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10 Best Starbucks Chai Drinks + Chai Tea Latte Modifications

If Starbucks is your go-to for coffee, I’ll tell you a secret — they also make a heck of a chai. An exotic tea gone mainstream, no one does it better.

Starbucks puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to authenticity. Thoughtfully developed, each drink offers a traditional chai experience with a side of modern convenience.

Here’s what chai fans need to know, from how Starbucks chai drinks are made to the best chai drinks and modifications, including must-try secret menu options.

All About Starbucks Chai Drinks

Chai is black tea blended with fragrant Indian spices like cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, ginger, pepper, and cloves.

Developed more than 5,000 years ago as a medicinal potion, the original version contained no actual tea (Camellia sinensis leaves). The fusion of tea leaves, boiled milk, and sugar that we know and love today evolved in the latter half of the 1800s.

masala chai

How Starbucks makes its chai drinks now is decidedly less traditional but every bit as authentic.

How Starbucks Chai Drinks are Made

Starbucks chai is made exclusively with one of these two products by Tazo or Teavana:

Chai Concentrate: Genuine chai flavor can’t be rushed, but Tazo hit the bullseye with its pre-sweetened chai tea concentrate. A ready-made infusion of water, black tea, spices, sugar, honey, vanilla, and other natural flavors, it’s the base for all but one of Starbucks’ chai drinks.

Chai Tea Bags: Starbucks hot brewed chai is the only chai tea on the menu that doesn’t contain sweetened chai concentrate. Made with a Teavana chai sachet, it’s premium black tea brimming with warm spices from cloves to ginger.

What Types of Chai Drinks are Available?

Starbucks offers several types of chai drinks including seasonal and secret menu options. Made with black tea, they all contain caffeine.

With customizations, there are dozens of potential flavor combinations in these three categories:

  • Tea: In the mood for a sugar-free treat? Warm up with Starbucks hot brewed chai. Blissfully simple, it’s calorie-free.
  • Hot and Iced Lattes: Starbucks chai lattes are a creamy blend of chai concentrate, milk, and sugar. Served hot or iced, they capture bona fide chai flavor.
  • Frappuccinos: Frappuccinos made Starbucks a household name. A blend of ice, milk, and a sugar-sweetened coffee base, you’re probably familiar with the original cappuccino flavors. Chai Frappuccinos have the same frosty consistency, but they’re made with a coffee-free crème base.

10 Best Chai Drinks at Starbucks

There’s no such thing as a bad chai at Starbucks.

But these 10 drinks are on my personal favorites menu:

1. Iced Chai Tea Latte

Starbucks Iced Chai Tea Latte

Grande Size (16 oz):

  • Caffeine: 95 mg
  • Calories: 240
  • Sugar: 42 g

Too hot out for your usual chai?

Enjoy the same flavor in Starbucks Iced Chai Tea Latte. A customer favorite, all that’s missing compared to the hot version is the foam on top. However, you can modify this drink by adding some cold foam (more about this later).

Cold milk mellows the spices for a sweet, velvety finish. Served over ice, it’s an anytime pick-me-up.

Of all of the caffeinated teas at Starbucks, iced and hot Chai Lattes are the strongest ones. Grab a Grande for a 95 mg jolt of caffeine!

2. Chai Tea Latte

Grande Size (16 oz):

  • Caffeine: 95 mg
  • Calories: 240
  • Sugar: 42 g

Starbucks Chai Tea Latte is a familiar blend of black tea, warm spices, and steamed milk. If you want a traditional chai, this is your cup!

Smooth and creamy with a frothy foam layer on top, it’s substantial but never too heavy. Pair it with a plain bagel slathered with cream cheese.

3. Chai Crème Frappuccino

Grande Size (16 oz):

  • Caffeine: 40 mg
  • Calories: 340
  • Sugar: 45 g

The Chai Creme Frappuccino is a new take on a Starbucks classic. A satisfying blend of milk, creme base, flavorings, and ice, it’s part chai, part milkshake with just 40 mg of caffeine.

Topped with real whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon, it’s sinfully delicious!

4. Chai Tea

Grande Size (16 oz):

  • Caffeine: 40 mg
  • Calories: 0
  • Sugar: 0 g

Ditch the dairy and sugar with Starbucks’ humble Chai Tea — you’ll hit the ground running with flavor, not sugar and fat.

Made with a fragrant Teavana sachet and nothing else, the olfactory impact alone will send your spirit soaring. Served hot, it’s simple and soothing.

If you are looking for a Starbucks drink for a sore throat or to relieve a cough, then this is a great option.

5. Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte

Grande Size (16 oz):

  • Caffeine: 70 mg
  • Calories: 310
  • Sugar: 58 g

A blend of chai concentrate, milk, and pumpkin spice sauce mounded with luscious whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spices, Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte chases away the chills.

