For those that know me, its no secret that I’m in love with chai lattes. I find them so comforting and warming, particularly in the artic conditions of Melbourne’s winter (which are thankfully now over). I love the whole ritual of stirring the cinnamon into the creamy froth and then straining the piping hot milk from the little pot filled with spices. If you can get two cups out of it, even better!
I love a weekend brekky and the café culture of Melbourne. But my decision to go to a café is generally dictated by 1. If they have almond or coconut chai’s (I don’t drink soy, but that’s another post) and 2. If it’s any good!
So how did this obsession come about? Well, I once was a latte lover. Just one a day, but it was my little treat and something I looked forward to on a daily basis. After suffering terrible digestive issues and a gut infection, it meant no coffee or dairy for 6 weeks. It wasn’t really a choice to stop drinking coffee, it was a necessity. It turns out though, I felt so much better without dairy or caffeine! No tummy upsets, no jitters, no racing heart or edgy feeling. I felt calm, alert and just..stable without coffee.
I’ve always loved the social aspect of coffee though. Enter the chai latte! Although there is still some caffeine from the black Ceylone tea leaves, it doesn’t give me any of the effects that coffee used to. Until I’m ready to give coffee a crack again, I’m happy to work my way around the Chai havens in Melbourne. Here are my faves. You will notice they are mostly in the Elwood/St Kilda vicinity, as I don’t travel far for my chai’s. I’m so spoilt for choice with a number of places in my area that are just a walk or bike ride away. All chai’s listed are made with fresh, wet chai blends – no powdered rubbish here!
1. Miss Alex & Co., Elwood – Almond Milk Chai (made with Almond Milk Co.)
My all time favourite. It comes on a wooden board with a hot pot of chai and a jar of honey so you can add as much or as little as you like. Using Almond Milk Co. almond milk, Lina makes the best chai I’ve ever had. All the staff are ace too.
2. Garage Espresso, St Kilda - Coconut Milk Chai (made with Pure Harvest Organic Coco Quench)
They also offer homemade almond milk but the coconut ones are the way to go here. For some reason I like to get this one in a take away cup. Strange I know.
3. Little Sunflower Café , Elwood - Almond Milk Chai (made with Almond Milk Co.)
Finally, a decent cafe on Ormond Road! Little Sunflower is an absolute winner, providing organic, seasonal and nutrient dense food with loads of gluten and dairy free options. It has a really nice relaxed ambiance, with a whole wall covered in a hanging garden. Their chai comes in a huge yellow mug with the creamiest froth I've ever tasted. .
4. Fitzrovia, St Kilda - Almond Milk Chai (made with Almond Milk Co.)
Also using Almond Milk Co almond milk, this chai is the perfect balance of spices and sweetness. A great place to grab the lappy, find a quiet corner and tap away.
5. Next of Kin, Elsternwick – Almond Milk Chai
This little gem in has a lovely relaxed vibe and offer up a perfect chai. They serve their chai my favourite way, in a silver pot with strainer and cup. The food is absolutely delicious here too with lots of different but healthy options.