Chai tea and chai lattes are incredibly popular drinks that most coffee shops offer. And for many, simply ordering your favorite drink is an effortless thing to do without a second thought.
However, for those following stricter diets such as Keto, life is rarely that simple.
So, if you are cutting the carbs from your diet, you may be wondering if chai teas and lattes are something you can indulge in, or if they are another item to add to the Do Not Touch list.
Well, the answer all depends on the drink of your choice. A traditional chai tea contains 0 carbs and so you can guzzle it down to your heart’s content.
However, for those who much prefer a chai latte, we come bearing some bad news. Most of these drinks are not keto-friendly as they can contain upwards of 34 grams of carbs.
Fear not, though, for we don’t go down without a fight and have found a few ways around these carb-tastic chai lattes, and with a few simple tweaks you can continue drinking your favorite beverage without all those carbs!
Interested in learning more? Then keep reading!
Chai Tea Vs Chai Lattes
Okay, so let’s start this article by defining the difference between these two beverages. You see, many individuals are under the misconception that these are the same drink but that is far from the case.
Chai tea is a more traditional beverage that originates from India. Chai is the Indian word for tea and the beverage is a black tea that is often combined with spices, milk, and sugar.
However, when we refer to chai tea in this article, we’re only talking about black tea mixed with those common spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper.
No milk, no sugar, and no added sweeteners. Just brewed tea with spices.
Chai lattes on the other hand are more of a Western take on Indian chai tea. This drink often contains sweeteners and sugars, black tea, spices, and milk or cream to give it a creamy and rich flavor.
So, to recap, chai tea is simply brewed tea with no added extras, and a chai latte is those same spiced flavors but with a few extra frills. Now that we know the difference between the two drinks, let’s take a look at each one individually.
Is Chai Tea Keto-Friendly?
If you’re opting for chai tea in its purest and traditional form, brewed with only a selection of spices and hot water, then yes, you’ll be pleased to learn that it is completely keto-friendly.
A typical 8-ounce serving of the soul-warming beverage contains not a single gram of carbs making it the perfect option for those following a keto diet.
And what’s great about this is that there are tons of different unsweetened chai tea options on the market! You can choose between tea bags, loose tea leaves with spiced, and spiced chai powder.
All of which, usually, contains 0 carbs or calories. Just remember that this can vary from brand to brand so it’s always worth checking the label before making a purchase.
Chai tea concentrates used in coffee shops are often sweetened but fear not because you can often find unsweetened chai concentrates too if you look hard enough. You won’t typically find them on the shelves of supermarkets, but many online stores specialize in them.
Is A Chai Tea Latte Keto Friendly?
Alas, most chai tea lattes that are served in coffee shops are not suitable for those following a keto diet. For example, a tall chai latte from Starbucks will rob you of a whipping 34 grams of carbs.
And unfortunately, it doesn’t get much better when you compare the gram intake in similar coffee shops. Each provides chai lattes that range with a carb content of anywhere between 24 and 41 grams of carbs per serving.
Why are chai lattes so much higher in carb content compared to chai teas? Well, there’s a variety of different reasons. Let’s take a look now.
- Sweetened Chai Concentrate – Most chai lattes are made using a sweetened chai concentrate. Not only do they often use this sweetened concentrate but they also then add more sweeteners or sugars, and sometimes a helping of honey or molasses too. There’s simply too much sugar used in these beverages for them to be considered keto-friendly.
- Made With Milk – Most coffeehouses will make their chai lattes using equal parts sweetened chai concentrate and milk. Generally, they’ll usually use 2% milk in these drinks, though there is the option to substitute it for other varieties. Sadly, though, these changes still won’t reduce the carb content enough to make them keto-friendly. Even opting for keto-friendly ingredients such as cream won’t lower the carb content enough either because the sugar content in the concentrate is too high.
Is An Iced Chai Tea Latte Keto-Friendly?
So, what about the chai latte’s colder counterpart? Is that a viable option for the keto diet? Sadly not. Iced tea is still created using the same concentrate as a chai latte, which we learned above is packed full of sugar and carbs.
An iced chai latte will also be made with whole, skim, or 2% milk which is not keto-friendly. Most of these iced chai beverages still contain anywhere between 24 and 41 grams of carb content.
Since an iced chai latte is made with very similar ingredients to the aforementioned drink, the same reasons stand as to why it is not an appropriate option for those following a keto diet.
How To Order A Keto-Friendly Chai Latte At Starbucks
Now, for the part that you’re looking forward to. Just because Chai lattes aren’t keto-friendly doesn’t mean that they have to disappear from your diet forever.
You just need to tweak what you’re ordering slightly. It’s a little long-winded, so you might need to write it down, but your efforts will certainly be rewarded when you can re-add your favorite beverage back to your morning routine.
