How much calories is chai tea latte?

Chai tea lattes have become an increasingly popular coffeehouse drink in recent years. With their sweet, spicy flavor profile, chai lattes offer a nice alternative to traditional coffee-based beverages. But with the addition of steamed milk and sweeteners like honey or sugar, chai lattes can also pack quite a caloric punch. So how many calories are actually in a chai tea latte? The answer depends on the size and specific ingredients used.

Calories in Chai Tea vs. Chai Latte

To determine the calorie content of a chai latte, it’s helpful to first look at the calories in plain chai tea. Chai tea is traditionally made by brewing black tea leaves with a mixture of warming spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, and cloves. The tea itself has minimal calories – generally around 2 calories per 8 oz cup. The spices add negligible calories. So an 8 oz cup of plain chai tea only contains about 2 calories.

Chai lattes, on the other hand, include steamed milk and added sweeteners. An 8 oz chai tea latte made with 2% milk contains about 90 calories. Switching to whole milk adds another 30 calories, bringing it up to 120 calories for an 8 oz chai latte. Additional sweeteners like sugar, honey, or flavored syrups will further increase the calorie content.

Calories in Chai Lattes by Size

Chai lattes are commonly served in 3 sizes – small (12 oz), medium (16 oz), and large (20+ oz). Obviously the calorie content scales up with the size. Here’s a breakdown of the calories in different sized chai lattes made with 2% milk and no added sweeteners:

  • Small (12 oz): 135 calories
  • Medium (16 oz): 180 calories
  • Large (20 oz): 225 calories

For comparison, here are the calories when made with whole milk instead of 2%:

  • Small (12 oz): 165 calories
  • Medium (16 oz): 220 calories
  • Large (20 oz): 275 calories

As you can see, a large chai latte made with whole milk contains over 250 calories, which is about the same as a 12 oz can of Coke!

Calories from Added Sweeteners

The calorie content of chai lattes can really shoot up with the addition of sugary syrups and sweeteners. Here’s how many extra calories some popular sweetener choices add:

  • 2 tbsp honey: 64 calories
  • 2 tbsp white sugar: 48 calories
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar: 54 calories
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup: 52 calories
  • 2 pumps vanilla syrup: 50 calories
  • 2 pumps caramel syrup: 60 calories
  • 2 pumps hazelnut syrup: 60 calories

With the addition of sweeteners, a large chai latte can end up containing well over 300 calories! To keep calories in check, opt for only 1 pump of flavoring or 1 tbsp of honey. Or better yet, skip the sweeteners entirely and enjoy the natural flavors of chai spice and steamed milk.

Low Calorie Options

If you’re looking to cut calories, there are a few tweaks you can make:

  • Order it made with nonfat milk instead of 2% or whole milk. This will save you about 30-60 calories per 8 oz serving.
  • Ask for fewer pumps of flavoring syrup. Most places put 2 pumps by default, so ask for just 1 pump to halve the calories from added sweeteners.
  • Request less or no added sweetener like honey or sugar.
  • Order a small size instead of medium or large.
  • Request it prepared with light soy milk or almond milk. These contain only about 30-40 calories per 8 oz.

With these simple modifications, you can shave off anywhere from 50-150 calories from a chai tea latte.

Calories in Chai Tea Latte vs. Coffee Drinks

Chai lattes are often perceived as a healthier alternative to coffeehouse drinks. But how do they really compare calorie-wise?

A 16 oz chai latte made with 2% milk contains around 180 calories. Here’s how that compares to some other popular Starbucks beverages in a 16 oz size:

Drink Calories (16 oz)
Caffe Latte 190
Cappuccino 140
Americano 15
Drip Coffee 5
Caramel Macchiato 240
White Chocolate Mocha 420
Frappuccino 300-500

As you can see, a chai latte is fairly comparable calorie-wise to drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. It contains more calories than black coffee or Americanos, but far less than blended, creamy frozen drinks like Frappuccinos and mochas. So while chai lattes aren’t exactly low calorie, they fall somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to coffeehouse drink options.

Tips for Ordering a Low Calorie Chai Latte

Here are some tips to keep your chai latte relatively low in calories:

  • Order a small or tall size (12 oz)
  • Request it made with nonfat milk
  • Ask for no added sweetener or just 1 pump of syrup
  • Specify no whipped cream on top
  • Ask for light steamed milk to cut back on dairy
  • Flavor it yourself with a dash of cinnamon or cardamom powder

Ordering it this way, you can get a delicious chai latte for around 100 calories – not bad for a coffeehouse drink!

Making Your Own Low Calorie Chai Latte

One of the healthiest and most cost effective options is to make your own chai latte at home. Here’s a simple recipe:


  • 8 oz nonfat milk or milk alternative like almond milk
  • 1 chai tea bag or 1 tsp loose leaf chai tea
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar (optional)
  • Dash of cinnamon


  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan or microwave until steamed.
  2. Brew the chai tea according to package instructions.
  3. Pour the steamed milk into a mug. Add the brewed tea and stir to combine.
  4. Stir in honey or sugar if desired. Top with a dash of cinnamon.

This easy homemade chai latte contains about 80 calories with nonfat milk and no added sweetener. And you can control the ingredients to keep calories and sugar low.

The Bottom Line

So how many calories are in a chai tea latte? On average, a 12 oz chai latte made with 2% milk contains about 135 calories, while a 16 oz size has around 180 calories. Calories increase with larger sizes, whole milk, and added sweeteners. To lighten up your chai latte, opt for nonfat milk, skip the syrups, and go easy on the honey or sugar. Or better yet, whip up a homemade version with control over all the ingredients. Any way you prepare it, a chai latte can be a tasty, moderately low calorie alternative to more sugary and caloric coffeehouse drinks when customized properly.

Leave a Comment