The Scoop: When partners say they have everything they want, it can be a real challenge to get them a great gift to celebrate a relationship milestone. But if they enjoy going to a café for a high-quality cup of chai made from the best ingredients, they’ll appreciate products from DONA Beverages. Americans don’t often have the chance to make café-quality chai at home, but loose-leaf teas and concentrates from DONA offer a delicious, luxurious tea experience at home. And its gift bundles make surprising that special someone even easier.
On dreary, chilly spring days, a warm beverage can often soothe a tired spirit, and chai has become a popular choice for Americans.
The beverage has its roots in India and is a sweet, spicy blend of loose-leaf herbs and teas that combine into a heavenly aroma and taste. The black tea beverage is served with warm or chilled milk in outdoor bazaar stands throughout India — and now in cafés throughout the U.S.
Chai has less caffeine and calories than a coffee-based latte, and it includes antioxidants and nutrients that add health benefits to a heartwarming beverage.
DONA Beverages fosters the American love of chai through its high-quality products. Chai first showed up in cafés throughout New York City, which is generally known as a coffee-first location.
But Amy Rothstein, the Founder of DONA, said that coffee’s reputation is changing. Today, people want beverage treats that are different from the coffee drinks they may find at a sidewalk cart or a nondescript chain café.
“The loose-leaf tea is great, but what makes us really special is our concentrate that makes the tea a little more elevated and unique,” Amy said. “When you give a bottle of chai to someone, they can have a warming, spicy, high-quality chai latte, which is something that they’re not exactly used to getting at home.”
That’s why loose-leaf teas and tea concentrates from DONA make great gifts for couples celebrating relationship milestones.
A Family Company That Produces High-Quality Beverages
Amy started developing DONA Chai about seven years ago when she went into business with her brother, Peter Rothstein. Amy and Peter have unique skill sets they combined to build the DONA brand. Their strong relationship also helped.
Peter runs the day-to-day business operations and manages the warehouse where the company develops and makes its products. Amy told us she’s more of the big-picture person who works on sales, product development, and marketing.
The company has seven employees, with most of the team working in the warehouse developing tea products. They also work with a salesperson who has a background in the coffee industry. She uses her connections to work with specialty coffee shops to offer DONA teas to upscale clientele.
Amy said hearing how much people love their teas makes the challenges of starting and running the business more than worth it.
The company has gone through an extensive branding process to make its offerings clear to customers. At first, the company was known as DONA Chai, and featured an initial line of popular tea concentrates. Then, two years ago, it started offering sodas and other ready-to-drink beverages, including iced herbal teas called tisanes.
It temporarily changed its branding to DONA, but eventually launched a sister brand called Ouli Beverages for its ready-to-drink line. Now, the DONA brand focuses on delicious and sustainable tea products — including its popular concentrates.
Unique Spiced Tea Concentrates Include Healing Brewse
The company’s most popular offering is its tea concentrate. It produces a Masala chai, an unsweetened version of the Masala chai, and a dirty chai, which is combined with cold brew coffee.
Each product is made with sustainably sourced, high-quality ingredients. It brews the chai concentrates in small batches with direct-trade spices, ground fresh, and slowly steeped for the best flavors. Those who take a sip may note hints of organic black tea, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and black peppercorn in their Masala chai concentrate.
If a special someone enjoys zero-waste gifts, check out DONA’s Spice Dust. The product upcycles the spices from the brewing process and repurposes them for use as a delicious topping for a chai latte.
“To make it, all someone has to do is mix it into whatever kind of milk they like. They can heat it, ice it, froth it, steam it, anything,” Amy said.
For a golden latte with the healing spice of turmeric, DONA offers a lightly sweetened Turmeric concentrate. It includes hints of turmeric, pink peppercorn, ginger, allspice, lemongrass, and black pepper that set it apart from other golden milk options on the market.
Turmeric, a spice in the ginger family, is famous for its anti-inflammatory properties. It makes an ideal gift for those in a relationship with someone who has osteoarthritis or digestive issues. DONA also offers Space Dust made from turmeric concentrate.
DONA Beverages: Seasonal Bundles for That Special Someone
Amy said many women between the ages of 24 and 42 enjoy DONA. While the company is based in New York, people around the country love drinking its chai from the comfort of their own homes.
“It puts an experience that you’d have at a high-quality coffee shop inside your house,” Amy said. “When I hear people say how our chai is so delicious and it’s their favorite, it’s really exciting.”
She said that some of her customers even tell her they go into a café to order a chai but will choose another beverage if the shop doesn’t serve DONA. That’s because DONA Chai is lightly sweetened and its spices are perfectly balanced producing a smooth taste like no other versions.
Loyal customers can sign up for subscriptions online that make it easy to get their DONA Chai or turmeric concentrate fix on a regular basis. The company makes other products to enhance the gift for couples. Those include coffee blossom honey, jams, and loose-leaf options like black tea with cardamom and rose.
The company also offers seasonal bundles that make good gifts for relationship milestones year-round. Couples can enjoy a bundled duo of Unsweetened Masala Chai, and single-origin Coffee Blossom Honey with a recipe card included.
The company recently implemented a new social impact program. For every bottle of chai concentrate DONA sells online, it donates $1 to the Chhaya Community Development Corporation. The organization works to boost housing stability, and improve the economic well-being of South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities in New York City.
DONA recently announced it will give $1 from every bottle of Masala Chai sold on its site to an organization that works to import and supply oxygen concentrators to hospitals and other medical care facilities in India. It’s the company’s way of helping with the devastating effects of COVID-19.
“That’s a big deal for me to do business but also do good,” Amy said.