With the holiday season bluntly making itself known in every retail shop down Walnut Street it’s only right to engage in the joviality. Rather than talking about red cups or eggnog lattes or whatever else is on the market, I intend to tell you a extremely short history of the beloved chai latte and why you should snuggle up with that in your cup this Christmas.
Masala Chai, what you’ve unknowingly been drinking, has been soothing the bodies and minds of Southeast Asia dating back to 5000 years ago. “Chai” actually just means “tea” in Hindu. It’s composed of boiling water, black tea, milk, and spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, etc). The ones I have drank in my lifetime are typically either powder or syrup based, i.e. not the real thing, just the Westernized version of the stuff.
Regardless, you should give it a try, even if it’s from your local chain coffee shop. A smooth, creamy blend of cinnamon, spices and milk gives the feeling of drinking warm gingerbread cookies and who doesn’t want that this holiday season? Side note: It’s particularly great for those who do not like the taste of espresso and are looking for a caffeine alternative.
Three years in the making I’m not sure if I could even properly guesstimate the amount of drinks I’ve served. Cappuccinos, lattes, coffee, hot chocolate, lemonade, etc I have probably made it, and if you live in Doylestown, PA, I’ve probably served your mom and dad. House of Coffee is where I learned the etiquette of the steam wand and how to pack a portafilter (the traditional way of making espresso). After the shop was closed after a year, I hadn’t lost my lust for the brew life so I set my sights on another coffee shop. The Zen Den, located in Doylestown as well, was just a few blocks away from my previous stomping ground. 2 years in the making I’m still a somewhat employee.
Now living in Philadelphia I made a switch to commercial coffee and I worked at the local Saxby’s on campus. It’s likely I’ve served you a latte. I’m also currently employed as a Barista at a Stephen Starr restaurant in Rittenhouse, Il Pittore. In my few short years I have grown as a barista and more importantly have grown to love and appreciate my craft. But I do not just “love coffee”, I admire it and I find it intriguing; it is an art I will always be able to improve.
Freshly brewed from barista Kathryn Justice.