Starbucks Iced Chai Tea Latte – Not so Hot Right Now

Originally posted by The HB’s instructor, Lena, on her blog “Beautiful You.” Check it out!

October is in full swing. The leaves are falling, the trees are turning yellow, and Starbucks is marketing the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte along with the ongoing fall favorite – the iced chai tea latte. As a chai and pumpkin flavor enthusiast and an avid coffee drinker, these fall flavors go better together than Miley Cyrus and nude pleather. However, along with that sweet spicy flavor comes a lot of sugar.


In a grande iced chai tea latte with nonfat milk from Starbucks, there is 42g of sugar. What does that look like? Well, in teaspoons that breaks down to exactly 10 teaspoons of sugar. That is more sugar than a 12 fl oz can of Coca Cola!

A Starbucks grande pumpkin spice latte with nonfat milk and no whipped cream has 48g of sugar. That equates to 11.5 teaspoons of sugar – a little under the sugar contents of a 16 fl oz bottle of Coca Cola.

So what does this mean? Am I saying, no more pumpkin spice or chai tea lattes this fall? That would be like Robin Thicke without stripes. Feel free to enjoy the seasonal beverages atyour local coffee shop, but be aware of serving sizes and added sugars.

According to the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, “On average, adults in the United States consumer 14.6 percent of their calories from added sugars[.] Higher intake of added sugars is associated with higher energy intake and lower diet quality, which can increase the risk for obesity, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.” The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and no more than 8 teaspoons per day for men.  Down one of these beverages and you are almost doubling the recommended amount. These beverages spike your blood sugar quickly and then leave you with an energy crash after. Here are some options to give to your barista:

  • Grande Nonfat Latte with 1 pump pumpkin spice.
  • Grande Nonfat Iced Chai Tea Latte with half the amount of chai powder and a shot of espresso.

These options lower the sugar contents of each beverage by more than half without losing that holiday spice. So throw on that scarf and boots, grab your latte to go, and WERK! Happy October 🙂

Who raised the bar in September?

Christina Kelleher!

A.K.A. Chris Holmes

Chris is one of our most committed riders here at The Handle Bar. So much so, in fact, that she even decided to do a group ride the morning of her big day. That’s right—Christina, now a newlywed, came in with her sister and best friend for a pre-wedding workout. She feels that exercise is the best way to center yourself, so taking one of our classes the morning of was a great way for her to beat the butterflies. Congrats, Christina! You sure have a lot to celebrate.

Chris Kelleher Raised The Bar this month!

Chris Kelleher Raised The Bar this month!

Chris, tell us a little bit about yourself!

I live in Southie with my new husband (eek!) and two cats – Portobello & Cheddar. I’m a social media strategist at a digital agency in the South End and conveniently walk by The Handle Bar on my way home. Fitness is such a big part of my life and I love doing whatever I can to be active.

Everyone has their own unique fitness journey. What has your experience/journey been like with spinning?

I started spinning a few years ago. My first experience was not a positive one – my bike wasn’t adjusted properly and I had no sense of resistance. I didn’t want to go back but was told to try again, and I’m so glad I did! I’m completely addicted.

How do you fit fitness into your everyday life?

I believe everyone should sweat every day, whether it’s from spinning, running, yoga, Pilates, strength training….whatever works and whatever you like is what you should do. I love working out and make it a priority, and because of that, it’s easy for me to make time for it. I also love workout dates with my girlfriends where we’ll work out then grab coffee or a drink and catch up.

What goals has The Handle Bar helped you achieve?

Before my wedding it helped me feel fit and relieve stress. Now that I’m married it’s still doing the same thing – fitness isn’t just for upcoming events, we should be getting healthy for life. 😉

What’s your favorite way to retox after a long week?

I like to retox with margaritas. 🙂 I’m talking about real margaritas, not ones made from a mix. I highly recommend Masa in the South End for a margarita fix.

Do you have a favorite class at The Handle Bar?

I love so many! I’ve been spinning with Elise for a long time, so her classes are some of my favorites.

What is your favorite music to spin to?

I love a really fast-paced top 40 remix with a strong beat. Anything that gets you really pulped up to make you work harder.

What are your thoughts on using bike shoes? Had you ever used them prior to riding with us at The Handle Bar?

