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The chai lover’s guide to Canberra

Belinda Neame and Laura Peppas

It’s hard to believe, we know – but some people don’t drink coffee.

What’s the alternative other than hot chocolate? Chai tea! But we’re not talking chai lattes or powdered drinks – we’re talking the real stuff, infused in milk in a traditional pot. With Canberra’s cold and rainy days upon us, chai lovers Belinda Neame and Laura Peppas set out across town to round up some of their favourite spots.

Nookie Espresso Bar

Summary: This chai is one of Belinda’s favourites – it’s creamy and has a perfect balance of spice. Nookie serve a beautiful Prana Chai, freshly infused with honey that is hand blended in Melbourne. It comes in cups only – large or small.

Price: Starts at $4.00

Where:Shop 1/122 Alinga Street, Canberra City.

Web: facebook.com/Nookinthecity

Two Before Ten

Two Before Ten

Two Before Ten

Summary: You can choose to have this chai infused with milk or just in hot water with milk on the side. A little bit more earthy and not as sweet, it has beautiful hints of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Price: Starts at $4.50 for a pot

Where: 68 Bandjalong Cres, Aranda

Web: twobeforeten.com.au

Monster Kitchen and Bar

Summary: If you opt to settle in a corner by the fire for your chai here, you’re in for a treat – they are served in delightful oriental cast-iron pots with matching mugs. We’ve found Monster’s chai to be on the stronger side so if you like your drink with a kick, this is the place for you.

Price: Starts at $5.00 for a pot

Where: 25 Edinburgh Avenue, NewActon

Web: monsterkitchen.com.au

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Sweet Bones

Sweet Bones

Summary: This chai is made on soy milk and the smell hits you as soon as it arrives at the table. Sweet, creamy and full of spice, it’s not overly strong and goes down beautifully with one of Sweet Bones’ vegan cupcakes.

Price: $5.00 for a pot

Where: Shop 8/18 Lonsdale Street, Braddon (entrance via Elouera Street)

Web: sweetbonescompany.com/

A-Baker

Summary: Laura’s daily chai of choice, A.Baker has artfully mastered the perfect blend of spices without being overly strong – and if you’re not a coffee drinker, it definitely perks you up in the morning! A little cup of goodness.

Price: $4.50

Where: 15 Edinburgh Avenue, NewActon

Web: abaker.com.au

Real chai44

Real Chai

Real Chai

Summary: We love Real Chai mainly because you can buy a cup of this beautiful infused chai on soy milk at the markets and then purchase a tin to make it at home whenever you have a craving. The chocolate chai blend is a favourite, especially in winter when all you want is comfort! And it’s now available in Organic Chai Latte form!

Price: Starts at $4.00

Where: Sundays at Old Bus Depot Markets, Kingston

Web: realchai.com.au

Ivy & The Fox

Summary: Served in large Tiffany-blue mugs and made extra frothy, Ivy & the Fox’s chai isn’t as strong as the others but that doesn’t make it any less delicious – in fact, it’s the perfect comfort drink and is consumed quick as a flash. If you don’t like your chai too spicy, this is a top pick.

Price: $4.50

Where: Old Canberra House, Lennox Crossing, Acton

Web: ivyandthefox.com

Mocan & Green Grout

Summary: You can often smell the chai wafting through the air before you actually get to this NewActon café – that’s because they make their chai extra spicy, so be prepared! This cup is bound to please those after something strong and earthy.

Price: $4.50

Where: 19 Marcus Clarke Street, NewActon

Web: mocanandgreengrout.com

And then there’s…

Here are a selection of places nominated by our readers as serving top notch chai!

Southside

Penny University || 15 Kennedy Street, Kingston

Stand By Me Café || 1 Lyons Place, Lyons

38 Espresso || 4/2 Trevillian Quay, Kingston Foreshore

Local Press Café || 81 Giles Street, Kingston Foreshore

Beess & Co || 5/29 Bentham Street, Yarralumla

4th seed || 227 Crawford Street, Queanbeyan

Urban Pantry || 5 Bouganville Street, Manuka

DOUBLESHOT || 7 Hopetoun Circuit, Deakin

ONA Manuka || The Lawns, Palmerston Lane, Manuka

Farmers Daughter || 27 Bentham Street, Yarralumla

Northside

Ricardo’s Café & Patisserie || Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street, Macquarie

The Knox Made in Watson || Shop 1, 13 Watson Place, Watson

The Front Gallery & Café || 1 Wattle Place, Lyneham

My Rainbow Dreams || Shop G1, Dickson Chambers, Dickson Place, Dickson

As Nature Intended || 40A Lathlain Street, Belconnen

Thumper and Miss Bunny Specialty Coffee || 11 O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls

G Tree Café || BigW Building, Gungahlin Market Place, 26/30 Hibberson St, Gungahlin

City-ish

Barrio Coffee Collective || 59/30 Lonsdale Street, Braddon

The Cupping Room || 13 University Avenue, Canberra City

Got any more chai recommendations? Hit us up in the comments!

Photography: Tim Bean

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Belinda Neame

Belinda is HerCanberra's Production Manager. A foodie and lover of handmade, Belinda enjoys nothing more than a good coffee and seeing Canberra businesses thrive. In her 'spare time', Belinda organises the quarterly Canberra street food event, The Forage with her husband Tim. More about the Author

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Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author

  • Caroline Le Couteur

    My Rainbow Dream in Dickson has the best chai in Canberra and a pot is super good value

  • Karina

    A lot of places don’t seem to be able to do decaf chai latte — I’ve been told it’s either the decaf or the chai, but not both. 🙁

  • Jaz

    The Cupping Room on London Circuit also do a soy infused chai, served in a cute metal teapot. Not too spicy, perfect for the cold weather!

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