Milk-less Chai “Milkshake”

Posted by on August 27, 2007 | 9 Comments

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.


Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes

Comments (9)


  1. VeggieGirl says:

    this sounds like the Vegan Vanilla Chai Shake at The Chicago Diner – yum!! thanks for the recipe, Alisa! :0)

  2. alisa says:

    Who knew! I hadn’t heard of a chai milkshake before, but definitely a good idea. Like cinnamon “ice cream” that extra dose of spice adds some complimentary intrigue.

  3. Sarena says:

    I just found your site from the just baking site. You seem to have similar ideas with food that I have! I am lactose intolerant and am frugal as well. I am glad to see you started this blog. It is nice to have a resource like this for food ideas and experiences!

  4. alisa says:

    Very cool! I actually just discovered your blog as well last week… certainly along my lines. I already have you in my daily blogs to check out list!

  5. Sarena says:

    You are on my list now too! Have you tried the Tiger Chai “ice cream” from Soy Delicious?? It is my favorite. It is not so bad for you either which seems to be hard to come by with the dairy free alternatives!

  6. Tina Roach says:

    Very tasty picture of Ruby Red Chai

  7. Sally says:

    Do you blend the contents of the tea bag with the other ingredients, or do you seep the tea bag in the water?

  8. Sally says:

    Oh, wait never mind. I read the directs above more carefully and realized that the actually contents of the tea bag get poured in. Nice recipe, by the way! I just found your blog and it seems really nice!

  9. Diana says:

    Just stumbled upon your site and I’m drooling at the recipes! I work at a chimpanzee sanctuary and we often include tea in the smoothies we make for the chimps for breakfast – they certainly like it! Though our tea is brewed first – I’ll have to try it this way. Thanks!

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