Most people start enjoying their chai tea before it ever hits their lips. It is a supremely fragrant, spiced tea that tantalizes all of your senses if you count the whistling of a tea kettle in the preparation process.
Traditional chai tea is usually mixed with milk or cream and sugar or honey for the perfect blend of sweet and savory in a slightly caffeinated hot beverage. If you don’t have the time, energy, or desire to waste valuable minutes brewing and steeping tea, a powdered chai mix might be the better choice for your lifestyle.
Powdered chai is preblended with sweeteners and powdered milk or non-dairy options so that all you have to do is add hot water and stir for instant chai tea pleasure.
So what is the best powdered chai? The best powdered chai is one that dissolves easily in hot water, contains traditional chai spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg, and has a perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors.
Getting the combination of ingredients just right can be tricky, so we’ve done the research for you and rounded up the 5 best powdered chai mixes based on overall flavor, quality of ingredients, and ease of use for making the tea.
Whether you like your powdered chai to be a traditional, spicy chai latte experience or a sweet and spicy guilty pleasure, your new favorite mix will be found somewhere in this article
What is Chai Tea?
“Chai” is from the Hindi word for tea, so chai tea is essentially tea tea. It would be more appropriate to say that it is spiced tea, or even more simply, spices made into a tea-like beverage. Many chai tea blends will contain black tea, but some will be spices only.
The mixture is almost always brewed to be quite strong, offset by a healthy dose of milk and sweetener, usually either sugar or honey.
What Spices Are In Chai Tea?
Each recipe will differ slightly, depending on the region of origin, though you will usually find some combination of the following ingredients:
- Black pepper
Occasionally you’ll also be able to detect notes of star anise, a very prominent black licorice flavor. Vanilla is another popular additive that creates a sweet, rich aroma.
What Does Chai Tea Taste Like?
Chai tea will vary in flavor, depending on the ratio of different spices used. The flavorings are each quite strong in their own right, so if there’s a higher concentration of ginger, for example, that will be the stand out flavor. Another blend might have a cinnamon edge to it.
Some powdered chai mixes are carefully balanced so that no single spice stands out above the rest, but they work together to create a distinctly South Asian family of flavors in a sweet, warming, and almost dessert-like beverage.
The 5 Best Powdered Chai Teas
Every brand of chai tea will have a unique blend of spices and signature flavors, as previously mentioned, but when you’re purchasing a powdered chai mix, there are also usually sweeteners and milk products blended in so all you have to do is add water.
With this in mind, we’ve carefully chosen the 5 best powdered chai blends for their overall balance of flavors and richness of taste.
|Rank||Powdered Chai Brand||Best Feature|
|1.||David Rio Tiger Spice||Best sweet and savory balance|
|2.||Big Train Spiced Chai Tea Latte||Most consistent results|
|3.||Blue Lotus Chai Traditional Masala Spiced Chai Powder||Most traditional experience from a powdered, instant chai tea|
|4.||Oregon Chai Original Chai Tea Latte Powdered Mix||Mildest flavor|
|5.||Coconut Cloud Vegan Spiced Chai Tea Dairy-Free Coconut Cream Latte||Vegan and allergen-friendly|
1. David Rio Tiger Spice
David Rio is an immensely popular manufacturer of teas, including chai tea, based out of San Francisco.
Though this Tiger Spice blend isn’t organic, the company does actively source as many organic ingredients and uses recyclable materials for their packaging when possible.
- Easy to prepare both hot and cold, mixing well either way
- Perfectly balanced blend of spices and natural flavorings for a creamy, sweet and savory beverage that’s consistent in every cup
Biggest Drawback: The biggest problem with this tea is that it only makes 12 – 14 servings per 14 oz container, which means it doesn’t last nearly long enough. If you enjoy your chai tea, this could make a smart subscription for you, but you’ll have to set it for delivery every 2 weeks if you want to enjoy it daily (though there is a 64 oz pack as an alternative).
2. Big Train Spiced Chai Tea Latte
Big Train has evolved since the 1990s to become a leader in the worldwide industry of prepared, make at home beverage mixes and their quality is always highly consistent.
