used for similar purposes as both black tea and traditional Masala Chai. In the United States, most people consume kratom that is powdered, and don’t steep the leaves to make tea.
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At Top Tree, we’re reconnecting kratom use in the United States with its cultural roots in Southeast Asia. Most of the teas and other drinks we use regularly come from cultural traditions across the globe. They’re combinations of spices and herbs that have been adapted for different uses over centuries.
We’re excited to learn from kratom’s heritage while also using modern research and practices from around the world to make the most effective — and tastiest — kratom tea. That’s why we’ve switched out the black tea in this recipe for kratom! More to come below on which types of kratom are best in a kratom chai latte, and how the benefits of kratom chai may differ from a typical chai with black tea.
How to make kratom taste good?
We completely understand that some people don’t like the taste of kratom. We believe texture is half the battle: most kratom “tea” on the market doesn’t use crushed leaves like Top Tree’s kratom tea or most other types of ready-to-brew tea bags. Instead, other kratom vendors use micronized kratom powder. You make the “tea” yourself by mixing the powder with water or another liquid. These mixtures can be moderately to extremely gritty, and are sometimes overly bitter or downright unpalatable.
If you don’t like kratom “tea” made with powder, give crushed-leaf tea bags a shot! Top Tree tea bags contain crushed kratom leaves, not powder, meaning your tea will be perfectly smooth. Like black tea or coffee, kratom tea can still be an acquired taste. Whether you want to mask the flavor, or you love it and want to find a way to mix it with your other favorite spices and herbs, this kratom chai tea latte recipe is perfect for you.
Kratom Latte Variations
Adding something sweet or creamy (or both) to your kratom tea is a great way to enjoy it if you find the taste to be on the bitter or earthy side. This might be especially true if you’re not a fan of other types of tea.
Latte, Italian for milk, refers to espresso topped with steamed milk and milk foam. Oftentimes the creamy addition is used to hide the flavor of a bitter drink. Milks of all kinds have been added to coffee, tea, and other beverages for millennia, but lattes really took off within the last fifty years. However, when it comes to chai, latte is a bit of a misnomer. A regular chai latte doesn’t have any coffee in it. The kratom latte also contains a larger volume of kratom tea than the amount of coffee you’d typically use.
Are you a chai spice fanatic, but not really a latte person? If you like the taste of kratom and mixed spices but you aren’t a fan of milky or sweetened tea, stick around! The chai kratom tea that we create in this recipe tastes great even without the steamed oat milk or sugar.
Kratom, Sugar, and Spice
There are many varieties of Masala Chai, but the kratom latte version we’re brewing up today contains fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, cardamom pods, whole cloves, and vanilla. All of these spices beautifully complement the flavor of kratom (and will make your kitchen smell absolutely wonderful).
Other versions of chai contain almonds, nutmeg, anise, saffron, allspice, a pinch of salt… the list goes on. If you have other spices on hand that you’d like to toss in, go right ahead. We want to make kratom tea as accessible as possible, and that extends to our mixed kratom drinks and recipes. Use what you’ve got! We’re partial to using what we have on hand. We never run out to the store for just one missing ingredient. The recipe below will still taste great with a few changes.
Best Sweeteners for Kratom Chai
A traditional chai tea uses jaggery, a concentrated sugar made from cane juice or sap from a date palm tree. Jaggery is unrefined and contains molasses, so it has a different depth of flavor than refined white sugar. Coconut sugar is a great substitute for jaggery if you have it. It’s unrefined sugar from coconut palm trees, and has a similar caramel-esque flavor. If you don’t have either on hand, just pick whatever sweetener you like best! There are a few suggestions of substitutions in the notes section of the recipe below.
We wanted to use authentic chai flavors for this kratom latte, but there is no single right way to brew it (especially considering a traditional chai tea doesn’t contain any kratom). If you have any questions about which spices and sweeteners you’d like to add or swap out, or which type of kratom to use, let us know in the comments. We’ll try to help you brew a kratom chai tea that works best for you.
When to Drink Kratom
We used Red Maeng Da tea bags to make this kratom chai latte, which was great for a cozy evening inside. We first made it during a heavy rainstorm, and it was the perfect way to spend the time stuck indoors. We’d make this kratom chai again at any time of day, however. You don’t have to use Red Maeng Da for your kratom latte if you prefer a different vein or strain. A white vein would be great as a morning energizer, especially as a caffeine replacement. A green vein would make for a fantastic afternoon tea.
Some members of the Top Tree team actually drink red veins at all times of the day. There are a lot of factors that contribute to kratom’s effects, not just the strain or vein alone. In addition to strain, serving size is an important factor in the effects of kratom. Below is a quick comparison between kratom tea and black tea. It explains the basics of choosing your serving for your kratom chai latte. Want to learn more about choosing you kratom strains and how to brew before you make this recipe? We’ve got a number of posts on the Better Brewing Blog that you can take a look at.
