Cardamom-Vanilla Tea Latte

Cardamom-Vanilla Tea Latte - A simple yet special coffehouse-style tea drink, made at home! |

Since moving to this town almost seven years ago, I’d been waiting . . . and waiting . . .  and waiting for a branch of my favorite Michigan-based coffee chain to open here. Finally, a video rental store went out of business (see ya!) and my beloved coffee shop moved in. Oh, and it’s about two minutes from my house.

While in a perfect world, I would go there two or three times a day (or just live on a small cot in the back room), in reality, I try to keep it to a few times a week, so I don’t go bankrupt fueling my coffee obsession. I’ve also discovered that I really can’t drink much coffee after about 3 pm, or it affects my sleep. Enter my new obsession: the decaf vanilla tea latte. This is my afternoon drink of choice when I stop by the coffee shop, so I decided to try my hand at making an at-home version.

Cardamom-Vanilla Tea Latte - A simple yet special coffehouse-style tea drink, made at home! |

While the coffeehouse version involves foamed milk, a decaf tea bag, and a shot of vanilla flavored syrup, most people don’t keep flavored coffeehouse syrups at home. At least, I sure don’t. I decided to flavor a pot of lowfat Michigan milk with a split vanilla bean, as well as a few cardamom pods. If you’ve never tried caradmom, it has a very unique flavor that can be described as floral, slightly sweet, and a little bit citrusy. It can be very expensive, but if you have a store in your area that sells bulk spices, you should be able to score a handful of cardamom pods for just a couple dollars.

After steeping the milk with vanilla and cardamom, I broke out my immersion blender to whip the milk into a frothy foam, just like at the coffee shop. I finished it with a tea bag and enjoyed a little afternoon tea, without having to brave the arctic temperatures and leave the house.

Cardamom-Vanilla Tea Latte - A simple yet special coffehouse-style tea drink, made at home! |

For information on the United Dairy Industry of Michigan and to find out why Milk Means More, visit their website and connect with them on FacebookPinterestYouTube and Twitter.

Cardamom-Vanilla Tea Latte

Yield: 2 (8 ounce) servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 4 whole cardamom pods, smashed
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) lowfat milk
  • 2 black tea bags (regular or decaf)


  1. In small pot, stir together cardamom, vanilla bean and milk. Heat to boiling over medium heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 2 minutes.
  2. Strain milk mixture through fine-mesh strainer; discard solids. Return mixture to pot; use immersion blender or milk frother to whip milk until foamy.
  3. Divide frothed milk between mugs or tea cups; add 1 tea bag to each mug. Steep 2 minutes before serving.

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Disclosure: This post is part of an ongoing relationship I have with The United Dairy Industry of Michigan for recipe development. Posts like this help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. All opinions are 100% my own.

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  1. I just love that little kick of citrus that cardamom adds to things! This sounds so good!!

  2. Lori

    I love that you used a vanilla bean for your chai tea instead of a flavored syrup. I’ve cut out sweetened syrups so this is a perfect way to enjoy a chai tea without the extra sugar from a syrup.

    P.S I am in love with that tea cup where did you buy it?

    • Thanks so much, Arlene! I love the flavor of actual vanilla beans way more than any sort of flavored syrup, so this worked well for me. I think that teacup is from Anthropologie, but I got it a few years ago now 🙂

  3. Oh my gosh, it’s like fate!  I was just looking at a post this morning that had a recipe for vanilla syrup and a link to a milk frother.  I had already decided to get it, but was looking for other ways to use it!  This is perfect! 

    • Oh, I’m so jealous of your soon-to-be milk frother! I used my immersion blender which worked pretty well, but I think I would have gotten a lot more foam with a proper frother. Have fun with it!

  4. I love how this is so simple yet so flavorful.  Looks delicious Lori!

  5. Looks like I need to start drinking tea! This is beautiful.

  6. This sounds absolutely wonderful, definitely worth trying.  I’d definitely use decaf tea (or perhaps my red rooibos) because I can’t do caffeine at all.  To me, cardamom tastes like Douglas fir trees (what we always used as a Christmas tree) smell.  I’ve always liked it, but have found recently that the flavor can be overly strong if I’m not careful about how much I use.  I’m looking forward to trying this.

    • So interesting, Susan. To me, cardamom tastes soapy when it’s too strong. Up until now, most of my experience with cardamom was using it for homemade spiced nuts, where the cardamom would be just one of many spices in the mix, so it was hard to single out just the cardamom flavor.

      It took me a few tries to get this tea recipe right. I started with 6 cardamom pods, and it just tasted like soap to me! I thought 4 was quite nice, but I’m also not too sure how fresh the cardamom pods were (my grocery store sells spices in bulk, and there’s no telling how long they’d been sitting there). So maybe if the pods were really fresh, just 2 would be more than enough! I think when it comes to cardamom, it’s all SO subjective, but I just do the best I can to make a recipe most people would like.

  7. Love the froth! Cardamom will definitely give a nice hint. Love it!!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  8. This sounds so great!  I love a good coffee latte and never would have thought to make it (or buy it) with tea!  Love the cardamom too.  Hopefully this will spare you moving to that cot in the back room!

    • Yeah, I had definitely never heard of a “tea latte” until I went in one afternoon and asked what would be good without caffeine. Who knew?

  9. I love the use of cardamom here – it’s one of my favorite spices! This is such a beautiful latte and I love that it’s made at home. It looks like the perfect thing to warm up with on a chilly afternoon!

  10. oh yum! I’m obsessed with cardamom at the moment… this tea latte is right up my alley!

    • I’m going to have to GET obsessed with cardamom now, Lauren. I don’t want the rest of these pods to go to waste – too expensive!

  11. It is currently -34ºC with the windchill here in Winnipeg. I would like nothing more than a big mug of this right now, a big blanket, some woolly socks, and a cozy fire. This is going on the “to do” list.

    • We had some -20F windchills here in Detroit last week, and I thought THAT was brutal, Anna! Stay warm, and enjoy the recipe if you get a chance to make it 🙂

  12. This sounds so freaking good. It’s so dreary here right now, and all I want to do is curl up with a mug of this, a book, and my giant fuzzy blanket. Plus, I got an immersion blender for Christmas I’m dying to use, so obviously this has to happen. 

    • Ugh, I KNOW. Such a gloomy day here, too! Over it. Have fun with your immersion blender. They can be a little tricky to get the hang of (like, if you make one wrong move, you can end up with puree / warm milk all over you counter), but they are fun!

  13. I’m a a bit tea tea totaler and lover of Chai soy latte.  I can’t wait to give this a try as a healthier version (devoid of all the sugar) when I get a chai craving.  Pinned it!  🙂

  14. I don’t drink enough tea . . . Everything at work is centered around coffee.  Some of that might be because my wonderful wife got me a instant k-pod brewer.  I have seen you get the vanilla tea latte at the coffee place many a times and only sipped it.  I think, with this recipe, I’d be down for an afternoon homemade tea latte on the weekends. 

  15. Lori, thanks for sharing your yummy recipe. Can’t wait to try! Particularly like that the milk is 2% and tea is decaf. That way I can drink all I want. 🙂 Also, glad I found this recipe since it isn’t your newest one.

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