Getting my Chai right!

Last updated on Apr 6, 2010

Posted on Apr 6, 2010

Yesterday at Houston’s Bush airport (near gate E-1) I went to ‘Peet’s Coffee” and asked for Masala Chai.  I thought that instead of the regular Starbucks chai, let me try the chai from this chain.  Chai from Starbucks is my favorite drink outside my house. I prefer to make coffee at home as it’s cheaper and your order is never wrong. People think that you have to buy the most expensive espresso machine to get the best coffee at home, but that’s not the case. You can check out a list of the best cheap espresso machines if you’re wanting a good cup of coffee at home.

First the employees didn’t know what was going on and nobody knew how to make it.  They kept fumbling.  Finally when they gave me and I went to my gate I realized after a while that it was so rank bad that I couldn’t drink more than a few sips!

And that made it abundantly clear why Starbucks as a coffee chain is so formidable!  Let me share how I want my Chai – I want it “No Water-No Foam”.  Now, Chai concoction comes as a water mix which is steamed with milk to come up with Chai at these chains.  I realized early on that some of these chains would add additional water to the already watery concoction.  Perhaps, for the American audience.  But I wanted my Chai strong and hard.

No-Foam is a VERY strict policy of mine.  Foam is air.  Since I ain’t paying you with air, can you abstain from giving me air please, thank you very much!  I pay for Chai, give me Chai not air.  But honestly, in all the chains I have been to – Border’s Seattle Coffee or Dunking Donuts or this Peets outfit.. nowhere have I ever been served my Chai with foam as diligently removed as at Starbucks!  One gal at Borders even started fighting with me that foam is a given.  I had a strong mind of paying her half the money and imagine the rest half is in the air, as it is “given”!

Customer Service is key to retaining good customers, and no other coffee chain knows it as well as Starbucks.  No other chain knows my Chai as well as Starbucks.  Just that they annoyingly keep calling it Chai Tea!  Guys, if you are reading this – Chai MEANS Tea in Hindi!  So, its a rather stupid phrase.

I have had my beverages at Indian cafe stores also, but they are again so rank bad that what takes Starbucks a couple of minutes, takes 30 minutes at Cafe Coffee Day or at Barista!  I understand that there are Cafe’s in Europe that are leisurely and that is where the concept came from.  But heck, a chain should have better sense and look to have a higher turnover of the customers!  If you aren’t converting your time into money, then you are basically booking losses!  So Indian Cafes have productivity lower by the magnitude of 30x, if not more!!

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