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Coffee and Junk Food Pairing:

A Culinary Adventure

As coffee lovers, we often find ourselves caught in a conundrum. On one hand, we want to savour the complexity and depth of our favourite specialty coffee. On the other hand, we want to indulge in the salty, sweet, and satisfying treats that make life worth living. But what happens when you pair the two? A culinary adventure to the dark side, that’s what.

So, what do you pair with a piping hot cup of coffee when you’re in the mood for junk food? Well, first of all, let’s just get one thing straight: we’re not talking about a kale salad and a green smoothie here. No, we’re talking about the real deal, the good stuff, the greasy, salty, and sugary treats that make life worth living.

Think about it. A rich and bold espresso shot paired with a warm, gooey donut. A smooth and creamy latte paired with a greasy slice of pepperoni pizza. It’s like two kids who were never meant to meet finally finding each other on the playground. And the result is pure magic.

Let’s start with the classic breakfast of champions: donuts. There’s nothing like a glazed donut to sweeten your day, and when paired with a rich and bold coffee. Millions of obese beat officers cannot be wrong. The sweetness of the donut contrasts perfectly with a bold Indian AA plantation coffee, creating a balance that will make your taste buds dance with joy.

Next up is a rich and velvety cappuccino paired with a warm, buttery croissant. The flaky, buttery layers of the croissant perfectly balance the creamy milk and bold espresso flavours. It’s like taking a trip to Paris but only cheaper.

And who could forget the classic pairing of a bold and intense espresso shot with a warm chocolate chip cookie? The sweetness of the chocolate and the bitter coffee flavours are like two old friends reuniting after many years apart. It’s a beautiful thing. We would suggest nice Colombian medium to dark roast for this one. We will save the juicy, light roasted Colombians for when we are snacking on hotdogs.

Next up, we have pizza. This might come as a surprise, but a slice of pizza and a cup of coffee are a match made in heaven. The salty and savoury flavours of the pizza are perfectly complemented by the smooth and creamy notes of a latte. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a slice of pepperoni pizza with a bold and syrupy Kenyan Nyeri drunk black of course. The bright acidity should cut through the cheesy fat and hopefully unblock some of your arteries.  

And let’s not forget about burgers. Whether you prefer your burgers topped with bacon, cheese, or both, a burger and coffee pairing is a must-try. For this one I would go big, frothy and full of rich full cream milk. A Freezoccino with fresh whipped cream piled on top should hit the spot. The juicy and flavourful burger will bring out the nutty and chocolatey notes from a high grown Guatemalan coffee, creating a flavour explosion in your mouth.

What would a burger be without fries? Probably just a burger-and-hold-the-fries. But add a shot of condensed milk to an espresso over ice cubes and you have SWEET VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE WITH FRIES! Sounds kind of epic when I type it in bold letters. Traditional folks would say, wtf? But we say, use your Vietnamese robusta for this one. But maybe go no more than 50% with a blend of a nice Zambian coffee.  

For rainy afternoons in front of televised game, we suggest dark roasted Sumatran beans paired with a cold beer and a pack of unfiltered cigarettes. The smoky, earthy notes of the coffee are the perfect complement to the bitter, hoppy flavours of the beer and contrasts perfectly with the sweet sting of cancerous smoke

We’ve all been there. It’s a late night, you’ve got the munchies and you want something to satisfy both your sweet tooth and your caffeine craving. What do you reach for? A bag of chips and a can of soda? How pedestrian. The nutty and chocolatey notes of a Brazilian Minas Gerais coffee pair perfectly with a bucket of Rocky Road ice cream and a lonely night in front of a movie.

Think of it like a foodie’s version of “Bad Boys”. A sweet, nutty coffee plays the role of Will Smith, while a rich, creamy dessert is the Martin Lawrence of the pair. Together, shoot up your cholesterol, and arrest your heart.

So enjoy your coffee adventure, and remember even you may one day become an undercover Michelin food taster.

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Know Your Tea! Black, Green, White, Yellow… What’s The Difference?

What do you really know about tea? If you’ve ended up here then chances are your tea knowledge is lacking somewhat. We get it, you want to find out more about that lovely brew you enjoy sipping every day. What type of tea is it? Is it even tea at all? Rest assured, after reading this you’ll know your tea just as well as you know your coffee!

