Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: 52Teas
I have a confession to make. Early on in my tea career, I did not make my own chai. I just didn’t feel confident enough that I wouldn’t mess it up. Well, I have been making our own chai for a few months now and experimenting with a few things. And I received this message from one of our customers via Facebook:
“I’m dying for a powerful traditional chai blend black tea with all the works – no frills with chocolate or vanilla. Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, anise seed. I need it potent in its flavor. This is not Grandma’s tea. I want an Indian man from India to drink it and when he closes his eyes to be as though transported to his childhood kitchen.”
Well, I have accepted the challenge, and here is the result. We started with a hearty blend of CTC Assam teas (used in our RadioactiviTEA [I was going to call this RadioactiviTEA Chai, but given the recent happenings in Japan, I was afraid this might not sound so appealing]) and freshly minced spices including cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, star anise, clove and black peppercorns. I ran all of the spices through a coffee/spice grinder so they would mingle better with the ctc tea (and to release all of their goodnesss), and I think my office is going to smell like chai for months now (not that I am complaining).
This is the boldest chai you will find anywhere. Spicy, malty, DELICIOUS. You do NOT want to miss out on this.
This blend looks different from a typical 52Teas blend – which is usually large chunks of fruit, spice, and/or flower tossed amongst the tea leaves. This, however, is a very finely ground blend of black tea and spice. So finely ground that I wouldn’t recommend putting this in a mesh ball or other similar infuser basket as it will sift through the mesh. I used my smart tea brewer to steep this, and while it did dispense rather slowly (the fine grind of the tea sort of “clogged” up the nylon mesh that strains the tea), at least there are no bits of tea leaf in my cup.
And this is indeed BOLD! Very strong and stout – this tea has GUSTO! Even if steamed milk is added to make a latte, the bold flavor of the tea and spice are not muted by the addition. (A sign of a very well-blended chai, in my opinion)
The spices are nicely balanced as well. While the ginger and cinnamon are just a little stronger than the other spices, they harmonize well, and no one spice attempts to aggressively overthrow the cup.
I do recommend sweetening it with some honey 0r some turbinado sugar to enhance the spices. The molasses in the turbinado sugar adds an especially nice “homey” kind of feel to the cup.
Overall, this is a wonderful cup of chai and a splash of steamed milk will turn this into a delicious chai latte. For something extra special, try pairing this tea with these Ginger Snapdragons from Liz Lovely! AMAZING!