Purely Chocolate and Vanilla Chai Tea Reviews

by Ann on March 15, 2010

*** UPDATE 3/2012 *** These reviews, while accurate at the time I wrote them, are not accurate anymore.  Bolthouse stopped making Purely Chocolate and they stopped using apple juice as the sweetener for the Vanilla Chai and now it’s cane sugar.  In case you don’t read the comments below, I wanted you to be aware.  The Vanilla Chai still tastes good - but personally, I stopped buying these.  If they changed back I would buy them again.

Bolthouse Farms has made some heavenly protein beverages.  I could not go another day without sharing my findings with you!!!  I typically make my own shakes and protein drinks but on a mission one day at Whole Foods, I asked an employee for the best protein powder.  She didn’t know so got a couple other employees involved and they both agreed that Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea and their Purely Chocolate soy protein drinks were by far the best tasting.  Not what I was looking for (I’m still on my search so if you have any pointers, let me know!) but she sent me home with a small bottle of the Vanilla Chai Tea.  Typically, I do like Chai, but can only handle a little since it’s so sugary.  However, that day I was hungry so on my way home from Whole foods I shook up the bottle and took my first sip bracing myself for a super-sweet chai blast.  Bliss!!!  What a great surprise!  Not too sweet to where I felt sick, and also the added-protein and thickness made me actually feel satisfied.   Typically, if I were to buy a pre-made protein drink, I either don’t like the taste or do not get full and end up eating just as much as I would have with the additional calories of the drink!

More on the Chai in a bit, but on to my real love: chocolate.  The chocolate drink is pretty much perfect.  It’s not too sweet or bitter, and 8oz has 160 calories and 10 grams of protein.  The protein in this actually keeps you satisfied for awhile!  I try to eat soy (and everything else) in moderation, but these drinks are doing me in!  However, this does make me feel okay after watching a Dr. Oz episode on epigenitcs and pregnancy.  Rats exposed to too much BPA could reverse the process of damage to the fetus by eating healthy foods and soy was one of the healthy reversal foods.  The ingredients for the chocolate one are: soymilk, apple juice, soy protein isolate, natural flavors, cocoa, gellan gum, calcium, xantham gum, salt pectin, vitamin B2, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12.  You really don’t get the usual protein OR the vitamin aftertaste.  O took a drink of this (my 2 1/2 year old son) smiled and said, “Mommy, I happy.”   I think that pretty much sums it up:)  I also got my mom and another friend to try it, who both are quite skeptical of the “health” products I take home, and both loved the flavor as well.  My only fear is that this Purely Chocolate flavor is a new product with Bolthouse Farms and I don’t see it on their website.  I hope that it continues to sell and stays on as a permanent part of their product line.  It’s so yummy that I’m considering using it with a frozen banana as a smoothie in the morning but haven’t gotten that far since I keep chugging it down the second I open the bottle.  I buy the 32oz bottles at Target and am hoping they start making a bigger bottle of it!

On to the Vanilla Chai Tea - fabulous!  The ingredients are: vanilla chai tea (soy milk, brewed green tea, natural flavors, vanilla extract), apple juice, soy protein isolate, calcium, carrageenan, vitamin c, magnesium, vitamin b6, zinc, iron, vitamin b12.  Again, you cannot detect any aftertaste.  Like the chocolate, 8oz is 160 calories and 10 grams of protein.  I think this is far better than the coffeeshop version of chai, plus, it’s far more nutritious!  These beverages are sweetened with apple juice but you really cannot taste the juice inside.  I’d like to go kiss the people that developed these drinks.  My mom doesn’t like chai tea and I had her try this and she loved it, after making an initial gross face in anticipation of the overly sweet chai.  Hee hee.  And not surprisingly, my son loved it as well, though not as much as the chocolate!  I’d say the only negative in these drinks is the amount of sugar.  In 8oz, there are 21g per chai and 20g per chocolate.  At least the sugar comes in the form of apple juice, which I deem to be an acceptable sugar and feel better about that than most other forms.  It’s funny since I don’t even like drinking apple juice since it’s so sweet- I can only have a little.  You mix it with other yummy ingredients and it’s perfect!

