Drink Me Chai is carving a new niche in the hot beverages market. Although it is positioned in the malt and instant hot beverage fixture, MD Amanda Hamilton believes it is creating an exciting category "which is a hybrid between tea and coffee by enhancing the traditional, staid image of tea and giving a new beverage to a younger audience".

Drink Me Chai is an instant Chai made to a traditional Indian recipe of blended tea, spices, milk and sugar - consumers just add hot water.

Its boutique-style packaging stands out on the shelf and, as Hamilton says, "it challenges the more traditionally packaged hot beverages in that fixture, particularly the instant and malt category".

The product has had listings at Tesco and Waitrose for some time and has just secured listings at Asda and Morrisons.

Turnover has increased 100%, year-on-year since its launch in 2004, according to Hamilton. She attributes its success to launching at the right time.

"We launched at a time when hot beverages on the high street and the dominant café culture meant customers were willing to try new concepts," she says.

A key selling point of Drink Me Chai is that it's an authentic Chai blend with spices and sugar already added, and it's 99% caffeine-free. "We use real spices instead of flavourings that are found in some syrup Chai concentrates," she says.

Typical consumers are women aged 25 to 45, as well as the typical coffee shop visitor.

Drink Me Chai is available in Spiced and Vanilla flavour in 250g drums. Spiced Chai Light comes in 20 x 20g sachets, which have less than 0.1% fat. Hamilton says there are plans to develop the sachet route with new flavours.

Promotional activity includes sampling in-store and at London tube stations this autumn and winter.

For the independent and deli market, Drink Me Chai has launched a Fairtrade giftbox Chai for the Christmas market, which supports charity Womankind Worldwide.