So, when you next visit Starbucks, politely ask your barista for the following:
- Tall Brewed Chai Made With Two Tea Bags (0 Carbs)- Of course, you can change the size if you’d prefer and you can increase or decrease the number of tea bags depending on how strong you like your drink to be.
- 2 Pumps Sugar-Free Cinnamon Dolce Syrup (0 Carbs) – This will enhance that spicy cinnamon flavor in your beverage without adding any extra carbs or sugar.
- Drop Of Heavy Cream (2g Carbs) – This will give the drink a creamier consistency and will improve the sweetness without adding too much sugar.
- 2 Packets Whole Earth Stevia Plus Monk Fruit (0 Carbs) – This is a zero-carb sweetener that improves the taste of your drink without adding extra carbs
- Sprinkle Of Cinnamon Powder (0 Carbs) – Adds a little extra spicy flavor without any additional sugar or carbs.
While this drink might be a bit of a mouthful to get out, it does mean that you can reduce the carb content from around 34 grams to just a mere 2-4 grams making it the perfect option for you.
If you’re a fan of a little extra whipped cream on your latte, you don’t even have to avoid that either. The whipped cream is sweetened but considering a tall drink’s worth of the stuff only adds a mere 2 grams of carbs, it’s definitely worth adding if you’re looking for a little treat.
How Does The Drink Compare To The Original?
Amazingly well! In fact, we’d go as far as to say that it is even nicer than the standard option. No, you’re not dreaming – it’s really true!
The original beverage from Starbucks is not all that sweet tasting-wise, has a milky texture but isn’t overly creamy, and has a very mild flavor to it where you only really get a hint of those spices coming through.
The brewed keto option, however, is slightly sweeter, has a much richer and creamy taste and texture, and is still somewhat subtle and mild in its spiced flavor.
However, thanks to the addition of the cinnamon syrup, it does pack more of a punch than its original counterpart.
Is Chai Tea Healthy?
Another question that you may have is whether or not chai tea is actually healthy. You know, besides its carb content and keto-friendliness. Well, the answer is yes. Hooray!
Provided that your chai tea hasn’t been drenched with milk or loaded with sugars and sweeteners, it is actually a very healthy option.
This is because the ingredients in chai tea have several benefits. Let’s take a look at them now.
- Black Tea – Black tea may help to lower blood cholesterol, reduce the risk of strokes and some cancers, and boost heart health. It has also been shown to prevent belly fat and weight gain.
- Cinnamon – Cinnamon may help to lower blood pressure and reduce insulin resistance. It can also help to reduce cholesterol and has antibacterial properties known to prevent issues with digestion.
- Ginger – Ginger may reduce inflammation or reduce pain, it can also help to reduce blood sugar levels for Type-2 diabetics, and has been known to support the immune system as well as have anti-nausea properties.
- Cloves – Cloves may reduce the risk of developing some cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. It can also protect the stomach lining from ulcers and reduce inflammation and also contains many amazing antioxidants.
- Cardamom – Cardamom may lower blood pressure, protect individuals from chronic diseases, treat digestive issues, and contain cancer-fighting compounds
- Black Pepper – Black Pepper may help to reduce the risk of some cancers, improve blood sugar control, and increase the digestive enzymes that break down your food. It also has many anti-inflammatory properties and is a rich source of antioxidants.
Other Keto-Friendly Starbucks Beverages
You may think that finding keto-friendly beverages at your favorite coffee shop is almost impossible, but that is where you are wrong.
There are tons of scrumptious options available so you can get your Starbies fix. Not all of them are found on the menu, but if you ask for them politely, you’re barista can easily whip them up for you, with no problem.
So, let’s take a look at some of the other keto-friendly options available.
Brewed Coffee (0g Of Net Carbs)
Simple, yet effective. You can never go wrong with the basics. A freshly brewed cup of hot coffee from Starbucks contains exactly 0 grams of carbs making it the perfect option.
Plus you can choose between three amazingly tasty brews, so whether you’re more fond of the Pike Place Roast, Blonde Roast, or Dark Roast, there’s an option for you.
And since there are no carbs in the drink, you may even have a little extra wiggle room to add a splash of cream or milk if you prefer without adding too many more carbs to the mix.
Keto White Drink (11g Of Net Carbs)
This is one of those drinks that you won’t find while perusing the Starbucks menu, but if you ask them for a selection of specific ingredients they can whip it up without an issue.
And this drink tastes absolutely incredible. Imagine peach cobbler as a drink – sounds good, right?
Simply ask for an unsweetened Peach Citrus White Tea and then add a little heavy cream, a couple of pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup, no water, and light ice.
