What is your go-to café drink? I’m not a coffee drinker, but I have recently come to love chai tea lattes. Actually, chai tea lattes are the only beverages that I have ordered from cafés these past few weeks…. This fact has encouraged me to do a little compare and contrast of the chai tea options around Boston.
Peet’s Coffee and Starbucks
Starbucks is the gateway café for many and was my first caffeine supplier. Starbucks is the baseline to which I compare all other caffeinated beverages. Overall, I find Starbucks lattes to be too sugary. One summer when I was based in California, I had a phase where I would go to Peet’s Coffee daily. It was then that I realized that lattes did not need to be the sugar bombs that were served at Starbucks. I looked it up, and learned that a 12 oz serving of Peet’s chai tea latte has 28 grams of sugar while Starbucks has a whooping 42 grams! When I spoke to a woman working behind the counter at Starbucks, she informed me that the latte blends include added sugar.
Price (all prices are estimates and include tax): 12oz latte at Starbucks ~$4.60
While Union Square in Somerville is not known for its café culture, Bloc café is an oasis in this otherwise caffeine dry desert. The chai tea lattes at Bloc taste milkier than its contemporaries, which also makes the taste less sweet. While the consistency of the liquid is similar to that of Starbucks, the taste seems a bit more ‘elegant,’ perhaps, because it does not have a strong sugar taste.
Price: 12oz latte at Bloc ~$4.65
L.A. Burdick is a small upscale, New England chain of chocolate shops that sells splendid dark, milk, and white assortments as well as pastries and crafted drinks. On my visit to the Harvard Square location, I ordered a small chai latte. Perhaps I was primed by the deluxe surroundings, or maybe I was particularly thirsty that day, but I found this latte to be really, very, very good. One thing that stood out to me about this chai latte was the temperature. Normally, lattes are served at slightly cooler temperatures. A just-warm-enough drink prompts me to consume quickly so I may enjoy the beverage while it is at its peak. However, the L.A. Burdick chai tea latte seemed hotter than any other latte I’ve tried and also tasted richer than its rivals. This latte also had a nice, sweet taste, which is likely due to the fact that it is sweetened with honey instead of sugar. Worth the price!
Price: Small latte at L.A. Burdick ~$5.30
Revival Cafe and Kitchen
The chai lattes at Revival cafe stand out to me for their spice. While all chai beverages have a strong cinnamon taste, the latte at Revival has a certain spiciness that is only gained with a mix of ingredients. Although this drink is by no means ‘hot’ spicy, it certainly leaves a tinge on one’s tongue that signals the spice content. After the spice, the second most prominent taste is the milk, which feels silky and smooth on the tongue. If you’ve only ever had Starbucks lattes, this one is definitely worth a taste for the sake of comparison.
Price: 12oz chai latte at Revival ~$4.21
This list is far from exhaustive and has only taught me that I spend too much money at cafes. I know that I left out quite a few places that I enjoy just because I did not have latte pictures or strong memories of the drinks… for this reason I will dedicate a future post to Boston-area café spots. Perhaps, seeing all of these fine drinks will inspire you to order one of your own (if only to disagree with all of my opinions 😉 ). Either way, happy sipping!