ice chai

Hey there, chai fans! Are you confused between two popular iced chai drinks - iced chai and iced chai latte? In this in-depth comparison guide, we're breaking down the tea, milk, and sweeteners used, the brewing methods, and the taste profiles of these two drinks. Get ready to chill out and discover your new favorite iced chai experience!

Iced Chai Vs. Iced Chai Latte

Main Differences

Iced chai and iced chai latte are refreshing and flavorful drinks, both perfect for a warm day. However, there are some differences between the two beverages, which we will discuss below.


Iced chai is a cold drink made by brewing black tea infused with spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and star anise. It is typically sweetened with honey or sugar. On the other hand, an iced chai latte is created by mixing chai tea with steamed milk and topping it with foam. Steamed milk in the latte version adds a creamy texture to the drink, making it more indulgent than a simple iced chai.


While both drinks are based on chai tea, the presence of milk in the iced chai latte brings out a smoother and creamier taste. Iced chai, without the added milk, has a more pronounced tea flavor and a spicier kick, resulting from the various spices infused in the tea.


Preparing iced chai involves brewing a strong chai tea, which is then poured over ice to chill before serving. An iced chai latte, on the other hand, requires the additional step of steaming and frothing milk. The chai tea and steamed milk are then combined and poured over ice to create the finished beverage.

Coffee Option

Neither iced chai nor iced chai latte traditionally include coffee. However, for those who enjoy a caffeine kick, a shot or two of espresso can be added to an iced chai latte, creating what is known as a "dirty chai latte." This combination adds the bold flavor of coffee to the smooth and creamy chai latte.

Iced Chai Iced Chai Latte
Ingredients Black tea, spices, sweetener Black tea, spices, sweetener, milk
Flavor Spicier, pronounced tea flavor Smoother, creamier
Preparation Brew tea, pour over ice Brew tea, add steamed milk, pour over ice
Coffee Variation None Dirty chai latte (with espresso)

With this information, you can now better understand the differences between iced chai and iced chai latte and make an informed choice based on your preferences.

Ingredients and Preparation

Iced Chai Ingredients and Method

Iced Chai is a refreshing and flavorful drink, typically made from black tea, spices, a sweetener, and ice. To prepare a delicious cup of Iced Chai, you'll need the following ingredients:

  • Black tea leaves (loose or bagged)
  • Spices: cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, black peppercorns, whole cloves, and optionally, allspice berries, star anise, and ginger root
  • Sweetener: honey, sugar, or any preferred sweetener
  • Ice

First, brew the black tea, allowing it to steep for about 3-5 minutes. While the tea is steeping, combine the spices in a separate container. Once the tea is brewed, add the spice mixture to the tea and sweeten it with your choice of sweetener. Stir until combined and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Fill a glass with ice and pour the spiced tea mixture over the ice. Give it a quick stir and your Iced Chai is ready to enjoy.

Iced Chai Latte Ingredients and Method

An Iced Chai Latte is a creamy, more indulgent take on the traditional Iced Chai. It includes steamed or cold milk, creating a rich and well-rounded flavor. Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • Chai concentrate (store-bought or homemade)
  • Milk (any type: whole, skim, almond, soy, etc.)
  • Ice
  • Optional: whipped cream or foam for topping

To create an Iced Chai Latte, you'll first need a Chai concentrate. You can use a store-bought version, or prepare your own by following the Iced Chai method described earlier and using slightly less water. Once you have your Chai concentrate, measure out ⅓ cup and pour it directly into a glass.

Next, add 1 cup of your preferred milk to the glass, filling it up to about two-thirds. Top off the glass by adding ice until it is full. Give the mixture a good swirl to fully integrate the ingredients. Optionally, you can finish the Iced Chai Latte with a dollop of whipped cream or a layer of foam on top. Enjoy your creamy, cold beverage!

