Does Chai Tea Have Caffeine? To briefly respond to this commonly asked question, classic black tea chai does indeed contain caffeine.
At our Tea Bar, chai lattes are a constant customer favorite. They can be ordered hot for a warm wintertime pick-me-up or iced for a cool summertime pleasure. For our caffeine-averse CommuniTEA, we typically have two types of chai on hand at the bar: one with caffeine and one naturally devoid of it. But lately, we’ve been curious about the caffeine content of classic Masala Chai (spiced black tea) and how it stacks up against that of coffee and other teas.
What Is Chai Tea?
What ingredients are in chai tea and where does it come from? The word “chai” simply means tea in India, where chai tea originated. It is typically brewed with a base of black Assam tea with spices including black pepper, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon. The typical way to make chai in India is to combine it with steamed milk (either cow’s milk or almond milk), then add honey to make it sweeter.
While black tea is commonly used in traditional chai, there are numerous additional spiced tea or masala tea beverages that go by the name and many of which incorporate chai’s spices and flavors with other types of tea, such as:
- Chai green tea
- Rooibos chai
- Chai white tea
- Chai lattes
The type of loose leaf tea it is matched with will determine how much caffeine is present when the chai flavor derives only from the mixture of spices and not from black tea itself.
How Much Caffeine Does Chai Have?
Warm milk, sweetener, spices, and black tea are used to make chai. And that black tea has caffeine unless you’re purchasing a particular decaffeinated chai. Depending on a variety of conditions, the amount of caffeine you’ll consume in one cup fluctuates.
Depending on how the brew is made, a typical cup of Prana Chai might contain anywhere between 20 and 100mg of caffeine. The amount of caffeine can be cut by 80% if the steeping time is shortened.
The amount of caffeine in “chai lattes” made with powders or concentrates may differ from those made with the spice blend. One cup of chai made from powder contains 25–55 mg of caffeine, however, chai made from concentrate is more likely to have 30–35 mg.
If you compare that to the 120mg in a typical cup of coffee, it becomes clear that sticking to coffee beans is definitely the best option if you want to be a vibrant bag of beans.
But it’s not quite that easy. Tea tannin serves to soothe the nervous system, and it combines with caffeine in chai. It’s a compound that makes caffeine considerably more slowly absorbed by your body, allowing you to achieve calm, concentrated states without the jittery effects of coffee.
Related Reading: How To Flush Caffeine Out Of Your System?
How Does Chai Tea Compare to Coffee?
Traditional morning beverages that can help you wake up include tea and coffee. However, even a potent chai tea beverage contains less caffeine than coffee. Eight ounces of coffee contain 120 milligrams of caffeine, compared to 60 mg in a standard cup of black chai tea.
Additionally, tea provides a more sustained energy boost than coffee, which starts off stronger but climbs and declines more quickly. When the caffeine wears off from this spike, it results in unpleasant side effects including jitters and crashes. Because chai tea contains less caffeine and is absorbed by our systems more slowly, adverse effects of that nature will be less noticeable if you drink it.
Is Chai Tea Good For You?
It is, indeed. But there can be too much of a good thing, as they say. The FDA advises that the recommended daily upper limit for caffeine consumption is 400 mg. However, there are personal aspects that can influence how much caffeine an individual should eat, such as:
- rate of metabolism
- specific health issues
- certain drug interactions
You shouldn’t take as much caffeine while pregnant or nursing. The American Pregnancy Association advises taking half as much as the average individual does per day or less than 200 milligrams.
In summary, the benefits of chai tea include:
- A lot of antioxidants
- Benefits for the heart
- Favorable to digestion
- Increase energy
- Good for your skin
- Brings down inflammation
- Benefiting your teeth
- Resists colds
Small Things You Need to Know About Chai
- The word “tea” in India is chai.
- The American variant with added sugar is known as a “chai latte.”
- The Hebrew word (transliteration) chai also means “Life.”
- Compared to coffee, chai’s caffeine behaves differently.
- Green tea, white tea, Rooibos (or red tea), matcha, and even yerba mate are all options for chai!
- Commercial chai can be purchased as bulk loose leaf tea, a concentrate, or a powder blend.
- You can buy commercial chai as bulk loose leaf tea, a concentrate, or a powdered mixture.
- Numerous chai products are organic and fair trade certified.
- Chai tea is more environmentally friendly.