does-a-chai-latte-have-caffiene-

Does a Chai Latte Have Caffeine?

Does a Chai Latte Have Caffeine?

Most types of black tea pack approximately 45-50 milligrams of caffeine per serving. A standard serving of tea is 8 ounces. That means that one cup of black tea has about 45-50 milligrams of caffeine. By comparison, a run-of-the-mill cup of brewed coffee has somewhere in the neighborhood of 92-120 milligrams.
Simply put, black tea has roughly half the caffeine of the average medium-roast coffee. Since chai is made with black tea, the caffeine quotient will be the same regardless of whatever herbs and spices it comes mingled with.

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A chai latte is a perfect pick-me-up for people who prefer their café creations with sugar, spice, and everything nice. Each creamy sip satisfies your sweet tooth, tickles your tastebuds, and warms both belly and soul. It’s the perfect fusion of east and west, classic and contemporary, simplicity and sophistication.

Just how much will a chai latte perk you up, exactly? In terms of caffeine content, how does chai stack up to a shot of espresso or an ordinary cup of drip coffee? Let’s find out together, shall we?

A (Very) Brief History of Chai

Chai is a traditional blend of black tea, aromatic spices, and milk that has its origins in the Ayurvedic health practices of ancient India.

The history of chai (also known as “masala chai” about the proprietary mixture of spices used in its preparation) stretches back thousands of years, meaning it long predates café au laits, cappuccinos, and caramel macchiatos as the go-to brew for the knackered masses.

The age-old formula calls for:

  • Dried Assam tea leaves
  • Cinnamon 
  • Cardamom
  • Ground ginger
  • Cloves 
  • Black peppercorns

Other recipes exist that add or substitute such lip-smacking sundries as nutmeg, fennel, anise, orange peel, and vanilla.

Flashing forward a few millennia, some enterprising soul had a lightbulb moment and decided to turn up the sweetness of ordinary chai tea and infuse it with rich, frothy steamed milk. That day, the chai latte as we now know it was born (happy belated birthday, chai latte).

Chai now comes in lots of different styles, variations, and mediums, some of which contain slightly different combinations of spices—and levels of caffeine.

does-a-chai-latte-have-caffiene-

Does a Chai Latte Have Caffeine In It?

As a rule, any beverage containing tea will also include some quantity of caffeine unless said tea has been specially treated to do away with the stimulating chemical.

Most types of black tea pack approximately 45-50 milligrams of caffeine per serving. A standard serving of tea is 8 ounces. That means that one cup of black tea has about 45-50 milligrams of caffeine. By comparison, a run-of-the-mill cup of brewed coffee has somewhere in the neighborhood of 92-120 milligrams.

Simply put, black tea has roughly half the caffeine of the average medium-roast coffee. Since chai is made with black tea, the caffeine quotient will be the same regardless of whatever herbs and spices it comes mingled with.

Does that still hold if the tea is in latte form? That’s an astute question. The short answer is it depends. The long answer is iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit deeeeeepeeeeeends.

Alright, Wiseacre, So How Much Caffeine Is in a Chai Latte?

Quantifying the caffeine in a chai latte is a difficult thing to do. Why? Not all chai is made alike.

As mentioned, traditional masala chai starts with roasted tea leaves. Some cafés and restaurants still whip up chai lattes this way—brewing the tea, sweetening it to taste, and finally adding the steamed milk.

Steeping is the primary mechanism by which caffeine and other naturally occurring plant compounds are unlocked from tea leaves. The longer you let the tea steep, the more caffeine it releases, and the stronger the resulting beverage will be.

As chai is meant to be potent, it’s often permitted to steep longer than other types of tea. If you were to order a small chai latte made with a premeasured tea bag, you’d most likely end up consuming close to those 40-50 grams we quoted earlier.

It’s becoming increasingly rare to find chai lattes prepared from scratch. Nowadays, more and more coffee shops have begun turning to powders and concentrated syrups to help baristas churn out bold, flavorful lattes in less time.

These substances still contain black tea or tea essences in varying amounts, which can impact their overall caffeine profile. On average, however, chai lattes made with powders and syrups are not as intensely caffeinated as their loose-leaf counterparts.

Chai Powders

An 8-ounce chai latte prepared from a powdered mix ordinarily contains about 25-55 milligrams of caffeine. For those of you keeping count, that’s considerably less than tea made the old-fashioned way and less still than coffee and espresso.

Chai Syrups

With only 30-35 milligrams of caffeine per serving, chai syrups and concentrates may be the best way to get your chai latte fix if you’re prone to the jitters. That said, they generally contain quite a bit more sugar than powdered or proper tea blends, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to watch your carbs.

What if I’m Looking for Something With More of a Kick?

We applaud your feistiness. Allow us to introduce you to the “dirty chai,” a devilish hybrid of tea and coffee that’s half chai, half espresso, and all get-up-and-go.

Dirty chai (also known as a “red-eye chai” for pretty self-explanatory reasons) is simply a chai latte plus an espresso shot. You also have the option of making it a double if you’re some kind of crazed, no-chill-having superhuman that’s determined never to sleep again. It’s the liquid equivalent of Tarzan-swinging a live wire straight into a hot yoga class taught by Gary Busey.

Math time: if there are roughly 63 milligrams of caffeine in a typical one-ounce espresso shot, then you can expect to find 108-172 grams crammed into your dirty chai, depending on how messy you want to get (not judging).

Either way, you’re guaranteed to be buzzing once you’ve downed those last few drops. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Try a Chai Latte From Sip Today

Now that you’ve gotten to the bottom of the mystery of how much caffeine a chai latte contains, we cordially invite you to get to the bottom of an actual chai latte.
Pop into either of our two locations in Scottsdale or Phoenix, and one of our talented beverage-smiths will get you sorted with a chai latte so good it’ll make you want to slap yo’ mama. Maybe just bring your mom another time.

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