I remember the first time I tasted a chai tea latte. It was during my first year of college (I know, I was late to the game) in the campus’ basement coffee shop that had become my regular late night hang out. Those nights were epic – sitting around with new college friends, staying up way too late as we got to know each other story by story. No wonder the friends you make in college can be so influential, when else do you get a chance to really know someone like that?
It was on one of those late nights of feeling young and adventurous that I ordered that chai tea latte. I can say with confidence that my first chai tea latte was not the authentic, brewed-to-order kind you’ll find in Portland, Oregon but a sweet syrupy imposture that some places still pass off as chai tea. That didn’t matter at the time. All that mattered was how amazingly delicious it tasted. It was like drinking pumpkin pie and I was hooked.
Now, as my tastes have changed over the 13 years that I have been a chai latte drinker (much pickier), I usually stick to my own recipe or the handful of coffee shops that have the Sarah stamp of approval. I no longer get the liquid pumpkin pie experience but the (preferred) original spicy black tea drink. However sometimes, whether it’s nostalgia or just my sweet tooth talking, I start craving that pumpkin chai flavor again. And so I came up with this Pumpkin Chai Smoothie.
- 3/4 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 1/2 cup brewed black tea, chilled
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup soft silken tofu
- 1-1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp cardamom
- dash of ground cloves
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and well combined.
- Serve chilled.
- For a soy-free option, substitute the tofu for 1 ripe banana.