When the pandemic hit I was working remotely in Atlanta, living away from my family, and feeling increasingly uneasy about my career path. Most cafes were closed during this time, so I turned to chai, an ode to my Pakistani roots and a core part of my memories of home. Over the course of months, brewing chai—from doodh ki chai (milk tea) to pink Kashmiri chai—evolved from I associated with my mom and holidays to part of my daily ritual. After experimenting with different types of milks and spices I finally crafted the perfect masala chai blend. I knew the generic, infamous, “chai-tea-latte” was not going to satisfy my cravings ever again.
Each cup of chai felt like a warm embrace and centered me, particularly during the toughest of times. Breaking away from the screen and relishing the process of brewing and stirring, sitting and sipping, made me realize that I wanted to share this experience and provide others with a similar opportunity to take a break and savor a moment of warmth. So, after much deliberation, I decided in November 2021 that it was time to bring my dreams of noon chai co to fruition. I hope to showcase my Pakistani-American roots with my first blend – magic masala chai– a fusion traditional Pakistani chai. I also have exciting plans for future blends I can’t wait to share!
So where did the name “noon chai co” come from? Traditionally, Kashmiri Chai is called “noon chai,” but I loved the sound of it because I love to make chai in the afternoon!
My journey is still fresh, and it wouldn’t have been possible without my family, community and friends from Atlanta to New York. I am so blessed to have so many people who truly support my dream. Follow me on this adventure and enjoy a warm mug, cup or cupas!
And remember, it’s chai not chai tea.