Tea or Tisane? It’s Not a Trick Question!

Let’s clear one thing up straight from the get-go. If a ‘tea’ is not made with actual leaves from the  Camellia sinensis plant, then technically it’s not a tea at all. “No way!” you might say, but it’s true. 

Nowadays the word tea is attached to all sorts of beverages, from a warm cup of chamomile to a bottle of iced hibiscus and vanilla. But these herbal and fruit infusions are exactly that, an infusion. And that’s where the word ‘tisane’ comes from, it’s French for infusion. Who knew such a fancy word could mean something so simple?

But enough of this pedantic examination. Who even says tisane anyway? Apart from the French of course. The way it is, everybody (including us at Doubleshot) use the word ‘tea’ to describe all sorts of crackpot and mind-blowing brews, so let’s stick with it! (If you have an issue with our use of the French language, please contact our French correspondent Monsieur Je ne parle pas Français for more information.)

Just How Many Types of Tea are Out There? Here’s Six to Start!

So, let’s move on to the different types of teas out there. Besides from the plethora of infusions (including your rooibos and yerba mate!), all teas begin life as the same humble leaf, painstakingly clipped from the very tips of the branches. Once these have been harvested from the Camellia sinensis plant, what happens next determines what type of tea it becomes. So without further ado, we’re going to look at the six main tea variants – GET EXCITED!!!

White Tea – Virgin Brew

The least processed of all the teas, white tea is simply left to dry after it has been picked from the plant. It has light and delicate taste when unchanged by any other flavours. A cup of white tea will also deliver the highest concentration of antioxidants to the drinker when compared to other tea types.

Just be careful not to guzzle it down all at once to grab those oh so delicious antioxidants. After some personal experience, rather wait for it to cool down a bit. Anyone have some good burnt tongue remedies?

Green Tea – Wellbeing Booster

The perennially popular green tea is highly regarded as a beverage packed full of health benefits. Once the tea leaves have been plucked they are quickly steamed or fired at a high temperature, then rolled or pressed. Many different subtle flavours are achieved with slight changes in this process.

Know your tea

If only your life were as grand as that of the humble green tea leaf. After a long day of some very productive photosynthesizing, being plucked and placed in a steam room and then a complementary massage. Life could not get better for this green guy. 

Oolong Tea – Caught in the Middle

Sitting in between green and black tea, oolong tea is often described as partially oxidised. But what does that mean? Well, for a start it’s not French, so you don’t have to revert back to Monsieur Je ne parle pas Français for any help with this one. In fact, this is actually more on the sciency side of things. Essentially, the leaves are bruised a little before being subjected to the heating process.

Know yoru tea

In other words, this tea is as nerdy as it gets! Just like your quintessential geeky nerd from school, who loves science and gets beaten and bruised on the daily, this tea is a geek reincarnated into the perfect beverage. There’s a whole spectrum of different oolong teas, with lighter and darker ones, ranging from floral to nutty tastes.

Black Tea – Your Classic Cuppa

If you’ve only ever tried one type of tea, chances are it is black tea. If this is the case, you really need to expand your horizons! This tea type is fully oxidised, so there’s no heating process like with green and oolong tea. The leaves are cut, rolled, and dried, a process that helps to draw out rich flavour, ranging from malty Assam to fruity Keemum.

Yellow Tea – The Golden One

Yellow tea has much in common with its green-coloured compadre. I mean if you look past the little bit of blue in his family tree from way back when, then they are basically the same!

Yellow Tea

The leaves are subjected to heat soon after being picked, but at a lower temperature and for a shorter time than green tea. The big difference is the wrapping. This involves the leaves being bundled up in a cloth or sometimes paper and left to ferment slightly before being dried. 

Pu-erh Tea – Aged Like a Fine Wine

Also called fermented tea or simply dark tea (but not to be confused with black tea), pu-erh tea is the result of a microbial fermentation process. And once again we’re back to the science! The tea leaves are steamed and packed together, then micro-organisms grow throughout the trapped moisture and react with chemicals within the tea. Fermenting can last anything from a few weeks to years depending on the desired taste!

