Welcome Chai Lovers
We are back from showcasing the good stuff at the London Coffee Festival and have an issue for you packed with all things British!
First up we take a look at the London café scene and how it has evolved over the last few years. We stopped off at some of the great spots serving Prana Chai in the busy capital and have prepared a guide for those of you over in the UK or who are planning on visiting soon.
We sat down and had a chat with Melbourne expat Rowena from Crosstown Doughnuts, about living in London and what she misses about home. And we have a recipe for that typically British dessert, sticky toffee pudding, with a Prana Chai twist.
We also introduce you to Michelle - our fabulous girl in the UK making sure the Brits know about Prana Chai.
Mother’s Day is almost upon us, so if you are looking for a last minute gift idea, we have something for you.
Koray, Mario and Vincent.
A Mothers' Day Gift With a Local Story
If you have left your Mother’s Day gift a bit late, don’t pick up a cheaply wrapped posy from the supermarket. Prana Chai and The Wild have teamed up to bring you the perfect Mother’s Day gift!
Any purchase of our Prana Chai Starter Box before Mother’s Day on May 14th, will include a packet of The Wild Vanilla + Almond Porridge.
The starter kit already contains everything your mum will need to make the perfect cup of chai - 250g Prana Chai, stainless steel stove top pot, fine mesh strainer, Prana Chai recipe booklet and Robert Gordon Chai Latte Hug Mug.
Mum’s breakfast will be completely taken care of with a recipe for The Wild Vanilla + Almond Porridge using Prana Chai instead of milk. It’s the perfect gift to warm Mum up on those cold winter mornings that will be upon us in no time!
Aussies In London
The London Coffee Festival was a blast as we showed off Prana Chai to the Brits. The London café scene has come a long way in the last few years, and we enjoyed stopping in at all the unique and wonderful places serving up Prana Chai.
There was a time, not that long ago, that going out for breakfast in London meant a fry up and a cup of tea that closely resembled dishwater. Coffee was either instant or, if you went somewhere a bit fancy, percolated, while espresso was dominated by the big chains.
The Australians who moved there in droves in the early naughties, missed the places back home where they could get a good smashed avocado and decent hot drink. Lucky for London, some of those Aussies had the sense to open their own cafes to serve what was lacking in their new home, and places like Flat White, Taylor Street Baristas and Kaffiene were popular with locals and expats alike.
But while Antipodeans like to credit themselves as pioneering the coffee revolution in London, in 2009 the World Barista Championship winner was Gwilym Davies from the UK, and the following year London hosted the event. London began to forge its own style of café, taking inspiration from Scandinavian, US and Asian coffee markets.
With decent coffee now standard, improvements have been made in areas including food and alternative beverages. The focus has shifted to using fresh produce, while a creative mix of artisanal teas are offered, rather than just your standard “builder’s” tea. Chai has developed from being a sickly sweet powder mixed into hot milk, to a beverage that takes just as much care to prepare as the coffee.
Londoners and visitors now have a range of places they can go for a decent breakfast or a chat over chai. With so many now to pick from, the trouble is no longer finding a good place to go, but choosing which one to try. Here is a pick of some of our favourite places across London to enjoy a Prana Chai.
Crosstown Doughnuts: famous for delivering yummy handmade doughnuts across London, you can pick up one of these deliciously beautiful creations at a number of London locations. On offer are inventive flavours of doughnut including the Lamnut (Lamington) and Chai Tea – made using Prana Chai. Check out their doughnut bars in Soho, Shoreditch, Camden, Leather Lane and Broadway Market, or any number of stockist including Selfridges and Chancery Press.
Aida Shoreditch: More than just a clothes store with a café inside, Aida has the feel of a neighbourhood hangout space in an East London modern kind of way. You can have your hair done at the vintage salon, get a made to measure suit tailored or just peruse the independent brands of clothes and homewares on offer instore. Aida also hosts events with the aim of supporting and growing the local community, while the café is the perfect space to have a cup of chai with local creatives.
I Will Kill Again: The décor of I Will Kill Again, the café of roasters Dark Arts Coffee in Hackney, offers a breath of fresh air from the minimalist hipster aesthetic common in most new cafes around London. The owners have stayed true to their own interests and sense of style, focusing instead on offering a great vegan friendly menu that utilises local ingredients where possible. Come for the cup of Prana Chai, stay for the Vegan Chorizo Bun.
Milkbar/Flat White: Back when coffee meant a cup of instant and asking for a flat white was akin to speaking in a foreign language, Milkbar was one of the few place Aussies could go for a decent breakfast that didn’t involve baked beans. Now, while London has been flooded by Australian café culture and well and truly developed its own, Milkbar remains one of the originals. A cup of Prana Chai here is still a welcome escape for Aussies and Brits alike from the chaos of surrounding central London.
Daily Goods: You know things are improving in South London when places like Daily Goods start popping up. Drawing inspiration from his home in The States, Carter Donnell has created a space where the focus is on community. Bring your laptop to use the free wifi and plug sockets at each table to get some work done whilst sipping on a Prana Chai.
