Chai latte is a popular option on the menu at many coffee shops and chains including Starbucks, but what’s in it? Is chai latte made with tea or coffee? Does chai latte have caffeine? Where does chai latte come from? What’s a chai tea vs chai latte? If you are intrigued by this warming, slightly spicy hot drink, then keep reading to learn more about it.
Chai latte is a spiced tea beverage that is made with frothed milk. Despite the name, there is no coffee included in this drink, although some people enjoy it with an espresso shot added, creating a drink known as a dirty chai latte. It is made with black tea, which does contain some caffeine, but not as much as you would get in an espresso-based drink.
Chai is the Hindi word for tea, and latte is the Italian word for milk, so simply put, a chai latte is tea with milk. Masala chai is the type of tea that is used, made with a combination of warming spices. It is a sweet drink that is perfect for keeping you warm in the colder months.
Chai Latte Caffeine Content
Is there caffeine in chai latte? How much caffeine in chai latte? If you are heading to a coffee shop but want a drink that has a reduced amount of caffeine in it that isn’t a regular decaf coffee, then a chai latte can be a different option to think about. Since it is made with tea, you can expect some caffeine, but not as much as a coffee – generally, around a quarter of the caffeine in a regular cup of coffee. This does, however, depend on a number of factors including the length of time that the tea is used for. Alternatively, if you want a high-caffeine option, you can ask for a dirty chai latte, which is a chai latte that has a shot of espresso added to it. Does Starbucks chai latte have caffeine? According to the Starbucks website, a Grande chai latte from their menu contains 95mg of caffeine. In comparison, a regular Grande latte from Starbucks contains 150mg caffeine.
What’s in Chai Latte?
Where does chai latte come from? What’s used to make this drink? Do chai tea lattes have coffee in them? You might have lots of questions before you decide to try this popular tea beverage. Now that you know how much caffeine in chai latte to expect, it’s time to get into the ingredients that are used to make this drink. Traditionally, chai is a tea made with a blend of spices, which can vary depending on where you get it. In India, everybody has their own unique recipe for chai. Chai vs chai latte is basically tea vs tea with milk. Chai simply means ‘tea’ in Hindi and some other languages. On the other hand, a chai latte is the tea with frothed milk added, which is a popular way to drink this beverage. In the West, chai latte drinks that you can get from chains like Starbucks are made with a blend of spices that include cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, black pepper, star anise, honey, cloves, sugar, and vanilla. Black tea and milk are the main two ingredients in the chai latte, and the spice blend provides the sweet, slightly spicy flavor.
Chai Latte or Coffee?
If you want a new hot beverage to try that still offers a pick me up without the caffeine content of coffee, then chai latte can be an ideal option to consider. Although it has a lower amount of caffeine compared to coffee, you will still get an energy boost from drinking chai tea. Some options pack quite a lot of caffeine depending on where you get it from. Because of this, it might not be the ideal drink to enjoy late at night as it could probably still keep you up due to the caffeine content, especially if you don’t drink coffee or tea very often. If you are not a huge fan of coffee, chai latte can be an ideal alternative as it is known for being sweeter and easier to drink compared to coffee.
On the other hand, if you love both coffee and chai latte and want a big energy boost, you can combine the two together to make a dirty chai latte. This drink is a chai latte that has an espresso shot added to it. Not only does this add a lot more caffeine, but it also combines the two flavors creating an entirely different drink. Many people love the mixture of the sweet chai with the bitter espresso.
Making Chai Latte at Home
If chai latte is one of your favorite drinks, then you might be wondering if you can make your own at home to save money and enjoy this drink whenever you like, and the good news is that you can easily do this. If you want a really convenient option, you can get chai latte powders that can be mixed with hot water to create an instant version of this drink, and you can also get chai latte pods for some pod coffee makers. But if you want to make an authentic cup of Indian Masala Chai, then you’ll need to gather some spices to make the blend.
You will need:
- Loose black tea
- Mint leaves
- Cardamom pods
To make the tea, roll the mint leaves and chop them into fine strips, then finely chop or grate the ginger. Take your cardamom pods and crush them open before grinding the seeds with the cinnamon and cloves to a fine, powdery consistency. Boil the water then add your spice mixture, before allowing it to sit for a minute. Add the tea leaves to the water and spice, and boil for a further minute before adding cold milk and bringing to the boil again. Lower the heat, then turn it up and bring to the boil again three or four times. If you want to make a latte, skip the step where you add the milk to the water, and froth milk using a milk frother or steam wand instead before adding this to the tea mixture. You can also add honey or sugar to sweeten if you wish.
Why Drink Chai Latte?
Aside from being something different to coffee that many people enjoy, chai latte is a sweet, warming drink that is sure to keep you feeling warm and cozy in the winter months. It’s got less caffeine in it compared to coffee, making it an ideal choice for anybody who is sensitive to caffeine or if you simply want to avoid a huge caffeine boost. Some top reasons to consider drinking chai latte more often include:
1. Choose From Various Tea Options
Black tea is the most traditional choice for making chai latte, but you can make this drink with various other types of tea. Use an herbal tea if you want to make a drink that is completely caffeine-free or opt for green tea if you want a healthier choice. Most of the time, black tea will be the only option if you are ordering chai latte from the menu at coffee shops and chains like Starbucks, but there’s nothing stopping you from experimenting if you want to make your own at home.
2. More Environmentally Friendly
Another great reason to consider cutting down on coffee and drinking chai tea and chai lattes instead is that the process in which tea is made is better for the environment. While coffee beans are washed several times during processing, tea leaves are only washed once, making it a great alternative to consider if you are looking for a regular hot drink that does not have as large an environmental impact.
3. Organic and Fair Trade
Although there are some chai tea products out there that are not, most of the ingredients that you will need to make chai latte at home are organic and Fair Trade certified. If you want to buy more products where you are assured that the farmers and workers responsible for making it available to you are paid fairly, this is easy to do when you opt for drinking chai latte, unlike coffee where there are still lots of products that farmers and farm employees have not been paid fairly for.
4. No Specialist Equipment Needed
There is no denying that making chai latte or chai tea at home is much easier compared to making coffee, and you don’t need to get any specialist equipment. While you might want to invest in a milk frother or steam wand if you are going to make chai latte, you can also do this easily using a mason jar and your microwave. To make chai latte at home, all you need is a kettle or stovetop to boil water in, and a saucepan.
If you want an alternative to coffee, chai latte is a popular choice. This spicy, warming drink is lower in caffeine, better for the environment, and seriously tasty.