Green Tea Chai by Vahdam Teas

Steeped with a heaping tablespoon of leaves at 175 degrees in about 1 cup of water.

This tea was a new experience for me! I’ve tried lots of flavored green teas, but never one where the green tea was a substitute for black tea in a chai blend. As a result of this tea, I’ve realized how different these spices are outside of a conventional chai context and how much I take the black tea base for granted in chai blends!

As it steeps, I can detect a fragrance of spices; it smells like cinnamon and possibly cloves. The tea liquid isn’t very dark. In fact it’s only achieved a pale honeylike color after it’s finished steeping; it’s a little viscous, with nearly invisible flecks (of cinnamon, perhaps?) swimming in it.

The flavor is very different from any chai I’ve ever tried. The spices, instead of melding with a malty black tea flavor to form a rounded flavor profile, are instead mingling with the bright astringent green tea notes (grassy almost, but not much on the floral side that I can detect). This makes for a very focused flavor overall. It’s highly concentrated in the bright and forward flavor notes and not so much rounded out with the deeper tones that a black tea normally imparts to a chai (in my experience). It’s almost bitter, but then again, I may have oversteeped it a bit–I like my chais strong.

With milk, it’s suddenly not very strong at all. It still has spice flavors, but I’m really missing the black tea base here. And I know you aren’t really “supposed” to put milk in green tea, but that’s what I normally do with chai so I figured why not?

So to sum up, don’t expect this to taste like a more conventional chai! Instead, expect a bright, spicy, focused flavor that’s intended to be enjoyed alone or with a little sweetener; I recommend trying it without milk. In fact, I bet this would make a great iced tea!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Vahdam Teas
Description

A superior blend of fresh green tea from Darjeeling blended with choicest Indian spices like Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove & Black Peppercorns. Discover a smooth fulfilling aroma of fresh greens with delicious undertones of raw spices in every sip. The liquor is bright green with an energizing aroma. A unique chai tea which can be served with or without milk.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Travel the World with #SirStuartBlackAndGreen from #Kent&Sussex Tea Co.

Sometimes I try out unflavored teas with one kind of leaf, and a flavor that all about the purity of the process.  And sometimes I try out teas that are exactly the opposite– just like today’s blend, Sir Stuart Black and Green.

This tea has both black and green tea leaves, three types of flower petals, and rich spices like cardamom, fennel and ginger.  Visually, this blend is full of diverse colors and shapes, and the smell of the dry leaf is luscious and complex.  It smells like someone lit floral incense in a kitchen, where other smells like fennel or orange peel are being mixed together as someone starts cooking.

The flowers are most prominent in the scent of the tea, with bergamot and sweet orange dominating the taste.  The flavors of the tea leaves themselves are minimal: no grassy greens and no bitter blacks.  Instead, the varied ingredients list really dominates the flavor spotlight.

As I drank the tea, more of the unexpected herbs like fennel or cardamom popped up in the taste and smell, though the ginger was slow in arriving.  I finally got some of my favorite buzzy, spicy mouthful from the ginger after I let the teabag steep beyond the recommending steep time.  Overall the blend is sweet without being cloying, and the bright citrus lingers on the tongue without being to tart.
According to Tea & Coffee, this blend is named after the well-travel Sir Stuart Cleary of Cranbrookshire.  With all the varied treasures and eye-catching beauties hidden within this tea blend, it feels like a bounty gathered from exploring the reaches of the world.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Green
Where to Buy: Kent & Sussex Tea Co.
Description:

Sir Stuart a fine Black Tea and Green Tea. A flavoured Tea with hints of Bergamot and Orange. Named after the explorer Sir Stuart Cleary of Cranbrookshire following a trip to the Orient. A beautiful looking loose leaf tea with magical flavours when brewed. A Fruity aroma combined with Spicy Ginger and Fennel create something special and fresh tasting. Ingredients Black Tea, Green Tea, Ginger pieces, Fennel, Cardamom seeds, Natural flavouring, Rose petals and Cornflower blossoms.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Don Quixotea by Novelteas

I steeped one very heaping teaspoon of dry leaves in one cup of 210 degree water for about 4.5 minutes. (I decided to be generous with the amount of leaves I put in, probably because it just smelled so amazing and I was in the mood for something strong.) I could see whole cloves and bits of cinnamon bark in the dry leaves of this tea–lots of them.

I always enjoy trying out new chai blends and seeing which spices come to the front and how the chosen spices blend together and so on. This one seems to be heavy on the spice bits and relatively light on the black tea bits, and the spices include plenty of cinnamon and ginger.

