David Rio Chai Start your day off right with a warm cup of David Rio Chai.


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MARISSA GOLDBERG, who wrote this section, is a writer in New York City.



June 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Beverages

David Rio Chai Mixes

Part II: Chai Flavors & Serving Suggestions


This is Part II of a three-part article: A review of David Rio Chai. To read Part I (chai overview) and Part III (chai recipe), click on the black links below.

If you love chai flavors and need a non-coffee incentive to get out of bed in the mornings, look no further: David Rio Chai may be just the thing. It provides spicy, warm comfort at breaks throughout the day (in India, it is sold as ubiquitously as coffee). The company has deconstructed chai into a powdered translation, which reconstitutes with hot water into a sweetened milky tea. With seven different chai blends, David Rio has a mix for every type of chai lover, including decaf chai, sugar-free chai and dairy-free chai.

David Rio Chai Flavors

David Rio chais were developed for the Japanese market, but domestic retailers clamored for it as well. An all-in-one product, David Rio’s Power Chai, uses a non-dairy creamer, plus evaporated cane juice, tea, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and ginger. The non-dairy creamer provides a basic milkiness, but the drink can be made milkier by adding fresh milk. Flavors include:

  • Tiger Spice ChaiElephant Vanilla Chai. The company’s first product, Elephant Vanilla has the most subtle spice profile. It is enhanced with vanilla (a classic Indian flavoring) and lightly spiced with a traditional masala chai blend of cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
  • Giraffe Decaf Chai. Traditional masala chai blend of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and clove, but without the caffeine.
  • Tiger Spice Chai. The company’s second product and top seller (shown in photo at right), a traditional masala chai blend of cardamom, cinnamon, clove and ginger.
  • Tortoise Green Tea Chai. A green tea-based chai, offering a hint of green tea with spices and herbs.

Sugar Free Chai

  • Flamingo Vanilla Decaf Sugar Free Chai. The same light, vanilla-spice flavor profile as Elephant Vanilla, but with all the sugar replaced by Splenda.
  • Orca Spice Sugar Free Chai. The same flavor profile as Tiger Spice Chai, but with the sugar replaced by Splenda.

The flavors are named after endangered species because David and Rio, the company founders, love animals and support animal organizations.

David Rio Chai is an instant drink: Simply blend the powder with hot water, and add milk, soy milk or rice milk as desired, to create a creamy, satisfying beverage. It’s so good that you could call it a treat, but you don’t actually need to; the blends run only 48 calories (for sugar free) to 135 calories and have 3 to 4 grams of fat per serving. 

Serving Suggestions

Here’s how to turn your cup of chai into even more of an event.

Hot Chai

  • Coffee. Add two tablespoons of chai powder to a cup of coffee.
  • Espresso. Add a shot of espresso.
  • Flavored Syrup. Add a shot of your favorite syrup. David Rio suggests blueberry, chocolate, hazelnut and orange as complements.
  • Liqueur. Add 3 tablespoons of David Rio Chai to a cup of hot water. Add one shot of  Amaretto, Irish Cream liqueur, Grand Marnier, Kahlua or other favorite.
  • Holiday Chai. Add a shot of dark rum.

Iced Chai

  • Coffee. Add two tablespoons of chai powder to a glass of iced coffee.
  • Espresso. Add a shot of espresso.
  • Holiday Chai. Blend chai and eggnog.

Go to Part III: Masala Chai Recipe To Make Chai From Scratch

Go To Article Index Above

REGULAR: Elephant Vanilla, Giraffe Decaf, Tiger Spice, Tortoise Green Tea
SUGAR-FREE: Flamingo Vanilla Decaf Sugar Free, Orca Spice Sugar Free

  • 11.9-Ounce Canister
    (Makes About 12 Cups)
  • 12 Single Packets
  • 4-Pound Bag
    (Makes About 52 Cups)
  • 12 Pack Sampler
    4 packets each of Tiger Spice, Elephant Vanilla & Tortoise Green Tea, or 6 packets each of Orca Spice Sugar Free & Flamingo Vanilla Sugar Free Decaf

Buy online* at DavidRio.com

David Rio ChaiTiger Spice, Orca Spice Sugar Free and Flamingo Vanilla Decaf Sugar Free. Photo by Claire Freierman.

*Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional. These items are offered by a third party and THE NIBBLE has no relationship with them. This link to purchase is provided as a reader convenience.