I love a good cup of chai, but in my experience a good cup of chai is really hard to find. Yesterday I unexpectedly stumbled across my best chai ever at a hip coffee shop here in Ubud called Seniman.
Now, I’m not a coffee drinker, so I hadn’t stopped by Seniman for the coffee. No, I had actually stopped by for their porridge! Yes, they do a great big bowl of steaming hot porridge with coconut milk and strawberries, and given that my tonsils are the size of golf balls at the moment I had made a bee line for their filling, nutritious, ‘soft’ porridge. To go with my porridge I ordered a chai.
So what makes a good chai? Spiciness. I love my chai to be ultra spicy and strong, a warming mix of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, anise, black peppercorns and strong black tea. My quest for a good cup of chai has identified three categories: 1. chai made with a flavoured sickly sweet syrup 2. chai made with ‘real’ tea that is bland and flavourless 3. a rare cuppa that has a real spicy kick and depth of flavour.
Seniman served me a category 3. cuppa, woohoo! I was surprised when my chai arrived milky, chai latte style (my tea has always been served black here in Bali, milk isn’t easy to keep in this heat). It was served in a glass which was too hot to pick up, so I let it cool while I ate my porridge. Then I took a sip, and did a double take, my chai was really strong, almost overpowering, so much flavour, amazing! Looking at the bottom of my cup it seemed as if the tea had been ground up into a powder, perhaps this is the secret to getting a really spicy kick?
Seniman is a coffee house, they grind their own beans and you can buy their coffee to take home and make your own. They are so into coffee that they run coffee workshops and offer barrista training courses. As I’ve discovered they make great tea as well! I asked if they had their chai tea to take away but they don’t package it apparently. I think I’m going to go back and make a special request!
Recommendation: Head to the very stylish Seniman Coffee Studio if you love coffee, or chai. They do some great juices too.