- Sarah Franks
One of Dayton’s newest residents is shaking up the Chai latte scene in coffee shops around the area, and she’s just getting started.
Kendra Kallhoff moved to Dayton with her husband, Anthony, for his work in the Air Force after graduating from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania in May 2017.
Shortly after moving to the Gem City, Kallhoff quickly found herself helping a friend develop a chai recipe for Xenia’s newest coffee stop, the Coffee Hub. Turns out, she had quite the knack for dreaming up different combinations of spices, brown sugar and honey to make one memorable mug.
“I was often disappointed with the chais I would get from cafes,” Kallhoff said. “It was often just like a sweet cinnamon milk. It’s not something that has a lot of depth or complexity; it’s just sort of one note and it’s yummy. It does the job but there’s not a lot of creativity out there.”
An opportunity to work at Ghostlight Coffee gave Kallhoff the push to take her chai qualms into her own hands. In late 2017, the Ghostlight barista started her very own business, Nectarie Chai, and production was underway in a fully functioning licensed kitchen.
Only a month and a half later, her concentrate products are now featured in three decadent menu options at Ghostlight — the Fireside Chai, the Golden Chai and the Black Market Chai. And although her business is still very young, Kallhoff is determined to see Nectarie spicing things up in coffee shops all around.
“I think it would be cool to work with a store and let them tell me, ‘Hey our customers love our vanilla!’ So OK, let’s do like a vanilla cardamom,” Kallhoff said. “Let’s put something together that works for your demographic but is also unique and doesn’t just settle.”
As for a long-term business plan, Kallhoff said Nectarie Chai needs to be able to move around and “survive the Air Force,” as her husband could be moving around for the military. For now, however, she’s pulling inspiration from her new roots in Dayton.
“Dayton’s been awesome. I grew up kind of in the Philly area, never really had it super great. My mom was a single mom and after putting myself through school, I’ve always just been kind of chugging along and trying to carve out my piece of everything, and I feel like Dayton is very much the same way … Around here there are so many hard-working people, so many creative people who are really just trying their best to find their place … that feeling of growth is really inspiring to me.”