Real Chai and a giveaway!

Here’s another one of our favourites from the Capital Region Farmers Markets. Soy is the kind of person who wakes up in the morning and can function immediately, as if she has an ‘On’ button. I, on the other hand, take a while before I am fully functional. Imagine weekend mornings, though- Soy is up and bounding about, impatiently waiting for me to leave the warmth and comfort of my doona at what to me, is an ungodly hour for a weekend, so she can go to the markets. Don’t get me wrong, I love the markets- it’s always busy and once I get there I am always captivated by new finds. It’s the inertia when leaving my warm bed and getting out into the cold that’s the problem. Whenever I’m in that semi-conscious limbo of begging for 5 more minutes or dragging myself out of bed, what actually gets me out is the promise of a steaming cup of spicy, warming chai…. Mmmm….

Unless you live in a hole, you must have noticed the chai craze that has hit Australia. The word ‘chai’ means tea in a number of languages, and has become synonymous with a particular spiced milky tea- usually with ginger, cardamom and masala spices.  Nearly every coffee joint offers a “chai latte” nowadays, and you can even get instant “chai”. Ok, so I am being a snob and putting inverted commas on those versions of chai, because to me, flavourings, powders and syrups are not real chai. After trying a couple of “chais” to see what all the fuss was about, I must say I really didn’t like it. The chais I had were cloyingly sweet and just tasted like heated milk with fake syrup. So when P and A told us about the chai they found at the markets early last year, I was definitely sceptical. But they gave us some of the chai they bought and I was really blown away by the aroma of the tea leaves and spices. I brewed the chai according to the instructions and… I loved it! Just to be sure, the next time I saw the Real Chai stall at the markets, I had to buy a cup of chai to know what it was really meant to taste like. And it was delicate yet flavourful, with just the right balance of spice without it being overpowering.

What was even better, was knowing that Real Chai is Canberra-born! It’s the brainchild of Anthea Cahill, who I had the pleasure of chatting with recently. Anthea told me that she discovered chai tea when she was travelling in the Czech republic. She was amazed… she hadn’t tasted anything like it before, and learnt how to make it. When she was back in Canberra in her public service job, she would make chai for her colleagues at work (like a real chaiwallah!), and played around with different blends until she perfected her very own chai recipe. Anthea said that she knew from the time she fell in love with chai when she was overseas, she wanted to make chai her job. And she finally did, in 2008, leaving her job and pursuing her passion for chai full-time. Remember when I said that I initially didn’t like chai? That’s cos that was the fake stuff! Anthea’s name for her chai, Real Chai, came about because when people expressed their surprise at actually liking her tea after having some other chai imposters, she would say, “Well, that’s because this is real chai!” Anthea also notices something funny- our website name- honey and soy- are essential ingredients in making chai! See, we’re meant to be :)

Anthea and her small team mix and package all their blends themselves, locally. And Anthea is always working on new flavours. Soy and I actually saw Real Chai stocked at a health food store at the Gold Coast when we were there last year, and we were really excited to see a local business going places. The Real Chai stall at the markets is usually my first stop every week, and I usually buy my cup of chai, bleary-eyed, from Jem, who this week asks if I want to try the chocolate chai. I actually wonder how that will taste, because I just cannot imagine chocolate and chai. I think that the chocolate would overpower the delicacy of the spices, but no, it is really good. The delicate spice flavour is still there, but the light hint of chocolate gives a full roundness to the aftertaste. It’s so good that I have a full cup of it that morning. There are very few things that Soy doesn’t eat. So when she dislikes something, she really doesn’t like it, and cardamom is one of those things. So unfortunately for her, she can’t drink more than a sip of chai. But fortunately for me, I don’t have to share!

Real Chai is the only chai that I will drink now. But don’t just take my word for it, you can brew it at home and try it for yourself, because we have 20 Real Chai samples to give away! And Anthea has graciously offered to post them anywhere around the world so everyone can participate!

All you have to do is leave a comment below and answer this question, “What is it that you like about chai?” and if you haven’t tried it before, “What makes you want to try Real Chai?” The competition will close at midnight AEST 18th August 2010.

Remember to retweet this post so that all your friends can have a chance to win as well.

Thank you to the lovely Anthea and her team at Real Chai.

Real Chai

You can find Real Chai at a number of markets in Canberra, a number of stockists around Australia, or buy at their online store. Real Chai ships internationally.

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  • meeyeehere

    I so much love chai,I love that spiced taste and that it is not coffee. I am not supposed to drink coffee but Chai really gives me that same kick without being coffee. I drink it all year but I have never tried Real Chai beofre so I would love to try it.

  • Hannah

    I tried this Real Chai at those markets jsut the other week – I lvoed it, and the fact that even the samples were made with soymilk :) What I love about Chai is its warming spices, which make it seem so much more comforting that normal tea. I've only had a sample of this particular kind so far, so I really want to try MORE of it so that I can convince my strict-english-breakfast-only friends to branch out ;)

  • honeyandsoy

    Thanks for your comment, meeyeehere! Chai is really a great alternative to coffee, isn't it? And Real Chai is my absolute fave so it's great that you get a chance to try it.

