It’s A Wonderful Day For Chai

Does anyone else have that one thing that you consider a treat that will instantly brighten your day, pick you up when you’re down, or help get you through a rough day? For me, that’s an iced chai latte. It’s quite literally my favorite drink ever. Throughout my life, I’ve considered it a special lil’ something something that I’d get once in a blue moon. Like when I’d go get coffee with a friend I haven’t seen in months, or if I was at the mall with my mom, or some sort of other nice oddity amongst my usual daily life.

In the past year, however, some part of me realized that they didn’t have to be so spaced out. I could get one whenever I wanted! And there was nothing stopping me! So, I have had an iced chai latte a few times a week for the past year, if not longer.

Would I say that it’s been too much of a good thing? Not necessarily, but it is interesting how I feel like my day is incomplete without it. If I don’t get my (almost) daily chai, my day is considerably worse, or at least not as good as it could’ve been. It’s almost like I need it to have a normal day.

And that feels… unhealthy. I think this is how a lot of people view coffee. Something you need everyday, sometimes twice a day, if you really need a pick me up in the afternoon. The difference is there are no caffeine withdrawal symptoms when I don’t drink chai, but I certainly feel the withdrawal in my soul.

It kind of sucks when something you once regarded as a special thing becomes an everyday thing because you grow accustomed to having it so often that when you don’t have it, you’re unhappy about it. It sucks I did this to myself!

I’m actually in the process of cutting down, partially because of the classic “millennials waste so much money on Starbucks that they could be using on buying a house” thing. While that idea is bullshit, it is true that it’s five bucks a day I don’t really need to spend.

Also, it’s like 42 grams of sugar. Which I can assure you is more than the recommended daily amount. So, maybe I shouldn’t be getting them so often.

So, yeah, I’m working on weening myself off. Like today I got a tall instead of a grande! Small steps, people. It’s cheaper, less sugar, and makes me enjoy it more because there’s less of it to be had.

I went through a Dr Pepper phase when I was a senior in high school, and was drinking at least one if not two 20 oz. Dr Peppers every day, and that was definitely an unhealthy choice, so I have some experience in kicking sugary drink addictions. This is exactly why I drink zero calorie soda! Maybe there’s such thing as zero calorie chai?

Anyways, I’m to the point where iced chai is basically like life blood for me. So I think I need to ease up on the stuff.

Is there anything like that in your life? Cupcakes? Coffee? Cheetos? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!

-AMS

30 Comments on “It’s A Wonderful Day For Chai”

  1. stillmorewords – Small-town girl, living in a big city. Former Coastie, married with 2 kids. Inveterate reader of all genres, though non-fiction and YA currently rule. Former indie bookstore employee, small business owner, tea drinker.
    Beth C.

    Make chai concentrate! CrossCultureChristian on insta has the BEST concentrate recipe – I make a batch x3 every week for my daughter and I. And it will be guaranteed to taste better, have less sugar, and be customizable as you choose! And it’s super easy.

  2. angeliquejamail – Writer, artist, and teacher in the Houston area. Author of several books of fiction and poetry, including FINIS., THE SHARP EDGES OF WATER, and HOMECOMING.
    Angélique Jamail

    I am right there with you on the chai, even though typically drink it hot (even in the summer). I found a way to get less sugar and spend less money on it by buying it at the grocery store and making it myself at home or work. Not that Starbuck’s chai tea latte isn’t great — it is — but I like mine, too.

    Definitely not all brands of tea you can get at the grocery store are created equal. There are some brands whose chai is not delicious at all. But Tazo makes a good one, including an organic and a decaf (all delicious), and Stash makes a double-spice one that’s pretty good. I mention thee brands because they’re relatively easy to find. (I don’t know if Harney & Sons makes a chai, but their flavored teas are also really, really good.) Anyway, I make it at home and then add flavored creamer to it instead of sugar and milk/cream/half-and-half. Less sugar that way, and it’s quite delicious.

    As for turning a special treat into an everyday thing…well. We live in troubled times, and having a small treat several times a week isn’t necessarily a bad thing. ;) But, you know, everything in moderation, right? :)

  3. At the moment my daily bagel with cream cheese/salmon spread and jalapeno peppers is keeping me contented.

    And, less regularly, we added Graeter’s a year ago or so after one of its mentions on the site.

    Roughly one diet Dr. Pepper per day but I wouldn’t call it a high point, just something that fits in between the espressos.

    A straight iced latte is also very welcome, depending on the weather, but we don’t do that often.

  4. I don’t have anything “daily” like that these days, but I used to have a “a coke a day” habit at work from the vending machine (or later fridge) that I cut at some point during the pandemic.

    my special treat these times is to be “get the good sushi from that store on the way home” on the rare days that I had to go into the office in the past year and a half. I wonder if I’ll get sushi more often once I go there more regularly again, starting in September. :-/

  5. One or two Dr. Peppers a day is bad? I was pounding down three to six Mountain Dews a day for years! But I had the privilege through the end of my 20s of using my face as a garbage disposal, and weighing 115 pounds wet. That changed as my metabolism slowed down, and I eventually knocked that shit off.

