It wasn’t something I planned on, but over the last few weeks I’ve grown a taste for Chai tea (or if you’re hip, just Chai). To those who sip lattes from their faux Parisian café of choice, this may seem like irrelevant information. But to serious coffee drinkers like myself switching over to Chai is not only an act of betrayal, it’s downright blasphemous.

My love of coffee goes back to my first nine-to-five job. When you work in an office, there’s just not much to do but ingest copious amounts of caffeine.

And boy was I a champ. I was up to five cups a day before the office manager scolded me.

“Are you drinking all the Folgers?” she asked.

“Of course not,” I replied. “Only Maxwell House for me.”

I then pointed to my chest, just to eliminate all confusion. She notified me via e-mail that I was banned from the break room. How noble of her.

Years later, and by that I mean a few weeks ago, I grew tired of the same old coffee drink. It was a friend who turned me on to Chai.

“Why not try this?” he said, and handed me his drink.

I took a sip and immediately fell in love. Over the years, I grew accustomed to dumping pounds of sweetener into my coffee, just to make it edible. Here was a drink that tasted good all on its own.

When I found out it was Chai, I tried to replicate the drink at home. After several failed attempts, I realized it required the careful expertise of a minimum wage barista.

In all my years as a coffee drinker, I never sat alone at Starbucks and sipped my drink amid strangers. But here I am at Starbucks, surrounded by strangers, and quietly sipping Chai.