foodie: the Green Bean
12oz. Chai Latte. $2.75
The Green Bean 341 S. Elm St.
The Green Bean bustles with activity. Two baristas deftly move back and forth across the L-shaped bar. It’s crowded. Monday night trivia announcements echo on the high walls. By 8 p.m. the place is packed with tables full of hunched players contemplating answers. Monday night is popular because of the half-priced beer as well. But I am here for the chai.
Chai is a strong black tea, brewed with spices, milk and sugar. The milk is steamed from an espresso machine, creating frothy, creamy goodness I cannot replicate at home. The cinnamon added at the finish gives the drink a strong flavor without being overwhelming. I can drink an entire hot cup in just a few minutes. With a good amount of caffeine, chai is a great pick-me-up without the intensity of coffee. A fair amount of sweetness and bitter black tea flavor is all mixed in — as if the chai latte is a grown-up milkshake.
Originating from India, chai goes well with spicy Asian food or just by itself. The word chai means “black tea” in Hindi, with no consistent formula for the Western version. The spiced chai latte I enjoy is a variation of masala chai. And I can’t recommend a taster version than the chai latte at the Green Bean.
— Devender Sellars