    More to your point, moderation is always wise, and if something good has the slightest bit of downside to it at all, one can have too much of it. At the moment for me I guess that would be good food in general, but I can’t put away 3000 calories a day without consequences.

  6. Hi Athena! Depending on how it’s prepared, your chai latte might have caffeine in it. So you might be fighting caffeine withdrawal after all.

  7. My mother has a Keurig. She found one in an apartment she was working at. She fixed it and she has been loving it. I don’t drink coffee, but I have been drinking chai latte lately. I love them. I also love spiced apple cider and hot chocolate. Two Weeks ago the grocery store didn’t have the chai latte K cups. I got the spiced apple cider instead. Then I found a tea company that has a chai latte mix so I got it to try. I found out that the tea company has a pumpkin spice chai latte too which I am definitely going to try when it comes out.

  8. I make myself a matcha latte using oat milk. Delicious, without all that sugar! And it has the same sort of “brighten my day” effect that you describe.

  9. Bigelow’s Vanilla Chai Latte (teabags) is very good, and has the added benefit of being individually wrapped, so you can take a couple of bags with you if you go out. Cafe D’Amour has an instant chai mix that is good, although probably has way too much sugar. Being cheap, I’ve been looking for alternatives that aren’t $5 a cup.

  10. I share your father’s affection for Coke Zero. I go through rather more of it than I would care to measure, though I don’t really think it’s unhealthy. (I know some people disagree, but I’ve read the literature and feel like there needs to be a very great deal more evidence of harm before I start to worry.) When I was in Japan a couple of years ago, I was drinking the bottled green tea they have everywhere as my standard cold beverage, which I like quite well. However, when I stumbled upon a vending machine that sold Zero on my fifth day in the country, I swear that a shaft of heavenly light illuminated it and a chorus of angels sang; I realized then that I missed it more than I cared to admit.

  11. There are some good options that would let you have a healthier version of chai if you wanted to still be able to enjoy it. I use Sweetleaf Stevia and chai tea bags, with Silk creamer to make one, since my doctor recommended a plant-based, low-refined-sugar diet to help manage my steadily declining little bod this past winter. He didn’t offer guarantees — it was a hail-mary pass kind of thing, since I don’t have a lot of treatment options left. But I can tell you that I haven’t missed the sugary chai, and I haven’t missed the dairy milk, -and- I feel better than I have in almost a decade after 8 months of going out on this limb. So, yeah, your awareness of your body and your mind are SO much better than mine were at your age — so kudos to you. And if you still want to enjoy your treat without the cost and the potential damage to your bodily shell, Sweetleaf and Now Stevia might offer options you’ll find enjoyable!

  12. I like Indian Masala Milk Tea…which is an intensely spiced chai tea brewed using milk in place of water. VAHDAM makes a Double Spice Masala Chai Tea (available on Amazon). Add a bit of palm sugar and you have desert in a glass.

  13. Spaghetti.

    I know, it’s weird. Actually CAN eat spaghetti every day. I actually did it for 10 days to see if I’d get sick of it. I did not.

    Spaghetti is easy to make, tastes great, is fun to play with (I meant to say “eat” there), and settles into that comfy groove in my soul.

    But carbs, aka sugar. Gotta keep my pants fitting.

    I currently eat it only once a week. Not sure if that means I’m in control of it or not.

  14. You all might try plain ole unsweetened iced tea with fresh lemon squeezed into the icy glassful. There are so many varieties of tea, spiced or not, from strong black Indian Assam tea, thru Darjeeling and my current fav Oolong tea, of which there are probably a dozen varieties. Wuyi, Formosan, etc. Republic Tea is the best mass producer I’m aware of…

    I like hot tea on cool mornings, but wife prefers iced tea since she discovered it doesn’t have to be sweetened. Sure, there’s a little fructose in the lemon juice, but a single lemon works for 3 or 4 glasses of iced tea. I don’t really care for chai too much. I have tried bubble tea with those globes that pop, it’s OK, but plain old iced tea w/ lemon is still my favorite.

    I will confess to drinking a Red Bull from time to time — the flavor I use is more tart than sweet. I used to drink Pepsi at work in the mid-afternoon to power me through the rest of the work day, and will still order that when doing a fast-food lunch out on the road… maybe once or twice a month. But I’ve been retired for many years now, so not so much Pepsi any more.

  15. I’m a huge chai fan, though I prefer hot to iced. My wife and I discovered Metolius Chai a few years ago on a trip to Oregon, it is our favorite now (Bhakti is probably second on the list). But it is a very sweet chai, not for everyone. And it is more concentrated than most — 7:1 instead of the usual half milk / half concentrate of other brands (my wife discovered this the hard way). Anyways, if you want to continue your chai habit but reduce the cost compared to Starbucks, worth a try.

