Editor’s Note: Part of this was written before the outbreak of COVID-19. We hope our readers stay safe and practice social distancing when grabbing food of any kind.
I always love finding new coffee shops to spend my time in. There’s just something about coffee shops that’s so comforting and serene. I love observing the different types of people that come in and the general culture each coffee shop has.
Whenever I go to a new coffee shop I, more often than not, order a chai latte. It’s my favorite drink, and I get it at any time of the year, because every day is the right day for a chai latte.
Over these past two weeks, I went around the Ogden area to survey different chai lattes from a handful of different coffee shops. I thought it would be a fun way to not only support local businesses, but to find some new coffee shops to spend time in.
I ended up going to a total of five different coffee shops: Beans and Brews, Kaffe Mercantile, Starbucks, Einstein Bros. and Grounds for Coffee.
At each coffee shop I ordered a 12 oz. soy chai latte. I wasn’t just comparing the taste of each chai latte, but also the prices, service quality and the overall atmosphere of each coffee shop. I then gave each coffee shop a rating out of ten, with ten being the highest.
Beans and Brews – 7/10
The first coffee shop I went to was Beans and Brews.
One of the first things I noticed was the atmosphere of the shop. It was really quiet, except for the music playing, and relatively empty. The barista who helped me was very kind, but didn’t go out of her way to be super personal. My order ended up costing $4.60, and it didn’t take long for it to be ready. The overall taste of the chai was pretty good. It wasn’t too sweet or overpowering; some might even consider it a little bland, but I enjoyed the simplicity of the taste. I give this chai a seven out of ten. While I enjoyed the simple taste, it wasn’t something I would go out of my way to order again, but it wasn’t terrible.
Kaffe Mercantile – 9/10
The next coffee shop I went to was Kaffe Mercantile. The second I walked into this cute shop I immediately fell in love. It’s a small shop, but it has such a warm and cozy atmosphere.
The barista who helped me with my order was extremely nice and seemed genuinely happy to be working. As I was ordering my drink, the barista asked if I wanted liquid chai mix or powdered chai mix. The difference between the two, the barista told me, was the liquid was a little sweeter, and the powder was a little spicier. I chose the liquid because I tend to gravitate towards sweeter drinks.
My order came to a total cost of $4.43.
The time while I was waiting for my drink gave me the perfect opportunity to look around more.
One thing I noticed right off the bat was the artwork adorning almost all of the walls. All of the art seemed to be from people in the community, which I thought was pretty cool. Another thing I noticed was the record player across the room from where I sat. They had a wide selection of vinyls on a shelf next to the record player that you could choose from.
The barista was fairly fast at making my drink considering there were a handful of other customers there at the same time. The overall taste of this chai latte was fantastic. It was so warm and had a bit of an added sweetness. It didn’t taste like I thought it was going to and this was pleasantly surprising.
My rating for this chai latte is a nine out of ten. I will definitely be going back to Kaffe Mercantile again. I loved the atmosphere, it was so cozy and I really liked that they had a slight variety in their mixes.
At this point in my experiment COVID-19 had begun to take hold on Utah, so local restaurants and coffee shops started not allowing people to sit and dine in. Even though I couldn’t spend any time in the shops, I still tried to get an overall sense of what the vibe was like.
Starbucks – 8/10
When I went into Starbucks all of the tables and chairs had been moved into a back room, and it was very grounding to see. Despite not having anywhere to sit the atmosphere was still very warm and friendly. The barista who helped me was very nice and seemed like he enjoyed working there. The service was excellent, everyone working seemed very nice. Even though there was a good amount of people in the shop, I got my drink relatively quickly.
The price came out to be $4.71, so a little bit pricier, especially since I only got a 12 oz, but not too bad. The taste was really good; it had a more mild taste that was very comforting and warm, but not overpowering. I would definitely get this drink again, but probably not often just because of the price. My overall rating is an eight out of ten.
Einstein Bros. – 5/10
A couple of days later I went to Einstein Bros. Bagels. My initial expectations walking into the shop were pretty high. I hadn’t tasted any drinks thus far that were bad, so I was expecting something similar to the others.
My expectations were severely struck down.
The barista that helped me was nice enough; she didn’t go out of her way to be super nice, but she wasn’t unpleasant or rude either.
I ordered my regular drink, a 12 oz soy chai latte, but the barista told me they were out of soy milk and the only other non-dairy milk they had on hand was almond milk.
I usually don’t like using almond milk in my coffee because it tastes too sweet and nutty, but they didn’t have anything else. I decided to settle for almond milk because I didn’t really have any other choice.
The price ended up being $4.64, not too bad, but not great considering the taste. There were no other customers, so they got my drink out to me within a few minutes. The taste was not something I was expecting. I thought that even though I got almond milk that it would taste just fine, but it didn’t taste like chai at all. The only thing I could taste was the nutty sweetness of the milk. I thought maybe it was a weird first sip, so I continued to drink it, but it never got any better. I couldn’t drink the whole thing and ended up only drinking half. My final rating for this chai latte is a five out of ten.
Grounds for Coffee – 10/10
The last coffee shop I went to was Grounds for Coffee on 25th street. I love this coffee shop and it’s definitely the one I frequent the most. I might have a slight bias towards this particular coffee shop and the chai’s they make, but I had to include them anyways.
The atmosphere at this coffee shop is always so warm and friendly. I love spending time here studying or reading. I always feel at home here.
Every time I come in the barista’s are always so nice and welcoming and even go out of their way to make small conversation with each customer.
The day that I went all their tables and chairs had been pushed up against the walls and stacked together, which was sad to see, but understandable.
The barista who helped me was super sweet and welcoming. She seemed like she was really excited and happy to be working there, which made me feel good as a customer. She asked if I wanted nutmeg or cinnamon in my chai, and I said yes to both.
I ended up paying $3.49 for my drink, this is the lowest I’ve paid at all the coffee shops I went to.
This drink did not disappoint. It had a very warm taste, the nutmeg and cinnamon added another dimension that I didn’t find in any of the other chai’s.
One of the things I love about Grounds for Coffee is their consistency. Every time I order a coffee from here I know it’s going to be good and I know they’re going to get my order right.
My rating for Grounds for Coffee is a ten out of ten. I love the atmosphere of this coffee shop and their chai latte is one of my favorite drinks.