to be African, to be Woman, to be Creative, to be Fashionable, to be Intelligible, to be be IMARA

imara by Mshana

This is the canvas and the pages on which I curate and display the life I wish to create for myself and other liminal hu-women like myself. I explore here my passion for fashion, present my literally inspired visual arts, write my visual arts inspired written works, share my linguistics, travel diaries, show my finding comfort in food, and heck, whatever else I feel like... Welcome and enjoy!

Café Aroma

Coffee shop at Puma Energy Petrol Station, Ocean Road

dar es salaam

First week back home in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and best believe it I am already Chai finding!

The heat in Dar es Salaam is unbearable at the moment so we are all in an everlasting search for the shade and/or air conditioning. Coffee shops are a great place to find both a shade and free air conditioning in Dar es Salaam. So, I just had to enter the first one I could find. Close to where I stay is Cafe Aroma. Any trip to a coffee shop is a chance to try a fresh Chai and today was not going to be any different.


Let me preface the Dar es Salaam edition of Chai finding by establishing that asking for a Chai Latte in Dar es Salaam will always be tricky because Chai here -as I established in the introduction to this series- means tea. Therefore, when you ask for a Chai Latte, you will often simply be served a cup of spiced milk tea with foamed milk on top. In many other countries, you find Chai in form of a pre-mixed powder that you spice up your milk with to make a Chai Latte. In Tanzania, where the making of tea is heavily Indian inspired, we make a masala spiced tea and add foam milk to make a Chai Latte. Therefore, in the Dar es Salaam edition of Chai finding, do expect my Chai escapades to include both Masala tea and Chai Lattes since the two are one and the same except for the difference of milk consistency, quantity and density.

That said, I shall now dive deeper into the Cafe Aroma cup of Chai Latte.


Cafe Aroma is a cozy cafe in Upanga East. It is extremely gorgeous and fairly new. It has a modern rustic feel and a wooden aesthetic. You immediately fall in love with the place when you set your eyes on the calligraphic writings that welcome you on the Cafe’s glass windows. It is extremely well lit thanks to these ceiling to floor glasses that make the front doors and windows of the place. With this beautiful aesthetic, I was sure they would have a Chai to match and was more than excited to try it.

Though it looked extremely great, Cafe Aroma’s Chai Latte was unfortunately one of the worst Chais I have ever tasted. The key to a great Chai is great tea base. Cafe Aroma’s tea was an over steeped bland black tea and was therefore bitter to begin with. The bitter tea base did not allow for any of the spices’ flavors to come through in the cup. Beyond the tea’s overpowering taste, I believe there wasn’t actually enough of the spices to begin with. The dash of cinnamon on top of the foam milk was cute but was unfortunately the only spice I could taste clearly. Overall, I was really disappointed, because I had really high hopes for this place. However, Cafe Aroma still is a great cafe with a great ambiance, good food, free rahaSpot WiFi and a cool breeze from it’s air conditioning, please do not let my Chai snobbery inhibit you from visiting the place.

Until I sip again my loves.