It’s been an exciting 2 years since we opened up our first cart at 545 Market St. The support we got from our early customers confirmed my belief that SF really needed good chai! Since then I have opened up 2 other carts downtown, at 298 Market St and 480 California St. Nothing makes me happier than to see customers, like you, return on a regular basis to get chai. I hope the love, passion and pride with which we make our chai every day comes through in every cup.
When I was first started The Chai Cart in 2010, I started with two simple flavors, ginger and cardamom. Ginger chai was simple to make as I grew up drinking it, and it was the first thing I learned how to make in the kitchen from my mom. Cardamom is another very common spice used for chai.
If variety is the spice of life, then our Masala chai definitely gives it all its zest. Our signature Masala spice blend has an array of tastes, ranging from the floral, sweet and aromatic notes from cardamom to the licorice taste of the fennel and the spicy, woody tones from dried ginger and black peppercorns. Not only do these spices provide an abundance of flavor, they’re brimming with powerful antioxidants and various healing properties.
Here are a few facts I dug up on some of the spices we use in our Masala chai.
We brew our chai with either organic whole milk and organic soy milk (for customers who do not drink/eat diary). Almost everyday, we get a customer requesting chai with non-fat milk or 2% milk. As much as we would like to give customers exactly what they want, we cannot. Mainly b'coz we don't make chai on-site; all our chai is brewed at a commercial kitchen in the Mission and we transport it to the chai carts downtown in insulated containers that keep it hot for several hours.
As a sponsor of this year’s Center for Asian American Media’s film festival, The Chai Cart made an appearance at the Asian Art Museum for the Opening Night Gala, Thursday last week, which means I got to tag along and not only serve chai to and chat with hundreds of fellow San Franciscans, but I also had time to explore the museum and experience this exciting, sold out event.
Every day we get tons of questions from customers about chai, how we run our business, how we got started, etc. So I’ve decided to answer some of those frequently asked questions in this post.
1. Where do you make the chai?
We brew fresh chai once in the morning and once in the afternoon at a shared commercial kitchen in the Mission. This means waking up early to bring you the freshest and best artisan chai that San Francisco has to offer.
2. Is your chai already sweetened?
Welcome to the revival of The Chai Cart’s blog! This is Homaira and I will be writing the blog for Paawan. Here, we’ll keep you updated on events, pictures, answers to your questions, instructional videos, and basically anything we think is cool. That’s a pretty persuasive argument to keep reading, right?
So much has happened since my last blog post. The biggest & most exciting news has been getting the permit for the cart. Finally The Chai Cart® (the company) has a fully permitted chai cart. We operate the cart seven days a week, and only take a break when it’s raining. The two chaiwallas I’ve hired, Will and Dennis, manage the cart so I get to do other stuff , like write this blog.
A couple weeks back, I got a call from a marketing manager of En Point Technologies- a tech company based in Southern California. They had heard about The Chai Cart and asked if they could sponsor my cart at an event.