Nothing hits the spot better in cold weather than a hot, spiced chai latte! But can you get that much-needed morning caffeine boost from a chai latte?
An 8 oz (237 ml) chai latte (masala chai latte) usually has 25 – 60 mg of caffeine. However, this depends on the brand and how it is made. A cup of traditional chai can contain up to 120 mg of caffeine or more. You can also buy decaf and herbal versions with little to no caffeine.
The rest of this article will explore the caffeine content of a chai latte in-depth, including how it compares to a cup of coffee.
It will also detail what a chai latte is, popular methods of making it, and the caffeine content of each type.
Lastly, I will discuss the best way to make a chai latte and its health benefits.
Does a chai latte have more caffeine than coffee?
A chai latte does not have more caffeine than coffee. An 8 oz (237 ml) chai latte typically contains 25 – 60 mg of caffeine. An 8 oz (237 ml) cup of coffee contains around 80 – 100 mg. An 8 oz (237 ml) latte containing one shot of espresso has about 64 mg of caffeine.
As I mentioned before, the exact caffeine content of any tea or coffee drink can vary significantly depending on the brand and how the beverage is made.
Chai latte can be made in several ways, including traditionally, with a homemade mix of loose black tea and whole spices.
It can also be made using concentrates, syrups, tea sachets, and powders.
But before we get into that, let’s address one important thing:
What is a chai latte (masala chai latte)?
Chai latte, also known as chai masala or masala chai, is a hot beverage originating in India. It is traditionally made with water, black tea, spices, sugar, and milk. Masala chai means “spiced tea.”
In India, chai is made by boiling loose tea and spices in a mixture of water and milk, then straining the tea and spices out.
The result is a rich, sweet, and aromatic beverage people have been drinking for hundreds of years!
After making its way to the USA, masala chai underwent some interesting transformations.
In the US, it is usually made as a latte, similar to the traditional masala chai.
However, the American way uses more milk and less tea/spices, which gives it a lower caffeine content than traditional Indian chai.
Americans also tend to steam the milk and add spices via concentrates, powders, syrups, or pre-made tea mixes rather than boiling fresh ingredients right in the milk.
Traditional American chai latte
A traditional American chai latte is made with steamed milk, sweetener, loose black tea, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and several other spices.
Made this way, a chai latte usually has around 50 mg of caffeine per 8 oz (237 ml) cup.
However, it can have as much as 120 mg of caffeine! The benefit of making your own chai masala mix is that you can use as much black tea as you like.
This allows you to boost or reduce the caffeine content according to your preferences.
Chai latte from concentrate
Another popular way of making a chai latte is using a concentrate.
Coffee shops often make their chai using this method. You can also purchase chai concentrate at most grocery stores.
Made this way, a chai latte usually has around 50 mg of caffeine per 8 oz (237 ml) serving.
A Starbucks tall (8 oz or 237 ml) chai latte is made from concentrate and has exactly 50 mg of caffeine, but it will have more depending on the cup size.
However, you can purchase stronger chai concentrates. For example, Tazo Chai concentrate is available at almost any grocery store.
This brand makes an 8 oz (237 ml) chai latte with 61 mg of caffeine. Another popular brand is Oregon Chai Tea concentrate, which has an estimated 45 mg per serving.
Chai latte from syrup
Chai syrup is another common and convenient way to make a chai latte. However, this method generally contains zero caffeine.
Chai syrup is sugar and/or other sweeteners with chai spices and flavorings.
You can add this syrup to any black tea of your choice to make a chai-flavored beverage with around 50 mg of caffeine.
One popular brand of chai syrup comes from Torani, which is also used to make chai-flavored drinks at Starbucks and other coffee shops.
You can purchase Torani Chai Tea Spice syrup to make your own chai-flavored beverages at home!
Chai latte from tea sachet
Perhaps the easiest way to make yourself a chai latte is to use pre-made tea sachets with a complete mix of black tea and spices already inside.
This method usually produces chai lattes with around 25 – 50 mg of caffeine per 8 oz (237 ml) cup.
Many popular tea brands sell their own chai tea in sachet form. Brew the bags in milk, and you have a chai latte!
Here are some popular chai tea brands and their caffeine contents per serving:
- Pacific Chai Tea – 67 mg
- Tazo Classic Chai Tea – 47 mg
- Teavana Chai Tea – 50 mg
- Lipton Chai Tea – 30 mg
A lower caffeine option for a chai latte is to buy green tea chai like Stash Chai Green:
Green tea usually has around 25 – 30 mg of caffeine per serving. You can purchase herbal and decaf chai sachets from many popular brands for low-to-zero caffeine options.
Chai latte from powder
Chai powder is another prevalent method of making a chai latte. These usually contain chai spices, black tea, and powdered milk.
Some coffee shops, Like Dunkin Donuts, use this method to create chai lattes. They make a chai latte with 70 mg of caffeine per 8 oz (237 ml) serving.
What’s the best way to make a chai latte?
Most chai drinkers will agree that the best way to make a chai latte is the traditional way, much like they have for centuries in India.
That means whole, fresh spices, loose-leaf black tea, steamed (or boiled) milk, and sugar to taste.
Why is this the best way? Two reasons: flavor and health benefits. Fresh, whole spices (not dry or powdered!) produce the most decadent flavor and aroma.
They also deliver health-boosting nutrients and antioxidants that dry spices and artificial flavorings do not!
As mentioned before, you also have greater control of the caffeine content if you brew your chai latte the traditional way.
Add some extra black tea to your recipe for a punch of caffeine in the morning or to get you through the afternoon!
If you want to try making your own chai at home, check out my easy and delicious chai latte recipe!
How chai latte benefits your health
Chai, much like green tea, is very high in antioxidants, which may help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Traditionally brewed chai (depending on which ingredients are used) also contains vital vitamins and minerals like potassium, manganese, vitamin K, and calcium.
In addition, key components of chai masala have widely renowned health benefits.
Cinnamon is known to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar and reduce inflammation.
Cinnamon has also been shown to boost metabolism, improve collagen production, slow aging, and protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease.
It can even cure a yeast infection, kill bacteria, and help regulate female hormones!
Ginger is another anti-inflammatory ingredient of chai. It is known to boost the immune system and fight germs.
It can reduce oral problems like bad breath and gingivitis and prevent cavities. It also has pain-relieving qualities and can soothe nausea and indigestion.
Like cinnamon, it also reduces blood sugar and cholesterol and can help with menstrual problems.
Cardamom is thought to reduce inflammation and swelling due to its antioxidant and diuretic abilities.
It may also kill bacteria, improve diabetes, and reduce fat around the liver. It may even contain certain compounds that help destroy cancer cells!
Clove is also full of antioxidants, beta-carotene, and vitamin A. It can reduce inflammation, soothe arthritis, and heal ulcers.
It can also improve liver function, reduce fatty liver disease and cirrhosis, and help prevent diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Black tea has been found to have high antioxidants as well. It can also improve heart health and gut health, in addition to speeding up your metabolism.
Its caffeine content helps increase brain function, alertness, and energy.
Chai latte (masala chai latte) has 25 – 60 mg of caffeine per 8 oz (237 ml) serving. This is significantly less than a cup of coffee, which has around 90 – 100 mg of caffeine per 8 oz (237 ml) serving.
Even a regular latte with only one shot of espresso has roughly 64 mg of caffeine.
The caffeine content of a chai latte varies depending on whether it’s made using loose tea, concentrates, syrups, tea sachets, or powders.
Concentrates, loose-leaf tea, and tea sachets usually produce about 50 mg of caffeine per serving, while powders have a bit less. Syrups generally have no caffeine.