Business

Tea with a kick Tea with a kick

Kataluma Chai manager Callie Hall makes a fruit smoothie for a customer. Kataluma Chai has 180 flavors of chai and makes other drinks as well. - Rachel Brant/staff photo
Kataluma Chai manager Callie Hall makes a fruit smoothie for a customer. Kataluma Chai has 180 flavors of chai and makes other drinks as well.
— image credit: Rachel Brant/staff photo

t Kataluma Chai serves up coffee

alternative in Kitsap Mall.

Cheryl Reeves and Nancy Robinson are frequent visitors to Kataluma Chai Company in Kitsap Mall.

So frequent, they’ve earned themselves a nickname: The No Topping Ladies.

Reeves and Robinson are just a couple of Kataluma Chai’s regular customers and like their chai without the frills of whipped topping.

“We just throughly, thoroughly enjoy the chai,” Reeves said.

The No Topping Ladies have been Kataluma Chai regulars for years. They come in several times a week to get their topping-free chai tea and mingle with owner Mescha Manietta and manager Callie Hall.

“We love the people, it has just a neat atmosphere,” Reeves said. “We feel like we’re from the sitcom ‘Friends’ sitting on the couch.”

Manietta bought Kataluma Chai Company five years ago, but the company has been open for seven years. The cafe serves up 180 types of chai, something regular coffeehouses can not boast, Manietta said.

“We have chai with a little bit of coffee,” she said. “It’s not your traditional chai you’d get in coffee shops.”

Manietta spent seven years in women’s merchandising, but when she tried her first chai drink, a raspberry swiss truffle, she was hooked.

Kataluma Chai started as a cart inside Kitsap Mall. Manietta said she had to haul ice from Pretzel Time and Cinnabon twice a day to make drinks. The chai shop moved near the Kohl’s area in 2005 and Manietta could not be happier.

“I like all the plumbing here — that’s the best part,” she chuckled.

Kataluma Chai makes, processes and packages its own brand of chai right here in Kitsap County.

“We make our own chai. It’s not somebody else’s brand, it’s our brand,” Hall said.

Kataluma Chai also sells the goods people need to make their own chai drinks.

“Anything we make and serve to customers we have for them to take home and do themselves,” Manietta said.

Kataluma Chai’s current most popular chai flavor is bourbon vanilla. The chai shop also makes chai milkshakes, smoothies and other drinks.

Manietta said she enjoys decorating Kataluma Chai and has her very own collection of duck knickknacks sitting atop the Kataluma Chai sign. A customer quote board, jumbo checkers and movie quote trivia keep customers coming back. The company pet, a fish, swims around happily in a non-working blender by the cash register.

“Anything that’s kind of weird and quirky and makes people think twice, we’re not a stuffy, uptight place,” Manietta said.

Some decorations cannot be missed. Manietta’s father is a retired member of the Coast Guard and photos of him line the shop’s back wall. Manietta’s husband is a sailor working at the Intermediate Maintenance Facility at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and his old posters and photos are visible at the chai shop as well.

Kataluma Chai offers up a 25 percent military discount every Thursday to service men and women and their families.

“We always run discounts for men in uniform because we like to see them in their uniforms,” Manietta said with a smile.

Kataluma Chai went all out for Military Appreciation Day, decorating the shop from top to bottom. Their efforts paid off and the business was named the best decorated store in Kitsap Mall.

“I’m a very patriotic person anyway, so we just went red, white and blue,” Manietta said.

Manietta also owns Double Shot Docs inside The Doctors Clinic-Salmon Medical Center in Silverdale, which also serves Kataluma Chai products. She said she plans to stay in Kitsap Mall for a while and still has the cart from which the business started years ago.

“The whole business started with just that little cart,” Manietta said.

t Kataluma Chai serves up coffee

alternative in Kitsap Mall.

Cheryl Reeves and Nancy Robinson are frequent visitors to Kataluma Chai Company in Kitsap Mall.

So frequent, they’ve earned themselves a nickname: The No Topping Ladies.

Reeves and Robinson are just a couple of Kataluma Chai’s regular customers and like their chai without the frills of whipped topping.

“We just throughly, thoroughly enjoy the chai,” Reeves said.

The No Topping Ladies have been Kataluma Chai regulars for years. They come in several times a week to get their topping-free chai tea and mingle with owner Mescha Manietta and manager Callie Hall.

“We love the people, it has just a neat atmosphere,” Reeves said. “We feel like we’re from the sitcom ‘Friends’ sitting on the couch.”

Manietta bought Kataluma Chai Company five years ago, but the company has been open for seven years. The cafe serves up 180 types of chai, something regular coffeehouses can not boast, Manietta said.

“We have chai with a little bit of coffee,” she said. “It’s not your traditional chai you’d get in coffee shops.”

Manietta spent seven years in women’s merchandising, but when she tried her first chai drink, a raspberry swiss truffle, she was hooked.

Kataluma Chai started as a cart inside Kitsap Mall. Manietta said she had to haul ice from Pretzel Time and Cinnabon twice a day to make drinks. The chai shop moved near the Kohl’s area in 2005 and Manietta could not be happier.

“I like all the plumbing here — that’s the best part,” she chuckled.

Kataluma Chai makes, processes and packages its own brand of chai right here in Kitsap County.

“We make our own chai. It’s not somebody else’s brand, it’s our brand,” Hall said.

Kataluma Chai also sells the goods people need to make their own chai drinks.

“Anything we make and serve to customers we have for them to take home and do themselves,” Manietta said.

Kataluma Chai’s current most popular chai flavor is bourbon vanilla. The chai shop also makes chai milkshakes, smoothies and other drinks.

Manietta said she enjoys decorating Kataluma Chai and has her very own collection of duck knickknacks sitting atop the Kataluma Chai sign. A customer quote board, jumbo checkers and movie quote trivia keep customers coming back. The company pet, a fish, swims around happily in a non-working blender by the cash register.

“Anything that’s kind of weird and quirky and makes people think twice, we’re not a stuffy, uptight place,” Manietta said.

Some decorations cannot be missed. Manietta’s father is a retired member of the Coast Guard and photos of him line the shop’s back wall. Manietta’s husband is a sailor working at the Intermediate Maintenance Facility at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and his old posters and photos are visible at the chai shop as well.

Kataluma Chai offers up a 25 percent military discount every Thursday to service men and women and their families.

“We always run discounts for men in uniform because we like to see them in their uniforms,” Manietta said with a smile.

Kataluma Chai went all out for Military Appreciation Day, decorating the shop from top to bottom. Their efforts paid off and the business was named the best decorated store in Kitsap Mall.

“I’m a very patriotic person anyway, so we just went red, white and blue,” Manietta said.

Manietta also owns Double Shot Docs inside The Doctors Clinic-Salmon Medical Center in Silverdale, which also serves Kataluma Chai products. She said she plans to stay in Kitsap Mall for a while and still has the cart from which the business started years ago.

“The whole business started with just that little cart,” Manietta said.

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