My Guy Likes Chai
A guide to the best Chai Lattes in Los Angeles.
You would think finding a good chai latte wouldn't be that difficult, right? I mean, almost every coffee shop will have a Chai Latte as an option for non-coffee drinkers. It wasn't until I met my boyfriend, that I realized how hard it was to find a good Chai Latte. Since I had been raised on coffee chains and their boxed chai mixes, my idea of a chai latte was this over sweetened beverage. After having what a real Chai Latte should be, it's hard to go back to the boxed chai mixes, even if it's the only thing available when you're waiting for a flight at 6am.
Without further adieu, here are the 5 best places to get a Chai Latte in Los Angeles, ranked by my Chai Latte expert boyfriend. If there's one that you like that isn't on the list, please leave me a comment and we'd love to check it out.
1. Lamill Coffee - Silver Lake and LAX
My boyfriend fell in love with this place when we were waiting for our flight to Thailand at the International Terminal in LAX. Their teas are handpicked and imported from all over the world. What makes this place number one on his list of "Best Chai in LA" is that their tea blend has the perfect balance of spices. It has pronounced notes of cardamom that he looks for and sweetened just right. Lamill is consistent, the tea is brewed perfectly each time and the quality of their tea is something you can taste.
3. Alfreds Tea Shop - Melrose
An Instagrammers destination. This place will have a line out the door with people dressed in the newest fashion trends, ready to take a photo with their Milk Tea. This is what I love about the Alfred's brand, that even though their popularity could carry them through, their attention to quality and detail will keep them in demand. Their tea blend is high quality with a great blend of spices, very close to Lamill. We learned on this last trip to San Francisco, that the tea that they use is from Tea People, who are the founders of Boba Guys (which is the same tea used at Boba Guys and we LOVE Boba Guys, who will be coming to Culver City this year).
2. Balconi Coffee Company - Sawtelle
This place is the first place I realized what a real Chai Latte should taste like. Ironically, this location is catty corner from a Starbucks that I went to religiously for 3 years while I lived on Sawtelle. When we first started dating, he would often wait for me to come home by hanging out here. Thought this is the only location on this list that does not use few brewed tea, their baristas still craft together the right amount of powder to milk for the perfect Chai Latte. We have not had a bad Chai Latte here yet and know we probably never will.
4. Urth Cafe - Multiple Locations
Find a slow Urth Cafe location. I dare you. You will never find it. There is always a line out the door, 4 baristas with their heads down just cranking out drinks. Urth Cafe's chai latte makes it on this list for the same reasons as the others: brewed tea made with a great blend of spices, hint of cardamom, and the right touch of sweetness. The only reason why it's number 4 on the list is because the consistency can be off due to how busy it is at the time, but when it's right...it's right.
5. Coffee Commissary - Multiple Locations
This post originally had only 4 locations until we went to Coffee Commissary. What he appreciate about Coffee Commissary is that they make their Chai Lattes with brewed tea. Though it still has a good balance of flavors, it's not as spicy as my boyfriend likes it to be. With that being said, it's still a destination we like to visit when we are close by because we know the Chai Latte will be made how a Chai Latte should be.