I originally posted this on Journal D’un Grand Nègre but I thought you folks might enjoy it also…
I first began to drink Chai Tea Lattes when I was delivered from for my coffee addiction and needed a more subtle (yet soulful) source of caffeine.
Here is a brief history of the mighty Chai Tea
Chai (Arabic: شَاي, Hindi: चाय, Urdu/Persian: چاى) is the word for tea in South Asia and the Middle East, mainly India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Middle Eastern countries. It is a derivative of the Cantonese word “Cha” for tea. Synonyms in other languages are the Bengali chā, the Marathi chahā and the Tamil Thaeneer.
In a typical South Asian household, chai is prepared by boiling loose leaf tea in a pot with milk and water. Depending on personal preference, various spices and/or sweetner may also be added at this stage. What many English speakers tend to think of as chai is, therefore, more strictly known as masala chai, (Hindi (मसाला चाय [masālā chāy], “spiced tea”). Indian markets all over the world sell various brands of “chai masala,” (Hindi चाय मसाल [masālā chāy], “tea spice” ), though many households blend their own.
In India, chai is more popular than coffee, and “chai wallahs,” or street vendors, are a common sight in many Indian neighborhoods.
Now here in Fremont the discerning Chai head seeks to wet his or her whistle at the following locations.
Starbucks the great Satan of coffee houses offers an acceptable little latte that is a little to sweet for my own personal taste.
Suju’s my favorite local coffee house has an nifty mid range offering which is enhanced by the free wifi and atmosphere.
Peet’s has by far the best Chai in the bay area with a nice spicy taste yet not overly sweet, the only downside is the local establishment is not Moleskine friendly with it’s super small tables and no wifi!