An alarming number seem to be misinformed about the beverage known as “chai”. This little essay aims to clear up some of the confusion.
Please feel free to share this link with your friends if they’re under the dreadful misapprehension that there is such a thing as “chai latte”.(1)
The truth about lattes
Latte is simply Italian for “milk”. According to The Internet, caffelatte is a contraction for caffè e latte, or “coffee and milk”, similar to the French café au lait.
A later American corruption repurposed this sensible designation to signify a specific beverage “typically prepared with approximately one third espresso and two-thirds steamed milk, with a layer of foamed milk approximately 5 mm (¼ inch) thick on the top”.(2) Absurd, but so it goes.
Notice that neither the Italian original nor the American corruption refer to tea. Lattes remain a beany sort of thing.