The Good: Amazing flavor, Easy to prepare, Comparatively affordable
The Bad: Environmental impact of packaging
The Basics: Spiced Chai instant hot chai beverage from Big Train Chai is good enough to make one want to never pay for chai drinks at a café again!
My wife picks some amazing products out when she buys me things to review sometimes! One of the latest ones, for my birthday, was a stack of packets of Spiced Chai instant chai drinks from Big Train Chai. She jokingly mentioned that she picked me up one for review and the rest for enjoyment, but that I was welcome to enjoy the packet for review, too. And oh my, did I! The Spiced Chai instant chai drink is actually pretty incredible!
The Spiced Chai instant chai mix is part of the Big Train Chai premium chai drink line. The mix comes in a 1.2 oz. sealed foil package and is a pretty delicious mix. Each 1.2 oz. packet is a single serving and these bear a relatively high price tag virtually everywhere I have found them of approximately a dollar and a half per packet. For a single mug of cocoa, this is expensive when compared to other make-at-home products, but far less expensive than getting a chai drink at a place like Europa Cafe (reviewed here!).
Ease Of Preparation
The Big Train Chai Spiced Chai hot chai mix is ridiculously simple to make. Having been given a packet just yesterday, it is evident that this has a decent shelf life, though there is no expiration date on the packet. Because it is sealed and has some artificial preservatives in is, this is likely to last virtually forever unopened. A single serving is the packet and six oz. of water. There is no measuring of the product involved!
As a result, preparation is ridiculously simple. The top of the envelope has a perforated edge and one need simply tear open the top, which is quite easy, and pour the contents of the packet into a mug that is at least eight ounces large. Then, simply pour hot water, near boiling, over the powder and stir. Stir the powder until there are no blobs of chai powder visible in the water nor resistance from the bottom. The beverage will have a light purple-brown color with a milky hue to it and will be uniformly smooth.
Spiced Chai has an aroma of vanilla and cloves and it is instantly inviting to anyone who is tempted by chai drinks.
On the tongue, the Big Train Chai is bursting with flavor, even though it is muted some by the milk in the drink. The beverage is sweet and cinnamon flavored with hints of clove and an aftertaste that is similar to Bergamot. This tastes exactly like a high-end chai drink from a trendy restaurant and it is a delicious way to bring that type of taste home!
What surprised me most was that this drink had virtually no aftertaste. I did find after about ten minutes, my mouth tasted like I had just drank orange juice, but this was not at all unpleasant.
Big Train Chai produces instant chai mixes and therefore not the most nutritious things in the known world, though the Spiced Chai flavor could be far less nutritious than it is. Spiced Chai has a few ingredients that cannot be easily identified. The primary ingredients are sugar, nonfat milk and nondairy creamer. Because of the milk right at the top of the ingredient list, it is in no way vegan compliant.
And it is high in sugars. In each cup of Spiced Chai Cocoa Classics, there are 140 calories, twenty-five of which are from fat. There are 3 grams of saturated fat, so while one might be tempted to curl up and enjoy this while resting, they are likely to pay for it later on! While there is no cholesterol, a consumer gets 3% of their recommended daily allowance of sodium out of a single packet of this beverage! There is a little protein, but not enough to live off this. In other words, this product is not a nutritious food product. But, given that one cup provides 8% of the RDA of Calcium, it could be worse!
This product contains soy and milk and because there are no notations on it, one must assume it is not Kosher or gluten-free.
So long as one leaves the Spiced Chai Cocoa Classic powder in its packet, it ought to stay usable. The packets, for those of us who consider the environmental impact of such things, are terribly wasteful and expensive. The foil/plastic wrappers are not recyclable anywhere I've been.
Cleanup is very easy as well. If the product spills while dumping it into the mug, simply wipe it up or brush it up with a dry or damp cloth. If it has already been reconstituted with water into a chai drink, simply wipe it up. Light fabrics are likely to stain if this gets on them, in which case consult your fabric care guide to clean it up.
Big Train Chai Spiced Chai is my first experience with the brand’s instant chai beverages and it makes me absolutely positive that I will keep coming back to try more. Well worth picking up the canisters, if you can find them, as opposed to the individual serving packets.
For other instant hot drinks, please visit my reviews of:
Land O' Lakes Double Fudge & Chocolate Cocoa
Nescafe Caramel Latte Memento
Mott's Hot Apple Pie Instant Cider
For other food or drink reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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