Where to find crave-worthy chai flavours in Vancouver

If you love chai tea, then you may also adore chai flavoured chocolate, lattes or desserts. In Vancouver, there’s plenty of chai to go around, and I've scoured the city to come up with seven establishments that use the spice in various ways: from hot brewed tea to gourmet chai-infused chocolate bars to simple spices for cooking.[Photo credit: iStock.com/hannahmillerick]

East is East

1
4433 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3R2

You can’t go wrong with a strong cup of chai from Main Street’s venerable East is East restaurant. The popular Mount Pleasant spot, which has served the drink for more years than most on the block can count, boasts chai so delicious that staff often offer free samples to passersby in what’s surely a successful method for attracting new clientele. Two traditional varieties are available – black Darjeeling and green masala chai – as well as a rooibos, apple ginger and chocolate chai with real organic cocoa. Make any of these into a chai latte – and add almond milk for an extra boost of nutty flavour.

Eternal Abundance

2
1025 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3X1

Eternal Abundance stocks a range of packaged organic teas, many of them chai, and many of them good. However, I suggest you go here for their impressive selection of organic spices, keeping your eyes peeled for those that make up everyone’s favourite chai. Much loved is the fennel chai masala made by local chefs at Trudy Anne’s Chai. The colourful, burnt-orange spice can be brewed into tea, of course, but it’s also a kitchen staple, adding a creative twist to any cookie, muffin, curry, oatmeal or granola recipe. Yum!

Mink Chocolates

3
863 Hastings St W, Vancouver, BC V6C 3N9

At Mink Chocolates’ original downtown location, you can enjoy a bite and a drink on their beautiful, luxurious patio facing Canada Place – or, you can head straight inside, walk right up to the counter, and ask for the famous chai chocolate bar. Beautifully wrapped in Mink’s trademark, stylish packaging, the handmade bar contains traditional chai spices, of course, but also dark chocolate ganache in a beautiful marriage of spice and sweetness.

The Union

4
219 Union St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2B2

This Chinatown hotspot is known for its trendy pan-Asian dishes – and even trendier drinks list – but no so much for its desert. On your next trip, consider ordering one less craft beer, saving room for the scrumptious chai chocolate pot, an out-of-this-world combination of chai spices and chocolate scooped with a spoon – think of it like a soup, but all gooey chocolate and sweet spicy chai, and none of that healthy vegetable stuff!

Aphrodite's Organic Cafe & Pie Shop

5
3605 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6R 1P2

Any pie at this vibrant, Kitsilano café is bound to delight all the senses. Bakers here use strictly organic stoneground flour, evaporated cane sugar, fresh fruits and other natural ingredients to create seasonal pies such as pecan, cherry, blueberry and pumpkin – not to mention chocolate banana and raspberry cream. And the best part? You can enjoy any slice with a chai latte for just $10.25 – now that’s a match made in heaven. The hardest part will be choosing which one you’ll sink your teeth into!

Granville Island Tea Co

6
38-1689 Johnston St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9

Located in the heart of beautiful Granville Island, this well-loved tea company stocks a vast selection of loose-leafed teas in their floor-to-ceiling cubbyholes. For chai lovers, take your pick between Bangalore Rose Chai (a special in-house chai mix), Siliguri Chai Blend (a spicy black variety), the popular white chocolate chai and more, depending on the season. All teas are guaranteed fresh (owners happily toss teas that don’t sell regularly) so you know you’ll have a lovely cup waiting whenever you get home.

Vij's

7
3106 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2W2

Most people lined up around the block at Vij’s every night of the week are waiting for chef Vikram Vij’s inventive and highly sought-after Indian curries, naan and other treats. But that doesn’t mean the chef’s signature chai tea is any less appreciated. Made with traditional spices and brewed to perfection, cups of chai here are among the best in the city. And as soon as you sit down – whether at the bar or in one of many cozy tables – a friendly server will bring enough for the group, offering free refills for as long as your hearts desire.

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