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“Disappointed with a cafe”
Review of Hot Chai Cafe

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Hot Chai Cafe
Ranked #124 of 323 Restaurants in Nanaimo
Cuisines: Asian
Description: Located in Hawthorn Corner at the Wakesiah Ave, 2nd Street and Jingle Pot Rd
Restaurant details
Description: Located in Hawthorn Corner at the Wakesiah Ave, 2nd Street and Jingle Pot Rd
Reviewed November 15, 2013

My friend and I, both students, had just dropped another friend off at Departure Bay. I suggested stopping for a coffee at a certain popular fast-food coffee chain and my friend suggested we go to a better coffee shop... and by this, she obviously meant a coffee shop that is not part of a corporate chain. Fair enough.

I suggested Hot Chai as it was on our way back to the University and, despite being close to my house, I had never been there.

I was looking for quantity over quality in my beverage this morning so, I ordered the 12 oz drip-coffee and my friend ordered a small chai latte (initially she was excited by the name of the cafe as she was looking to enjoy a chai latte)... Requested it to be made with almond beverage... The barista (who for various reasons, I believe to also be an owner or part-owner) was unsure if they had almond beverage but, upon discovering they did, was happy to make the chai latte with it.

The almond beverage was an extra $.69... No biggie but, the total came to $7.00... for a small drip-coffee (generally the most inexpensive beverage) and a small chai latte (premium beverage, with an add-on)... In my head, I felt like $7.00 was a lot for the two drinks but, it was our first time there, again... No biggie. Dropped the appropriate amount of change in the tip jar and we're sweet.

Without going into major details, I just thought the overall demeanour of the barista wasn't that good. We may have been too chipper and bubbly for 11 AM and the dude might of gotten out of the wrong side of bed but, c'mon... I've worked service industry, if someone is nice to you, be nice back and then carry on. We didn't have any extravagent requests... I think we were "good" customers. I had introduced myself along the lines of "Hey, I've lived in the area for a while now and I'm really excited to try your cafe out because I've been meaning to and you're so close!" i.e. Hey, you got a potential regular customer here who's really easy to please.

So we sit and enjoy our drinks... drip-coffee is drip-coffee... My friend wasn't overly stoked on her chai latte but I'm willing to pass that off as a matter of preference. I finished my coffee and went to for a refill... I asked my friend "How much do you think he'll charge for a refill?"... I really wasn't sure what the answer would be, usually coffee shops offer a discounted rate on refills or to people who bring their own travel mug... Even though I had asked for the coffee to stay, I had received a take-out cup. Here's the kicker... When I asked about a refill, the man thought for a long time to himself: "We don't do refills."... My response "Oh, I was just looking for a bit more coffee, you guys don't anything like that, a refill for a couple dollars or?".... "No".

Whatttt? I'm not here to tell someone how to run their business but in business 101, if you have a product with a huge markup (coffee), it's an easy customer boost... They weren't even busy... There was no humouring me, it was a flat-out "no".

At no point was I ever rude or irate. I'm a student in my twenties that works in the service industry... I'm the type that, even when I receive bad service at a restaurant, I usually give the server the benefit of the doubt, and assume they're having a bad day, and still leave a GOOD gratuity (I'll also note that I'm by no means, an affluent individual).

I truly am sorry Hot Chai. I was really disappointed and I don't think I can simply write this off as you having a bad day. I won't be returning and I will probably vocalize my dissatisfaction to other people who utilize local coffee shops.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank blkn_btbx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3 - 5 of 5 reviews

Reviewed October 7, 2013 via mobile

Been here a few times in the past years, always nice and quiet with great food! Short walk from nearby schools and the university. Worth stopping by!

1  Thank Allan W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2011

This looks like a coffee shop but the food is excellent. Great place for lunch.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
3  Thank MickeyLyon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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