This morning I ordered a chai at a coffee shop near work and wasn't impressed by the thin, watery taste and uneven spices. It struck me that I've had some really exceptional chais in SF, including the following:
Best in show
Cafe Amici on Montgomery--liquid crack, instantly addicting and meriting a warning from C Everett Koop. A full, rich flavor and perfectly balanced spices. I've had both full fat and non-fat versions and haven't been able to detect the difference. This is rich enough to constitute a meal.
Canteen: I think (can it be?) that they mix their own brew here—I ordered a chai several months ago and was told they had to make it; it came out when our check was ready. A bit less rich and full flavored as Café Amici, but I want less when I'm eating something along with the chai.
Lahore Karahi: Thinner, not as rich, but a nice balance of spices. Free with your order of food.
Tasty Curry: Like Lahore Karahi, thinner, but nicely balanced and a complements the food here. Free with your order of food.
There are too many disappointments to list, so I've included only the good to best versions. Any other recommendations?