Does Tea Have Calories

Does Tea Have Calories?

in Health by

The world is full of tea lovers, especially when there is a wide variety to choose from. Tea has gained immense popularity over the past few decades. If you’re a tea lover, you would be amazed to know that more than half of the world’s entire population adores and enjoys this refreshing beverage.

It is the most versatile hot drink as it can be enjoyed at any time of the day. There are a variety of tea-based beverages available in the markets too. For most people, it is a staple, while others enjoy it as a calming drink for their evening snack. 

Ever wondered how this cup of pleasure is extracted from scratch? Every tea leaf is hand plucked manually, by workers, from tea plants that botanically go by the name Camellia sinensis and is further fermented. The art of cultivation and extraction of tea has been practiced by man for over thousands of years now. Apart from its flavourful nature, tea is also better known for its medicinal properties. It contains antioxidants that calm your body and mind to a great extent. 

In many cultures of the world, this steaming hot cup of goodness is popularly either used as a traditional welcome drink to guests or to wash everything down your system, after a heavy, satisfying, and calorie-rich meal. Advantageous in aiding healthy weight loss, this popular beverage is also believed to improve the overall Heath of your heart health by keeping any dangerous chronic illnesses at bay.

This article is going to enlighten you about the calories in different types of teas. You will also pick up some tips about how you can still keep your tea healthy with minimal calories. 

Calorie check:

Plain brewed tea

Tea comes in different types based on whether the tea leaves are fully, partially, or minimally fermented. Popularly the types of tea we use in our daily lives are black tea, green tea, oolong tea, and white tea.

Green tea and white tea fall under the unfermented or minimally fermented class, while the leaves that are brewed in our classical black tea are fermented. The leaves used in the traditional oolong tea that enjoyed by numerous souls are partially fermented. Tea comes in wide ranges and it is indeed a very soothing and calming drink for most people.

Tea is a beverage that is brewed with very minimal processing. A traditional cup of tea is generally prepared by pouring hot water on the tea leaves. This infusion causes the release of a heavenly aroma. One cup of tea contains just about 2-3 calories. Experts tend to believe these calories to be rather negligible. 

But this story takes a different tangent when your calorie-less tea is loaded with added ingredients like sugar and milk, that are used popularly in teas all around the world. Tea containing these ingredients will have an increased amount of calories in it.

Milk tea  

Very popular in countries like India, a cup of milk tea is everything, for residents of this beautiful country. India is very diverse in culture but all of them have one thing in common, an aromatic and satisfying cup of milk tea that they call chai

It consists of equal proportions of tea and milk and is often sweetened with a spoonful of sugar (a teaspoon or 5grms has 20 calories), a tablespoon of honey (a tablespoon or 20grms has 62 calories), or a tablespoon of jaggery ( slightly lesser in calories than sugar) by a majority of people. Other condiments like cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon are added to this hot drink to make it more flavourful.

Other milk tea variants also include masala/chai tea and Thai tea. Thai tea is very popular among the residents of Southeast Asia. The coconut milk added to this tea leaves a rather special and exotic taste in your mouth. 

Coming to the numbers, well, calories in milk tea may vary from anywhere between 45-100 per cup (240ml) depending on whether you choose to add whole milk/ skimmed milk to it. Calories also depend on the sweeteners you want in it. 

Other calming herbal teas. 

People love herbal teas as they hold some amount of medicinal value. They provide other soothing and calming properties for tea lovers. The different types of herbal teas that are used popularly are peppermint, camomile, lavender, and hibiscus tea. 

Herbal tea is nothing but infusing other parts of the plant like flowers, leaves, and buds of various kinds of plants in hot water. There is a wide range of teas available to one who is passionate about teas but listed above are just a few favorites consumed on regular basis.

Herbal teas are generally enjoyed without any sweetness, hence the calories are negligible and insignificant just like brewed black tea.

Other popular teas that the millennial rave about

Different types of tea lattes at stores are packed with higher calories but are rather orgasmic in taste as well. No wonder, youngsters these days are addicted to tea and coffee chains like Starbucks.

Lattes: 

Another variation of milk tea that is constituted with more amount of milk even compared to normal milk tea. Lattes consist of other syrup additives like cinnamon vanilla and chocolate packing it with a truckload of calories. A usual cup of lattes from Starbucks (355ml) is constituted with calories varying from 140 to a whopping 430 calories. These teas consist of much heavier creams and other additives.

Iced teas, sweet/ spicy teas, and bubble teas: 

Bubble tea is a Taiwanese drink that has gained popularity very swiftly. This tea also called boba or pearl tea consists of simple ingredients like freshly brewed black tea added with sugar syrup and sweetened condensed milk. But the whole excitement of bubble tea lies in the chewy balls of tapioca that are thrown into this tea. They add a whole different twist to the experience of this popular beverage. 

Well! From the calorie perspective, this bubble tea is not so kind to us. Since it consists of high calorie condensed milk, just one ounce (30ml) constitutes about a whopping 125 calories. Not forgetting that these bubble teas are served in rather tall cups (480ml), the calories of this tea may vary from 200 to 480 calories. Whaaaaaat! That’s the calorie count of a whole meal, right? That’s insane! 

Iced and sweet/spicy teas 

it consist of freshly brewed black tea with added flavours like mint, lemon, and peach. These have insignificant calories when consumed without sugar. Now, since every 20 grams of sugar contains 20 calories, you can do the math if you want to enjoy a sweetened cup. Nevertheless, spicy teas are best savoured as unsweetened teas.

Final comments

The calorie content of teas and other tea-based beverages may vary from 0 calories to a shocking 480 calories, depending upon how much sugar, and the type of milk you add to it. Other high-fat milk, condensed milk additives, or sweetening flavors can significantly increase the calorie intake. 

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