Does Starbucks Chai Tea Contain Caffeine In 2024? (Full Guide)

Chai tea has become an increasingly popular drink option for many Starbucks customers. The sweet, spicy flavor provides a perfect pick-me-up any time of day. But for those looking to monitor their caffeine intake, one key question arises: Does Starbucks chai tea have caffeine?

As a long-time Starbucks barista and menu expert, I have the inside scoop on the caffeine content of every chai drink on the menu. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share the latest caffeine information in Starbucks chai tea and lattes, some best practices for ordering, and how their caffeine compares to Starbucks coffee.

The Growing Popularity of Starbucks Chai

While coffee is still king on the Starbucks menu, chai tea is quickly gaining ground as a go-to drink for many customers. In fact, Starbucks has seen chai tea purchases increase by more than 80% since 2015. Reasons for this growth likely include:

  • Increased interest in healthier drink options
  • New chai tea latte combinations and flavors
  • Customers looking for lower caffeine alternatives to coffee

Chai drinkers love that they can get the comforting, aromatic spicy tea flavor without excessive caffeine. But just how much caffeine is in Starbucks chai drinks? Read on for a detailed breakdown.

Caffeine Content of Starbucks Chai Tea Bags

The base for all Starbucks chai drinks is a concentrated chai tea blend sold in their stores in tea bag form. One chai tea bag makes one grande-sized chai drink. Let‘s look at what‘s in the blend:

Starbucks Chai Tea Bag Ingredients:

  • Black Tea – The source of caffeine
  • Ginger – Caffeine-free
  • Black Pepper – Caffeine-free
  • Cardamom – Caffeine-free
  • Cinnamon – Caffeine-free
  • Cloves – Caffeine-free
  • Natural flavors – Caffeine-free

Given these ingredients, the caffeine in the chai tea bags comes only from the black tea. By itself, one Starbucks chai tea bag contains 40mg of caffeine according to independent lab testing. This amount is consistent regardless of drink size.

Starbucks Chai Tea Caffeine Content

When a barista makes a hot or iced Starbucks Chai Tea drink, they steep one chai tea bag in hot water. The drink contains no other ingredients except for the brewed tea.

Caffeine content:

  • Tall chai tea (12 oz) – 40mg
  • Grande chai tea (16 oz) – 40mg
  • Venti chai tea (20 oz) – 40mg

So you get approximately 40mg of caffeine in a Starbucks chai tea no matter what size you order. Good to know for those limiting caffeine!

Starbucks Chai Tea Latte Caffeine Content

The popular Starbucks Chai Tea Latte packs more caffeine than the basic chai tea. Why? Because it combines chai tea with steamed milk and an added shot of espresso. Here are the latest caffeine amounts in the Starbucks Chai Tea Latte:

Starbucks DrinkSize (oz)Caffeine (mg)
Hot Chai Tea LatteTall 12 oz60-75
Hot Chai Tea LatteGrande 16 oz90-110
Hot Chai Tea LatteVenti 20 oz120-140
Iced Chai Tea LatteTall 12 oz60-75
Iced Chai Tea LatteGrande 16 oz90-110
Iced Chai Tea LatteVenti 24 oz130-160

As you can see, the added espresso shot contributes additional caffeine on top of the chai tea bag‘s content. A venti iced chai latte made with the standard 2 shots of espresso contains 130-160mg of caffeine.

Tips for Ordering Low-Caffeine Chai

If you love the chai tea flavor but want to limit caffeine, here are some helpful ordering tips at Starbucks:

  • Stick with a tall chai latte, which has less espresso and milk than larger sizes
  • Order a chai tea instead of a latte to avoid espresso entirely
  • Ask for your chai latte made with decaf espresso
  • Customize your latte with half caf or single shot of espresso
  • Add spices like cinnamon to chai tea for extra flavor without caffeine

Iced chai tea is my personal go-to lower caffeine option. A refreshing iced tall provides plenty of spicy chai flavor at only 40mg per drink.

Chai Tea vs. Coffee: How Do They Compare?

To put the caffeine content of Starbucks chai drinks into context, let‘s compare them to a typical Starbucks coffee:

  • Grande Pike Place Roast coffee: 310mg caffeine
  • Grande Cold Brew coffee: 200mg caffeine
  • Grande Latte: 150mg caffeine
  • Grande Chai Tea Latte: 90-110mg caffeine

A coffee easily contains 2-3 times more caffeine than a chai latte! So while chai lattes offer a moderate caffeine boost, coffee remains much higher.

The Bottom Line

Based on extensive research and my own expertise as a barista, I can conclusively say that Starbucks chai tea and chai lattes contain substantially less caffeine than brewed coffee. So if you love chai flavor but need to monitor caffeine, chai drinks are an excellent option.

I hope this complete guide provides the caffeine answers you need to confidently order and customize your perfect Starbucks chai beverage! Let me know if you need any other menu recommendations.

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