  • honeyandsoy

    Hi Hannah! Have you tried the chocolate chai? I'm a convert all over again. And it didn't take many little samples for me to upgrade to a full cup each week ;)

  • Michelle Chin

    I must live in a hole ( BUT I do know that all my friends are drinking this soy chai latte). I can tell you, I never tried chai before! *GASP*

  • honeyandsoy

    Well, Michelle, then you must try this one. Chai latte=fail. That's my opinion, anyway!

  • Michelle Chin

    Ooh, that's something new. :)

  • InTolerant Chef

    I love that Chai isn't coffee! We used to do a powdered chai latte at the last cafe I worked in, and it was so hideous that the barista refused to open the packet and the waitresses had to make them for customers. I'd love to try the real deal.

  • honeyandsoy

    I think that's a brilliant reason for trying Real Chai!

  • Celeste @ Berrytravels

    Oh oh oh! I adore Chai, and you are right! A lot of the 'chai' out there is so super fake! I must try this Real Chai… Mm. I wonder if they sell them here in Melb.

    What I love about Chai is the amazing aroma and the fragrance that comes with it. It is so beautiful and refreshing to drink at the same time. Love love love!

    As for wanting to try this Real Chai, a passion to drink and an obsession to try the very best, that's why I want to try it!

  • honeyandsoy

    Celeste, I truly share your sentiments about the aroma of chai.. yet it tastes so delicate. I also share your obsession for the best (hmm sounds like our country of birth, huh?) and Real Chai definitely is it, for me.

    I looked up Melb stockists on the Real Chai website – Melbourne
    Pickadeli, South Melbourne or you can buy direct from the online shop.

  • Anna Johnston

    I really didn't think I liked Chai (for all the reasons below) but on your suggestions I tried Real Chai this morning at the markets (small world) and love, love, loved it….., Wow and to think I've been turning my nose up at it for ages when it never was the Real Chai at all :)

  • honeyandsoy

    Oh Anna, you have made me so happy! I feel so vindicated that you know what I am going ON about. Unfortunately Soy can't share my convictions cos she doesn't like cardamom. But it makes me so excited when another person shares my sentiments!

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  • Andreea

    I'm a tea freak, I love all things tea, however surprisingly I have never really liked the chai out there you get at cafes. A friend made me try Real Chai, and it's the best and most authentic chai I have tasted..hence I a FAN :-)

  • Isobel

    What's not to like about chai? Its aroma, its flavour, the way it can warm you up when you're feeling cold or cool you down if you have chilled chai on a hot day, the way it relaxes your body and your mind while simultaneously invigorating your soul and stimulating your taste buds… Chai rocks!

  • honeyandsoy

    Andreea, I'm glad we are finding more and more people who are discovering and liking chai once we have tasted what it really is meant to taste like! :)

  • honeyandsoy

    Well said, Isobel! I must admit, I haven't tried chilled chai yet… it will be on the agenda this summer!

  • Aisha

    Every time I run into a cafe (we're talking your standard run-of-the-mill starbucks), I order one thing and one thing only; Chai. I call it milk tea with a spice kick! I love how its so refreshing and packs a big punch with its rich flavor and umm delicious aroma!

    But now, I hear that maybe I've been drinking bad chai all along?!

    Please put me out of my misery, and let me try the good stuff. The REAL Chai. Educate my tastebuds! :P

  • Judy

    i must admit i've never tried chai before, but i really love my teas (not really a coffee person). after your review of real chai i'd really like to give it a go soon =)

  • Anna Johnston

    Awwhhh thanks, I know what you mean. You've converted me.

  • honeyandsoy

    Ahhhh! We definitely need to “educate your tastebuds”! Haha… :) No more commercial chai!

  • honeyandsoy

    Judy, if you like tea, and you like spices, I would definitely recommend giving chai a go. You can never have enough variety of tea, I think!

  • Iron Chef Shellie

    I haven’t tried Real Chai but I’m totally in love with chai. I love the cinnamon in chai. And the warm comforting hug chai gives me on cold winter days :P

  • honeyandsoy

    Fiona, have you made your own chai! Wow.. it would be good to see if it tastes similar to RealChai. And I looove soy and honey (haha as apparent from our title) so I’ve never tried chai black.

  • honeyandsoy

    Mmmmmm me too!!! Cinnamon… yummm…. I even used to sprinkle cinnamon powder on my iced coffee!

  • Fiona

    chai: warming, rich and spicy. A perfect drink for anytime of the day : )

    I've made my own for years and I'd love to try RealChai as I love different chai mixes for a bit of variety.

    Not a fan of chai with milk or honey so havent tried RealChai yet. I'd love a sample pack!