Take the four things humans love most – food, wine, coffee, sex – and what do they have in common? They bring people together. Coffee drinking is beloved especially not just because it’s delicious and makes us jive, but also because it’s publically acceptable at any time of the day.
But what if you don’t FEEL like a coffee. What if this meeting is barely half done but you’re three ristrettos deep and a fourth might kill you? WHAT THEN?
Oh, chai there, I didn’t see you come in.
It’s the winter drink for non-coffee drinkers who appreciate a little SPICE. Besides the aromatic flavour profile, the spices, tealeaves and honey in chai have ayurvedic significance in treating colds and other maladies so it’s perfect to help us stay healthy through the changing seasons.
Also, there’s a lot of chat being thrown around by a bunch of heathens trying to tell me that flavoured sugar powder is a worthy substitute. Where’s the LOVE? Where’s the AUTHENTICITY? Nothing compares to the spicy aroma of a freshly brewed pot of proper chai; you feel that shit in your soul, and Brisbane’s got it on lock:
The Baker’s Arms | Woolloongabba
The Baker’s Arms prides itself on its traditional method of brewing chai with a homespun recipe heated on an open stove*. Theirs is a silken, fragrant mixture lovingly prepared in such tantalizingly proximity to their cake cabinet it’s like, yeah buddy good luck leaving without a brownie to-go.
*Soy milk comes highly recommended for that extra earthy BOOST.
Chai Café | Northey Street Markets
Available only during weekend market hours, take care to mind your schedule or you may miss Chai Café’s precious window (Sunday during market hours from 6-11am). They brew their chai smack bang in the middle of the Northey Street City Farm, amidst the babbling stream of market goers fondling avocados and stuffing their baskets. It’s a time-honoured ritual to do your market rounds then settle in with your wares and a mug of chai on Chai Café’s island deck for some quality people-watching in glorious HD.
Wray Organic Café | Indooroopilly
A different kind of market experience, but the effect is pretty much the same. Peruse the packets of umeboshi and organic soba noodles at Wray Organic and then go ahead and plonk down for a reviver of the most delicious kind. Wray’s customises their house-blend of chai with fresh cinnamon, nutmeg, cassis and cardamom and brews it on your choice of milk. Everything is 100% organic and bears Mother Nature’s hemp-woven seal of approval.
Chai Cart | Various Locations
Born of a mission to bring authentic chai to Brisbane is the mobile, agile, docile Chai Cart. Usually found parked at West End’s Boundary Street Markets, this rolling brewer has been known to squeeze in the odd festival gig, and Lord are we grateful. Thanks to the slow brewing method all the hard work is done in advance so service is a snap and punters never have to wait too long to attain that heady bliss that only chai can get you. Char Cart also sells bags of their special chai mix to stave off the cravings outside market hours.
Three Monkeys | West End
Where else can you get a tureen of chai at 9.30pm on a Wednesday night? When it comes to serving sizes, Three Monkeys knows what’s up. Their yawning bowls of chai have garnered such a rep that a recent stigma has developed towards anyone hoping to ‘nip in for a small one’. To be fair, Three Monkeys’ largest vessel is probably more than most people can handle, but chai addiction is as real as it is harmless and I’ve never known a fiend to hold back when that flagrant spice display hits the table.
Lewin Street Store | Bardon
It’s not hard to make a habit of picking up a Lewin Street chai. If the idea of straying from your powdered convenience seems just a bit more daunting than is comfortable, Lewin Street’s chai provides a gentle gateway. They brew their chai on a wet mix of leaves and spices soaked in honey from Calmer Sutra Tea in Melbourne. The resulting brew is potently sexual and will probably ruin you for other teas #youhavebeenwarned.
Did we miss anywhere? Leave a comment below and let us know where you find Brisbane’s best chai…
Image credit: Journey Kitchen