Maker Series: Fine & Dandy – Kokako Organic Coffee Roasters

Maker Series: Fine & Dandy


Beyond serving up exceptional specialty coffee at Kokako Commercial Bay it’s important for us to have a great selection of alternative coffee beverages. For us, a quality chai was an obvious menu inclusion, but it had to be special, we wanted everything crafted for the experience. 

We’ve chosen to work with Sarah of Fine & Dandy to supply our chai for Kōkako Commercial Bay, and the result is a beautiful, creamy, aromatic Fresh Chai handmade in small batches from a meticulous recipe that guarantees a consistent chai. We think it’s essential to create a space and experience that could deliver a moment of calm during a busy day. We’ve created a recipe for the perfect chai which you can experience for yourself at Commercial Bay or prepare your own at home; check out the recipe below.

Fine & Dandy Fresh Chai

Proprietor of Fine & Dandy Sarah Munro uses antioxidant-rich black tea leaves combining a blend of warm, nourishing ayurvedic spices, certified organic raw Rata honey and fresh ginger to prepare her Fresh Chai — it is all made by hand and full of magic. Having lived in Melbourne for several years at the time when specialty coffee was taking off Sarah noticed the increase in chai being served that was made from scratch. There were a few brands in Melbourne working hard to disrupt the reputation chai had gained from the venti seven pumps that had become the American standard. Handcrafted chai began popping up in specialty coffee bars across Australia, the UK, and the West Coast of the United States. At the time, Ayurveda —the ancient Hindu system of medicine was not “trendy” or happening in the health world. 

After a stint in Melbourne Sarah spent two years in India and upon returning to Auckland decided to bring authentic chai to New Zealand to create something unique. Fine & Dandy Fresh Chai comes directly from Sarah’s heart and personal experience. Even today in New Zealand chai offerings available for coffee shops are mostly syrup or powder-based. Within specialty coffee chai brewing needed to be “beautiful and theatrical”, notes Sarah, where the barista prepares the beverage in front of you, and it is given the care and attention of coffee. There’s only one way to enjoy a chai, the way it’s been served for centuries in India. As Sarah explains “chai is super ancient!”. Today Sarah works intentionally with carefully sourced ingredients to create an organic artisan product.

Honey is a crucial ingredient of the Fine & Dandy Fresh Chai, teeming with the nutrition of the hive it was important to Sarah that this was also organic. “Organic honey is difficult to source”, Sarah explains. The raw Rata honey is sourced from a forest far from areas of intensive agriculture. Due to pesticide use, a distance of 3km is the requirement to obtain organic certification. Chai tea is best taken when the spice ingredients are ground, and Sarah does this using the traditional method — a mortar and pestle connecting her to the craft. Not wanting any part of the production to have elements of the syrup, specific hand-ground spices that respond well to heat are roasted on the stovetop for a few moments allowing the development of flavour. There is a delicate balance required in producing chai. “Smaller black tea leaves are selected, due to their ability to produce a punchy flavour more quickly” explains Sarah. The tea needs to hold its own against the spices. Sarah is also currently developing a vegan version of her Fresh Chai incorporating nourishing coconut oil and turmeric, crafted specifically to take on the flavours and characteristics found in her original version. 

How to prepare Fine & Dandy Fresh Chai

Use the recipe below to make yours as we will be at Commercial Bay. Enjoy this chai in the morning or afternoon for calm, focused energy. 

– Add 15g of Fresh Chai into a teapot and leave with 90g of boiling water – steep for 1 minute.

– Steam 150g soy or cashew+coconut milk then pour into your teapot and add a ½ teaspoon of honey. Steep for 3 minutes.

– Strain into a cup, enjoy!

If you are yet to experience real chai, visit us once we open at Commercial Bay and one of our baristas will prepare a rich, creamy, and addictively aromatic chai for you. Fine & Dandy Fresh Chai is also available online. 

We’ll also be hosting a series of workshops at Commercial Bay once we are able to open our doors, welcoming Sarah to demonstrate the art of preparing chai. Spaces will be limited, so sign up to our email newsletter or follow us on Instagram to be the first to know!

Images sourced from Fine & Dandy