Coffee Works: As you can probably guess from the name, coffee reigns superior here, and boy do they take it seriously. A changing selection of filter coffees are on offer, with the knowledgeable staff happy to explain the characteristics of each to novices. But that doesn’t mean everything else is just an afterthought – cakes are baked on site and the food is sourced from premium local producers including Neals Yard Dairy and The Little Bread Pedlar.
A Cup Of Chai With Rowena of Crosstown Doughnuts
Rowena from Crosstown Doughnuts made the move from Melbourne to London back in the summer of 2014. She fills us in on how things have changed in the London food scene, what’s going on at Crosstown Doughnuts, and what she misses about home.
How has the food and café scene changed in London since you have been there?
In the short time I’ve been here I’ve seen the demand grow for cafes and restaurants who offer just one product, or a niche one, done exceptionally well. Hoppers and Bao are great examples. I think coffee is no exception, people are willing to strip away most of a drink menu if it leaves a couple of great options to be enjoyed.
Coming from Melbourne, I’ve also seen London follow suit in how seriously Melbournians take their cafes. Brunch has become almost as considered and refined as a great dinner. Not only in the final dish, but the ingredients that go into it and the care taken to the environment it’s enjoyed in. Londoners are more than willing to indulge in food and drink, as long as they know it’s top notch quality.
I read a quote that Crosstown Doughnuts are the “most Instagram friendly snack”. How important do you think Instagram has been in the success of Crosstown?
I have no doubt that Crosstown’s widest-reaching advertiser is Instagram. Given the way people consume information at the moment, you can’t really beat quick, free and visually stimulating content that everyone can engage with instantly. It’s amazing to check geotags and find new posts every day, and read all the wonderful comments about people’s experiences. I think organic marketing will always trump, as it’s honest, peer-to-peer and accessible.
Where does the inspiration for new flavours of doughnuts come from?
Seasonality plays a big role in the development of new flavours. We love to use fresh and real ingredients in all our hand-made compotes, glazes and toppings. We’ve just launched a new kiwi and green apple filled doughnut, topped with mint and white chocolate glaze. It’s ideal for sunny London days! The chai custard doughnut we launched in collaboration with Prana Chai was the perfect warm and spicy doughnut during the winter months. JP and Adam, who founded Crosstown, work with our bakers to make sure we have a great variety of flavours, textures and colours to keep the offering exciting.
What is something you miss about Australia?
I didn’t realise how much growing up by the sea had resonated with me. I always lived within a mile of a beach and it wasn’t until I moved away that I appreciated it.
What is next for Crosstown? Are there any future collaborations in the works?
We’re really focussing on the retail stores at the moment. We’ve opened two stores in the last six months and hopefully have two more on the way. It’s awesome to see the business grow from a single stall on Leather Lane market to lots of buzzy outlets all over town.
There are a few more collaborations in the pipeline - the latest is a great Cold Brew Martini doughnut with our pals from Sandows. It’s boozy, caffeinated and in doughnut form, you can’t really ask for more.
Prana Chai Sticky Toffee Pudding
This typically English dessert gets a Prana Chai makeover by Matty B, adding some spice to a delicious classic.
150 gm pitted and chopped dates
2 tsp Prana Chai
180 gm softened butter
130 gm soft light brown sugar
2 whole eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200 gm plain flour
100 gm soft dark sugar
150 gm double cream
- Grease and line your tin and preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Brew the Prana Chai with 220 ml of boiling water and leave to one side. After 5 minutes, pour the strained chai over the dates.
- Pop 80 gm of the butter in a bowl with the light brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy before adding the eggs in one at a time, beating after each addition until well combined.
- At this point, add in the bicarbonate of soda to the Prana Chai and dates and leave to one side whilst it foams up slightly.
- Add the flour to the pudding mix and fold it gently until combined and you see no streaks of flour in the mix. Add in the dates with the water and gently fold again until combined and the dates are well distributed.
- Pour the pudding mix into the prepared tin and level it out. Pop in the oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes until the top of the cake has darkened and an inserted skewer comes out nice and clean.
- Whilst the pudding bakes, prepare your toffee sauce by adding the remaining 100 gm butter, dark brown sugar and double cream in a pan and place on a medium heat on your hob. Stir constantly until everything has melted together, the sugar dissolves and the sauce has darkened and gone lovely and smooth.
- Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool slightly for just a few minutes before removing from the tin. Slice into portions and pour over the toffee sauce to serve.
Meet The Team - Michelle Miggiano
Get to know the lovely people we have bringing nothing but the good stuff to you.
This month we introduce you to Michelle, our friendly UK Account Manager who braves the London weather to bring Prana Chai to the land of Shakespeare and the Royal Family.
We first met Michelle when she was serving up Prana Chai at the café she owned with her husband in St Kilda.
She made the move to London, but we caught up with her at the London Coffee Festival last year and the rest is history! Now she is working to move the Brits away from builder’s tea to delicious Prana Chai.
Share our story with your chai loving friends.