TO A TEA: Barista Nathan Lily makes the chai at Tod's Tasties from scratch. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Chai love: Asheville embraces India’s ancient healing drink

When ordering a chai in the Western world, a customer may receive any number of concoctions. A simple black tea with spices is one possibility, but it is significantly more likely that the beverage will be prepared with a powdered mix of sugar and corn syrup solids, with tea nowhere to be seen on the ingredient list. Fortunately for Asheville residents, local businesses are taking the making of chai back to the basics.

BEAN THERE: The interior of Blitmore Coffee Traders is decorated with locally made items and burlap sacks of coffee beans. Photo by Elizabeth Reynolds McGuire

Fika Files: Biltmore Coffee Traders

Blogger, minister and globe-trotting coffee aficionado Elizabeth Reynolds McGuire spends her downtime checking out local coffee shops and promoting the idea of fika, a Swedish custom of relaxing and savoring a cup o’ joe. Her regular series examines Asheville-area coffee culture one cup at a time. I first visited Biltmore Coffee Traders’ cozy red cottage […]

EUROPEAN FLAVOR: Filo owner Maria Papanastasiou was inspired by her family’s Greek heritage and her travels in Europe to bring her own brand of fika culture to East Asheville. By Elizabeth Reynolds McGuire

The fika files: Tidings of coffee and joy

There is a little stone building on Tunnel Road in east Asheville. To me, it has always been a cool-looking building, but nothing more. Historically, it was a meeting place for the American Legion. However, recently I realized that behind that amazing architectural exterior there’s a cozy, bohemian, European-inspired cafe. Honestly, I didn’t know there […]