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Selling Chai at a Farmers Market Answered

Hi everyone,

I have some very good connections to be able to sell at a few local farmers markets, and I had the idea to sell chai here.  I love making and drinking it, but in my city, you can't buy a good cup of chai anywhere.  It's all from a mix which tastes like garbage to me.

Since we don't have any chai vendors, I have no idea what would be needed to sell chai on a large scale.

I was wondering if anyone on the forum has seen a chai vendor in a market or on the street before, and what their setup is like?  If you had a picture, I would be indebted.



The chai is pre-made, yes?

In that case, you could use a large boiler ("burco boiler") - at our Cub camps, we have one that runs off a propane bottle, and it keeps us supplied with hot water for coffee all weekend.

They don't just have to be used to boil water, you can fill them with other hot liquids as well (the classic British use is to boil up several gallons of strong milky tea and then feed it the troops).

I think you need to check into your city's regulations for food vendors first. Hot beverages may put it into a different class of rules where you might need a food handlers certificate for prepared foods. Vendor permits and selling licenses for that kind of product are pretty complex. In NYC, there are weird rules to limit competition and regulate where you can set up. In the suburbs, they had some news about kids being busted for running a charity lemonade stand. If you get past that hurdle, you need to figure out how to keep hot water on the boil all day and provide that in a sanitary environment per health laws. The hot coffee/tea you can get from street vendors here are only from inspected food trucks or carts. Good luck.

Thanks, I'll look into that stuff. I think it's a bit easier here in Calgary and my friends have said they'd be happy to let me use their connections since they have been in farmers markets and festivals for 15 years.

I'm mainly curious about the equipment that's used. I'm thinking that I could make an electric or gas one, but then I'd probably have to have equipment that's CSA approved. However, as long as I get an electrician or pipe fitter to sign off on the (electrical) equipment, that's good enough too.

Browse through restaurant supply stores online or food cart manufacturers to see what they use. Industrial type stuff, although maybe just a hot water boiler are probably 10x more expensive. You still need supplies for the covered takeaway cups and paper serving trays/bags just like at the coffee houses.