When Aslan Amini first started making chai in 2015 it was because his customers wanted to spice things up, literally.
After developing an authentic chai recipe – using the traditional process where it’s made in a pot – for his small cafe inside Makerlabs, Amini realized he had a pretty popular product on his hands, one that people appreciated and wanted to bring home with them. So naturally, he took his passion for chai and created a product that he could sell, and the Aslan Chai brand was born.
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“The process is never about speed, it’s about the experience and taste,” says Amini.
It’s this passion for quality that set Amini apart from other chai producers in the city. Now, this local favourite is opening a pop-up chai cafe that will be open for one week on Columbia Street in Chinatown from Friday, October 28 to Thursday, November 3.
The pop-up will be serving up the fan favourite Spicy Chai, along with some innovative newer flavours like Pumpkin Spice and Cocoa Chai. They are ground from whole spices, there’s no powder and no syrup so every spice is made from whole and hand mixed into the secret recipe. All of the chai mixes are made to order so it’s always guaranteed fresh.
Aslan Chai also uses green tea in its mixes, which offers a more subtle flavour in order to place the focus on the spices. All the chai’s are vegan and made with almond milk, and the baked goods offered at the pop-up will be gluten free and chai inspired too.
Since the pop-up was carefully curated to be in a convenient retail location for customers, there will be no pressure to just grab and go. Expect a spacious area where you can even get some work done or just hang out and enjoy a freshly-made beverage.
For now, Amini will continue to wholesale his chai for retail by serving it at cafes, but ultimately this pop-up is a temporary version of what he’d eventually like to run – a cafe that focuses primarily on serving quality chai.
“Vancouver has a lot of cafes serving excellent coffee and I would like to open a shop that serves the best chai and coffee in the city. I hope Vancouver will prove that it needs it,” says Amini.
Be sure to check out the pop-up and try for yourself if you haven’t already.
When: Friday, October 28 to Thursday, November 3 from 8 am to 4 pm
Where: 434 Columbia Street, Vancouver