I love bike shoes! I bought my own a few months before The Handle Bar opened and I don’t ever want to spin without them. Most embarrassing moment with spin shoes: when my shoes were fairly new they got stuck clipped into a bike at another gym. It was a Thursday and the maintenance person who could take them off wasn’t going to be in to take my shoes off until the next week. My bike sat unusable, front and center of the room for almost a week.

What motivates you?

I’m motivated by positive people and a drive to always be stronger and healthier.

What words do you live by?

Sweat every day!

Why did you decide to make The HB a part for your big day? Can you tell me more about the experience?

Exercise is such a stress reliever for me and makes me so happy. I knew I would have butterflies on my wedding day and spin seemed like a great way to calm my nerves and make me feel centered. My wedding wasn’t until 4pm so I knew I had time during the day and knew I wouldn’t be sleeping in, so why not?? One of my best friends and my sister got up early and came with me. It was awesome, I’m so glad I did it!!

Chris and two of her bridesmaids the morning of the BIG DAY!

Chris and two of her bridesmaids the morning of the BIG DAY!

Who raised the bar in August?

Kim Russel!

Kim has been a dedicated rider at The Handle Bar since we first opened in June and we couldn’t be more pleased to recognize her accomplishments. She raised the bar in August with her dedication to the studio, and to herself. Kim has attended more classes at The Handle Bar than any other rider – IMPRESSIVE. Congratulations Kim!kimrussel

“I first heard about The Handle Bar through Elise – I was a regular in her classes at Healthworks. Spinning is a vital part of maintaining my mental and physical health and her classes are just the best. When she told me about this great new studio she’d be teaching at and the other amazing instructors that would be teaching there, making the switch was a no-brainer. I took my first class at The Handle Bar a few months ago after returning from a month-long vacation in Europe and I’ve been a dedicated attendee ever since!”

-Everyone has their own unique fitness journey. What has your experience/journey been like with spinning? 

I got hooked on spinning a year or so ago when I was visiting my parents for the weekend and took a class at our local Y. I’d taken spin classes here and there at my gym in Boston and had never been terribly enthused about them, but this class at the Y turned everything around – a fun and motivating instructor, great play list, and an intense workout. I went back to my city gym with a new attitude and tried a few new instructors, and I’ve never looked back. Nothing makes me feel as fabulous or as strong and you absolutely can’t beat the endorphin rush.

-How do you fit fitness into your everyday life?

Fitness for me is just as much about the mental benefits as the physical ones. When I get in a good sweat I feel 100% more capable of handling what ever the day throws at me and I’m much more able to manage stress. I make it a top priority to get some kind of exercise every day. I schedule classes early to snag a spot with my favorite instructors and write them down in my planner. Once I’m signed up, I’m committed – no excuses!

-What goals has The Handle Bar helped you achieve?

I’m usually a very goal-oriented person, but when it comes to fitness I don’t really make them. However, I’ve learned how important exercise is to keeping myself in a healthy mindset so I’ve made a commitment to myself to keep up with a routine. I come to The Handle Bar because it’s such a laid-back and fun atmosphere (Bar Fight? Post-class retox cocktails?? Hello!), and I truly enjoy it.

-What is your favorite way to retox after a long week?

Friday afternoons after work I turn off my iPhone for an hour or so and have a glass of wine, go for a walk, take a nap, or get a mani/pedi. It’s so nice to unplug for a little while! I also love weekend cocktails with friends, Sunday brunch, and now that it’s September… FOOTBALL!!

-Do you have a favorite class at The Handle Bar?

Hands down, Elise’s 6am rooster ride on Friday mornings is my favorite class of the week. I love getting up early and getting my booty kicked on the bike, and Elise is just the gal for the task. I always leave her classes feeling like superwoman.

-What is your favorite music to spin to?

Anything with a great beat! I love how music-focused this studio is.

-What are your thoughts on using bike shoes? Had you ever used them prior to riding with us at The Handle Bar?

I started using bike shoes once I started spinning regularly and I love them. They completely change your ride. I didn’t realize how hard I was working just to stay balanced before being clipped in, not to mention the shoes really enable you to work every muscle as you push and pull on the bike.

-What motivates you?

The other day a good friend of mine told me how proud of me she is for being so dedicated to spinning and making healthy choices for myself. She told me she looks to me for motivation to get her own tush in gear. I was so flattered! Having someone look to you for inspiration is the most motivating thing in the world.

-What words do you live by?

Healthy mind, healthy body. Everything else will follow.