I don’t know why I do it, but every few months I forget my prior experiences and decide to pick up a new tea flavor at Trader Joe’s. Their prices are always so great, and the flavors of the Trader Joe’s brand of tea always sound a bit exotic. Let it be known that I am a huge fan of Chai tea, even without the milk and honey added, and I recently discovered a love for Rooibos tea. So when I spotted their Rooibos Chai, I thought, “That sounds too perfect, maybe this one is different.”
Drats, they captured me once again! You see, the Trader Joe’s brand of tea is horrible. Perhaps it is just my personal taste buds, but they seem to produce almost lifeless tea. No spark, no zest, no nothing really. It was most certainly the most bland Chai or Rooibos (let alone a combination of the two) that I had ever tasted.
I pondered iced tea, but this often requires a stronger tea if anything. Then, I thought maybe, just maybe, I could chill the tea and use it in smoothies? After all, the package referred to their Rooibos as antioxidant rich, it would be such a shame to waste it. Curious if anyone had trialed tea smoothies, I set out on an internet search. I certainly found a few green tea concoctions, but those used mostly green tea powder. Slowly, I began to unearth various creamy teas, and I was surprised by the method. Rather than brewing and then chilling the tea, they just ripped those bags right open and tossed the contents in. This sounded easy enough.
My cool and creamy beverage turned out to have more of a milkshake-like consistency, though the texture is inevitably up to the individual. Honestly, it wasn’t bad. It was still a weak bunch of spices, but at least their full essence was captured in this recipe. The spicy twist to my otherwise ordinary shake was also a welcome enhancement.
Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free Chai “Milkshake”
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1 chai tea bag (I used the Chai Rooibos from Trader Joe’s, but I am sure there are better!)
- 1 frozen ripe banana, sliced
- 1 Tablespoon almond butter
- ice (optional)
Blend it all up! If your mixture is too thick, add more almond milk. If it is too thin, add more frozen banana or ice.
I think the perfect dairy-free / vegan “milkshake” would be a simple blend of the tea with some vanilla non-dairy “ice cream,” maybe Whole Soy & Co or Soy Delicious, some milk alternative, and your tea bag of choice. However, since I am trying to keep added sugars out of the picture as much as possible, this banana and almond mixture seems to work quite well. I even used unsweetened almond milk, but you don’t need to go that far.. I believe regular vanilla almond milk is still quite low in sugars, and it has a nice mild sweetness that will surely be welcomed by any beverage.