Which Milk in Chai?

If you are Vegan or Vegetarian, What Are Your Options for Milk in Your Chai?

This was a discussion in a Facebook group I belong to.  A member asked for substitutes for cow’s milk.  There was an amazing response from those who are vegetarians, vegans and or have allergies and intolerances. I have been reducing my intake of diary so I have put myself at the business end of some ‘milk’ cartons.

Camel milk in your tea? Have you tried goats’ milk or almond or hemp or soya milk in your chai? No? Some of these? All of it? If all, you are such a dedicated chai adventurer. If you are considering making changes, this might help:

Milk From:

Nuts Beans, Grains & Seeds Animal (let’s just stick with the domesticated ones) Drupe Other
Hazelnut Oats Goat Almond A2
Cashew Soya Sheep Coconut  
Walnuts Hemp Cow    
  Rice Camel*    


The list above is based on my own trails, following recommendations from others.  I have yet to try  camel* milk, it’s on the list to try.

Your Go-To Milk/Alternative for Your Chai

Chai Made Traditionally

Chai is made by gently boiling water, milk, tea and the spice mix. Once the tea leaves and spices have released their flavors, the pot comes off the heat and the brew is strained into cups.  This should take no longer than 3-4 minutes (per person). The proportion of water to milk is a personal one.  As a guide I would say the milk should be a bit more than you would add if you have milk in your black tea. 1 teaspoon of tea leaves and ½ of chai spices. This too can be adjusted on how strong and spicy you want your chai.  It does need some sugar to sweeten and to bring balance.

Some of these milks and milk extracts are creamier than others.  I have set out the table on a non-scientific basis, creamiest (for my taste) to the least.  I used the ‘original’ and where possible organic version, to be fair and all.  There are differences from brand to brand and some can be used to brew a chai whereas others struggle.

If you already have favourites, it’s worth trying combinations to see what works for you.  I use milk extracts in my porridge and I found that those are my favourites for when I want an alternative to cow’s milk.

Another option is to see what tea and coffee houses are using.  They have tried and tested the stuff already so I would say it’s kinda safe to use the same.

However, there one risk with plant and nut extracted milks – the dreaded curdling!  I am not sure why, could be the processing and storage methods.  So far, oat milk has held it together and its one that I use most of.  Particularly, the Oatly brand https://www.oatly.com/uk/products, nope, this is not sponsored content. The other is the Barista version of almond milk; http://almondbreeze.com.au/barista/ The other brands are available.

Stay with me…

For Those Who Do Not Stick with Convention

If you would prefer not to heat your milk and want to make your chai as you would your black tea.  The ‘lighter’ milk extracts work really well.

If you use a tea bag (this will most likely contain the tea and the spice mix),

boil the water,

teabag in your cup or teapot,

pour water into cup/teapot,

leave to brew for 3-4 minutes or longer for a stronger brew

remove teabag, add milk (and sugar).

The creamier and lighter ‘milks’ work really well.  This depends on how ‘milky’ and strong you like your tea.

Please do let me know if you have tried any other milk and what the results were like. We can, together, keep the table updated.

Gather Around For A Cuppa Chai