It is a cool February morning, and you have just gathered the strength to peel yourself from your warm bed. You knew that binge watching “Friends” until 3 a.m. was not a good idea, and now you are feeling the consequences of sleep deprivation. You could re-energize with a cup of coffee or an energy drink, but they both leave you shaky, restless and unsatisfied. That is when you remember tea. Not just any tea, chai tea.
If you are like me and addicted to warmth and the spice of a good chai latte, you frequent local coffee shops in search for the perfect cup. You have tried to brew your own but just cannot do it like the pros. So I took to the streets of Fort Collins this week to find the best chai latte in town. It would take a superhuman to visit the dozens of unique coffee shops scattered throughout town, so I picked three of the most popular and got to work.
- Mugs Coffee Lounge
Their slogan “community through coffee” is an understatement for this locally owned and operated shop. Groups of all ages and backgrounds come together with a common love for the shop, creating its bustling atmosphere. Manager Steve Stallings suggested trying out his personal favorite, a blend of the sweet Pi Chai and spicy Bhakti concentrates from Boulder. I have had Bhakti before and was not a fan due to its in-your-face spice, but the sweetness from Pi Chai mellowed it out just enough for me, secret menu style.
2. Alleycat Coffee House
The unique charm of this coffee house is what sets it apart from the others. The mismatched furniture, indie background music and brightly decorated ceiling tiles make this coffee shop worth a visit. I ordered the sweet chai, admittedly a favorite of mine. Its creamy texture is met with just the right balance between sweet and spicy.
Manager Brooke Williams filled me in on their nightly house-made concentrates, mixed with spices sourced locally and from San Francisco. I appreciated the extra effort made by the staff to bring the freshest chai to their customers and will be returning the next time I need to cram for an exam. Did I mention it is open 24 hours?
3. Momo Lolo Coffee House
This coffee house is a wonderful addition to the Fort Collins café scene. Owner Colin Gerety greeted me and whipped up both of his shop’s chai lattes, one with Bhakti concentrate, and the other with 3rd Street Honey Vanilla concentrate. Although we already saw Bhakti at Mugs, 3rd Street pleasantly surprised me. It was sweet but in a different way, not over the top but noticeable enough to make my head turn. The vanilla flavor profile was something I had not tasted in a chai before, and I will be back for more.
So when you are in the market for your next chai latte, know that you cannot go wrong in Fort Collins. In this town, you are surrounded by owners who care about the customer as much as the product they are selling. Go forth friends and drink tea.