Grab it whenever you can, because it’s seasonal!

6. Dirty Chai – Iced or Hot (Secret Menu)

A staple on the secret menu, the Dirty Chai recipe is no secret. Just ask for a Chai Latte with a shot of espresso (or two).

Served hot or iced, it will turbocharge your day!

Make it your own secret recipe with a drizzle of hazelnut or toasted vanilla syrup.

7. White Chocolate Cinnamon Chai (Secret Menu)

Cinnamon, chai, and white mocha collide in this dizzyingly sweet concoction.

Just ask for a Chai Latte with two pumps each of cinnamon dolce syrup and white mocha sauce topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon powder. If it’s been a tough day, go wild, and try the cinnamon dolce sprinkles!

8. TikTok Iced Chai Latte (Secret Menu)

Transform an ordinary Iced Chai Latte into this TikTok sensation with two pumps of brown sugar syrup, switching to oat milk, and adding some vanilla sweet cream foam on top.

Spend the calories you save on dairy milk on a splurge of caramel drizzle. You won’t be sorry.

9. Cookie Butter Chai (Secret Menu)

Out of cookie butter? Try this secret Cookie Butter Chai.

Order a Chai Latte with soy milk, three pumps of brown sugar syrup, and brown butter topping. It’s not quite as decadent as downing a jar of Biscoff with a spoon, but it’s close.

10. Cha Cha Latte (Secret Menu)

Don’t be a wallflower. Put some Cha Cha in your day with this energizing favorite!

Just ask for an Iced Matcha Latte with one and a half pumps of chai concentrate (for Grande size). It’s sweet, savory, and stimulating.

5 Awesome Starbucks Chai Tea Latte Modifications

Just like Chai Latte at Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks makes this drink with a pre-sweetened concentrate so you can’t really adjust the sweetness. But there are many other ways to modify your drink!

Here are some ways to customize your drink to create your own perfect Chai Latte:

1. Top Iced Chai Tea Latte with Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Foam

If you’re not in the mood for a complicated secret recipe, here’s an upgrade you can spit out on one sentence. Just say, “please gimme an Iced Chai Tea Latte with Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Foam.”

It’s next level yum!

2. Select a Plant-Based Milk

It’s true that a Chai Latte tastes great with rich and creamy whole milk. But plant-based options have nutritional and environmental benefits you can feel good about without sacrificing taste.

Starbucks offers oat, soy, almond, and coconut milk. Oat and soy milk have a neutral vibe. Almond and coconut milk have subtle flavors that add a nutty or sweet nuance that blends better with some chais than others.

Coconut milk is particularly intriguing in the Cha Cha Latte.

You might also be interested in avoiding lactose or getting fewer calories. Check out the table below so you can base your decision on nutritional facts.

Nutritional values of Starbucks milk options (per one 8 oz cup):

Milk TypeCaloriesFatCarbsSugarsProtein
Whole Milk1608g12g12g8g
Nonfat Milk800g12g12g8g
2% Milk1204g12g12g8g
Soy Milk1304g16g13g7g
Almond Milk604g6g5g2g
Oat Milk1407g16g7g1g
Coconut Milk805g7g7g1g

3. Add Flavored Sauce

Starbucks offers various flavored sauces that blend well in your Chai Latte:

  • Mocha
  • Dark Caramel
  • Pistachio
  • White Chocolate Mocha
  • Pumpkin and other seasonal flavors

Thicker than syrups, they hold up better in hot lattes. But beware that each pump increases sweetness exponentially, so ease back on the other sweeteners.

4. Add Syrup

Syrups add a punch of something special to any chai. They mix well with both hot and cold drinks.

Available in a broader range of flavors, I recommend that you try one of the following:

  • Caramel
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon Dolce
  • Cinnamon Caramel
  • Hazelnut
  • Raspberry
  • Toffee Nut
  • Vanilla
  • Toasted Vanilla
  • Sugar-free Vanilla and seasonal offerings such as peppermint

5. Add Drizzle

Drizzles are both flavorful and decorative atop foam or whipped cream. Most also sub as sauce or syrup.

I especially like mocha, caramel, and vanilla with my hot or iced Chai Latte — they provide a hint of sweetness and a whole lot of visual appeal without adding too many calories.

Final Thoughts on Chai Drinks at Starbucks

Starbucks didn’t invent chai, but it’s putting it on the map in areas where customers haven’t had the pleasure.

While the Starbucks version is a bit different compared to a traditional masala chai, it’s as delicious and offers dozens of ways to customize it to suit your current mood.

A global trend with local flavor, don’t miss another chance to try yours!

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Best Starbucks Chai Drinks

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