And There’s Even More to Tea Than This…

We’ve just skimmed the surface of the wonderful world of tea here. In fact each one of these different types of tea deserves its very own write-up. But hopefully you know more now than you did five minutes ago when you arrived 😉

If you’re intrigued by what we do here at Doubleshot, check out our Brew Guides. It’s where we let our tea alchemist minds run wild and share the very best of our concoctions with like-minded people just like you!

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We Have Got Enough Milks Now. Would Everyone Stop Milking Sh!t – Part 1

I have no doubt that lactose intolerance is a grave issue faced by thousands of you coffee lovers daily, but looking at the boom of alternative milk production over the past couple of years, I can say that your issue can officially take a backseat. Excuse the pun but holy cow! Have you seen the aisle of milk alternatives at your local grocery store? It’s even longer than the never-ending queues of cars waiting for a refill at your local petrol station before the petrol price goes up, yet again!

It seems as though every person in the health food industry is coming up with new tricks on how to take anything approximately the same size as a nut and squishing it into something that looks vaguely similar to the classic creamy cows milk we’ve come to love. Heck, we were even tricked in our youth to down a whole cup of cow juice with some steaming chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven. Oh, how times have changed.

It’s Not Just Cow’s Milk Anymore

Even the most mundane of coffee orders have now begun to puzzle the brightest of the coffee enthusiasts of our day and age. Take the classic cappuccino for instance. A beautifully simple fusion of sweet and acidic espresso cut with frothy, creamy milk – typically from a cow. Nowadays the business of ordering a coffee has become much more complex.

The classic question of whether you would like your milk hot or cold has taken on a new look with the advent of the mass production of alternative milks. Countless nuts and legumes have suddenly taken to the spotlight in the milk production industry. Ranging from the classic almond milk to something a little more exotic like macadamia nut milk or even hemp milk.

So, the question you should be examining very closely is whether you’d like your milk squeezed from a bean, from a pulse, from a grain, from an oat, from a nut, from a flack, from a seed, from a leaf or from a tree.

Milk Non Dairy

Starting with the Basics – Almond Milk

The problem with discussing milk alternatives in this blog post alone is that there are way too many to even name, let alone describe and talk about without boring you to death and causing a mass resurgence of the cow milk industry. So to keep things short and simple, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of many of your favourite milk alternatives, with some cheeky comments and hilarious prods to make it worth your while, in separate blog posts.

I hope you’re ready with a steaming cup of some Out of This World Coffee with a tad of almond milk because today we start with the basics!

Sorry to disappoint the animal loving hipsters and lactose intolerant sufferers who claim this concoction as their own, but almond milk was around way before the current almond milk bonanza. In fact, the almond tree was one of the first to be domesticated and trained in the art of producing almonds for our consumption. Its use can be traced back to Baghdadi recipes and we like to refer to them fondly as King Tut’s Nuts, considering they were found buried next to him in his eternal resting place. (Unlike his nuts though, these stayed un-shrivelled for centuries!) Additional recipes included French almond milk soup, some Icelandic almond milk yoghurt and even some fake eggs that only the English could have thought of as a ‘good idea’.

The Original Dairy Alternative

The big boom of almond milk occurred in the Middle Ages where it really gained traction and Europeans couldn’t stop drinking the stuff! It basically appears in every single recipe book from medieval Europe and was used as a fitting replacement for that old cows milk, which spoiled quickly leading to some rather unpleasant visits to the lavatory, and wasn’t allowed to be consumed during fasting periods such as Lent.

Considered to be one of the best alternative milks out there by thousands worldwide, today the market has returned the once beloved almond milk that captured the hearts of our ancestors.

The Way an Almond is Milked is Just Nuts!

Wonder where to milk your almond nuts no longer! With this handy dandy documentary, detailing the ins and outs of the Almond Milking Industry you’ll be able to distinguish between your male and female nuts in no time! But if you’re like us and don’t have the extra cash lying around to purchase your very own flock of gerbils, or better yet a tandem nut milker to get that fresh warm milk out of your nuts, we have a much easier solution which is almost as good as the real thing. All you need to do is follow the almond brick road:

1. Soak 1 cup of your freshly picked raw almonds in a bowl of cold water overnight.

2. Blend up your soaked almonds with 4 cups of water till creamy and smooth.

3. Strain through a nut-milk bag or a cheese-cloth into an airtight container to get rid of all the nasty bits.

4. Add in some fancy flavours for a bit of fun. We suggest some cinnamon and some maple syrup for a bit of sweetness.

5. Place in the fridge to chill and enjoy your freshly milked nuts!

Is the Humble Almond the Cow of the Future???

