Are Chai Lattes Vegan?

Are Chai Lattes vegan? This article explores what is Chai latte vegan and how to order it at a coffee shop.

Are Chai Lattes Vegan
Chai latte may sound like a great cup of coffee even though it is actually a great cup of tea

Chai latte sounds like a great cup of coffee!

Don’t be fooled, however; a Chai latte is a great cup of tea! A latte is often mistaken as a coffee drink, but the only similarity that a Chai latte has with coffee, other than the name, is that the tea is strong and black with steamed milk added to it! It is served in coffee shops, so the next time you meet up with your friends at a coffee shop, order the Chai latte!

A traditional Chai latte is not vegan, but all the dairy and animal products used in making the perfect Chai latte can be swapped out for vegan options. Coconut or almond milk is an excellent substitute for cow’s milk. At the same time, honey can replace maple syrup or stevia for the perfect vegan Chai latte.

When you order a coffee drink at a coffee shop, they will automatically serve you a drink with cow’s milk and perhaps, cream and sugar unless you let them know your preferences. You should know that you can order a vegan coffee or tea drink at a coffee shop for the vegans amongst us.

As we are discussing Chai latte’s in particular, let’s have a look at how you can order the perfect vegan Chai Latte the next time you go on a coffee date!

Is A Chai Latte Vegan?

As mentioned earlier in this post, although a basic coffee or tea drink is vegan (with nothing added to the brew), a Chai latte is generally not served as a vegan drink unless you ask for the vegan option. 

A traditional Chai latte is a hot, milky, frothy, extremely fragrant, spicy black tea drink. The Chai latte blend traditionally includes cardamom, ginger, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and fennel – a heady combination of exotic spices! Black and green cardamom pods are another potent spice traditionally added to the Chai tea blend. 

Although traditionally made with steamed milk, a great Chai latte can be made with or without milk, creamer, and sugar – the choice is yours! If you are wondering what the difference between a Chai latte and a Chai tea is, here’s the answer:

  • A Chai latte is a strong black tea that has been infused with spices mixed with steamed milk and topped with foam.
  • A Chai tea is loose-style tea leaves brewed in hot milk, with added honey or sugar as a sweetener.

Anything containing the word Chai sounds healthy! As a Vegan, you are choosing a healthier lifestyle.

You should not have to drink anything that goes against your lifestyle choices, so instead of using cow’s milk in your Chai latte, why not request the following as a substitute?

  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Soy milk
  • Rice milk
  • Oat milk

Other ingredients added to the Chai latte can also be non-vegan.

Rules When Ordering A Vegan Chai Latte At A Coffe Shop

are chai lattes vegan
Replace anything dairy or somewhat related to animal products when ordering Chai latte

When ordering a Chai latte at your favorite Coffee shop, follow these three rules to make sure that you get the healthy, vegan drink that you want:

1. Replace.

Replace anything dairy or that is an animal product. Why not opt for these vegan treats instead:

  • Try a flavored sweetener syrup like vanilla, hazelnut, or caramel Instead of using honey as a sweetener. For a healthier option, try stevia as a sweetener.
  • Replace whipped cream with a dairy-free whip such as coconut whipped cream or cashew cream – delicious!

2. Hold.

These ingredients are not vegan:

  • Java chips – do contain dairy.
  • Protein powder – can contain dairy.
  • Caramel drizzle – does contain dairy!
  • Cinnamon dolce topping – this delicious topping contains butter.
  • Clear sauces – these are not vegan, but clear syrups are.

3. Avoid.

Some items that contain cow’s milk or honey, so avoid these spices altogether in your Chai latte:

  • Pumpkin spice.
  • Caramel Brulee without the espresso.

Are Vegan Chai Latte’s Healthy?

two cups of chai masala in a wooden table
Vegan Chai latte contains 240 calories, 45g of sugar, and 73mg of caffeine

A typical Chai latte contains 240 calories, 45 grams of sugar, and 73mg of caffeine! By swopping out dairy products for vegan milk and opting for an unsweetened version, your vegan Chai latte will be even healthier and about 66% leaner than a regular Chai latte!

By restricting the amount of the Chai tea blend and only having one pump of the spice mix in your vegan Chai latte, you can reduce your calorie intake to a total of 80 calories! 

By adding a single espresso shot to the Chai latte mix, you can enjoy a tea and coffee drink all at the same time! This drink is called a Dirty Chai latte and packs a caffeine punch! Again, all dairy and animal products can be substituted for vegan products.

Chai lattes do have some fantastic health benefits. If you do have any of these health problems, always consult your doctor for medical advice. Never use any of these products as a substitute for medication.

Here are a few of the amazing health benefits of drinking even healthier vegan Chai lattes:

  • Cinnamon, a spice traditionally used in the Chai latte blend, may lower blood pressure and cholesterol and contains high antioxidant levels!
  • Drinking three cups of Chai latte or more per day may be linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
  • Ginger powder used in a Chai latte could improve blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes. Ginger is also known to treat ailments like nausea and seasickness.
  • Chai tea contains polyphenols that protect overall cell health.
  • Black tea contains caffeine which is a known stimulant. It can provide a boost of energy to get you through the mid-afternoon slump!
  • Chai is great for digestion problems and keeps your gut healthy!
  • The spices used in Chai latte can help to alleviate everyday aches and pains. Some of the spices, in particular, ginger and cloves, have anti-inflammatory benefits!

The Final Word On Vegan Chai Lattes

Chai lattes can be served hot or iced, whichever you prefer. Before ordering a Chai latte at a coffee shop, check which spices and ingredients are used in the brew. If the coffee shop does not cater to the vegan lifestyle, leave and find a coffee shop that does!

The great thing about a Chai latte is that you can brew your own at home without needing any fancy equipment. Unlike a cup of coffee, brewing a good cup of Chai latte requires a stovetop or a microwave to heat the milk, a frother to froth the milk of your choice, your chai tea blend, and spices.

You can brew your unique tea blend to suit your own lifestyle choice in the comfort of your own home, and a few cups of Chai latte every day will help to keep you healthy!


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.