Chai lattes are some of the tastiest drinks around. Spicy, sweet, and creamy, they’re the full flavor package! But how much caffeine is in a chai latte, and how does it compare to coffee and espresso?
Here’s what you should know before you head to the coffee shop or start brewing that chai. The answers may surprise you!
What is chai?
Chai is made with black tea leaves and spices like cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Every chai mix is a little different, so you may also see spices like nutmeg, coriander, or fennel. Most people mix milk and a sweetener like honey or sugar with their chai. This rounds out the flavor and makes for a satisfying, warming drink.
How much caffeine is in chai?
The only ingredient in chai that contains caffeine is black tea. Black tea leaves come from the Camellia sinensis plant and typically contain about 47 milligrams of caffeine per serving. So in an eight-ounce cup of chai, you can expect about 47 milligrams of caffeine.
Chai Latte vs Dirty Chai Latte
But how much caffeine is in a chai latte? That depends on whether you’re drinking a chai latte or a dirty chai latte. Since we’re coffee enthusiasts, we generally prefer dirty chai lattes — which add a shot or two of espresso to the usual chai and milk. This will add quite a bit of caffeine to your drink since the average shot of espresso has 64 milligrams of caffeine!
So how much caffeine in a chai latte?
If you drink regular chai lattes, you can expect 70.5 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce cup. On the other hand, if you drink dirty chai lattes, there will be 134.5 milligrams of caffeine in a single shot latte and 198.5 in a double shot dirty chai latte.
SEE ALSO: Try our handy caffeine calculator!
How does it compare to coffee and espresso?
Per ounce, chai has a lot less caffeine than either coffee or espresso. An ounce of chai tea has 5.875 milligrams of caffeine. Compare that to the 11.875 milligrams in an ounce of brewed coffee and the 64 milligrams in an ounce of espresso and you’ll see what we mean! There’s about twice as much caffeine in coffee as there is in chai. And the difference between espresso and chai is even more dramatic: espresso has about 10 times more caffeine in it!
Servings are a more useful way to talk about caffeine, though. Who drinks an ounce of chai or coffee? If we compare a serving of chai to a serving of coffee, there’s about twice as much caffeine in coffee (70.5 milligrams compared to 142.5). A typical serving of espresso is one or two shots (one or two ounces). That means that a single-shot latte (or a single shot of espresso) has less caffeine (64 milligrams) than a 12-ounce chai latte (70.5 milligrams).
The Bottom Line
An average chai latte has 70.5 milligrams of caffeine. If you prefer dirty chai lattes (which contain espresso), you can expect at least 135 milligrams. Per ounce, chai has less caffeine than either coffee or espresso — but per serving, there’s more caffeine in chai than espresso! Now that you have the numbers, you can make healthy caffeine decisions. Even better, you can enjoy a creamy chai latte (or three)!