Now for the big question. How does it stack up against the classic cow juice?

It may surprise you that this popular nut isn’t as cracked up as it’s thought to be. Although you can create some smooth latte art for some flare, this milk has a tendency to curdle and make for a lumpy watery drink underneath. Another downside of almond milk is that the unsweetened versions can leave you with a bitter aftertaste in your mouth.

The Final Judgement

Did you know that some almond milks are just 2% almonds! So despite all the health elements that almonds can provide like your dose of vitamin E and some other fancy vitamins and minerals to help you churn out your work day by day, the ugly truth is that it ain’t great. Not only are you gaining only a minuscule amount of nutrition but you’re also using a ton of water which could be used for much better things (LIKE MAKING COFFEE!)

So unless you are one who absolutely loves the flavour that almond milk adds to your life, we would suggest one of the other alternative milks that we will delve into in this series of posts to come…

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A Guide to Purim Festivities

Like many Jewish festivals, which are regularly distinguished by some prayer, a ton of food and a few l’chaims along the way, Purim is no different except for the fact that we place a little more emphasis on l’chaims and party vibes more than anything else. So for this year’s Purim festivities, we thought what better way to help you get into that purim spirit than creating some specialty cocktails for you to enjoy while trying to decipher between ‘arur Haman’ and ‘baruch Mordechai.’

If you’re not too familiar with the story, here’s a brief rundown on what happened all those years ago…

Needless to say, the Empire of Persia in the times of King Achashverosh was quite the raunchy place. After a hard pass by Queen Vashti to appear before the King in her birthday suit, the rather unhinged Achashverosh sets his lawyers on her tail and is now on the hunt for a new bride to replace Queen Vashti. (Try out our Iced Vash-Tea to get the same Achash, OY -VEY, my – rosh that she probably ENDURED whilst dealing with that guy)

After quite a while of searching and flaunting his crown jewels around the whole of Persia he catches feelings for a lovely young woman named Esther. Did we mention she’s Jewish. Anyways, Esther was the perfect wife material. Not only could she cook a killer kugel, but she was also raised by none other than the righteous Mordechai.

Seems like quite a nice story till now, right? WRONG! Not all is well in the kingdom – treachery is afoot. After some eavesdropping and tattle tailing by Mordechai, the King is saved from the clutches of death and Mordechai gains some brownie points with the King of Persia.

In other news, the vain and egocentric grand vizier Haman – who for some reason thought it was an acceptable fashion statement to wear a three-cornered hat – is sulking in his bedroom because Mordechai wouldn’t bow down to him, being the wise and courageous Mordechai we know and love.

Now, what better way to get rid of that one guy who wouldn’t bow down to Haman while roaming the streets of Persia? Well, we could come up with a few ways, but turns out in Haman’s mind a large genocide of all the Jews, of which Mordechai is a part, is sufficient in his eyes. And so, on a roll of the dice Haman decides that since his day planner is relatively free, the 14th of Adar will be the day he will get his revenge…

After a relatively short conversation consisting of:
Haman: “Can we kill all the Jews on the 14th of Adar please?”
Achashverosh: “OK”
Haman: “Yippee!”
And so it was sealed with some fancy ring only held by the King of Persia that this will be the day the genocide of the Jews will take place. Dun Dun Duuuuun!

As you may recall, Esther is Jewish but the King doesn’t know (turns out not all marriages are built on trust). As you can imagine, Esther is pretty anxious about this and decides this may be a good time to do a quick diet before all her people are killed and so doesn’t eat for three days straight. Following her fast, she visits the King unannounced and invites the King and Haman to a banquet – us Jews really do love our food. Meanwhile, Haman is getting quite enthusiastic for the massacre coming up and even builds some homemade gallows for his nemesis Mordechai.

Remembering the man who saved his life, Achashverosh commands Haman to parade Mordechai through the streets to honour him, which Haman very reluctantly agrees to. Seems like the perfect time to enjoy a MordeCHAI while being paraded through the streets, don’t you think?

