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  • Writer's pictureB. Cooper

Out & About: The Quest For A Perfect Chai Latte

My mom and I began our journey into the Chai world this winter, as she was learning to love tea and I was trying to cut back on my caffeine addiction. In our journey we found Chai Lattes, and began a quest to find amazing drinks all over the surrounding area of our new home in Knoxville, TN.

We are originally from Portland, OR where coffee is a bit on the artisanal side and vibes can be a bit... well.... Portland-y. Here we are open to a whole new world of coffee shops and areas to explore. As we find fun spots and new chai's (to us) this list will expand, in our little way to keep track of all the fun spots we've visited.

*** This is purely our opinions, by no means are we food critics or anything.

This list will be constantly updating as we discover new places. But there's no ranking! I don't have the credentials to possibly do that. Consider this a list of favorites!

~Make sure to sign up for updates to keep track when we update this!~

Our Favorite : Capybara in Knoxville

This spot is our overall favorite to snag coffee. It's situated just off a greenway so we can take a break and enjoy some coffee or snag a tea and take it on the road with us!

I've never been on a first name basis with a barista but we're here so often that hearing "Good morning Bailey! Hey Ginell! Are we doing the regular today?" is a normal occurrence.

Inside this cute spot there's plenty of seating, fun capybara references sprinkled throughout the building, and great spaces to work/study. Since this is off Cumberland Ave in-between the two main halves of UT campus, it's a great spot for students to hang out.

Mom always gets normal Chai Latte's on our adventures while I get the dirty versions, since I'm the one with the coffee addiction. So we love to compare the differences with the presence of espresso added. Here the chai is rich and strong, despite the creamy oat milk. With the espresso added it maintains a depth of flavor that compliments the spices in the tea. They brew their own tea concentrate here, so that may be why it's so strong.

Great Atmosphere : Aretha Frankenstein's in Knoxville

This is a new breakfast diner that opened in South Knoxville this Fall. Going inside you're instantly filled with nostalgia from all the vintage cereal boxes and stickers used to decorate the space. They lean into the Halloween-esque name with colors and references to black and white horror movies as well.

With pancakes, biscuits, and funny puns it's a great spot to snag a chai and enjoy breakfast and lunch.

The chai here is sometimes made with a dairy free mixture but due to their popularity, sometimes they run out and have to switch. Made sure to double check this if dairy is an issue for you. When it is available, it's a nice calming spice with a creamy dairy free milk blend. I tend to get oat milk with chai's so the oat-y flavor blends well with the spices.

Highly recommend this spot for breakfast and the vibes of the place alone. The friendly staff and good food will convince you to keep going back. I'm looking forward to seeing how this place helps South Knox grow.

Spicier Chai: Seed Coffee Co. on Sutherland Ave

With a cute and colorful "Friends"-like atmosphere this is a great option if you're near the Sutherland Avenue area! While the upper levels belong to a design company, the lower level is all things coffee.

The Chai experience was spicy in a warm holiday way that's great for the winter. Their tea concentrate is a bit heavier on the star anise, ginger, and allspice, so it has a welcoming warmth. For us it was a pleasant surprise while we were walking in winter weather.

Don't let that blue sky fool you, it was chilly!

For anyone who enjoys walking or biking, this is between two entrances for the Third Creek Greenway on Sutherland Avenue. Nestled in a quiet neighborhood with a cute patio, this would make a great fit for a pit-stop to recharge!

Cute Hole-In-The-Wall: Treetop in Sequoyah

This was such a great find when my parents and I got caught in the rain on our walk. Located almost in the middle of Sequoyah Hills across the quiet intersection from some apartment buildings and a church.

We walked all through the riverfront park in this neighborhood before we cut through the middle to get to the warmth and welcoming smiles this hole-in-the-wall spot offers. Nestled between a small bookshop and a restaurant, it rounds out this cute neighborhood corner.

The Chai experience was really creamy, I almost had to double check that this was oat milk and not normal milk. *(Only because I'm really allergic to dairy) The spices of the tea were very well rounded and blended together to create an overall calming experience. The espresso in mine added another layer of warmth and depth to the flavor profile of this drink.

The only downside to this coffee shop was their largest size still being too small. I'm holding their large in my hand in the picture above. This may be because of my severe caffeine addiction though so take that with a grain of salt.

Great Spooky Spot For Fall: Remedy Coffee

Now this is a great spot to hit up in the fall. Situated north of Old City in Emory Place, three blocks away from one of my favorite spots, Schulz Brau Brewing. The coolest thing about this place is probably how much they've leaned into their location. You'll find a lot of little skulls featured in their logos, their mugs, and their decor.

They're across the street from a large cemetery. Did they let that ruin the vibe? No! They leaned into it! With a small walk up window next door you can snag a bagel and some coffee and enjoy the spooky atmosphere. Bonus points if you go sit near the window on a grey rainy day like you're the star of a thriller movie.

The Chai experience is a little subtle here, mine tasted more like a cinnamon latte than a dirty chai. Both great! And I mean, look at that latte art. How do you not snap a picture of that?

A Fun Maryville Spot: Southern Grace Coffee Co.

We branched out to Maryville, one of our favorite cities so far in East Tennessee for a change of scenery. The middle of downtown has a great park and greenway that cuts through the entire Maryville/Alcoa area, a perfect spot for bike riding. If you decide to follow the path through downtown rather than the forested greenway, you'll end up walking right by this cute house converted into a coffee shop.

Walking in feels like entering a friends house, with scones and biscuits in the oven, and joyful conversations filling the building with warmth. If you need a quieter space to work/study, they converted smaller rooms in the back into quiet lounge spots. Perfect to drink some coffee and open up your laptop.

This is a beautiful faith-based coffee shop. With a kind staff and happy customers laughing on their front porch, you tend to feel drawn into the cozy atmosphere.

For Chai, their concentrate is a little sweeter and a little spicier. It leans towards the ginger and allspice, making the whole experience taste like a gingerbread cookie. For the dreary rainy day we had, it was a perfect addition to the cozy vibes we sought out. I also appreciate that their large filled my to-go coffee mug.

Keep in touch for when I add on to this list! Do you have a place you'd recommend? Would you like to support the blog and this adventure? There will be a form on the blog's main menu page where you can fill out recommendations and donate to the Chai Fund. Any money in that fund will only be used for Chai reviews.

Until Next Time!


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