throwback thursdays – oregon chai vegan original


for my first throwback thursday post, i’m going with an obvious choice: chai. depending on how long you’ve been reading this blog, and/or whether you’ve read my ‘about’ blurb, you may already be aware that my first big experiment with going vegan was trying my chai with soymilk. i ordered it that way in an airport, before a flight to north carolina, thinking “here goes nothin’!” and was pleasantly surprised to find that my chai was still delicious! hey, maybe this vegan thing wouldn’t be so scary after all!

at the time, my chai of choice was oregon chai, in the ‘organic original’ variety, which happened to be vegan. their other varieties all had honey, but the teal box was my everything. after awhile, they changed the look of their packaging, and they renamed the organic original to be ‘vegan original,’ which i was extremely psyched about at the time.

vegan chai

i’m not a chai-every-day-without-fail person, but i do like to have it on days where i feel like i deserve a little bribe or reward. case in point: i probably make a chai and take it to campus on 75% of my teaching days during the semester. i also make and bring one on about 90% of boring meeting days. i make it at home only every once in awhile, like if i’m trying to bribe myself to sit at my desk and work all day, or if i’m writing a blog post about chai and i need a new photo. the vast majority of my chai is consumed out of an insulated travel mug, because i am a sipper rather than a gulper, and i can make a chai last five or six hours with ease (and panache!). i have a contigo travel mug that i used constantly for a really long time, but more recently i’ve sort of switched alliances, and i’m making heavy use of my klean kanteen with the cafe top.

aaanyway, the point of this post, of course, is that oregon chai is a cruel mistress, because a couple of years ago, they unceremoniously dumped the vegan original from their lineup. 😐 i was, in a word, horrified. there was rending of garments and gnashing of teeth and so, so, so very much whining. i’m sure i was extremely unpleasant to be around. i sent sassy emails. i wondered what would become of my life. i was relatively forlorn, to be sure.

but then, i remembered that hey genius, your hometown is the headquarters for a pretty awesome tea company, and they make the chai that your favorite coffee shop uses… you could probably just buy that instead. and (spoiler alert) that’s what i did, but not before i worried about how different it tasted, and how i wasn’t sure i wanted that to be my “usual” chai, because even though i liked it as my “coffee shop” chai, that doesn’t mean i want it in my house for everyday, and… yep, pretty insufferable.

so the chai that i always called “the best!” at the coffee shop that i also deemed “the best!” was none other than rishi chai concentrate. they’ve been serving it at colectivo (formerly alterra) for as long as i’ve been drinking chai, and i always loved it, but i also referred to it as “the spicy one” because oregon chai’s flavor was much sweeter overall. i wasn’t sure how well i’d adjust to having the spicy one all the time, but i shouldn’t have been such a baby, because it’s ridiculously awesome.

rishi chai

it’s organic, and it has nifty fair trade ingredients. not only that, it’s delicious hot, it’s extremely good iced, and it’s tasty when erik randomly decides to make me frozen chai in the middle of summer. and just look at the cute illustrations on the box!

rishi chai

also, it’s local, which makes me feel like a pretty cool hipster, if you must know. i’m actually pretty excited that oregon chai turned out to be a bunch of a-holes, because it means i’m supporting a local company and getting a superior product anyway. so there! i made a chai today, just so you could visualize me drinking it happily:

rishi chai

and get a load of that cute peacock mug! isn’t it great? i wonder what the rest of that mug looks like, you’re probably thinking. no worries, i got you covered:

rishi chai

i mean, right?! adorable! it helps make up for the fact that i had to gulp my chai today, drinking it out of a non-insulated travel mug and all. in sum: oregon chai, you guys are jerks. but rishi, i love you. never change.



  1. I love chai, and I was similarly horrified when Oregon Chai dropped their vegan line! That said, I’m glad you’ve found an alternative! These days I just use Stash Chai tea with a bit of unsweetened almond or soy milk, but the Rishi tea looks lovely, too!

    Also, that *is* a beautiful mug!

  2. Ha! I remember the rending of garments! So glad that it worked put in the end!

    I’m dealing with a similar situation right now with the psas calendar – lulu (my pod service of choice) is failing miserably, which forced me to find a different print service for the bulk order, and they are looking good so far, and 40% cheaper! So yeah, sometimes these companies do us a favor when they fail us.

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