Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: 52Teas
Crazy? Or genius? You’ll have to be the judge. I’ve taken some smoky gunpowder green tea and blended it with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and freeze-dried pineapple to make a chai-napple gunpowder. Get it? Chai-napple? I kill me.
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Oh, yum, nom, nom!
I generally brew ‘chai’ blends using either a teapot or my Kati tumbler because I find that the spices of a typical chai seem to attach themselves to my Breville tea maker and the scent (and the flavor) stays with the tea maker until I give it a good soak brew in baking soda. I learned this fairly early on with my first tea maker (about four years ago!) and so I changed my approach to brewing chai teas as a result.
For this “Chai-napple” tea, I used my Kati tumbler. I added a heaping bamboo scoop of tea to the basket of the Kati system and then filled the tumbler with 175°F water and let the tea steep for 2 minutes. I generally add a little bit of turbinado (raw) sugar to a chai to bring out the spice, but I found that the pineapple lent a certain sweetness to the cup and it really didn’t need additional sweetener. I guess if you want to add it, it wouldn’t hurt … but try it first!
For the record, the spices do cling to the basket of the Kati too, and I find to rid the tumbler and basket of the spices, I simply sprinkle some baking soda into the cup and basket, and then fill the tumbler with boiling water and let it sit for a while. This does the job!
When I took my first sip of this tea while it was freshly brewed and still rather hot, I could taste the pineapple and the green tea notes very distinctly. I wasn’t tasting a lot of the spices, but the pineapple and green tea flavors were quite strong.
After allowing the tea to cool to a more drinkable temperature, I began to pick up on more of the warm notes of spice. I find that the three spices – cinnamon, cardamom and ginger – are blended in such a way to provide a deliciously warm medley of spiced flavor without tasting too spicy.
The pineapple is the real star of this cup, though. It is sweet and juicy tasting, and I like the way it melds with the spices as well as the sweet, slightly nutty, softly smoky note of the Chinese gunpowder green tea.
And I noticed that the leaves had not yet completely unfurled with the first infusion and they were begging for another infusion. Who am I to refuse? I infused the leaves again, adding an additional 30 seconds of steep time.
With the second infusion, I could really taste the cardamom! The cinnamon and ginger were a little more forward with this infusion as well. I still got a good flavor from both the green tea and the pineapple too. This is a blend you really SHOULD infuse a minimum of two times to get the true “chai-napple” experience!
The pineapple was a little softer in flavor with the second infusion, but I like the balance of flavors better this time around. I can taste each of the components and it becomes a really tasty alternative to the “usual” masala chai! I taste a little bit of ginger’s bite, a cozy, sweet cinnamon flavor and the warm, comforting flavor of cardamom along with the juicy, delicious flavor of pineapple.
The gunpowder green tea is a delightful base because it’s gentle earthiness and understated smoky note offers a compelling contrast to the sweet burst of flavor of the pineapple and the warm notes of spice.
This truly is a unique chai. If you’re one who wants your chai blends to be hot and spicy, this blend might not be for you, because the spices are pretty mellow when compared to some of the spicy chai blends I’ve sampled. But if you’re one who likes something with a mild level of spice and something just a little different (like pineapple!), I recommend giving this blend a try.