Popular Variations

Dirty Chai Latte

The Dirty Chai Latte brings a twist to the traditional chai latte with the addition of a shot of espresso. Many people love the Dirty Chai for its stronger caffeine kick and the added bold, coffee flavor that complements the warming spices of chai. To make a Dirty Chai Latte, simply add a shot of espresso to your chai latte. A popular option for the base chai can be a chai concentrate, such as Starbucks' version, which is a blend of cinnamon, clove, and other warming spices. Add whole milk to the concentrate and then cool the drink with ice for an Iced Dirty Chai Latte.

Iced Chai Tea Latte

The Iced Chai Tea Latte is a perfect refreshing drink for the warm months. You can create this delightful mixture by infusing black tea with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and star anise. Then, sweeten the tea with a sweetener of your choice like honey, simple syrup, or maple syrup. Finally, to make the chai tea latte, mix the prepared chai with steamed milk and pour it over ice.

For those who prefer a homemade version, iced chai tea can be made using chai tea bags, which can be brewed in fewer natural portions of water and then cooled with ice. Adding milk of your choice, like whole milk or dairy-free alternatives, will turn the iced chai tea into an Iced Chai Tea Latte. Now, if you're someone who adores the cafe experience or perhaps owns a cafe and wishes to deliver a top-notch chai experience, considering an upgrade in your equipment might be the next step. This not only ensures that you serve the best but also adds a professional touch to your servings. Check out our Commercial espresso machine for sale collection to find the perfect fit for your requirements, whether personal or for commercial purposes. These machines are designed to craft perfect drinks every time, enriching the flavors and allowing you to experience chai and coffee like never before.

Summer and Fall Options

Seasonal variations can bring interesting flavors to your iced chai and chai latte beverages. During the summer, you could experiment with different lighter flavors like ginger or citrus-infused honey for a refreshing twist.

On the other hand, in fall, people often modify their chai lattes to include seasonal favorites like pumpkin spice syrup, particularly at well-known coffee chains like Starbucks. Also, a popular modification for the iced chai tea latte is to top it with a fluffy layer of vanilla sweet cream foam.

In conclusion, the world of iced chai and iced chai lattes is very versatile, with options like the Dirty Chai Latte, Iced Chai Tea Latte, and seasonal flavors to experiment with. Customize your beverage to your taste preferences and enjoy the unique flavors chai tea has to offer.

Calories and Nutrition

When comparing iced chai and iced chai lattes, the primary difference lies in the calories and nutritional content.

Different Milk Options

Milk plays a significant role in determining the calorie count and nutritional value of both iced chai and iced chai lattes. There are various milk options to choose from, such as 2% milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk. Here is a comparison of the calorie content for these milk options when used in an iced chai latte:

  • 2% milk: 240 calories
  • Almond milk: 180 calories
  • Coconut milk: 210 calories
  • Oat milk: 235 calories

Sugar Content and Alternatives

Iced chai lattes usually have a higher sugar content than iced chais due to the addition of sweeteners. A typical iced chai latte recipe includes 42 grams of sugar per 16-ounce (Grande) serving. The sweetness comes from several sources, including brown sugar, granulated sugar, or syrup.

For those interested in reducing sugar intake, several sugar alternatives are available:

  • Sugar-free syrups provide sweetness without additional calories and can significantly lower the calorie count.
  • Stevia, a natural sweetener with zero calories, is a suitable substitute for sugar.
  • Honey or maple syrup can be used as natural sweeteners with fewer calories than traditional sugar.

The choice of sweeteners can greatly affect the overall calorie and sugar content of iced chai and iced chai lattes. Choosing sugar alternatives helps strike a balance between flavor preference and nutritional concerns.

Iced Chai vs. Iced Chai Latte

The critical difference between iced chai and iced chai latte is that the former is a tea-infused beverage without milk, while the latter combines tea with milk, usually steamed milk or foam. The type of chai used also varies, with some containing spices like cinnamon, cloves, and star anise.