Their mixes are just as likely to be found in a home panty as in a community café or catering business. Their product line is over 200 strong and growing, though the Chai is one of their leading products.
- Spice blend includes both ginger and anise for bold flavors with a mouth-watering aroma of vanilla
- Blends well hot and cold or even over ice so you can enjoy your chai any time of year
Biggest Drawback: This blend is sweeter and creamier than some other options, making it less “spicy” than traditional chai teas. If you’re a connoisseur or used to the stronger flavors of a non-powdered blend, this may not quite hit the spot for you.
3. Blue Lotus Chai Traditional Masala Spiced Chai Powder
This chai powder is for those of you who love traditional spicy chai tea but want the convenience of a powdered mix.
It is only the tea and spices, with no other additives, flavorings, or even sweeteners, so it provides a more authentic chai experience.
You can add milk and sugar to suit your own preferences.
- 6 unique powdered chai spice blends to choose from
- Gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO project verified, made with organic spices and biodegradable, reusable packaging
- No sweeteners, artificial colors or flavors, no additives, and no milk products
Biggest Drawback: Because it’s an instant powdered chai, many people don’t realize that to get the creamy, sweetened taste they’re used to, they need to add their own milk or dairy-alternative and sweetener of choice. For some, this is a huge benefit, but for others, it is an unhappy surprise.
4. Oregon Chai Original Chai Tea Latte Powdered Mix
The Oregon Chai company was inspired by a trip to the Himalayas and many cups of traditional, rich, and creamy spiced tea.
A deep appreciation for this beverage led to a 3-year devotion to perfecting what is now known as an Oregonian interpretation.
- Very creamy blend that appeals especially to latte lovers
- Gentle, mild spice blend without any overpowering flavors
- Variety of chai mix options are available
Biggest Drawback: This is by far the least spicy of our top 5 powdered chai mixes, which appeals to a very specific market. The biggest letdown, however, is that the spices used are referred to as “natural flavorings” which is often a marketing disguise for less than desirable ingredients.
5. Coconut Cloud Vegan Spiced Chai Tea Dairy-Free Coconut Cream Latte
Coconut Cloud manufactures a range of products that provide vegans and other dairy or soy-resistant hot beverage drinkers a delicious way to add creaminess to their drinks without a load of undesirable gums or additives.
The Chai Tea blend is perfectly formulated to provide strong spicy flavors in a creamy, well-balanced latte.
- Dairy and soy-free, vegan-friendly, made with coconut cream for added flavor
- 70% less added sugar compared to leading commercial brands of dairy-free chai tea mix
- Allergen friendly: free from peanuts, wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, and shellfish
Biggest Drawback: The biggest drawback to this powdered chai mix is that many commercial chai latte drinkers find it a bit too spiced for their palettes. It is more traditional and, therefore, spicy, but with coconut doesn’t cut the heat of the spices quite a well as a traditional full-fat dairy. Many people think this is the best feature, others can’t get past the strong flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions About Chai
What is chai tea good for?
Chai tea is thought to have many health benefits, mainly because the spices used to flavor the tea have multitudes of benefits.
Depending on the ingredients used, chai tea may help with heart health, the regulation of blood sugar, improve digestion, and potentially even help you lose weight.
As mentioned, all the benefits are due to the spices used in a Chai Tea blend, so you would also see similar effects from enjoying South Asian cuisine, which frequently uses the same spices in their sauces and other foods.
What is a dirty chai tea latte?
A dirty chai tea latte is a traditional chai latte blended with an espresso shot for an extra hit of caffeine and the bold undertones of a great coffee.
Can I drink chai tea while pregnant?
Chai tea does contain caffeine, so if you’re trying to avoid it completely, you will also want to avoid this black tea-based drink.
However, if you’re reducing your coffee intake or drinking it in moderation, a small amount is not considered dangerous for pregnant women, but always check with your primary care doctor if you’re concerned.
Bonus: If you want to enjoy your chai latte with a snack, we highly recommend making these cashew butter cookies. A match made in heaven!
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