Review: Kaffa Coffee and Organic Chai Latte

I like Chai Tea (though Chai Tea actually means Tea Tea, so I will simply state Chai).  I take Bigelow's Chai Bag, add to half Almond Milk, half Hot Water, and Microwave, steeping for four minutes. (I like it strong).  I also make a home Iced Version the same way, but with two tea bags instead of one, in a very large glass.

A little history of Chai: Tea plants have grown wild in the Assam region since antiquity, but historically Indians viewed tea as a herbal medicine rather than as a recreational beverage.  Some of the chai masala spice mixtures, or Karha, that are still in current use are derived from Ayurvedic medical texts.

In the 1830s, the British East India Company became concerned about Chinese monopoly on tea, which constituted most of its trade and supported the enormous consumption of tea in Great Britain: approximately one pound (by weight) per person per year. British colonists had recently noticed the existence of the Assamese tea plants, and began to cultivate tea plantations locally. In 1870, over 90% of the tea consumed in Great Britain was still of Chinese origin, but by 1900 this had dropped to 10%, largely replaced by tea grown in British India (50%) and British Ceylon (33%).

However, consumption of black tea within India remained low until the promotional campaign by the (British-owned) Indian Tea Association in the early 20th century, which encouraged factories, mines, and textile mills to provide tea breaks for their workers. It also supported many independent chai wallahs throughout the growing railway system.

The official promotion of tea was as served in the English mode, with small added amounts of milk and sugar. The Indian Tea Association initially disapproved of independent vendors' tendency to add spices and greatly increase the proportions of milk and sugar, thus reducing their usage (and thus purchase) of tea leaves per liquid volume. However, masala chai in its present form has now firmly established itself as a popular beverage.

Milen, the manager, has created a delicious treat, organic on-site mixed Chai Latte.  I sat down this evening to give it a taste and review.  The regular size ($2.85 for what is shown in the picture), is a little light on the Tea strength I am used to.  Patrons may request a stronger steep.  The taste is great, the smell of cinnamon fills the nostrils.  Honey is used to sweeten the tea, this is good, since I only use Honey at home, I own no sugar.

The Organic Blend starts with Black Tea, then she adds her own mixture of cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.  All ingredients are organic. Great on its own as a desert, or mid day drink.  Highly recommend, especially for the price.

Published 6/18/15

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