The rise of Chai

The beautiful beverage that is the Chai Latte has become pretty popular in the UK over the last few years, now commonly found in all chain cafes and most independent cafes I visit. There are various ways to make the Chai latte.  Flavoured Syrup and powder may be added to the latte froth or a tea bag. Additionally, loose tea leafs can be strained into steamed or boiled milk. Following are places I’ve visited who sell it, ranking in descending order the tastiest Chai lattes I’ve tried in Guildford and Woking including brief reviews on independent cafes.

  1. Kalm Kitchen

©Rosie Purrier

Exit the main high street onto Tunsgate to find Kalm Kitchen Cafe, the atmosphere of this place is in its title. A small spot but serene with fresh, homemade food and top quality drinks. The kitchen cater for weddings and events as well as the passing public. Undoubtedly the best coffee art I’ve come across, love heart leaves perfected by the attentive staff. The Chai latte is authentic, soft and subtle in taste and the milk is steamed thin. Once past the frothy top it is like drinking a milky tea. Little cinnamon is sprinkled on so the true chai spice is not detracted from.

Kalm cafe

©Rosie Purrier

2. Santa Fe Coffee Company

Santa Fe – previously known as Cafe Americano has recently changed location in Wolsey Walk, Woking. This destination is highly homely and the menu is good value for money. Known for its delicious bagels the staff take pride in concocting and delivering a wide range of fillings. Many of which are inspired by USA cuisine such as ‘The Reuben’ which contains gherkin, mustard and sliced beef. Pancakes are also served upon request topped with crispy bacon and maple syrup, and special salads with Stilton and strawberries. To find a fresh fruit smoothie in a cafe is always a bonus. The chai latte here is strong, smooth and syrupy with milk steamed to a velvet consistency through out the beverage.

3. Chain Cafes: Starbucks, Pret and Nero


©Rosie Purrier

Reliable consistency that comes with buying from a chain cafe. The milk is steamed thick and the chai taste is especially sweet. Ample cinnamon is added every time and always on every occasion served extra hot.

4. Coffee Culture

coffee culture

©Rosie Purrier

Turn off North Street into Angel Gate to admire more of Guildford’s Tudor architecture and find Coffee Culture. Tables, chairs and umbrellas outside create a continental vibe. Inside – warm and welcoming, the decor is quirky and as busy as the constant custom. A small rubik cube of a room with multicoloured patterned tiles. Here you will find amazing cakes, milkshakes and panini’s; the roasted vegetable and houmous is especially tasty. Service is friendly, fast and efficient. The chai latte is frothy and steamed with a Teapigs tea bag which makes the milk mildly spicy, weak but nice.

coffee culture2

©Rosie Purrier


Shop for your own chai products at speciality markets, T2, Whittards, Bluebird Tea, Teapigs and Clippers.


©Rosie Purrier


©Rosie Purrier


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