If there is one drink in this world that is the most popular drink, there’s a good chance that it would be a close tie between coffee and tea. Both of these drinks are beloved all around the world and have their roots throughout many different countries and their histories.
However, what one may not realize is that it is quite possible to combine facets of both drinks together to create something that everyone can love and appreciate.
More often than not, coffee and tea are divided into fairly strong groups that oppose each other. Some people prefer the aromatic and beautiful color that tea can offer, as well as its much wider range of flavors that can stand out more compared to coffees and coffee flavoring.
At the same time, many people appreciate coffee because it is inexpensive and easy to make.
Coffee has a tendency to have high levels of caffeine in it, which is what your body needs to help you feel more alert and awake, especially in the early mornings or after long nights.
On the other hand, there are countless different types of teas with flavors that span from spiced to floral and everything in between. Many people enjoy the ability to try all these different flavors, rather than dealing with the bitterness of coffee on a regular basis.
When you keep all of these things in mind, you might begin to wonder how exactly you can combine the versatility and the sheer number of options you have with tea into the refined and subtle taste of coffee, all with that same kick of caffeine that you need to start the day.
Thankfully, there are more than a few ways that you can do this. The most common way that you can have the best of both worlds is to try a tea latte.
What Exactly Is a Tea Latte?
As the name might suggest, a tea latte is a drink that combines the beautiful steamed milk alongside a tea of your choice.
More often than not, people will choose to add a shot of espresso to their tea latte, but this is not necessarily required, as the tea is one of the main ingredients in the aptly named “tea latte.”
For the tea portion, you can use just about any type of tea that you are in the mood for. When putting in the tea, you can usually get away with either loose-leaf tea, portioned bags, or small amounts of powder.
For many people, matcha lattes are going to be one of the closest things to the espresso latte as a tea latte will go, as it is one of the strongest lattes that you can get, and many people prefer the effects of matcha’s caffeine to that of espresso.
Matcha has the tendency to be about as strong as a single shot of espresso. There are also herbal teas that you can consider, if you want your tea latte to become a bedtime drink to help yourself calm down and destress after a hard day’s work. A good example of this would be a chamomile latte.
The tea latte gets the “latte” part of its name from the Italian practice of adding heated milk to their shots of espresso, which created the first latte type that would soon be adopted into the rest of the world with the slightly modified practice of steaming the milk, rather than simply heating it.
The thing about the milk in these kinds of drinks is that you have to be mindful of heating the milk so that you do not necessarily cook it, but you still get that additional sweetness from it.
The Practicality of Making Steamed Milk
What gives lattes their characteristic appearance, their platform for café art, and so on is going to be the milk of the latte.
Latte milk is something that many, many people appreciate the taste and texture of, as steaming the milk allows for the water particles inside of the milk to expand just a little bit while also intensifying the sweetness of the natural sugars of the milk, adding the volume and taste that everyone knows and loves for their espresso shots.
With all of this being said, because of how prestigious steamed milk is often viewed as, some people may believe that it is not something that is easily created within your own kitchen.
Some people might think that you need to have some form of barista training to understand how to make your own tea latte, while other people might not think that they have the right equipment to get the job done.
It is true that having proper steamed milk requires two contraptions. You would need to have a steamer that is specifically designed to work with milk, as steaming the milk is a process of its own.
In most bakeries and cafes, it is also commonplace to have a frother that will help add a layer of froth to the latte milk for the sake of texture.
A frother, as the name might suggest, is a specific kind of tool that many baristas will have to artificially add some froth to the surface in question and it is relatively common in high-end cooking and serving, where people are more prone to appreciate the delicate work that goes into designing appetizing drinks.
However, you do not need a frother, or even really a steamer, to make your own tea latte. As long as you have the tea that you are interested in, and a bit of espresso for that kick of morning energy, and some milk, you will be able to create yourself a tea latte without a problem or a hitch.
Rather than using a steamer to get the effects of steamed milk into your tea latte, you are going to use a microwave and only a microwave to get the job done.
Making a Tea Latte in Your Own Kitchen
You do not necessarily have to be a barista to know how to make your own drinks, especially when they are drinks that taste good, are relatively healthy, and are easy to get the ingredients for.
All you will really need to make your own tea latte at home is just the tea, the optional espresso, the milk, something to flavor the latte with such as cinnamon or a syrup, and so on.
To begin, you will want to start by pouring the milk that you have into a large jar that has an airtight lid that goes with it. This kind of milk that you would typically use here should either be 2% milk or nonfat milk, whichever one is easier for you to purchase and tastes the best in your opinion.
There is no functional difference between these two milk types for the purposes of making a tea latte.
Once you have all of the ingredients that you need to make your tea latte, without the use of a frother, you are going to want to set the milk to the side. Keep in mind that in an ideal situation you would want to have the jar of milk filled about one third of the way, otherwise you will not have enough room for the milk to expand when you begin heating it up.
If you are planning to froth the milk at this stage and you know that you do not have a frother to get the job done, you can create your own makeshift frother. With that milk in the airtight container, you will want to shake the jar vigorously for about 30 to 60 seconds, and this should efficiently froth your milk up a little bit.
You can always shake the jar more if you feel that this does not provide enough of a froth for your tea latte.
After you have finished frothing up the milk, you will then want to remove the lid on the container of milk and microwave it for about 30 seconds. The foamy milk that came from the previous step should all be rising toward the top and the heat of the milk should be toward the bottom center of the jar.
The heat works against the cold to try and stabilize the drink, giving you the “steamed” milk that you want.
As you microwave your milk, every 30 seconds or so, the milk will begin to act up on its own. Usually, it will begin to rise far beyond the limits of its container, which can cause it to spill over the edge, rendering the milk useless now that it has spilled out.
This tends to happen more often the more you microwave the milk, so in the beginning it is less of something to pay attention to, but it is still something that you should be on the lookout for.
Last, but certainly not least, once you have finished microwaving your milk, you will want to make sure that you add the tea of your choice to the tea latte. You do not necessarily have to add espresso to the latte, but it is a very common thing that people do so that their breakfast drinks can give them the wake-up call that they need.
More often than not, if people do choose to add their own espresso to the mix, these people will also want to add a sweetener of sorts.
Espresso is an incredibly bitter type of coffee, and even after steaming the milk (which has been shown to increase the intensity of the sweetness of the natural sugars that are in milk), people tend to add some form of a sweetening agent to their tea lattes.
These can include flavored syrups, artificial sweeteners, honey, and even cinnamon.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.