A calorie is, scientifically speaking, the amount of energy it takes to raise one gram of water by one degree. The calories we talk about in regard to food are numbers that represent how much potential energy a certain type of food can provide for your body’s use. Some people are interested in tracking how many calories they are taking in from food and drinks. If you are one of these people, and you’re a tea drinker, you’re probably curious as to how many calories in hot tea will go towards powering your body. Let’s take a look at tea and calories.
Calories in Plain Hot Tea
In a plain, 8 ounce cup of any tea made from the plant camellia sinensis (which includes green tea, black tea, white tea, pu’erh, oolong, and yellow tea), there are about 2-2.4 calories. Most herbal teas hover around the same number. These calories come from trace amounts of carbohydrates in the leaves or herbs. That’s a pretty minute quantity, considering something like a banana contains around 100 calories on average. So, a cup of tea isn’t going to add much potential energy to your body.
If you came here just to get that basic question answered, you can go on your merry way. You could have found that information by simply typing “how many calories in hot tea?” into your favorite search engine, though. If you clicked all the way into this blog post, you’re probably looking for a few more details. Well, we can help you with that.
Calories in Flavored and Blended Tea
If you add things like fruit, nuts, or other flavors to your plain hot tea, the calories may increase. The increase will essentially be imperceptible, though, raising the total to around 4 calories. This is because you are not actually consuming the whole fruit or nut, only the particles broken down by the water that provide that great flavor.
A blended tea that contains sugar may have a few extra calories. If you’re wondering if your tea blend has sugar, check the packaging, and read this helpful guide on sugar in tea.
How Many Calories with Cream and Sugar?
Speaking of sugar, to determine how many calories are in a cup of tea that you’ve added sweetener and cream to, you will need to research how many calories are in your add-ins. In general, a cup of whole milk has around 148 calories. Non-dairy substitutes will vary. For example, a cup of almond milk contains close to 60 calories.
Sweeteners provide even more potential energy to your body. If you add the contents of a honey stick to your tea (around a tablespoon of honey total), that will increase the calories in your cup by 64. The same amount of sugar has about 48 calories.
What About Calories in Matcha?
Matcha is made from powdered green tea leaves. Since you stir the powder into your water or milk and drink it, you are actually consuming the whole leaf. That changes the calorie intake a little bit, but still not significantly. One teaspoon of matcha is said to only contain about 3-6 calories total. Tea leaves just aren’t very high in calories on their own.
Overall, tea is fairly low in calories. You can add more calories to it by mixing in cream and sweetener, but on its own tea is not going to provide you with much in the way of caloric intake. If you have more questions about the properties and health benefits of tea, I recommend checking out our Tea 101 blog series, starting with this article on the healthiest hot teas.