  16. My husband started making his own 0 sugar ~0 calorie chai (until he adds milk). Often he doesn’t use the black tea, just spices, so it’s also 0 caffeine.

    It makes the house smell really nice too!

    I could eat spaghetti every day but I don’t (whenever my husband and kids are gone, I will make myself a pot and just eat it 3 meals a day until it runs out or they get back). My daily these days is fizzy water. I drink so much carbonated water, especially since the pandemic started.

  17. What picks me up as a treat is coffee. With cream. I don’t notice or care whether it is decaf or not; I only order decaf if it isn’t any trouble.

    I once liked coffee so much that I bought two coffee machines so I could use one while the other was cleaning. With vacuum pots.

    Now? At home I have “near beer” (Budweiser zero) but still have coffee when I am out. Everyday. And no, I don’t try to pick up chicks when I am out writing in a coffee shop.

    On road trips I don’t drink on the go. Nope, it has to be relaxed coffee stop.

    Regarding sugar in my cup, during my teens, in the space of a year, I went from two and a quarter spoons to just a quarter. Then to zero sugar. No sweeteners. I’m just saying it can be done. Taste buds adapt.

    Oh, and as for “spaghetti” above, the word is a plural. (or a mass noun) I may be wrong, but I believe the singular is spago.

  18. I love chai. I like Tazo since it has more spice than Oregon Chai, which tastes much sweeter to me. There are so many options for making it at home, particularly if you’re okay with the mixes like Pi Chai and Elephant Vanilla Chai that have milk powder in them. (I can’t drink those.) And that doesn’t even count the many recipes online! Maybe a post in the future if you try any at home? I’d love to know what you think!

  19. I have a number of different pick-me-up treats and bounce between them, which helps keep all of them a bit more special. But if I had to pick just one, it’d be hot chocolate.

    The nice thing there is if I make it at home, I can do smaller portions, and I enjoy having (e.g.) three 4oz hot chocolates in a day more than I enjoy having a single 12oz.

    (Also, I have a bunch of flavored extracts and know some tasty spicing combinations and enjoy adulterating my cocoa with booze or coffee from time to time, all of which make “hot chocolate” more of a category of drinks than a single beverage.)

  20. Love me my morning chai, how or iced, dependingon the weather. Here’s a tip: Costco sells Starbucks’ Tazo chai concentrate at a great price, something like $2.79/32 ounce box and to my taste it’s best mixed with Silk Vanilla soy beverage (in a refrigerated dairy case near you…or at least closer to Dayton!)

    I’ve tried chai with other grain-based plant “milks” and various percentages of actual milk, but keep coming back to soy, which, alas, is getting harder and harder to find in the stores even in the big city.

  21. I like chai as a treat. But I also drink a large (very large) mug of coffee every day. What I’ve found is that if I don’t, the caffeine withdrawal isn’t a significant issue, but my depression gets worse. I am told there’s some interesting studies about how caffeine interacts with SSRIs. For me, I don’t need a lot of chemical intervention to manage my depression, right now, but I do need the caffeine.

  22. For me, it’s cheese and crackers, sometimes peanut butter & crackers. I eat them to settle my stomach, though. I get queasy often and need something fast to quiet my guts, especially in the middle of the night. During the day, it’s often cashew carrot ginger soup nuked in a mug. Yum. IBS sucks bad gas.

  23. Scotch, a good single malt 15 year old.
    I limit myself to one dram at the end of the day when it is “over the yard arm”.
    Remember is it always over the yard arm somewhere in the world so I have it at about 3:30 pm when I am done with the day job.

  24. The pandemic had me experimenting with coffee flavorings. I used to add a lot of artificial sweetener and half-and-half to my coffee, but I worked out a mix that relies only on spices and milk.

    If you like chai (which it appears you do) and ever need caffeine (less clear if you don’t get withdrawals), I recommend adding nutmeg, cardamom (can include crushed pods if desired), and cinnamon (sticks, not powder) to your coffee grounds before brewing. I also add a little chipotle, but YMMV. Don’t add cinnamon powder though – it’s too fine, and clogs the coffee filter.

  25. I’m currently hooked on tea, black or green, to start my day. And, perhaps unfortunately, I’ve started noticing the difference in quality between loose tea and teabags. But since the former is a hassle to make away from home, I try to be content with tea bags when traveling.

    Another spiced tea to brew at home, for those so inclined: Celestial Seasonings’ Bengal Spice. (Add your own milk or nondairy milk.) I find this doesn’t need added sweetener, though YMMV….

  26. I drink a chai every morning, and use a sugar free version, David Rio Orca chai, that is really good. You have to order online, and WOWFTVOE , use a milk frother to get the powder into the water well mixed, but it’s the best I;ve had. No reduction in taste to make up for lack of sugar

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