Chalait (pronounced like “chalet”) was born on a trip to Japan when owners Michelle Gardner and Ramon Puyani had their first sip of matcha. They felt driven to bring it to an American audience, making it the primary focus of their café, rather than an additional offering. The name reflects a union of cultures, with cha meaning tea in Japanese and lait from the French word for milk. (As avid snowboarders, the play on the word “chalet” carried special meaning for them).
The owners state that there are two guiding principles for the business. One is simplicity and quality and the other is the unifying tradition and innovation. Their matcha is from Uji, Japan. Gardner and Puyani reinforced their commitment by recently visiting the tea farms and factories from which their tea will be sourced and produced.
In addition to matcha the café serves coffee, espresso drinks, tea, sandwiches, and pastries. Food offerings include unexpected treats like croissants with blueberries and matcha cream and toast with avocado, radishes and eggs or with cannellini beans, edamame, cherry tomatoes and arugula pesto. An article in DNA info noted that in their first week, tea and coffee sales were nearly equal. The matcha was immediately popular.
Top Grade Matcha, Everyday Matcha, and a bamboo matcha whisk and stand can be purchased through Chalait’s online shop as well.
Learn more: www.chalait.com
Chalait, 224 West 4th Street, New York City