Is Chai Latte Coffee (Explained in Detail)

Short Answer: Chai latte is not a coffee!

Only by the name of chai latte, you may instantly feel the creamy sensation and smell the beautiful aroma of spices in the air.

‘Chai’ means tea in Hindi so, chai latte means tea latte. With this short description, you can probably deduce it isn’t coffee.

For many individuals, chai latte is a beloved name and an everyday beverage, especially for those who suffer from insomnia or caffeine addiction.

However, because chai lattes are served in many coffee shops, there are numerous debates over whether they are coffee or not.

So, let’s find out if or not your favorite chai latte can be considered a coffee!

Is Chai Latte Coffee? 

No, a chai latte is not a coffee.

Since the 1990s, the popularity of this beverage hasn’t dropped a bit. People often confuse chai latte as coffee by the word ‘latte’ in chai latte. 

However, as Starbucks launched it with the name latte, many people still order chai latte in coffee shops, thinking they will have a good cup of warm latte.

Chai latte is actually an old kind of spice tea with milk. The recipe has been around for thousands of years in India. It is made with spices like cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and other pungently aromatic spices with black tea and milk. 

It has zero coffee, so you can tell it is not coffee; indeed, it is a heavy, creamy, spicy tea that is produced the same way as a cafe latte, which explains the frothy, creamy coating of foam and texture.

However, that is not the only factor that perplexes people into mistaking it for coffee. The fake coffee-flavored syrup added to the chai latte recipe is the main culprit at many coffee shops.

Nevertheless, coffee or not, no one can deny the heavenly taste and smell of chai latte, where many kinds of aromatic cafe latte also failed.

Does Chai Latte Have Caffeine? 

Yes, chai latte has a low amount of caffeine.

As chai latte is made of black tea, black tea contains caffeine. However, the amount is not that significant as coffee’s caffeine amount, but uncontrolled consumption of caffeine has the potential to make you a caffeine addict.

A cup of chai latte contains 20 to 60 mg of caffeine depending on the mixture. A standard cup of chai latte (which follows a traditional recipe) contains less amount of caffeine (15 to 25 mg).

However, some coffee shops use black tea and spices more than what’s needed to give an impression of ‘ Indianness ‘ in chai lattes, and in those teas, sometimes caffeine amount is higher than a regular cup of coffee.

Is Coffee Better Than Chai Latte? 

No, coffee is not better than a chai latte.

A cup of coffee has a massive amount of caffeine compared to a chai latte.

According to many health specialists, per cup of coffee contains a minimum amount of 60 to 90 mg caffeine, which is very addicting. On the other hand, chai latte has a low amount of caffeine and a high amount of antioxidants.

So chai latte is the winner, caffeine-wise.

However, if you prefer decaf, regular coffee could be a better choice as a chai latte contains a high amount of sugar and syrups, which is harmful to your body. 

Whatever you choose, keep in mind to drink in moderation!

Is Chai Latte Good for You? 

Yes, chai latte is good for you as long as you control your cups.

Chai latte has a lot of health benefits besides its name and fame. The black tea in it has a lot of antioxidants and minerals, which can boost your immunity and cleanse your blood.

Also, it has cardamom (laxative), which will work as an anti-inflammatory agent. It keeps your body safe by preventing blood clots and will help with waste discharge in a healthy manner.

In addition, the hint of caffeine will lift up your energy level leading to better exercise performance and eventually weight loss.

However, chai latte contains a massive amount of sugar.

A cup of chai latte contains up to 30 grams of sugar, which is can potentially ruin your body and turn you into a sugar addict if you plan on drinking every day.

So, be careful of the syrups or sweeteners used in chai latte!

Here’s the thing…

The preparation process of chai latte is straightforward and you can easily make a cup at home within a few minutes.

Give this video a watch to find out!

WATCH & LEARN: How to Make Homemade Chai Latte

What Is A Dirty Chai Latte? 

A dirty chai latte is a coffee and black tea mix.

Still, there is confusion between a chai latte and a dirty chai latte.

The distinction between these two is the dirty chai latte contains one or two shots of espresso and the regular chai latte is made of concentrated tea with blends of spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and simmered milk.

The good thing is, you can mix extra shots if you want a stronger cup of dirty chai latte coffee.

Is Chai Latte Better Than Dirty Chai Latte? 

No, they are equally good and bad for you.

Chai latte does not contain extra caffeine. It only has black tea in it!

On the other hand, a dirty chai latte contains espresso shots which will raise the amount of caffeine from bottom to top. That means you cannot drink it every day because it can be addictive.

Chai latte contains a heavy amount of sugar (in syrups and extra) and food coloring.

Sugar works like a drug, just like caffeine, and can also cause many illnesses including obesity. You shouldn’t drink it every day too!

However, both chai latte and dirty chai latte have a lot of spices and other healthy ingredients which can make your body stronger.

Still, you should drink in moderation to reap its maximum benefits.

Nice and warm cup of chai latte in both hands
A simple combination of tea concentrate and steamed milk and you have a perfectly prepared chai latte!

Why Is Chai Bad For You?

Chai is not bad for you if consumed in moderation.

In fact, chai tea itself is linked to various health benefits such as improved heart health, reduced sugar level, improved digestion, and weight loss.

There is really no consensus as to how much chai an average person needs to reap its benefits. Researches are more focused on the individual ingredients which makes it hard to tell the right amount of intake for each individual.

Moreover, chai contains caffeine which can be bad for people with caffeine sensitivity. Too much caffeine can lead to unpleasant side effects such as insomnia, anxiety, migraines, and jitters.

For these reasons, it is important to follow FDA’s guidelines about caffeine intake. That said, the right intake of chai shouldn’t exceed the recommended level of intake suggested by experts.

Is Starbucks Chai Latte Healthy?

In my opinion, Starbucks Chai Latte is not healthy due to the heavy amount of ingredients.

Unfortunately, this delicious and tasty drink falls under the “not so healthy” drink category because of the whopping sugar content.

A typical cup of Starbucks Chai Tea Latte contains 45 grams of sugar, which is way past the recommended intake for men and women.

The AHA recommends the following intake of sugar on a daily basis:

  • 24 grams of sugar for women
  • 36 grams of sugar for men

Clearly, the sugar content on a typical cup of chai tea latte calls for a disaster!

As an option, you can go for a dirty chai latte instead. It only contains 80 calories, 10 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fat, and 1 gram of protein.

That way, you can enjoy a cup of chai without worrying too much about the calories!

Final Thoughts 

Chai latte is not only everyone’s favorite because it is trendy, but also it is premium quality.

Chai latte is indeed a perfect refreshment for all occasions!

And no, it isn’t a coffee but more of a tea with healthy spices. It is made with concentrated tea and blends of healthy ingredients that can boost your immune system.

Even though it is a tea, you will taste the same taste of a silky, foamed, aromatic-spicy coffee, and you will not even get the caffeine addiction.

Of course, keep in mind to drink chai latte responsibly.

Cheers, and enjoy your healthy latte!

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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