Since I am pregnant, I did not try their other protein drink flavors: Hazelnut Latte and Mocha Cappuccino.  Yes, I know that when you are pregnant one drink of caffeine a day is fine, but coffee hasn’t sounded good yet so I have pretty much avoided it.  I’ve been drinking decaf green tea everyday.  There is a little bit of caffeine in the Chai version- but hardly any.  Actually, I probably get plenty of caffeine through my chocolate fix!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sue March 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Love Love Love this drink….

2 Bethany March 19, 2010 at 10:13 am

I totally agree I drink either one in my coffee in the morning… I am a Sugar adn cream person so I figure adding the purely chocolate with the sugar already in it and not putting in my packet of sugar in the raw balances itself out.. My coffee is better, creamier, chocolatier…. love this product!

3 Ann March 19, 2010 at 10:25 am

Bethany, what a great idea! Wow, I will try that out when I’m in the mood for coffee again, yum!

4 marla {family fresh cooking} March 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Thanks for the review Ann. I too skip the prepackaged drinks….for the same reasons too much sugar. Glad to hear these tasted better that others. Will be on the lookout for ’em!

5 Patty March 22, 2010 at 6:41 am

Good Morning! Super helpful post, thank you! I have never tried this drink, but have most definitely seen it at my whole foods market. Will give it a go! And thanks for the information regarding the reversal of effects from BPA! So super helpful, particularly as I had no idea that was really possible. A relief, indeed!

6 Lisa @ Early Morning Run March 26, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Great post! I’ve seen these at WF’s and a few other stores and wondered about them. they’re a bit expensive for me, but I may give them a try sometime!
Do you watch Dr. Oz often? I love the show! I’ve learned so much from him!

7 Ann March 27, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I DVR Dr. Oz every day! Not that I end up watching them all, but I LOVE the show too! He’s a great mix of natural and medical when necessary - and there’s so much to learn!

8 marline September 13, 2010 at 4:52 pm

LOVE THE CHOCOLATE!!!!!! All the stores I go to have run out so I’m craving it BAD! FYI…the chocolate plus is is not tasty at all!!!! Please, Bolthouse…make some more & get it out there!!!!!

9 Ann September 16, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Sad news - they discontinued the Chocolate- I’ve heard bad things about the 50/50 replacement so I have not tried it. I so loved it with my banana in shakes in the mornings:(

10 Tia Luu September 22, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Today i had some of that chai tea crap and i felt a little sick afterwards, but over time it went away. then i came home from a friends house and had some more thinking mayb i just had a random stomach ache. but immediatley after i had some, about only 5 mins, i felt really sick. my stomach really hurt and im never drinking it again!!

11 Ann September 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Your comment made me laugh. Hmmm, maybe it wasn’t sealed properly. It’s pretty sweet but I think it’s an awesome flavor - I haven’t gotten sick.

12 Betty September 17, 2011 at 1:34 am

I used to love the vanilla chai tea, but I recently started getting acne after drinking them. Turns out they no longer sweeten with apple juice, but with pure cane sugar. :(

13 Ann September 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm

They messed with the chocolate one too - now I’m not into either. Very sad. I hate it when companies get it right the first time, and then mess it up. At least the chocolate switch was obvious - but the cane sugar switch is sneaky!

14 Rachel February 22, 2012 at 9:27 am

Hello, have u read the ingredients lately? I don’t buy it all the time(the vanilla chai tea mainly). Recently, I bought some and read the ingredient list. I noticed it went from 40 grams of protein to 36 grams. Where it used to have apple juice as the sweetener it now has cane sugar. I bought it because I wanted something healthy and I’m not a big fan of plain soymilk although I drink it from time to time.

I’m extremely disappointed that they have chosen to use sugar instead of natural sweeteners like the apple juice which is far more healthy.

Just thought I’d let you know if you don’t already. Peace….

15 Ann February 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Rachel, I know, I left up the old review in hopes they smarten up and see why people like it. I actually have a few reviews of other things/brands that everyone loved and have since changed. So frustrating. They advertise changes on their bottles when it’s good changes- but bad changes- we have to do the investigating ourselves. I stopped buying when they ruined the chocolate protein one. I really miss that excellent drink:(

16 lillian March 18, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Doe’s your bottles contain BPA ? Thank you

17 Rachel November 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I still drank bolthouse on occasion and found the taste to still be good but I don’t like it that they switched away from the apple juice. I’m disappointed in that. I really liked the vanilla chai. The last time I bought it(has been awhile but after these changes) there was still one(can’t temember which one) that still used apple juice.

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