Chai: The Way it is Supposed to Be

Olivia HaydenAsia and the Pacific, Team Member Volunteers

chai2My name is Felicia. I am the bakery buyer at the Davie, Florida Whole Foods Market store. I am chai3an avid lover of chai tea, constantly looking for the best blend, even making my own concentrate. In September 2015, I went to India with the Whole Foods Market Team Member Volunteer Program, where I met with amazing suppliers, encountered strong women benefitting from microloans funded by Whole Planet Foundation and played the day away with industrious orphans supported by the Miracle Foundation. One of my favorite experiences was drinking the chai tea (or Indian Tea, as it is sometimes called) which could be found everywhere, and each stall or vendor was slightly different. Every time I could have some, I did. What I really loved was sharing the things that connect us as humans.

You walk up to a tiny shop on the side of the street. There is an open coal fire and a large cauldron of boiling water with various spices and tea leaves simmering away. You pony up your 10 Rupees (the equivalent of maybe 15 cents) and watch as the man in the stall lifts the mixture out of the pot in a large square of cheesecloth. He squeezes the goodness out and adds to boiling milk, serving it to you screaming hot. You love chai, and immediately burn your tongue until you learn the secret. Not only does pouring a little amount into the saucer cool it immediately, it also enhances the flavor as you slurp. Since the tiny cups are not disposable, you sip on the side of the street. Enjoying the day. Enjoying the company. Getting some looks, although none unkind. This is chai the way it should be.