Special tea time: Top chai spots in Calgary

Chai, the Hindi word for tea, evokes images of steaming cups of tea, steeped in tradition. There are many ways to make a lovely chai, from mixing loose tea and water, to the traditional Indian method that perfectly balances Indian black tea, cinnamon and cloves brewed in hot milk. So, order a mug of this comforting drink and stay a while at any of our favourite places to order chai in Calgary.

Namskar

1
202 16 Ave Ne, Calgary, AB T2E 1J8

An award-winning restaurant and perennial food critic favourite, Namskar has been open for over a decade – an impressive feat in Calgary’s fickle food scene. The quality and presentation of its food, plus excellent customer service, equals a consistently satisfying dining experience. If you’re looking for an authentic Indian masala chai, this is the perfect spot to sip it while diving into a serving of delicious butter chicken.

Rosso Coffee Roasters 8 Ave

2
J-140 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0K6

A little artsy, a little industrial, Rosso Coffee Roasters has three locations and a mobile pop-up to serve you your favourite roasted and brewed beverage. The café’s popular organic vanilla chai blend is richly spiced with cardamom, ginger, pink peppercorns and has a mild, sweet vanilla taste; it’s a gentle introduction to chai for a chai virgin. You can find Rosso coffee beans as well as its chai blend featured on drink menus across the city.

Cafe Koi

3
100-1011 1 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1J2

Café Koi has long been the place to meet friends for a drink, with a unique Asian-fusion lunch or dinner selection and conversation-volume live musical entertainment most evenings. The low lighting and artwork-adorned walls give this restaurant and club a pleasant, intimate feel – perfect for relaxing with a hot drink. For example, you might enjoy a dreamy chai on Bring Your Own Vinyl night, during which aspiring DJs and music junkies spin selections from their vinyl libraries.

Kawa Espresso Bar Ltd

4
101-1333 8 Street SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1M6

A much larger space than you’d expect for a coffee house, Kawa (pronounced Ka'va) serves authentic, organic European coffee, and contemporary European food. The café’s sweet, milky chai is topped with a touch of cinnamon. As it’s licensed to serve alcohol and open late, you can follow your chai with a glass of beer or wine. Kawa is located just north of the intersection of 17th Avenue and Eighth Street Southwest.

DAVIDsTEA

5
326 Aspen Glen Landng SW, Calgary, AB T3H 0N5

If you’d like to master preparing chai at home, it’s crucial to start with high-quality ingredients. The many locations of Davids Tea (including Aspen Glen Landing) offer an excellent tea shopping and sipping experience. Its Pure chai blend features cinnamon and cloves and happens to be fair trade, kosher and organic. If the words “pumpkin spice” attract rather than repel you, try the shop’s pumpkin chai, a sweet black tea spiced with caramel, pumpkin candies, cinnamon and cloves.

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