Archives by Year: 2015

Chai – What’s The Deal With it???

The most popular thing, is sometimes the least understood.

Chai is probably one of the most popular blends of tea out there. You can go into almost any cafe, and find a it on the menu. It is the one tea drink that has managed to stay popular during coffee’s second and third wave.

Sample of traditional chai spices

 

What is chai tea?

Well the word, actually means tea. And it’s used in many parts of the world when talking about plain tea. Here in the states we have come to associate it with the traditional way tea is prepared in India. That means black tea blended with a mixture of spices like cloves, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and pepper, then mixed with milk. The uses of these exact spices are hardly set in stone. The same goes for the ratio of the spices. In India, every family has their own recipe. Some are very adamant to never use ginger! Some prefer more of a clove taste. Some are heavy handed with the cinnamon.  Each time you drink a traditional chai, it’s entirely an experience to be savored.

Chai lattes in cafes

While the approximate flavors of Indian chai has maintained a place on most cafe menus, it has in many ways been Americanized. Most cafes in the states will usually use a flavored syrup to approximate the flavor profile. Just a couple pumps of the syrup stirred into some milk. No actual tea brewing is being done. And these syrups are mainly sugar, water, and flavor extracts. This is giving us overly sweet, and less spicy drinks. The art of making the tea was lost.

How to get real chai tea

You could always make it at home. It can be a relaxing process of choosing which spices to use, and how much of each. Or you can choose to support cafes that make them from loose leaf tea. In our cafe, Greater Than Coffee, we use our 4 loose leaf blends. We offer our customers a choice of our Cape Town Chai rooibos, Spiced Buddha green tea, Hood Chai black tea, and Capoeira Chai yerba mate. Each one is blended with spices to compliment the flavor profiles of the tea leaves used. Customers definitely taste the difference between real brewed tea, and sugary syrups.

If your favorite cafe doesn’t offer real chai tea, encourage them to do so. Send them to us and we’ll be happy to talk over their different options.

Let us know how you like to enjoy a cup of this amazing tea.

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Are Millennials Drinking More Tea Or Coffee?

Millennials Drink Tea

 

Is tea the new coffee? Well it’s at least the drink of choice for Millennials.

It seems that the generation changing the world, is drinking tea more than any of their predecessors. According to the National Coffee Association, coffee consumption is down in America. This especially seems to be true for millennials. Check out this survey by YouGov.

 

Tea and coffee survey

When we think about why this is happening, a few reasons come to mind.

One is that this generation has been hearing about the health benefits of tea from a very young age. They were exposed to the knowledge of the benefits, before they were able to get addicted to coffee. Antioxidants in tea, vitamin C in rooibos, amino acids in yerba mate, these things are just about common knowledge now. When you grow up knowing that this tasty beverage is also great for you, you tend to gravitate towards that.

The second reason that comes to mind is an important one. The tea out on the market now, is not the tea of your grandparents. Or at least that’s the way its being portrayed. Companies like Teavana and Republic, helped to make tea more accessible to the masses. In the same way coffee had it’s Second Wave, Tea is having it’s turn. By companies like us, mixing tea with fruit and flowers and spices, tea appears to be more exciting. By educating people on the proper ways to brew tea, we are ensuring you’ll enjoy it. Prior to this Second Wave of tea, people would just throw a tea bag in some hot water, and usually were stuck drinking plain bitter green or black tea. Now it’s easy to learn the correct brew times and temperatures. And to top it off people have been exposed to white tea, green tea, black tea, oolong, purple tea, rooibos, yerba mate, herbal blends. The options for finding a tea you like, has become near endless! With the Millennial love of changing things and exploring, it’s no wonder they are enjoying this time for tea.

The third reason that most people probably don’t realize, is because of coffee. More specifically coffee’s Third Wave. While Coffee’s Second Wave focused on flavored lattes and blended drinks, the Third Wave is focused on slowly hand crafted coffee drinks. Generally omitting all those sweet syrups and sauces that got most people addicted to coffee. The good thing about this Third Wave is the emphasis on slowing down and taking time to make the perfect coffee. This is what we needed in the tea world. We needed people to be willing to take the time to make drinks with care. Because of this break from the constant rushed feeling we all had, people can now take the time to heat up their water to the right temperature. Steep their blend for the right amount of time. Enjoy tea!

Millennials are living in an exciting time for tea, and they are taking full advantage of it. If you’re reading this, you probably agree with them. So tell me what you think about tea’s new popularity.