Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: M&K’s Tea Company on Etsy
Could it be? A perfectly balanced chai tea? Yes, we know chai means tea and we are saying tea tea. But we like tea tea. Anyway. 9 Spice Chai is a smooth, deep, and complex black tea with just enough spiced flavor to penetrate the Indian and Sri Lankan black teas. Finally, a cup of chai that isn’t literally a cup of cloves or a cup of cinnamon nutmeg! Rejoice! This blend is part of the Original 20 M&K’s Blends.
Learn more about this tea here.
If you’ve read many of my reviews, you know by now that I love a good chai! So, I looked forward to trying this 9 Spice Chai from M&K’s Tea Company. After reading the description, it would seem that M&K’s is promising me a good chai here, so I am eagerly anticipating that!
And I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the humor in M&K’s description. I know that ‘Chai’ means tea and when I say “Chai,” I am more often than not – 99 times out of 100 – referring to a spiced tea blend. But I also often find myself worrying about those purists out there that might read one of my post titles that say “chai tea” and they’re snickering about me saying “tea tea.” I like that M&K’s addresses this “confusing” subject with humor. Thank you.
Anyway … let’s move on to the chai tea that sits in front of me, tempting me with it’s lovely aroma. It smells warm and spicy, like the kitchen during the holidays when there are lots of tasty things being baked.
Especially when I was a kid in my gramma’s kitchen … not so much now because if tasty things were being baked in the kitchen, that would mean that I was baking them and doing all the work. Things smell a lot better when I’m not the one doing the work. I think that’s why the childhood memories of pies, cakes, cookies and other yummies “smelled” so much better than when I make those things.
I’m just full of tangent today, aren’t I?
As I was saying, this chai smells good. It has a lovely, warmly spiced fragrance. And, I’m happy to say that it tastes as good as it smells! The spices are nicely balanced (as promised in the above description), I taste gentle notes of cinnamon and cardamom and clove. Hints of nutmeg and vanilla. The pepper and ginger are zesty. The allspice and coriander round out the flavors. The spices have been carefully considered here to create a pleasing, round flavor that warms you from the inside out without coming across as too spicy.
It has a flavor that is reminiscent of a homemade spice cookie. It isn’t too strongly spiced – but it isn’t subtle either. It’s somewhere in between a very strong, spicy chai and a more softly spiced chai. The spices aren’t competing with one another and there isn’t one spice that overpowers the others. This isn’t all about the cinnamon or ginger or clove. I get a little bit of each spice in each sip and that’s what I mean by a nice balance of spice.
The black tea base is a blend of Ceylon and Assam, and these two teas provide a solid background of flavor. It’s robust and holds its own against the strong spices so that I’m not just tasting spices in each sip, I’m also tasting tea. The teas don’t taste bitter but there is some dryness toward the tail – a slightly astringent sensation – but it isn’t unpleasant. I like the way the dryness allows the spice notes (a contrast between spicy and sweet) to come through in the aftertaste.
I really am enjoying this chai. I think if I’m to offer any kind of criticism about it at all, it would be that I think I’d like just a tad more vanilla to this. The vanilla here is rather subdued, perhaps because it’s in the presence of so many other spices but I think I’d like to experience a little more of the sweet, creamy notes of vanilla here. A little more vanilla and you wouldn’t need to add dairy to make this a latte – it would be like a latte in a cup without the dairy!