When Sam Khaute first arrived in Portland from India, he couldn’t find a job. After months of searching, a fellow immigrant who owned a coffee shop gave him an offer. "It was the best thing for me," says Sam, co-founder of Diaspora Coffee & Chai. "I was able to converse freely—it gave me confidence to speak with people every day."
Sam quickly became obsessed with coffee and Portland’s bean culture. "Coffee was a newfound love," he says. "Chai was not a fascinating thing for me. I grew up drinking and making it every day. In India, the first thing we do in the morning is make fresh chai. We have 4 to 5 visitors a day and you make each a fresh pot. I didn't think it was special."
One day, Sam's boss asked if he knew how to make chai. His response? "Heck yeah!" Although he was fascinated by coffee, he made his chai and people quickly became obsessed. Soon a friend asked to start carrying Sam’s chai in his shop.
Sam didn't realize what made his chai so special. Beyond using his signature blend of spices, he now makes it fresh by the small batch for his company Diaspora Coffee & Chai (he hasn't fully kicked his newfound coffee love—he roasts beans). "Most chais are put on the shelf for months."
We're convinced it's the best chai on the planet. Taste it in this month’s Chai Spiced Eggnog (v) flavor and we're sure you will, too.
These days, Sam is setting out to create a coffee shop for Diaspora, where he can train refugees and immigrants who don’t have work experience in the U.S. Says Sam: "I want to create a safe space where they can gain real-world experience."