When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Is Chai Latte Coffee?

Before I tell you about my latest obsession, let’s clarify. 

A chai latte is not coffee…unless it’s dirty.

But jokes aside, a chai latte is a divine invention, but it isn’t coffee.

Rather, it is a strong black tea because chai means tea brewed with spices.

The latte part is the milk that is added to your spicy tea, turning it into a warm, soothing, and creamy drink.

All there is to it is black tea, spices, sweetener, and milk.

I’m telling you right now. It’s like drinking Christmas.

Can you tell I am a fan?

What Spices Are in My Chai Latte?

I mentioned spices.

The spices vary depending on who makes your chai latte, but you may taste the following combinations: cinnamon, ginger, star anise, cardamom, cloves, and anise.

The spices selected are usually from the warm spice category.

A little aside, warm spices are named for the feeling of warmth they give you when you eat them in meals and drinks.

They also tend to aid you in healthy digestion.

It’s Not Coffee, but Does It Have Caffeine?

Black tea does contain caffeine, so yes, because a chai latte is brewed from black tea, your latte has caffeine in it.

The exact amount of caffeine will vary depending on the brew’s strength and the size of the cup.

A normal cup of chai latte is estimated to have approximately 22mg of caffeine, but this can vary up to over 50mg of caffeine.

Is There Sugar in a Chai Latte?

Unlike coffee, where the addition of sugar is optional, the spicy chai latte relies on a sweetener to contribute to its overall deliciousness.

Some coffee chains use chai syrup to make their chai lattes, and where there is syrup, there is sugar.

If you are sugar sensitive, there are sugar-free or sugar alternative options, but check your packaging thoroughly.

Can I Substitute My Milk?

Yes, you can substitute the milk in your latte for a milk alternative like almond milk.

Sometimes whole milk can give your chai latte a fatty taste, and purely from a taste perspective, I recommend trying a chai latte with almond milk.

It’s lighter and has a pleasing taste.

Almonds are often used in heavily spiced meals, so perhaps that is why the pairing works so well (for me anyway).

There are other milk alternatives, so I suggest a trial and error approach to find the taste you like best.

What is a Dirty Chai Latte?

A dirty chai latte is a chai latte with a shot of espresso for an extra kick of caffeine, and it is a popular drink.

Can I Make Chai Lattes at Home?

The internet is littered with recipes for making your own chai spices, so yes, you can make and brew your own chai latte at home.

A milk frother or steamer is an excellent tool for giving your homemade latte a polished look.

What’s even easier is that you get chai latte powders or chai-infused tea bags that you can use at home.

The only caveat is that the spice flavor, particularly from the tea bags, does not seem to be as strong.

The Takeaway!

A chai latte is sheer indulgence.

It has a rich, creamy flavor that warms the soul.

While a chai latte is not coffee, it does contain caffeine, so if you want to try something different or attempt to reduce your coffee dependency, then a chai latte is the way to go.

image: Theo Crazzolara, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Leave a Comment