Kratom vs. Black Tea
Black tea contains caffeine — typical chai lattes (sans kratom) that you’ll find at most cafes around the US and across the globe contain black tea, and have around 40-70mg of caffeine per 8-12 oz serving. Dirty chais have a shot or two of espresso added on to that, which significantly increases the caffeine total.
Quick Kratom Serving Size/Brewing Guide
While kratom doesn’t contain caffeine, it can be energizing. Further research is needed to understand the exact mechanisms that underlie kratom’s effects. However, we do have some understanding of how people typically respond to different serving sizes of kratom. Servings under 5 grams typically have an energizing effect, while servings over 10 grams induce stronger bodily effects and restfulness. Finally, servings from 5-10 grams land you somewhere in the middle. And of course, as with everything, everyone has a different body and effects may vary dramatically between tea drinkers. We recommend you always start small and work your way up.
We normally recommend you brew your kratom tea with lemon juice or another acidic fruit juice. This improves the extraction of alkaloids from kratom when you brew your tea, no matter which serving size you choose. However, we omit lemon juice from kratom lattes and creamy kratom teas. This is because the acid will cause the milk to curdle. In this recipe, it’s recommended that you keep your kratom tea bags in hot water for over 20 minutes. The increased steeping time will help you get a strong tea.
If you’d like to add black tea leaves to your kratom chai latte for a boost of caffeine, you can absolutely do that, but we’ve swapped it out for kratom in this recipe. Again, you can check out our quick kratom chai tea recipes for easy variations that contain black tea.
It can take a bit of practice to brew a kratom tea that’s just right for your needs. This is especially true when making a latte or another kratom drink recipe that has extra ingredients. But that’s why the Better Brewing Blog exists! We’re here to help make that process easier.
Now…… Ready to brew your own kratom latte?
Kratom Chai Latte
Active time: 5 minutes
Brew time: 35 minutes
- Medium pot
- Small pan (optional)
- Fine mesh strainer
- Milk frother, immersion blender, or jar
- 6 red vein kratom tea bags (see note below)
- 5 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks (approx. 3-4 inches each)
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 13 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 9 whole cloves
- 2-inch chunk of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract (you can use vanilla bean if you have it – approx. 1-2 beans)
- 6 tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup, more or less to taste (see note below)
- 2 cups full-fat oat milk or other non-dairy milk
- Steep kratom: In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. Add your kratom tea bags and keep boiling for 15 minutes. Don’t cover your pot – you want your tea to be a bit concentrated.
- (Optional) Toast spices: While kratom is steeping, add peppercorns, cardamom pods, cloves, and cinnamon to a dry skillet or pot. Toast over medium heat, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant (about 2-3 minutes).
- Brew chai concentrate: Reduce pot with kratom to a simmer, then add toasted spices, vanilla, and ginger. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and steep for 10 more minutes. Add sweetener to taste. (Brewing extra for later? Pause here and see note below on storage recommendations.)
- Strain tea: Strain your chai tea using any fine mesh strainer. You can strain directly into mugs if your pot has a pour spout, or just strain into a teapot, large jar, or other heat-safe container.
- Froth and heat milk: Add oat milk to a small saucepan over medium heat. Froth with an immersion blender for about 30-60 seconds, or longer if needed. If you don’t have an immersion blender, no worries! You can shake your milk in a sealed jar, or whisk vigorously while heating it in the saucepan to add air. You could also steam the milk or froth it using a smaller handheld milk-frother. Keep over heat until warm.
- Serve: Pour 3/4 cups of kratom chai tea into each mug, and top with 1/2 – 2/3 cup frothed oat milk. Top with a dash of ground cinnamon if desired.
Kratom tea bags: We used Red Maeng Da for our kratom latte, but you can use whatever you like best. If you typically use more than one or two tea bags per serving, feel free to add more to your brew. (For more strain and vein varieties, check out Top Tree’s raw leaf kratom tea options!)
Batch Brews: You can batch-brew your kratom chai lattes. If you don’t want to prep the milk a second time and don’t mind losing the foam and ending up with a flat (but still creamy) kratom chai, the leftovers will last in the fridge for a couple of days. If you have time, we’d recommend pausing after making your chai concentrate (step 3, before you add the milk) and placing the extra tea in a glass jar or other sealed container to store in the refrigerator. The tea will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can then froth your milk when you’re ready to drink your latte.
Sweetener: Kratom chai lattes taste great with a variety of sweeteners. Jaggery is the traditional option, and coconut sugar is similar, but maple syrup, organic cane sugar, or agave are all great options if you don’t like the flavor coconut sugar or want to use something else you have on hand. For each serving, add 0.5-1 oz of liquid sweetener or 1-2 tbsp of dry sweetener, depending on your preferences.
Milk: We recommend full-fat oat milk or soy milk for kratom lattes. You can use a low-fat option if you prefer, but your foam may be a different texture, and the resulting latte will likely be less creamy. If your milk is sweetened, you may want to decrease the amount of sweetener you add to your tea.
*Adapted from Kitchn’s Chai Latte by Meghan Splawn.