At the end of the second feast Esther reveals her secret – she’s Jewish! And with that all of Haman’s dreams and fantasies go up in smoke. The King grants permission for the Jews to defend themselves against Haman’s evil men. Even Haman is hanged on the same homemade gallows especially designed for Mordechai. (Speaking of hanging Haman, shoot on over to our brew guides to see how you can receive a slightly less harsh punishment in the form of ‘Haman’s Hangover’ to enjoy during your Purim festivities). Jews seemed to have been much more athletic than Jews in our times because they managed to defend themselves and massacre all of Hamans supporters. Pretty impressive if you ask us.

This story does end happily ever after with Mordechai becoming the new honourable member in the King’s council as well as the survival of Jews in the Kingdom of Persia for a further couple hundred years. Additional benefits include hamantaschen with flavours ranging from the classic poppyseed and cheese to the exotic chocolate peanut butter and wild blueberry.

The absolute star of the show emerging from this festival has to be the Purim parties celebrated around the world and the new Purim Cocktails like our Iced Vash-Tea, MordeCHAI and Haman’s Hangover that will be sure to put you in the festive mood.

P.S. We have the perfect solution to your throbbing head and aching body after a long night out of Purim festivities. Just pour yourself a cup of our range of coffee blends and that should sort you out and have you firing on all cylinders for a productive day.

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So Good They Banned It – Times When a Cup of Coffee was Criminal

Brewing up a regular ol’ cuppa joe seems like such an everyday thing to do, but travel back across the antiquities of time and you’ll see just how dangerous a morning coffee used to be.

It’s surprising to think that a sip of your favourite blend could have got you roughed up, landed you in jail, or even put to death. A grim thought, but thankfully those times when a cup of coffee was criminal are well and truly over.

So if you haven’t already, go and fix yourself up with a nice cup of Foxy Brown or whatever coffee you have in the cupboard, and read on to discover what might have happened to you in another lifetime.

Because Coffee Makes You Feel Good

Let’s start in 16th century Mecca, where the city’s governor outlawed coffee and sent out his cronies to torch coffee stalls in the streets. The year was 1511, and Khair Beg believed the intoxicating effects of coffee put it in the same boat as booze, so drinking it seemed to fly in the face of the Quran. The ban didn’t last very long at all, just a couple of weeks, but other rulers soon followed suit.

Because Coffee is the Devil’s Drink

Coffee was banned in Italy?! Hard to imagine, but it’s true. This time around it was the Catholic Church that turned their nose up to caffeine. They didn’t like the strange energising effect it had on people. Also, it was from mysterious faraway lands, which immediately made them suspicious.

It’s no wonder then that they came to the conclusion it was a satanic beverage that must be condemned for eternity. That was until Pope Clement VIII had a taste, and promptly baptised the humble coffee bean to make it safe for Christians to drink!

When Coffee Would Get You Killed

Moving onto the 17th century, and to what is undeniably the harshest crackdown on coffee the world has ever seen. Sultan Murad IV initiated a ban on coffee across the entire Ottoman Empire starting in 1633, which lasted for more than 100 years.

Legend has it that Murad would disguise himself as a commoner and roam the streets, sniffing out illegal coffee houses and decapitating criminal drinkers on the spot. When his successor Ibrahim took over, first offenders would get away with a nasty beating to recompense for their wrongdoing. But if you were caught a second time, you’d find yourself stuffed in a leather sack and unceremoniously chucked in a river to drown.

When Coffee Made Rulers Mad

Around the same time in England, London’s first coffee house opened in 1652, and within a couple of decades, King Charles II declared all coffee houses must close. But what was his concern with this new foreign brew?

Well, it was stimulating political discussions across the capital, sparking debates in which the monarchy was the butt of insulting jokes. Not one to be taken the piss out of, a proclamation to suppress coffee houses was published, however lawmakers saw to it that no ban was actually enacted.

Over in Prussia, now modern-day Germany and Poland, Emperor Frederick the Great had a different beef against coffee. He didn’t like the money pouring out of the country to pay for this exotic new drink, so he created a state monopoly over coffee imports and banned the public from roasting their own beans.