Homemade chai can be a customizable option allowing control over the ingredients and flavor profile. The calorie content of homemade iced chai lattes can be significantly adjusted depending on the milk and sweeteners used.

Cold brew chai is another alternative, particularly during summer months, offering a refreshing and lighter option with fewer calories than traditional iced chai lattes.

Lastly, vegan options for iced chai lattes are available with plant-based milk alternatives like almond, coconut, or oat milk that cater to specific dietary preferences while also providing a unique flavor profile.

Toppings and Flavors

Whipped Cream and Other Toppings

Iced chai and iced chai lattes can be customized with a variety of toppings to enhance the beverage's taste and appearance. One popular option, especially for an iced chai latte, is whipped cream. Whipped cream adds a rich, creamy texture and a touch of sweetness, which complements the spicy flavors of the chai.

Another popular topping is the vanilla-flavored sweet cream cold foam, often requested for iced chai tea lattes. Its light and airy texture contrasts with the boldness of the chai. The sweet cream cold foam can be modified with other flavor syrups, such as cinnamon dolce or pumpkin spice, to create a unique and personalized beverage experience.

Flavor Syrups

When it comes to flavor syrups, there is a wide variety to choose from to customize your iced chai or iced chai latte. These syrups can enhance or complement the blend of spices found in chai, which often includes cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise, allspice, and peppercorns.

Some popular flavored syrups include:

  • Pumpkin Spice: A seasonal favorite, pumpkin spice adds a warm and familiar taste reminiscent of autumn.
  • Caramel: This syrup adds a touch of sweetness and smoothness to your iced chai, balancing the spice notes.
  • Peppermint: A refreshing mint flavor that contrasts with the warmth of the chai, offering a unique twist.

For those seeking alternatives to the traditional sweeteners like sugar or honey, agave nectar is a delicious option that can be added to your iced chai or iced chai latte.

With so many options for toppings and flavors available, it's easy to find the perfect combination to suit your individual taste preferences. Whether you prefer soy milk, cashew milk, or even a decaf version, there are endless possibilities to create the iced chai or iced chai latte of your dreams.

Preparing at Home

Homemade Chai Tea Bags and Concentrate

When making iced chai or iced chai latte at home, there are multiple ways to create the flavor base: using homemade chai tea bags or by preparing a homemade chai concentrate. A simple homemade chai spice can be created by combining spices such as cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, whole cloves, black peppercorns, and fennel.

To make your own chai tea bags, mix your homemade chai spice with loose leaf black tea or herbal tea, then place the mixture into DIY tea bags or reusable tea infusers. Alternatively, you can create a chai tea concentrate by simmering your chai spices, tea leaves, and sweeteners (honey or sugar) in water before straining out the solids.

Methods and Tools

There are multiple methods to make iced chai and iced chai latte for different flavor preferences.

For a classic iced chai preparation, steep your homemade chai tea bags in hot water and let it cool down. Once cool, pour over ice cubes in a glass, and serve. For an iced chai latte, make an iced chai base and then top it off with cold milk or milk alternatives such as almond milk or oat milk for a dairy-free option. To further enhance the latte, froth the milk beforehand using a milk frother or simply shaking it in a mason jar, and then pour it over the iced chai base.

In addition to homemade chai tea bags and concentrate, variations such as London Fog, Matcha latte, and Iced Matcha latte can be made. London Fog utilizes Earl Grey tea and steamed milk, while Matcha latte replaces the chai with matcha green tea powder.

Variation Base Tea Milk Type Preparation
London Fog Earl Grey Steamed Hot
Matcha Latte Matcha Green Tea Steamed Hot
Iced Matcha Latte Matcha Green Tea Cold/Foamed Cold

Nutrition facts may vary depending on the ingredients and methods used; however, using filtered water and natural sweeteners can make a healthier beverage. If desired, vanilla sweet cream can be added for extra richness. There are affiliate links available for various tools and ingredients like milk frothers and reusable tea bags, as well as recipes and inspiration on sites like Pinterest.

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Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.

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