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Experiences

I Switched From Coffee To Chai For A Week

I know, it may sound a little silly to some people, but this switch ended up being much easier and more eye-opening than I could have imagined. But it was daunting at the start. Before beginning this experiment, I sat down and thought to myself: “How bad is my coffee dependency, really? Will I even miss it?”

Then, after counting my before-class coffee, my break-between-classes coffee, my home-for-the-day coffee and my evening coffee — I realized this habit had gotten a little out of control.

For a week, I switched from my usual instant cold brew and americanos to the Bhakti Chai regular and sugar-free concentrates. The Bhakti concentrates call for a 1:1 ratio of the chai to your favourite milk– oat milk was my personal choice– and can be made hot or iced. 

Day 1:

“Chai” is another word for “tea” in Hindi, and the recipe dates back to between 5,000-9,000 years ago, though black tea wasn’t added until the British began setting up tea plantations in 1835 in India. The traditional recipe has been adopted into the sweeter chai latte we know today for US and UK markets.

As someone who’d never tried a chai latte before, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. While black coffee is heavy and a little bitter, the Bhakti concentrate made with oat milk was deliciously spicy with a sweet aftertaste. And of course, it was much creamier than my usual coffee, which I loved. I made them iced and sat outside each morning enjoying them in the beautiful fall weather.

Each latte has about the same caffeine content as a cup of black or green tea — a little less than my normal cup of coffee — and on the first day I felt this difference. I was used to being kicked in the face with caffeine right before my first class, but chai delivers a calmer caffeine rush which actually ended up helping me throughout the week.

Day 3:

After looking a little more into Bhakti Chai, I discovered that the company is women-founded and based right here in Boulder! 

On their website, their founder Brook Eddy said she was “inspired by the intimacy and ritual of taking time to slow down and sip chai together” while studying in India. I loved this thought, as I often associate my morning cup of coffee with rushing and wanting a fast caffeine boost rather than using it as a moment to gather myself and set intentions for the day. This really inspired me to enjoy the calming mornings as I drank my chai.

I’d been using the unsweetened concentrate since I began, and I was really enjoying it. The biggest difference I noticed in the switch from coffee is that I was less tired in the middle of the day and found myself only really needing to have two chai lattes a day rather than my usual four cups of coffee. Using a chai tea for your caffeine boost is an antioxidant-filled and more natural route to take than black coffee, and I felt those effects even during these first few days.

Day 7:

After a week, I haven’t noticed cravings for more caffeine, which was my biggest concern going into this little experiment. I’ve been adjusting the ratio of Bhakti concentrate to oat milk daily to find my perfect mix, and I’ve realized I like a little more concentrate for some more of the spice chai is known for.

Overall, I think chai has proven to be a great alternative for even the most intense coffee addicts. I’ve noticed my energy levels have changed drastically; I’m not crashing and picking myself back up again with coffee throughout the day like I have been doing for so long. 

I’m getting those natural boosts from the antioxidants in Bhakti Chai and feeling great because of it!

My most unexpected difference was my anxiety levels throughout each day. I didn’t even realize the ways in which four cups of black coffee were putting me on edge, and I’d assumed that my shaky hands and intense jitters were just a part of me. It sounds silly, but I never attributed those things to my intense caffeine intake since I’d had my coffee habit for so long.

For anybody who drinks a lot of coffee and notices mid-day crashes or anxious jitters, I would really recommend trying this switch to Bhakti Chai. You’ll still be getting the caffeine you crave but in a more fulfilling way. I feel more confident in regulating my intake because this week has shown me that the usual amount of caffeine I consume is doing me more harm than good.

Plus, supporting a Boulder-based, woman-founded company like Bhakti Chai is guaranteed to make you feel good on its own!

If you’re interested in checking out Bhakti’s products or learning more about their story— check out their website and join me in the switch!

Orla McGrath

CU Boulder '24

Orla McGrath is a sophomore at CU Boulder majoring in English and minoring in Journalism. When she's not writing, she loves reading, coffee shops and exploring the outdoors in Colorado!