How much caffeine is in a chai tea

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Chai lattes are a perennial favourite at our Tea Bar, served scorching for a comfy pick-me-up in the course of the winter months or iced for a refreshing summertime deal with. We usually have two kinds of chai accessible on the bar: one with caffeine and one naturally caffeine-free for our caffeine-conscious CommuniTEA. However not too long ago we have discovered ourselves questioning – what’s the precise caffeine content material of conventional Masala Chai (spiced black tea), and the way does the caffeine in chai evaluate to espresso or different teas?

To reply this steadily requested query in a nutshell: sure, conventional black tea chai incorporates caffeine. (Which is why we have created a spicy natural chai with a rooibos base for chai lovers who wish to get pleasure from a cup of candy and spicy deliciousness with out the added kick of caffeine.)

However first, let’s again up a step and speak about what chai is, precisely, and why there’s some confusion about its caffeine content material.

What’s Chai Tea?

A cup of “tea tea,” anybody?

Masala Chai actually interprets to “Spiced Tea,” with “Chai” because the phrase for tea and “Masala” referring to any variety of conventional Indian spice mixes that usually comprise spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, and different comparable spices (relying on private style and household recipe, your masala may additionally comprise cloves, star anise, cumin, coriander, and even mace!). Masala Chai is a mixture of this Masala spice combine and Indian black tea, historically Assam, although some recipes use Ceylon Orange Pekoe as a substitute.

Referring to Masala Chai as chai tea (or “tea tea”) is a redundant behavior that Western tea drinkers have developed due numerous sophisticated linguistic and political historical past. However the gist is that someplace alongside the road in late-colonial and post-colonial India, the phrase “chai” grew to become synonymous for English-speakers with spiced black tea served candy with warmed milk, as a substitute of all the phrase: “Masala Chai”. A long time later, Merriam-Webster has formally outlined chai within the English language as “a beverage that is a blend of black tea, honey, spices, and milk.” In an effort to keep away from confusion and appease the various search engines, we’ll use it that method.

What’s a Chai Latte, anyway?

The following supply of confusion for many individuals is the phrase latte in Chai Latte. In Italian, latte is solely the phrase for milk. English-speakers, nonetheless, have began to affiliate the phrase latte with espresso drinks. Usually these drinks are ordered dropping the caffe from the unique Caffe Latte. It’s now quite common for somebody within the US to ask their native barista for a small latte with skim milk, for instance, and so long as you are not in Italy – or confronted with a very pedantic barista – this most likely works simply positive! However utilizing latte on this method has result in some confusion relating to different drinks with milk.

Not like the easy redundancy of chai tea, utilizing latte on this method has result in some confusion when different drinks with foamed milk are ordered – like a Chai Latte or a Matcha Latte. Each Chai Lattes and Matcha Lattes are teas served with foamed milk and nary a drop of espresso to be discovered (except you order your chai soiled…). As you may think about, this has result in many questions on whether or not or not there’s espresso in Chai Lattes. The easy reply is: not except you set it there!

So, lengthy story brief: we’re going to proceed to make use of chai to consult with spiced tea, however use the unique definition of latte to point a drink made with milk, not a particular kind of espresso drink.

To distinguish between our conventional Indian spiced chai teas and Westernized variations while you’re looking our web site or ordering on the Tea Bar, you may look to the primary phrase within the identify – our Masala Chai is our conventional providing, whereas Golden Dragon Chai, Pumpkin Pie Spice Chai, and Saratoga Pink Chai are spiced teas.

Caffeine in Tea ( …and a little bit about its well being advantages)

All conventional teas have caffeine, so any chai made with a black, inexperienced, or oolong tea base will comprise some quantity of caffeine. The caffeine content material of your cup of tea will fluctuate relying on the ratio of tea to water, steep time, and proportions of tea to scents (just like the spices in Masala Chai). The chart beneath is an efficient place to begin with understanding how a lot caffeine is probably going in your cup of conventional tea, with the ranges given for every kind of tea being a typical although certainly not exhaustive illustration of that kind of tea.

Chart of caffeine in tea versus coffee per 16oz To-Go Cup. Coffee: 192 mg, Black Tea: 22-58 mg, Green Tea: 27-50 mg, White Tea: 15-32 mg, Oolong Tea: 17-49 mg, Aged Tea: 19-23 mg, Matcha: 126 mg

*Caffeine Content material vary primarily based on liquid chromatography-UV of teas infused in a teapot with 2 cups water; matcha was whisked in a bowl with 1/2 cup of water.

