Spiced Rooibos Tea Latte
This spiced rooibos tea latte is a perfect caffeine-free winter drink, making it great for any time of day. The warming spices and foamed milk help elevate a regular cup of tea into something special.
What a weird thing to admit, but for the longest time I wanted to be a coffee drinker. Back when I was in elementary school I would come home from school and make myself a chocolate milk with whipped cream in a big mug. I even pretended to be on calls or in meetings while sipping my cup of ‘coffee’. I felt important and special and generally like a badass, although my 3rd grade self would not approve of such language.
Drinking coffee is important in so many cultures. Beyond the morning pick-up it provides, it can also be a social experience and deeply comforting routine. This is extremely true in Spain, where consuming a daily café con leche is basically an unwritten rule.
But despite my best efforts, coffee just doesn’t work for me. It makes me feel anxious and jittery with a weird lightness in my chest. It’s not great.
So. I stopped fighting it and dove deep into the tea world… which is a great world indeed! There are so many flavor combinations and has become a deeply comforting routine for me. Plus, listening to my body and changing my actions to reflect what I’m hearing is a great form of self-love.
The Case for Loose Leaf
I started using loose leaf tea to reduce waste. Often times teabags are individually packaged, often in plastic, within the box. That seems silly to me! Plus I read about micro-plastics released from traditional teabags. I’m not citing scholarly peer-reviewed journals, I know, but still.
To my delight, reducing waste with loose leaf tea resulted in way better flavor and variety. This article from the Spruce Eats speaks more to the technical differences affecting flavor and why loose leaf is the way to go.
Making a Tea Latte
This tea latte came about from a healthy mix of internet searches and my own trial and error. There are some pretty cool caffeine-free alternative lattes out there, but many require special ingredients and too much hands-on effort for a daily cup of tea. At its simplest a tea latte is tea and milk. This tea latte has a bit more depth with added spices and flavors.
The ingredients in this tea latte are things I always have on hand and close by. At first peeling turmeric and ginger felt like extra effort, but since I do this almost every day it has become a quick routine.
Blending and Pouring
After bringing the water to a boil you simply add all the ingredients besides the milk and sweetener and steep for 12 minutes. If you are using powdered turmeric or ginger instead of fresh, you’ll want to stir a few extra times to incorporate. That’s why I recommend fresh if you can find it!
Frothing the Milk
This is my favorite part! Topping the tea with milk and foam makes it even more comforting and special. At first I heated the milk and then shook it, but I later read that microwaving it after frothing helps prevent the bubbles from quickly disappearing.
So put your desired milk in a jar and check the seal with a gentle shake (some are better than others…) before shaking vigorously for 60 seconds. Then remove the lid, microwave for 30 seconds and you’re ready to go. Why is this so deeply satisfying to me?
This spiced rooibos tea latte is so easy and highly customizable. I’ve made it with all sorts of teas and would like to try a different set of spices here soon, so let me know if you have any ideas. While I enjoy this in the mornings as a coffee alternative, I think it would also be a nice way to wind down and end the day.
Let me know what you think! 🍵
Rooibos Tea Latte
- small fine strainer
- glass jar with lid
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 Tablespoon rooibos tea (any flavor, I used grape and pomegranate)
- 1 piece star anise
- 1 inch fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced (or ½ teaspoon ground)
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (or ½ teaspoon ground)
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (more for sprinkling)
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)
- ¼ cup milk
- Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Once boiling, add the tea (in a tea infuser if you have one), star anise, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon and remove from heat. Stir to combine and top with a lid to steep for 12 minutes. Stirring once during this time will help incorporate the spices if you are using ground instead of fresh.
- Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into two mugs with at least one inch to spare. Add 1 teaspoon of maple syrup if using into each mug. Stir to incorporate.
- If you are adding it, pour ¼ cup of milk in a glass jar and seal tightly. Shake vigorously for 1 minute or until doubled in size and quite bubbly! Remove lid and microwave for ~30 seconds to warm the milk and set the foam.
- Pour the milk evenly between the two cups and spoon the remaining foam on top for a cafe-inspired treat. Sprinkle with cinnamon for bonus aesthetic points!
- I have not tried foaming milk with dairy free alternatives, but a quick internet search suggests that soy milk is the next easiest alternative.
- This is my combination of spices that I have handy and enjoy, but feel free to mix it up and find your favorite combination.
- Putting the tea in a tea infuser AND pouring it through a fine mesh strainer might feel like an extra step, but since rooibos is so fine, I find both helpful.
- This would work well with many different types of tea! I have had success with mint tea and peach tea as well, subbing a bit of vanilla instead of the maple syrup. I also enjoy it with black tea if I am having caffeine. The possibilities are endless!