Yes, There’s Caffeine in Chai and Matcha — Here’s How to Choose the Right Drink for You

Knowing how many milligrams of caffeine you’re consuming on a daily basis can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.

Rayna Skiver - Author

May 7 2024, Published 3:32 p.m. ET

An iced matcha latte on a white table with a plant and matcha powder in the background.
Source: ISTOCK

If you’re trying to quit coffee or lower your caffeine intake, swapping your cup of joe out for chai or matcha might be worth the try. Not only are these drinks delicious, but they also have a ton of nutritional benefits.

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But is there caffeine in chai or matcha? Keep reading to learn more about these two types of morning tea and decide which one is right for you.

Is there caffeine in chai?

A hot chai latte with cinnamon on top in a round, red mug.
Source: iStock

According to the Republica of Tea, there is caffeine in chai, although the amount varies based on which variety you use and how you make it. This beloved drink starts with a base of black tea and is mixed with spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and more. It’s often topped with steamed milk and honey, but we love to use non-dairy milks or milk alternatives.

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To determine how much caffeine is in a chai beverage, you have to first determine if black tea is actually an ingredient in the drink or if it just uses the spices associated with chai. For example, a black chai that’s considered traditional will have more caffeine than chai syrup, which is simply mimicking the flavor.

There are two key things you need to know to determine how much caffeine is in chai: The type of tea leaf used and the preparation method.

Traditional chai can have anywhere between 50 and 100 milligrams (mg) per cup, whereas chai with a rooibos base has no caffeine. Chai made with a powder or a concentrate typically has much less, at 25 to 50 mg. It all depends on where your chai flavor is coming from.

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If you’re trying to lower your caffeine intake, chai might be a good alternative. It’s not caffeine-free by any means, but compared to the typical cup of coffee, it’s definitely an improvement.

There are other health benefits associated with chai, too. According to Health, thanks to nutritious ingredients like black tea and ginger, this tasty drink might help with digestion, inflammation, and brain function.

Chai is the perfect option if you’re looking for something with less caffeine and a ton of benefits.

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Is there caffeine in matcha?

Close up of matcha powder and hot water being mixed together by a bamboo whisk.
Source: ISTOCK

The amount of caffeine in matcha can vary greatly. Depending on the concentration, a cup of matcha can have anywhere between 40 and 175 mg, according to Healthline.

On a gram-per-gram basis, matcha has more caffeine than coffee. However, matcha has a much smaller serving size — one serving is usually around 2 to 4 grams, compared to the 10 grams used in a cup of coffee.

It’s important to remember that while matcha does come from green tea leaves, it has a very different caffeine level than green tea. According to Michigan State University, a cup of green tea is made from the leaves, whereas matcha comes from the leaves after they’ve been ground into a powder. This process significantly increases the amount of caffeine.

Not only does matcha provide you with a reasonable amount of caffeine, but some might argue that it’s even better than coffee, thanks to a little amino acid called L-theanine. This compound helps your body avoid jitters by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels, which creates a calming effect. You also get to start your day with a bunch of antioxidants!

So, no matter what drink you choose, just know your options are limitless.

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