The Infamous Swedish Coffee Experiment

Numerous Swedish kings grappled with coffee for over 60 years, enforcing five separate bans on it between 1756 and 1817. All sorts of reasons were touted for why coffee was bad, all of them nonsense. Persistent offenders would have their coffee cups and saucers confiscated.

In a bizarre experiment to try and prove coffee was bad for your health, a pair of identical twins who had already been sentenced to death were summoned to be human guinea pigs. One twin was made to drink three pots of coffee a day while the other drank tea. Turned out the tea drinker died first, at the ripe old age of 83.

Honouring the Coffee Drinkers of the Past

The common theme to take away from all these historic coffee bans was that in every instance, it was a minority who were against it. For your average guy and gal, coffee drinking was enjoyable, a time to talk, relax, and have fun. Let’s thank our predecessors for sticking a finger up to the man so that we can drink coffee in peace today.

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What is Chai Tea, and Why That Makes No Sense…

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Every Chai lover has a story of when the bug first bit them. For some it’s a mother special comfort tea, or the visits to a happy, rotund auntie. For others, it was born in the buzz of street food vendors, and the sizzling clay cups poured by a chai wallah. For me it is London. London you say? That doesn’t sound very authentic. Where is the street market? Where is the adventurous tourist praying for death, as his stomach tries to wrestle itself away from him in search of a toilet? Nonetheless chai will forever be linked with London for me. Newly married, on honeymoon, walking with a fresh young wife and a steaming cup of chai latte along the overcast edge of the River Thames. It’s a hard memory to beat.

So, what is this magical marvel that has so indelibly imprinted into my memory, pushing aside space reserved for a now spicier spouse? Let’s start with the obvious.

Chai is the Hindi name for tea. Chances are the Hindi speaker taking your order for chai-tea is smiling at you out of sympathy. Not everyone was made to be a Microsoft engineer, she is thinking. Tea-tea is not a thing. Flex your barista muscle by order a masala chai instead. “Masala” being a spice mix.

But scoring that date with her will need a little more street cred. Let’s break down a list of spices you might find in a typical chai masala blend. That way you can soud either like a champ or chump- depending on how tall you are – when you suavely ask if she uses Sri Lankan cinnamon or Casia bark in her chai. Traditional blends are regional and often familial.

Most blends begin with green cardamom. Its perfetly ok to leave it at that, and many versions do so. Other popular spices include ginger, cinnamon, pepper, fennel, cloves, anise seed, star anise, mace, nutmeg, cumin, coriander seed, almonds, saffron, chilli and lemon grass. Some more modern twists include rose petals, orange peels, cacao, vanilla and liquorice root.

The quality of the spice, ratios and selection thereof are the difference between the Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Olivera of chai. Freshness is key, and worth the effort to secure. You can try livening older spices by pan heating them and grinding them before use, but there is only so much gallop you can get from a dead horse. Sourcing and choosing between a wide range of varieties of each of the spices is one of our ongoing challenges. Even when they are in peak freshness, different varieties of and origins of each spice can have a massive impact on the end result.

Let’s not forget the “chai” part of masala chai. Traditional Chai is brewed with a strong black tea, typically an Assam, but green tea is also used in regions such as Kashmir where lighter aromatic marsala blends are favoured. The native Indian tea varietal associated with Assam (Assamica ) is particularly well suited for masala chai, as its robust character and bold colour are not diminished by the addition of spices and milk. It is worth noting that true tea, tea derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, has caffeine. Assamica varietals are known to have higher levels of caffeine than their cousins. Because of its brisk and bold character, Assamica and its hybridized offspring are commonly grown throughout regions outside of India, particularly in Africa. So, when selecting a tea base for your masala chai, you may want to broaden your scope of options. We use one of Malawi’s treasures, the Satemwa tea estate, as the base of our chai concentrate and our loose-leaf versions.

Masala Chai is traditionally brewed in hot milk and served sweet, but has made its way to the west in a number of formats, not the least of which being the spicy chai latte.

Enjoy a perfectly balanced spicy chai with our artisanal chai concentrate. Perfect for professional environments as well as home application. We use premium spices and tea to create a harmonious, full flavoured chai, without the effort. Or you can enjoy the ritual of chai preparation with our loose-leaf chai tea, or our sticky chai tea blends.

Artisanal Chai Concentrate