As the leaves start to change colors, the weather gets colder, and the days get shorter, it becomes time to make the switch from iced to hot beverages. Chai tea lattes are a fall favorite, full of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves to help you feel cozy and warm on a brisk fall day.
A good chai tea latte has the perfect mix of spices, without one overpowering the others. The flavor should come through over the milk, but not to the point where it overwhelms your tastebuds. A bit of frothy milk on top is also a plus, adding some texture to the milky beverage. I set out on a chai tea latte marathon, sampling several campus hot spots for the best tasty drink to keep me warm this fall.
The chai tea latte from Wilcaf was mellow, but still enjoyable. Much lighter than the other drinks I sampled, it was sweet, yet mild and milky. It could have benefited from a bit more of the classic spices synonymous with the chai we know and love. There was a bit too much foam, with some left over by the time I downed the drink. While it’s not the cinnamon and spice I’m used to, something about its smooth and milky nature makes me want to go back for more.
Market Cafe in Houston Hall
This chai had the strongest spice out of all of the ones I tasted, almost burning my throat. Not only was it full of spice, but it was so hot in temperature that I to wait quite a while before taking the first sip. The amount of spice in your chai tea latte is a personal preference, but for the second steepest price with almond milk, I don’t think Market Cafe's chai gives you the best bang for your buck.
United By Blue
United By Blue’s chai tea latte was the most expensive, ringing in at $4.32 for a small with almond milk. UBB’s chai had a ton of foam, but the taste was delicious. Although it wasn't very sweet, and maybe even bordered on bitter, it had the perfect combination of spices. The chai from UBB was more authentic tasting than some of the other overly sweetened ones I tasted.
Metro served up my favorite chai tea latte out of all of the ones I tried. They mastered the perfect balance of sweetness and spice, creating a drink that felt warm and comforting—like I was wrapped up in my favorite blanket. Upon the first sip, I was met with a blast of cinnamon goodness. Although there was no foam, the drink was a good consistency: very smooth and soft. I ordered this latte with soy milk, as it was the only alternative milk available, and I couldn’t even taste a difference.
Dunkin’ only offers a Vanilla Chai, which just comes in a medium size. It was by far the sweetest and least authentic of all the drinks I sampled. With strong vanilla flavoring, it tasted like a dessert, maybe a vanilla cupcake with a hint of cinnamon in the frosting. The sweetness was overpowering, and I couldn’t have more than a few sips. Ultimately, this chai tea latte is not one I plan on having again.