Earlier than we delve additional into the sophisticated sorcery of divining how a lot caffeine is in your chai latte, we wish to take a second to speak about caffeine in tea and the way its impacts could differ from the caffeine you are used to experiencing from espresso.

Whereas the caffeine in tea is similar compound present in espresso, caffeine in tea bonds otherwise with different substances than the caffeine in espresso. Particularly, the caffeine bonds with the tannins in tea, and the tannins then stop the caffeine from being launched quickly into the physique. This is the reason tea produces an extended and extra steady caffeination than espresso.

One other distinction between the 2 kinds of caffeination is how the caffeine in tea impacts and interacts with the central nervous system and cardiovascular system. Not like the direct impact that caffeine in espresso has on the blood circulation and subsequently coronary heart price, the caffeine in tea as a substitute enlarges the diameter of the vessels within the cerebral cortex. In different phrases, the caffeine in tea is extra of a stimulant than an excitant, sharpening the thoughts and lowering fatigue (in keeping with Tea: Historical past, Terroirs, Varieties; Second Version).

Caffeine in Chai Tea & Chai Lattes

You most likely observed we didn’t embrace Masala Chai within the above chart about caffeine in tea. Principally, that is as a result of we don’t wish to be reductive, so we’re giving it its personal chart beneath.

The caffeine content material of your chai goes to depend upon numerous elements:

  • What’s the ratio of tea to spices in your chai recipe?
  • Are you ingesting your chai as an everyday infusion of 5-8g in about 16oz of water?
  • Is your chai a focus that was steeped for an extended time period after which lowered?

Assuming that your chai is a couple of half/half ratio of tea to spices, we will infer {that a} common infusion of chai would have about half the caffeine of an everyday black tea, or 11-24mg. Nonetheless, there’s one massive issue that we’ve not addressed but: the size of your infusion will change the quantity of caffeine in your tea.

Research present that whereas the vast majority of caffeine in tea is launched within the first 3 minutes of steeping, caffeine continues to be launched after these preliminary minutes with the curve starting to stage out round 10 minutes. In an infusion of the identical Huiming inexperienced tea, a 4.5 minute steep in 1 cup of water launched 13mg of caffeine whereas a ten minute steep launched 21mg. Evaluating that to our 16oz to-go cups within the chart above, the 4.5 minute steep would comprise about 26mg whereas the ten minute steep would comprise about 42mg, not fairly double the caffeine in a little bit over double the time! Due to this, the caffeine content material of a chai focus just like the one we use at our Tea Bar for chai lattes goes to be larger than an everyday cup of chai at a one-to-one ratio.

However issues are about to get sophisticated once more as a result of chai focus is usually served with milk to make what we name a chai latte, whereas an everyday infusion of chai can be drunk black or barely sweetened… so we won’t do a easy one-to-one comparability.

Able to tear your hair out but? (If that’s the case, the principle takeaway right here is that Masala Chai tea has caffeine, and in order for you a caffeine-free substitute we advocate Saratoga Pink Chai!)

Nonetheless, we’ll do our greatest to interrupt down for you the ranges of caffeine in chai primarily based on how you’re consuming the beverage within the chart beneath!

Chart of caffeine in chai and chai lattes per 16oz to-go cup. Masala Chai (black tea): 11-24 mg, Masala Chai Latte: 30-40 mg, Golden Dragon Green Tea Chai: 13-25 mg, Golden Dragon Green Tea Latte: 35-45 mg, Pumpkin Pie Spice Chai (black tea): 11-24 mg, Pumpkin Pie Spice Chai Latte: 30-40 mg, Saratoga Red Chai (herbal tea): 0 mg, Saratoga Red Chai Latte: 0 mg

*Approximate caffeine ranges primarily based on customary latte concentrates and proportions; caffeine ranges will fluctuate primarily based on steep time and ratio of focus to exploit.


Gascoyne, Ok., Marchand, F., & Desharnais, J. (2013). Tea: Historical past, Terroirs, Varieties (Second ed.). Firefly Books.

USDA. (n.d.). FoodData Central – Tea, scorching, chai, with milk. FoodData Central. Retrieved February 25, 2021, from

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