A chai latte is a sweetened spiced tea drink that is often made with a combination of black tea, spices, milk, and sugar. The calorie content of a chai latte can vary significantly depending on the size, ingredients, and preparation method. In general, a small (12 oz) chai latte made with 2% milk contains around 130-170 calories. A large (16 oz) chai latte can contain 200-270 calories. The calorie count also increases with additions like whipped cream or sweeteners.
Calories in Chai Tea Latte Ingredients
A chai latte is made up of several ingredients that each contribute calories and nutrients. By looking at the calorie content of each ingredient, we can estimate the total calories in a chai latte.
The base of a chai latte is black tea. An 8 ounce cup of brewed black tea contains about 2 calories without any sweeteners or milk added. Black tea on its own is very low in calories.
Milk is a major contributor of calories and nutrients in a chai latte. The amount of milk used can range from 4-8 ounces typically. Here is the calorie content of milk:
- 1 cup (8 oz) of nonfat milk: 80 calories
- 1 cup (8 oz) of 1% milk: 102 calories
- 1 cup (8 oz) of 2% milk: 122 calories
- 1 cup (8 oz) of whole milk: 146 calories
As you can see, the higher the fat content of the milk, the more calories it contains. For a chai latte made with 6 ounces of 2% milk, the milk contributes around 90 calories.
Many chai latte recipes call for adding granulated white sugar or simple syrup. Added sugar can significantly increase the calorie content. Here are the calories in sugar:
- 1 tablespoon (12g) granulated white sugar: 45 calories
- 1 tablespoon (12g) simple syrup: 52 calories
A moderately sweetened chai latte may contain 1-2 tablespoons of sugar, adding anywhere from 45-100 extra calories.
Chai tea lattes are flavored with a blend of warm spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, and black pepper. The amounts used are very small, so spices add just a few calories to chai.
Whipped cream is a popular topping for chai lattes. Just 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of heavy whipped cream adds around 50 calories. Light whipped cream has around 20 calories per ounce.
Calorie Content of Popular Chai Lattes
Now that we know the general calorie content of chai latte ingredients, here is the nutrition information for chai lattes from popular coffee shops and brands:
- Tall (12 oz) Chai Tea Latte with 2% milk: 140 calories
- Grande (16 oz) Chai Tea Latte with 2% milk: 180 calories
- Venti (20 oz) Chai Tea Latte with 2% milk: 230 calories
Add-ons like whipped cream will add 50+ calories.
- Small Chai Latte with whole milk: 150 calories
- Medium Chai Latte with whole milk: 230 calories
- Large Chai Latte with whole milk: 250 calories
- Small (12 oz) Chai Latte with whole milk: 140 calories
- Medium (16 oz) Chai Latte with whole milk: 190 calories
- Large (20 oz) Chai Latte with whole milk: 240 calories
Dunkin’ Donuts chai is made concentrated and combines with milk when ordered.
- Original Chai Latte: 130 calories (12 oz)
- Dirty Chai Latte: 170 calories (12 oz)
- Chocolate Chai: 190 calories (12 oz)
David’s Tea chai concentrates are first diluted with hot water then mixed with steamed milk.
Tazo Chai Latte Concentrate
Tazo makes a bottled chai concentrate that you can make at home. It has the following nutrition facts when prepared:
- 1 cup prepared: 130 calories
Keep in mind this is without any added milk, sugar, or toppings.
Oregon Chai is another popular brand of chai concentrate. Here are the calories when prepared with milk:
- 8 oz prepared with 1 cup nonfat milk: 90 calories
- 8 oz prepared with 1 cup 2% milk: 110 calories
This also does not account for any added sweeteners or toppings.
Ways to Lower the Calories in a Chai Latte
If you are looking to make your chai latte a bit healthier, there are several ways to reduce the calorie content:
- Use nonfat or lowfat milk – skim and 1% milk have significantly less calories than 2% or whole milk
- Go easy on the sugar – adding 1 tablespoon less sugar saves about 50 calories
- Skip the whipped cream – topping with whipped cream can add 50+ calories
- Ask for less concentrated chai – some shops will dilute the chai more with hot water/milk
- Order a small size – the larger the portion, the more calories it will have
- Use stevia or monk fruit to sweeten – these natural, no-calorie sweeteners are a good alternative to sugar
You can also boost the nutrition by adding ingredients like cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, or black pepper, which provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Chai Latte Calories Compared to Coffee Drinks
How does a chai latte compare calorie-wise to popular coffee drinks? Here is a comparison of a medium 16 oz drink from Starbucks:
|Drink||Calories (16 oz)|
|Chai Latte with 2% milk||180|
|Caffe Latte with 2% milk||190|
|Cappuccino with 2% milk||140|
|Caramel Macchiato with 2% milk||230|
|Peppermint Mocha with 2% milk and whipped cream||360|
As you can see, a chai latte is moderately low in calories compared to other coffeehouse drinks. Drinks that contain sauce, flavored syrups, and whipped cream are highest in calories and fat.
Health Benefits of Chai Tea
While chai lattes are higher in calories and sugar than plain tea, the spices and tea used in chai provide some important health benefits:
- Antioxidants – Black tea contains polyphenol antioxidants that combat cellular damage from free radicals.
- Anti-inflammatory – Spices like ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric have natural anti-inflammatory properties.
- Improved digestion – Black tea and ginger may help reduce nausea, cramping, bloating, and other GI issues.
- Immune boosting – The spices contain antimicrobial and antiviral compounds that support immune function.
- Lower cholesterol -Animal studies found the black tea in chai can reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels.
- Blood sugar control – Compounds in cinnamon help regulate insulin levels and may lower blood sugar.
To get the most health benefits, try making chai tea lattes at home where you can control the amount of sugar added. Simmering chai spices in milk creates a flavorful, aromatic, and comforting beverage free of artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
Tips for Making a Healthy Chai Latte at Home
It’s easy to make a delicious and nutritious chai latte at home. Here are some tips for the healthiest chai:
- Use 2% or nonfat milk for lower calories and fat.
- Flavor with real spices like cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, ginger, black pepper, cloves, star anise.
- Sweeten with honey, maple syrup, or stevia instead of sugar.
- Add black tea leaves or an herbal rooibos tea bag for an extra antioxidant boost.
- Froth your milk with a milk frother or blender for a light, foamy topping.
- Garnish with nutmeg or a cinnamon stick instead of whipped cream.
Experiment with your own chai spice blends and milk alternatives like almond or oat milk to create a customized latte. Sipping a homemade chai is a comforting ritual that can be a healthy part of your daily routine.
The Bottom Line
A chai latte can range in calories from 130 to 270 calories depending on the size and ingredients used. The main contributors of calories are the milk and added sugar. To lighten up your chai latte, opt for nonfat milk, limit sugar, and avoid whipped cream. Chai lattes made with black tea and spices like cinnamon and ginger provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. But moderation is key when indulging in these cozy, sweet drinks.