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Chalait Cafe News

@chalaitnyc goes to Japan

This week @chalaitnyc was lucky enough to be able to visit Japan for a few days to meet with our suppliers in Uji, Kyoto. There we hope to visit the tea farms where all our tea leaves are being sourced and harvested as well as the factory in which the tea leaves are steamed, roasted and ground down to make he final product: matcha green tea powder.Matcha plantation in Kyoto

Matcha plantation in Kyoto

It's a great opportunity for us to further explore the region and get to know the local farmers who are growing these wonderful teas.  Not only do we hope to sample some great matcha tea but hopefully learn a lot about the local people and culture and what this tea represents to both of them.

During the trip, we will also have a short stop over in Tokyo and we intend to take full advantage of our time there to explore a few of the increasing number of independent coffee shops that are helping to build Tokyo's reputation for quality coffee. These coffee shops represent the latest trend in improving quality and craftsmanship. Not only do they brew some excellent coffee, they also do it in some very unique and refreshing settings.

Stay tuned for plenty of updates, posts and photos of the trip.Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo.

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo.

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Breaking Ground - Latest developments at Chalait NYC

It's all happening very fast right now. It seems so long ago that we tasted our first cup of matcha green tea in Kyoto and now here we are just weeks away from opening our very own store. Construction is in full swing at our West Village location and everyday brings us closer to achieving that dream.

Michelle discussing the construction with our contractor.Busy making phone calls and getting things sorted

Busy making phone calls and getting things sorted

We have been working closely with our architects and contractors and are very happy with how the store is progressing. So far  only the basic framework has been laid down but we're really starting to see the store take shape and get a better vision of how its going to look. Michelle has been getting in plenty of practice with the steam wand.

Michelle has been getting in plenty of practice with the steam wand.

As well as working hard on the bricks and mortar side of our store, we have also been busy tweaking our drinks and food menus making sure that our recipes and techniques are all fine tuned and ready to go.

In the photo on the left you can see Michelle busy practicing her milk steaming technique so that she can perfect our signature matcha latte. 

You can judge the results for yourself in the gallery below!!

We're are excited to be finally able to share our vision with our friends, family and future customers. Stay tuned for more pictures and updates as construction progresses.

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Coming soon...

Today is a very exciting day for Chalait. After months of planning and applying for permits, we are finally breaking ground for our cafe in the West Village! Stay tuned for updates on the opening. 

In the meantime, check out our line of ceremonial grade Everyday Matcha and Top Grade Matcha now available on our online shop. Our Everyday Matcha is the perfect go to for those new to matcha and looking to start exploring its great tastes and numerous benefits. The Top Grade Matcha is perfect for special occasions or for matcha connoisseurs who want to treat themselves to the delightful flavor profile of a premium ceremonial grade matcha. 

Our matcha is cultivated and produced in the lush green pastures of Uji in the Kyoto prefecture and is harvested during the first tea harvest of the year guaranteeing a higher quality. We wish to share the best matcha from Japan with our customers and hope you will try what we have to offer and taste the difference for yourself!

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Matcha Utensils

A while back we introduced the essential utensils for preparing matcha the traditional way, and today we are going to explore the tools necessary to make European style beverages using matcha. Before we get started, I just want to share a little story on how the name Chalait came about. 

A few people have asked about the name Chalait (pronounced like "chalet") and what it means. The truth is that it's a somewhat whimsical little name that my fiancé and I came up with when we first started thinking about the concept. Our concept came about back when we tasted matcha on a trip to Japan and thought it was a beautiful drink. We wanted to present it in a westernized setting and it was going to be the sole focus of our concept. To that end we played around with various iterations and combinations of tea/milk/health etc. in various languages and eventually came across the combination of Cha (tea in Japanese) and Lait (milk in French). Being avid snowboarders this combination instantly caught our attention as the name reminded us of a ski chalet where we've spent many snowy weekends together. And just like that, the name Chalait was born!

Matcha latte is very easy to make, all you need to do is add steamed milk to the already made matcha tea. Here's the recipe we are going to follow: matcha latte. The essential utensils are required for preparing the shot of matcha for our latte. For the hot steamed milk, you could heat up the milk in the microwave or over the stove top. If you have an espresso machine with a steam wand, this would be ideal to use for making nice and frothy steamed milk. 

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Another inexpensive tool that I like to use for frothing milk is the Aerolatte Milk Frother. It operates on two AA batteries to quickly froth milk, and does not rely on steam. It's small size makes it highly portable and easy to store, and is especially great for frothing individual cups.

Speaking of milk, we have many options to choose from: almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, cow's milk, goat's milk... They all bring different nutritional values and flavor profiles to the latte. You can choose any milk based on dietary needs and/or taste preference. I recently participated in a cow's milk tasting and here are some whole milk winners for me: Battenkill Valley Creamery from upstate New York and Organic Valley if you prefer organic.  

Next time instead of your morning cup of coffee, wake up with a matcha latte and set yourself up for a great start to your day!

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