Business

Adding some flavor to the mall

Chai is so popular in India that entrepreneurs line up to sell the beverage whenever a train pulls into a station.

“In India, this is what they drink like coffee,” said Renita Duggan. “It’s kind of like the third great drink of the world,” along with coffee and tea.

Duggan, the owner of Island Ice Cream and Coffee on Bainbridge Island, was looking to expand her coffee shop when she realized there was already a market glut.

“There is no need for more coffee shops in Washington, so I thought I would go at it from a different angle,” she said.

Duggan experimented with chai recipes at her coffee shop and decided to start a chai stand, called Chaiwalla’s, at Kitsap Mall. It opened Dec. 15, and business has been brisk.

“It’s been more successful than I ever anticipated,” Duggan said.

Duggan uses a black Darjeeling tea with spices and offers a variety of flavors — chocolate, vanilla, raspberry, sugar free, decaffeinated, organic and green tea. Chai can be blended with soy milk or regular milk, and there is even an Atkin’s diet blend with low carbohydrates.

“I’ve also been making up recipes for coconut macaroon and raspberry swiss truffle chai,” Duggan said.

She intends to expand Chaiwalla’s, which has seven employees and is open from 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m., right away.

“I am going to franchise it. I have plans to put in another one in Burlington, in the mall there,” she said.

For more information, call 621-2317.

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