Low-Carb London Fog (15g Of Net Carbs)
You can turn a classic and delicious London Fog into a keto-friendly option by asking your barista to replace the steamed milk with a shot of heavy whipping cream and opt for a sugar-free syrup instead of the higher sugar counterparts.
Simply order an Earl Grey tea with cream and sugar-free syrup to recreate your favorite drink.
Skinny Mocha (1g Of Net Carbs)
No, you’re not dreaming, you can still enjoy that mix of chocolatey goodness and caffeine while on a Keto diet! And it requires very minimal changes to the original recipe too.
All you need to do is ask your barista for a mocha using skinny mocha sauce and then ask for half heavy cream and half water instead of filling the beverage with milk.
Low Carb Flat White (10g Of Net Carbs)
Enjoy a flat white from Starbucks? Well, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out that you can still enjoy the drink while conforming to a keto diet.
Simply swap out the steamed milk for half hot water and half heavy cream and voila, you’ve got that same amazing taste just without all the carbs.
Low-Carb Pink Drink (10g Of Net Carbs)
Sad to be missing out on jumping on the bandwagon of ordering the popular pink drink? Well, feel ostracised no longer, since this can easily be made keto with a few easy swaps.
Simply order your Pink Drink and request heavy cream instead of milk and opt for sugar-free syrup.
Unsweetened Iced Tea (0g Of Net Carbs)
Fancy an iced tea during those hot summer months? Well, don’t miss out. Simply ask for your iced tea to be unsweetened and enjoy that same delicious and refreshing flavor just without all those added extra carbs.
And if you’re not a massive fan of unsweetened iced tea, you can always dial up the sweetness by opting for your favorite sugar-free syrup.
Unsweetened Iced Coffee (0g Of Net Carbs)
Iced coffee is a love affair that should never be interrupted regardless of your dietary requirements. And luckily, for those following a keto diet, you don’t have to. Simply request unsweetened iced coffee to cut the carbs.
Again, if you prefer your iced coffee fairly sweet, feel free to add your choice of sugar-free syrups to the mix.
Iced Blonde Vanilla Latte (4g Of Net Carbs)
This delicious iced beverage can be made completely keto-friendly by swapping out the standard milk option for either almond milk or heavy cream. Then request sugar-free syrup instead of the higher sugar-content counterpart.
Keto Cafe Latte (2.5g Of Net Carbs)
Creamy and delicious coffee is still an option for those following a keto diet with a few small tweaks.
When ordering your cafe latte for your morning caffeine fix, simply request that it is brewed with three parts water and one part heavy cream. Then you can add a little extra sweetness by adding a few Whole Earth packets to the mix.
Keto Cinnamon Dolce Latte (5g Of Net Carbs)
Cinnamon Dolce Latte lovers that follow a keto diet have probably already said their farewells to their favorite drink since it is definitely anything but keto-friendly.
However, we come bearing brilliant news – this drink can be made in a keto-friendly manner.
All you need to do is order an Americano made with hot water, a splash of heavy cream, and two pumps of sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup.
Nitro Cold Brew (0g Of Net Carbs)
This beverage provides a thick, creamy, and less acidic version of your favorite coffee. And thanks to the nitrogen bubbles it even has a little added sweetness too.
However, if it’s still not sweet enough for your liking, you can opt for a splash of heavy cream and sugar-free syrup and it’ll only cost you a maximum of 3g of net carbs.
Keto Frappuccino (3g Of Net Carbs)
Everyone loves a Starbucks frappuccino, it’s a decadent drink that is almost like a dessert. So, many keto dieters probably assume that it’s not possible for them to enjoy one. But that simply isn’t true.
You can ask for an unsweetened iced coffee with extra ice, some heavy cream, and two pumps of your favorite sugar-free syrups and achieve a very similar drink.
Just be sure to ask for it to be blended without any of the frappuccino bases or syrups.
Chai lattes and Chai teas are very popular drinks. They’re spiced and delicious and are the perfect winter warmer. And if you are a fan of these beverages, you shouldn’t part ways with them simply because you are cutting out sugar and carbs.
As you have learned from this article, there are plenty of ways to go about ordering your favorite drinks with slightly different ingredients that produce that same amazing and tasty flavor without all the bad stuff that you’re trying to avoid.
Plus, chai teas contain so many ingredients that are super healthy in general. They have so many benefits to individuals that you shouldn’t cut them from your life entirely.
Sure, ordering your drink might be a bit of a mouthful to get out and may include a slightly more confusing process for the barista. But it’s so worth it once you get to continue drinking your favorite drink.
And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also learned that there are so many other amazing drinks at your favorite coffee shop that are also keto-friendly. Today’s a good day! So, what are you waiting for? Get ordering your favorite drink now!