Here Comes the ChaiCycle

The morning commute won’t be the same. Starting today at 6 a.m., Montclair has a ChaiCycle. And a chai wallah. Montclair resident Ricardo Dacosta, who owns Yogic Chai along with his with his wife Angela, will be peddling (and pedaling) the traditional Indian spiced tea at train stations throughout Montclair. He plans to change his route as he gets requests from his Facebook and Twitter fans, but today (Thursday, Nov. 18) he’ll be at the Watchung Train station at 6 a.m., Walnut Street station at 7:30 and Bay Street at 8:15.

The Dacostas started Yoga Chai in 2007 and feel pretty happy about how the brand is selling online. But Ricardo, who got hooked on street-vendor chai when he traveled to India in 2006, wanted to replicate that experience — as well as raise brand awareness — and began casting about for different vehicles. When he found a trailer that attached to his bike, the idea for the ChaiCycle (rhymes with bicycle) was born. Darelle Banfield from CustomConcepts came up with the logo and took the picture above.

Dacosta, who also goes by the name Raghavendra, will sell 12-oz. cups of the organic Masala chai for $3. He’s starting with the basic chai but plans to eventually add custom blends, such as coconut chai and lemongrass chai.

But can it compete with coffee? As it happens, I’ve tasted Dacosta’s chai at Karuna Shala yoga studio in Glen Ridge, one of two places that carries it retail (the other being Asana House on Valley Road), and it easily rivaled anything I’ve ever had at Starbucks.

“It will definitely wake you up,” says Dacosta. “You’ll feel the kick but you don’t crash as hard as with coffee.” He also maintains that the spices in chai — ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves — are beneficial for health when warmed. “It’s like a gift you give to your body.”

Dacosta is preparing the chai in Aozora restaurant’s kitchen. He’s serving it in biodegradable cups. Nutrition information on the prepared drink is not yet available.

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  1. Unfortunately, at 7am at Watchung Station, Ricardo was being hassled by a transit police officer. He showed her his paperwork, but she didn’t seem persuaded. I hope it worked out in his favor.

  2. The officer was very nice actually. Our paperwork is ok, the issue was a misunderstanding of the rules & regulations for Mobile Food vendors. Apparently, I was on NJTRANSIT private property and no vendors are allowed there…All I had to do was to either move to the other side of the grass (couple of feet away) or setup on the street…which as a Street Vendor, I will probably do that to avoid issues.

    I was ready to leave to Walnut and Bay Street anyway…She didn’t want a cup of chai on me though 😉

    Besides that incident, the day went well 😉

    Thanks to all who shared this article on Facebook and to those that stopped by to say hello!

    Ricardo Da Costa
    Co Founder
    Yogic Chai / The ChaiCycle

  3. Welcome Ricardo! Do you happen to serve a Chai Hot Chocolate? I had one the other day and it’s all I think about now.

  4. Hi Georgette, thanks for the welcome!

    Interesting enough our Cocoa Masala Chai blend is scheduled to land on our site on December 1st. It’s made with Fair Trade Organic Cocoa, Cardamom, Ginger, Cinnamon & Cloves…If I get more request for it, I will sure carry it on the ChaiCycle.

    Do you commute to the city? If so from which station?

  5. Hey Ricardo, it was my pleasure to be apart of the project. At Custom Concepts Signs and Tints we are always up to the challenge of bring our clients vision and idea’s to life. We listened to what you want and delivered. Thanks for the opportunity to work with you and look forward to working with you on future Chai Cycle projects. Best of luck with everything.

  6. “Soon come”……. Fried Rice delivered via electric car or bicycle. $4 small, $7 large + $75 tax. Hey, this is Montclair and we’re special. Ask anyone!

  7. Love it! Love it! Love it! Love it! And the logo is sensational! Best of luck! This is one great idea! Can’t wait to try my first cup!

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