BY ELIZABETH WARD
Take a walk down Main Street in Fitchburg, MA, turn on to Putnam, and on to Boulder Drive, and suddenly you’ll find yourself engulfed in an atmosphere of modern indie music and cozy plush seating. Chaibo Café offers a variety of drinks, both café drinks and stout beers, paninis to die for, and appetizers that will make your mouth water. However, what they are best known for are their teas.
The owner, Chris Ioshua, serves up a multitude of different flavored loose leaf teas. If you’re looking for a good kick in the pants to wake you up while up studying late, he recommends the gunpowder green tea. The taste of it is bitter to start, but if you ask for the pot to be brewed with honey, you’re in for a treat of sweet aromas mixed with an inviting, savory taste.
In my tasting of these teas, the recommendation that I would give to a new customer here would be to try the peach pomegranate black tea. The tea is set for steeping for about two minutes in the small porcelain pots which they are served in. As I watched the small sand timer that is brought out with the tea trickle down, I noticed that there were people setting up to play music. Every Friday night, there is an open mic night where local artists are invited to play on the small corner stage at the café.
I watched the sand in the tiny timer slowly spill, I wanted so badly to just take that first sip. The wait was agonizing because the aroma was so inviting, but I had a small rejoicing tune in my mind once the time finally ran out. Personally, I am not the biggest fan of fruit, but when I added some sugar and more honey to the tea, it was like drinking warm cider. In fact, it was sweeter than tea; no bitter taste to be found in it what-so-ever. With tendrils of peach and smaller nodes of pomegranate, I couldn’t help but vie for one of the gelatos to pair with it. Their gelato, once made in house, is now ordered from an outside company and placed in a clear glass refrigerated casing for customers to drool over.
I asked my friend if I should order my own or if she wanted to share, so we decided to share two scoops of the banana caramel swirl gelato. Two heaping scoops were placed inside of an old fashioned glass ice cream cup, with long dessert spoons stemming out from the top. Taking the first bite while the first band took the stage, I found myself in a whirlwind of sweet sensations that had all been inspired by the warm atmosphere Ioshua has created in his restaurant.
Since that night, I have gone back several times to try their entrée paninis and their artichoke dip, with enough salty goodness to satisfy any sodium lover’s taste buds. Even if you’re not one to enjoy the quiet reverie of a warm cup of tea curled up to your lips (whoever doesn’t is most definitely a person I never want to meet), the comfort of good company can always be found in this corner shop hideaway.