Caj Chai tea house – Barcelona

Sant domenec del call, 12
Gothic Quarter

Tuesday – Sunday 10 30 – 22hrs
Monday 15 – 22hrs

What with a panaderia being a shop that sells pan (bread) and a carniceria being a shop that sells carne (meat), you can imagine my surprise when I found out that a teteria didn’t sell tetas (tits).

Caj Chai really doesn’t warrant such a crass introduction, it’s a beautiful subdued teteria (tea shop) hidden in the squiggly streets of El Gothico that will make you want to order a second pot and while away an hour or two doing absolutely nothing when you should absolutely be doing something else far less important than relaxing.

Exquisitely decorated in deep red tones, subdued lighting and bare brick walls, with random retro chairs and armchairs clustered around different types of table, the mood here is a little bit sophisticated but without punching your head off.

The teas are beautifully prepared and served in traditional pots with cups and saucers and you can pick from a huge range. Prices are a little steep (intended) but the portions are more than generous.

You can also pick up tea-related accessories such as the teas themselves, strainers, stands and divine oriental pots suitable for oolong ceremonies or just having a cup of tea in.

They serve an ossifying 75 to 100 types of teas, some of which – so they say- aren’t available in the rest of Spain. If that kind of thing impresses you.

Caj Chai is owned by a New Yorker who fancied plonking himself a little bit of oriental magic into the twisty streets of Barcelona much like those tea shops he’d trained at in the Czech Republic.

You can choose from te blanco (white tea), verde (green), pu-erh (red), and a list of oolong teas from all different areas of Asia. And fruit teas and herb teas as well. Whatever you choose it will be beautifully made following traditional processes with water heated to the correct temperature. During the long balmy summer, you can opt to have your tea chilled.

If you feel like the tea should be washing something down they sell typical oriental, Japonese and Arabic cakes, such as green tea mochi – those cold, pasty, dusty squashy, ovate bean-filled lumps that sound disgusting but taste strangely divine. It’s like a testicle made of cold raw pastry and stuffed with sweet beans, if you’ve never tried one. I don’t think I will be getting a job with the oriental food marketing board any time soon but it tastes better than it sounds and if you liked raw pastry when you were a kid – you might just love it.

Anyway, come to Caj Chai for a clandestine meeting with a would-be lover, or with an enchanting book and you will soon be inveigled into staying for a few hours.

And you can get chai lattes to take away too.

Comfortable and cosy – nice. Sadly lets itself down by not admitting dogs. Shame on you Caj Chai. Sweep loves a nice like down and a bit of cake.

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