Chai latte is a popular drink on the Starbucks menu, but is it a coffee? Is chai coffee or tea? Does it have any coffee in it? While the fact that it is served at a popular coffee chain and it has the word latte in it might lead some to believe that it is a coffee drink, chai latte is actually a spiced tea beverage made with frothed milk, with no coffee beans involved. Is there caffeine in chai latte? Since it is made with black tea, there is still some caffeine content, although it won’t have as much as you’d expect from a regular latte made with espresso.
Latte is the Italian word for milk, and the latte drinks that you order at your favorite coffee shops is short for café latte, which simply means ‘coffee with milk’. What’s in a chai latte? Chai latte is short for Masala Chai latte, which means ‘spiced tea with milk’. Chai means ‘tea’ in Hindi and several other languages, while Masala is a word that refers to a collection of spices. For example, Garam masala is a spice mix that makes the base for many curries.
Chai latte is a sweet, slightly spicy drink that is perfect for warming you up in the fall and winter. If you’re interested to learn more about this popular milky tea beverage, keep reading.
What’s the chai caffeine vs coffee content? If you’re going to a coffee shop and want to get an option with a reduced amount of caffeine that isn’t a decaf coffee, then a chai latte might be worth considering. Generally, you can expect to get about a quarter of the amount of coffee that you would usually get in a regular cup of coffee. However, this will depend on several factors including how long the tea is stewed for and if any coffee is used – a dirty chai latte, for example, is coffee and chai tea together so will contain more caffeine.
Is chai latte caffeinated? Yes, however, it will have less caffeine compared to a regular latte made with coffee. According to the Starbucks website, a Grande chai latte contains around 95mg of caffeine, compared to 150mg of caffeine in the regular caffe latte.
Chai Latte as an Alternative to Coffee
If you’re looking for a lower caffeine option that will still be a good pick me up, then you might be wondering which to choose from chai latte caffeine vs coffee. Despite having a lower amount of caffeine than you would expect from a regular café latte, the chai latte does still pack quite a lot, which can vary depending on where you get it from. However, it might not be a drink that you want to have late at night since when it comes to how much caffeine does a chai latte have, it could probably still keep you up, especially if you don’t drink a lot of coffee or other caffeinated beverages. Along with this, chai latte is known for being sweeter and more palatable compared to coffee, so if you’re not a huge fan of coffee and prefer tea and sweeter drinks, it might be the better option for you.
What’s in a Chai Latte?
What’s in a chai latte? Traditionally, this drink is made with a blend of spices, and exactly what these spices are is going to depend on where you get it from. If you’re in India, then everybody has their own unique recipe. But if you’re in the West and get your chai latte from Starbucks, then you’ll get cardamom, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, honey, sugar, and vanilla. Milk and black tea are the main ingredients, with the spice blend, honey and ginger providing a warm boost to the cup.
What’s in a Dirty Chai Latte?
If you’re looking for a real energy boost, then consider adding coffee to your chai latte. What is chai latte coffee? Known as a dirty chai latte, it is simply a chai latte with an espresso shot added. Some people really love it as it’s a great combination with the sweetness of the chai mixed with the bitter coffee flavors, and of course it packs a whole lot more caffeine.
Top Reasons to Drink Chai Latte
If you’re looking for a new hot beverage to try, there are plenty of reasons to consider a chai latte. Some of the top reasons why people like to drink this include:
1. Better for the Environment
Compared to coffee, tea harvesting and processing uses far less water. Tea leaves are only washed once in the process, while coffee beans need to be washed and soaked several times before they are ready for roasting. This means that in the coffee harvesting process, around ten times as much water is used to get the coffee from bean to cup compared with tea. So, if you’re looking to try a drink that is friendlier to the environment overall, chai latte might be worth considering.
2. Make With Various Types of Tea
While black tea is the most traditional choice of tea for making a chai latte, there is nothing stopping you from making a chai latte with other types of tea, including green tea, yerba mate, or rooibos tea if you want something with less caffeine. However, bear in mind that this is usually better if you want to make chai latte at home since most coffee shops that have it on the menu, including Starbucks, have pre-made powder or syrup for making this drink.
3. Most Products are Fair Trade Certified
The good news is that most tea and coffee products are Fair Trade Certified today so you certainly don’t have to look far if you want to make sure that the hot beverages you enjoy are earning the farmers a fair income. If you want to buy your own products to make chai latte at home, there are plenty of Fair-Trade ingredients worth looking out for.
4. Many Products are Organic
While not all of them will be, you can easily find lots of USDA Organic products to buy if you want to start making your own chai latte at home.
5. You Don’t Need an Espresso Machine
Compared to making a café latte at home, you don’t need an expensive espresso machine in your kitchen to start making your own chai lattes to enjoy. All you need is your choice of tea, spice blend, honey, ginger, and a milk frother or steamer.
How to Make Chai Latte at Home
If you love ordering chai latte and want to save money by making your own at home or just have it available to drink whenever you like, then you can certainly make it in your own kitchen. To make an authentic cup of Indian Masala Chai at home, you’ll need the following:
- 4 tsp loose black tea
- ¾ cup of milk
- 2 cups of water
- Six mint leaves
- Eight cardamom pods
- One knot of ginger
- Two cloves
- One small cinnamon stick
To make the tea, follow these steps:
- Roll the mint leaves before chopping them into fine strips
- Grate or finely chop the ginger
- Crush the cardamom pods open and grind the seeds along with the cloves and cinnamon until they are a fine, powdery consistency
- Boil the water before adding the spice mixture, then let it sit for one minute
- Add the tea to the water and spices and boil for a further minute
- Add the cold milk to the mixture, and bring it to the boil
- Lower the heat, before bringing to the boil again around three or four times
- Pour through a tea strainer, add sugar, and enjoy your drink!
If you prefer to have your chai latte like Starbucks makes it, then you can skip the step where you add the milk to the boiling water and froth your milk to add on top later. You can also get chai tea pods for various pod coffee machine brands that are popular in homes today, if you want an easy, convenient, and mess-free way to enjoy your favorite chai latte at home. If you have an espresso machine or a pod machine that will make an espresso shot, then make this up and mix it into the chai latte for a homemade dirty chai latte for that extra energy boost in the morning.
Chai latte isn’t actually a coffee drink as its main ingredient is black tea, although if you want an extra kick, add a shot of espresso to it for a dirty chai latte that works surprisingly well. Despite not being a coffee, it does contain a surprising amount of caffeine and can be a great alternative to coffee if you are looking for a different hot drink for a pick-me-up that you can order in a coffee shop. It’s delicious, tasty, and warming as a drink and there are several different ways to make it.