Best Chai Tea Latte

    Caffeine addicts, decaf rebels and anyone simply craving a hand-warmer: Meet your new best friend. The chai latte heavenly mixes milk, tea and spices, containing little caffeine but loads of flavor. When done right, it tastes like Thanksgiving, butterscotch or J.K. Rowling’s “butterbeer,” straight from Hogsmeade itself. Yeah, it’s that magical.

    ON CAMPUS — Despite a spotty financial history, the Grove Caffe, hidden amongst the foliage in the Student Center, whips up a large chai latte for $3.50 that will consistently blow your mind. The difference is simple but life-changing: Whereas other coffee shops dilute the mixture with water — resulting in a thin, tasteless disappointment — Grove baristas infuse your choice of steamed milk with Mocafe spiced chai powder. The Grove chai stays full milk, resulting in a rich, caramelly flavor that melts right down into your stomach, the kind of euphoria elsewhere found only in an intense back massage or eight hours of sleep. Best part is, it’s never scalding nor lukwarm — always at precise drinking temperature, so you don’t have to wait to consume.

    OFF CAMPUS — The Opera Cafe, a cozy little space right down the street from the excellent Paul Mitchell School salon in downtown San Diego, is conveniently located to pump out a delicious $4 chai latte before, after — hell, even during — your haircut. Look forward to a steaming, soup bowl-sized mug of creamy vanilla chai, flecked with subtle hints of cinnamon and cloves, and topped with more foam than a keg that survived a plane crash. Fantastic home-style service (free pastries for returning customers) — and a quaint European vibe leave no excuse to stay away.

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