Pumpkin spice meets its match

Hot or iced, chai is fall’s best drink



A hot cup of Chai tea in a yellow cup is surrounded by fall decor.

SYDNEY DOWNING, Evergreen columnist

If fall could be described by a drink, it would be chai tea.

It is finally starting to feel like fall in Pullman, with colder morning walks to class and even colder nights. These times call for a drink to warm us up. 

London Fog, hot chocolate and classic coffee are all great options to provide a little comfort when walking to class in the cold, but there is an even better option.

The best pick-me-up drink for the fall season is easily a chai tea. Made with black tea and often milk, it is a creamy and luxurious drink. With its spicy flavors, you might as well call it fall in a cup.

However, some believe the classic flavors like hazelnut or plain coffee cannot be replaced.

Junior finance major Andrea Sanchez said as a previous barista, she would find more comfort with a hazelnut latte than chai or pumpkin spice.

“I like the spice aspect of chai,” Sanchez said. “It has a good flavor compared to how sweet pumpkin spice can be.” 

Pumpkin spice lattes are not my cup of tea, but it is a good choice for those who want something a little more mild flavored. 

Although popularity-wise, chai is not on the top of everyone’s list, I strongly believe that the spiciness mixed with sweetness fulfills every desire for the season. 

Part of preferring coffee over tea could be because of the caffeine differences. A pumpkin spice latte has more caffeine than chai tea. For college students in particular, this makes a lot of sense.

“College students tend to go for more coffee,” Sanchez said. “They always need something to wake them up.” 

As we all know, we could always use an extra jump start in our day. So, if you want the chai taste but extra caffeine, I would recommend adding a shot of espresso to any chai drink. Making your drink a “dirty chai” is the best of both worlds. 

For those with milk preferences or who are in need of a milk alternative, chai pairs perfectly with almond or oat milk. It is also a perfect flavor to mix with other fall favorites like pumpkin. 

Madelyn Butcher, senior hospitality business management major, has been a barista for quite some time.

“Chai tea is underrated,” Butcher said. “You can add many things such as espresso or pumpkin spice to make it to your liking.”

Modifying your drink to your preference is always a perfect option for those who want to try something new. 

There are many coffee shops in Pullman that will match the ambiance of fall with your cravings for something cozy. Roost Coffee & Market, Starbucks or Thomas Hammer are all perfect options. 

I have discovered going to a café to drink chai tea is almost therapeutic. As the weather in Pullman gets even chillier, now is the perfect time to try it for yourself!

Whether you stop into a local coffee shop to study or to catch up with friends, you cannot go wrong with chai tea. Versatile, sweet, spicy and warm, it can fulfill your fall cravings with just one cup.