I’m a chai fangirl: there is just something so soothing about this classic Indian beverage. Maybe it’s because it involves milky tea which I love; or maybe it’s the combination of spices in each teashop’s chai masala that does the trick. Maybe it’s both, but regardless thereof, chai is one of my favourite drinks but it is so hard to come by in this part of the world.
Many coffee bar chains have it – CBTL’s version is deliciously reminiscent of spice cake batter – but most versions are best when served hot. Until recently, I had yet to taste a decent iced version of chai. Well, at least until I ordered the one at Sweetea’s.
Sweetea’s by da.u.de is the brainchild of Filipina tea master Renee Sebastian. The governing impetus behind the original teashop and its food hall spin-off involves educating local palates that there is more to tea than the dinky wee bags sold in supermarkets and grocery stores. Sweetea’s, in particular, offers a delicious range of iced teas at fairly reasonable prices – a touch higher than more commercial franchises, but definitely of a higher calibre and exceptional quality.
Sweetea’s streetside masala chai (Php 190.00 for regular; Php 220.00 for large) is my go-to drink. Made with da.u.de’s Icy Spicy herb-and-spice tea blend, it makes for a very compelling sipper. You get a nostril-tickling hint of black pepper that is absent from many commercial chai blends and one that puts this version on the proper side of authentic. There is also a faintly floral-fruity hint of orange zest, but this one tastes properly of cardamom (green and black) which gives it a very pleasant spicy-nutty flavour. Blended with the proper proportions of milk and brewed tea and not too sweet, this tea holds perfectly well as the melting ice does little to dilute its lovely flavour. Definitely something I’d order again.
Sweetea’s by da.u.de: The Food Hall @ SM Megamall Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, EDSA, Mandaluyong