Every day we get tons of questions from customers about chai, how we run our business, how we got started, etc. So I’ve decided to answer some of those frequently asked questions in this post.
1. Where do you make the chai?
We brew fresh chai once in the morning and once in the afternoon at a shared commercial kitchen in the Mission. This means waking up early to bring you the freshest and best artisan chai that San Francisco has to offer.
2. Is your chai already sweetened?
We lightly sweeten our chai meaning that we add just enough sugar to enhance the flavor but not an amount that overwhelms it. If you have more of a sweet tooth or if our chai simply isn’t sweet enough for you, feel free to add sugar from the container of organic, cane sugar that we keep at the cart. For those looking for unsweetened chai, try our concentrated chai brews, the only unsweetened concentrates on the market!
3. Is this the only cart you have?
We currently have two locations where you can pick up a fresh, hot cup of chai. Both carts can be found every weekday on Market Street in the Financial District of San Francisco.
4. Do you have chai with skim milk?
The fresh chai we have available at our carts has already been brewed with milk, spices, tea, and sugar and is ready to be enjoyed as soon as it is poured into a cup. We make our chai with organic whole milk, meaning there is no option of chai with skim milk. We do, however, offer our masala chai with soymilk as an alternative.
5. Does chai have caffeine?
Chai is typically made with black tea, which does contain caffeine. We brew our chai with an organic, Assam, black tea. We add enough to give our chai a strong flavor, but the caffeine content is less than a cup of coffee.
6. What are your hours?
Our first cart, located at 545 Market Street, is open Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. Our newest cart, at 298 Market Street (on the north side of Market), is open Monday through Friday 8 am to 3 pm.
7. How do you get the cart to Market Street?
Everyday, we attach the cart to the owner’s car and drive it from a parking lot in the Mission to the Financial District. All of The Chai Cart’s chai-wallahs are strong enough to push the cart from the alley behind Market Street up to the spot where we sell you chai. Where do we get our strength? It must be the chai!
8. Who is the owner?
The owner’s name is Paawan Kothari. She grew up drinking chai everyday in India and after moving to San Francisco, could never find chai that compared to the spicy, creamy perfection she had always known, hence the inspiration for The Chai Cart. Read more about her story under the “About Us” section on our website.
9. Are the brews of chai for sale?
Yes, they are! All of the items you see on display at the cart are for sale including the concentrated chai brews, the spice tins, and the loose-leaf tea tins with spices. You can also purchase the brews at Whole Foods Markets and other stores in the Bay Area. Check out the “Find Us” section on our website for more information.
10. Do you have any discounts for regular customers?
We do! We offer a 5 regular cup voucher card that entitles you to five, 12-ounce cups of any flavor chai for $16. That’s like getting 10% off every cup! You simply purchase the voucher for $16, and then present the card every time you would like a cup of chai. We make a mark on your card for every cup until you’ve received five cups.
11. Do you sell any food?
We sell delicious, gluten-free, vegan bakery items made by Sweets Simply. Depending on the day, we offer chai spice pumpkin muffins, banana breads, ginger spice cookies, double chocolate chip cookies, lemon poppy seed muffins, and vanilla bean donuts.
12. Do you accept any other payment than cash?
Yes! Wemay be a small business but we have a big selection of payment options including credit card (American express and Discover Card included), Square Wallet, LevelUp, and cash (including twenty dollar bills, no need to apologize).
13. Do you stay open when it’s raining?
On particularly dreary days when it’s pouring down rain, we find that no one comes outside for chai, so we aren’t typically open on those days. You can always follow our Twitter feed to stay updated on when we’ll be closed.