DAVID RIO CHAI
We were inspired by India’s “chai wallahs”, who for centuries brewed chai from black tea and real spices, and then added milk and honey to the final preparation. Incorporating those Eastern traditions and blending them with Western innovations, we created our own premium product, using high-quality ingredients with a robust, well-balanced taste. Our chai is the perfect median between coffee and tea, earning its rightful place on café menus, and is now recognized worldwide.
Committed to excellence beyond the cup, we use reusable packaging whenever possible while maintaining the integrity of its premium product lines. Our products are easy to prepare and quite versatile – they can be prepared hot, iced or blended and can be used in baking and other delicacies.
We source superior ingredients from around the world and continually strive to improve and develop new products and processes. We take special pride and care in using freshly ground organic spices that release a delightful aroma just as you pour the hot water or milk over any David Rio chai mix. The distinctive chai fragrance and flavors fully bloom into a well-balanced chai right in your cup.
A key ingredient that sets David Rio apart from other chai mixes is our no- GMO, non-dairy creamer, which offers a wonderfully creamy texture without the heaviness of chemicals and fillers. Our products in our Endangered Species Line are also certified cRc Kosher. Every David Rio chai product is free from hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and gluten. The quality and mixture of spices and ingredients assure the crisp, clean flavor of our chai, boasting its depth in every sip.
We use USDA Certified Organic Spices in all of our chai products because we care about the ingredients we use. Using organic spices delivers better quality, enhanced taste, and is one of our many contributions to creating a healthy product and a healthy environment - for people, plants and animals.
It wouldn’t be Chai at all without the spices! The spices are the glory of the tea, as they make the tea spicy and fragrant, unlike any other drink in the world. Here’s a run-down of the essential spices in Chai:
Nutmeg’s warm, spicy, delicate flavor makes it a favorite for sweet and savory dishes around the globe. This spice has pain-relieving characteristics, promotes digestion, and aids the liver in detoxifying the body.
Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices in the world, and for good reason. It’s delicately fragrant aroma and warm, sweet flavor made it once more valuable than gold.7 It used to be the single most profitable spice for the East India Trading Company.
Cayenne comes from a small fruited pepper in the nightshade family, and helps with arthritis pain, digestion, and relieves sore throat.
This spicy root has been used in India for hundreds of years, so adding ginger to Chai came as second nature to Indians. Ginger is believed to have numerous health benefits, including relieving nausea and helping with pain relief.
Cardamom’s warm, intensely sweet, and highly aromatic flavor is often used in both desserts and spicy dishes. It’s been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, known to treat gastrointestinal diseases, protecting the heart, and even carrying antidepressant properties.
Turmeric has a bitter, warm, and mild taste and carries anti-inflammatory properties that makes it great for skin health, liver detoxification, and heart health.
Both a spice and a medicine, black pepper has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It boasts a hot and spicy flavor with woody and floral notes.
Cloves carry a strong aroma and is spicy and pungent in taste. It’s antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties make it a charm of health.
When we enjoy a cup of chai, we can’t help but fall in love with the aroma, the spicy kick, and the sweetness that makes it so beloved around the world. But the history of Chai spells a long and tumultuous journey. So grab a cup of Chai, relax, and learn about this drink’s fascinating history.
THE HISTORY OF CHAI
The original chai concoction, dating back 9000 years in ancient royal courts in India, actually had no tea leaves. It was made with a wide range of spices, boiled in water.
When the British arrived in the Indian subcontinent in the early 1600’s, they brought with them their love of black tea and planted tea fields across much of India. The fusion of black tea into the traditional Masala mix of ancient times caused the birth of what we now know as modern-day Chai.
BRITAIN'S TEA WAR WITH CHINA
In the 18th century, China led the world in tea production, as they had for thousands of years. Britain purchased teas at impressive rates from China, but China wasn’t interested in purchasing anything from Britain, leaving the trade relationship one-sided. Britain’s intense love of tea threatened to empty the national bank.
In response, Britain hiked the tea tax in the American Colonies, triggering a riot in Boston Harbor. Colonists dumped a shipload of tea into the harbor in protest, now famously known as The Boston Tea Party. Realizing that their dependence on tea was jeopardizing their hold on the American colonies, the British knew they needed to come up with a solution, and fast.
The British East India Company discovered a product that the Chinese DID want to consume, and that product was opium. They stopped at nothing to sell Opium to China, even when the emperor of China outlawed it and complained that it was causing mass addictions throughout his country. The British continued to smuggle it through Chinese borders, which spawned the opium wars.
BRITISH OCCUPATION OF INDIA
From the 1600’s to 1857, the East India Company went from trading in India to ruling it. They used precious Indian land to grow tea and other valuable goods such as cotton and set up armies and governance across the land.
The First War of Indian Independence was waged by the British Indian Army, made up of Indian Hindus and Muslims, and galvanized Queen Victoria to take control of India, establishing the British Raj as the ruler of India for 350 years, from 1858 to 1947.1
Britain’s occupation of India resulted in their respective economies becoming closely entwined. Britain built railways, roads, canals, and bridges so they could easily transport the tea, cotton, and other goods from India’s fields back to Britain and the rest of the world.2
Unfortunately, as Britain was getting rich, much of India was getting poorer. Famine erupted across India, as many farmers became dependent on the whims of the global market. Many lost everything they had to money-lenders.
HOW THE BRITISH OUT-PRODUCED CHINA IN TEA PRODUCTION
The British needed a way to secure their spot in the international tea trade. The East India Company established the first tea estates in India in the 1830’s, using tea plants brought from China. Since slavery was banned in the British empire in 1833, they hired Indian indentured servants to toil away on the tea plantations, and soon enough, India became the world’s largest supplier in the strong black teas that was so beloved by Britain.3 By the 1880’s, tea from India dominated the international tea market, pushing China from their number one spot.4
TEA BREAKS IN INDIA
The people of India were slow to adopt tea-drinking in their daily lives. At first, tea was strictly for export, and the domestically-grown teas were too expensive for Indians to purchase. Eventually, production grew, prices fell, and Indians started enjoying tea, following the British style of adding milk and sugar.
This is how the spicy drink of ancient Indian royal courts was adapted to include tea leaves, milk, and honey.
India now drinks 837,000 tons of tea annually, and they remain one of the world’s largest and proudest tea growers.5
Drinking Chai is an integral part of Indian culture. It is customary for Indians to take tea breaks throughout the day. The average Indian office worker drinks about four cups of tea on a daily basis. Taking a tea break is seen as a valuable social activity and a brain break. Recently, however, tea breaks are becoming less and less common, because of increasing workplace pressures.6
This doesn’t stop the ubiquity of Chai in India, however. Roadsides across India are dotted with Chai Wallas (Chai sellers) to serve up Chai to passerby’s, deliciously boiled with spices, sugar, and milk.
HOW CHAI IS MADE
There are four major components of Chai:
Sweetener – white sugar, brown sugar, or honey are typical chai sweeteners
Spices or “Masala”
The method of making Chai varies across regions of India, but a common practice for making chai is to combine water and milk in a pot over heat, with added sugar. Ginger is then grated into the mix, and then the “tea masala," which is the array of spices added to the mixture. This mixture is brought to a boil and 1 teaspoon of black tea is added. This chai is then taken off the heat, covered, and allowed to sit for 10 minutes so the black tea can infuse with the chai. The chai is
then strained and served.