After steeping: Cinnamon does seem to be a prominent flavor, going by the smell of the steeped tea. It’s remarkably light in color for a chai, with a sweet rich smell (not just spicy but deeper and sweeter) and has an orangey tint also.

First sip: As foreshadowed by the scent, some of the spices are sweet! The sweet smoothness is what I notice first. The spiciness isn’t overwhelming and doesn’t hit until the sip reaches the back of the mouth. I think I’m mostly tasting clove, cinnamon, and ginger. (There’s pepper in the blend too but not too much.)

With milk: as expected, this delivers a much more well-rounded cup. It’s still not very spicy though. My personal preference would be to steep this one much stronger next time as I consider it fairly mild when steeped to these specs. And I’d probably steep it in milk instead of steeping it first and then adding milk.

Overall, there’s great flavor here, and as a bonus you don’t have to add sugar because it’s so sweet already.  Plus, it’s organic as well.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  NovelTeas
Description

Join book-lovers and tea-lovers alike and take up your arms to a cup of our traditional organic chai spices –  red cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, and the root of ginger.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Orange Cardamom Black Tea from Aftelier Perfumes

I didn’t have much information on this tea going into my first cup, so I was surprised to see these black tea leaves unfurl into a deep, dark, red brew.  This tea almost seems like a pu erh rather than an astringent black tea.  The base is earthy, almost smoky, and much richer and more savory that I expected.

Aftelier Perfumes describes the tea as “red tea rolled into pearls and roasted,” which makes sense with the musky, toasted notes I tasted.
The orange and cardamom are minimal, the most noticeable on the back of each sip.  There’s something sweet and herbaceous in this blend, it’s not a full-on smoky black tea, but the brightness is slightly subdued and more noticeable in the mouthfeel than the flavoring.

This tea was unexpected, but very enjoyable.  I was waiting for the astringent bite of orange, or the baked-good sweetness of cardamom, and instead tasted a complex, smooth, and earthy tea.  This makes me curious to check out other flavors Aftelier Perfumes has to offer!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Aftelier Perfumes
Description:

This delicious full-bodied tea is flavored with Aftelier Chef’s Essences: the perfect marriage of mouth-watering blood orange and the spicy warmth of cardamom. Organic Red Pearls Black Tea, a rare tea from Fujian, is fully-oxidized Mao Feng tea leaves that have been rolled into small black pearls. They are then pan-fired where they develop a burnished sheen, toasty caramel-like aroma, and spicy, assertive — yet wonderfully sweet — flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sensiblyscript’s Take on Lapsang Chai by Bluebird Tea Company. . . .

Steeping specs: One teaspoon at 212 degrees for 4 minutes in 1 cup of water.

This was an exciting idea for a tea. I’ve tried actual lapsang souchong once and couldn’t get through my mugful (maybe it was a bad idea to add milk, but I couldn’t stand it without milk either so I figured it couldn’t hurt anything). It’s not because I don’t like smoky flavors, either. I love smoked meat (I mean, BACON, right?), and I love campfires although it’s true I don’t eat them. But combining smoky tea with other strong spices that I know I like sounds like a very clever idea. I only wish I’d had it. In fact, I think I might have the rest of that sample packet of Lapsang somewhere; maybe I should go experiment with mixing it with various chais.

But I digress. . . .

After steeping for four minutes I took a good whiff–it smells tantalizingly smoky. This could be either a good thing or a problem, as mentioned above. The color is amber-ish–on the light side for a chai, I think (and I do have the unfortunate tendency to judge my tea’s strength by its color! I’ve been known to waaaaay over-steep my tea just because it didn’t look dark enough to me). A few crumbs of leaf have escaped my basket, so maybe I’ll use the finer mesh next time I steep this. What’s really exciting is that although the smell is smoky, I can smell spices too! Cinnamon, ginger, and possibly clove, I think.

First taste: it’s definitely not tasting like liquid smoke here, which is good! The flavor combo is hard to describe, though. The smoky tang and the warmth from the spices hit me at approximately the same time with each sip, which means it really has a kick! It’s not a super spicy chai, though, so if you’re sensitive to spice that probably won’t be a problem (depending on just how sensitive you are, of course. Some people manage to complain of spiciness in foods that taste basically bland to me).

The smokiness combines especially well with the ginger notes for some reason. Does ginger have a smoky component normally? I don’t know. I just know that this tastes really, really good. The smoke lingers a bit after each sip, but like I said, it’s not overpowering.

I also tried this tea with milk and sugar and found it still enjoyable, although less unique. That could just be due to the fact that I have a tendency to put milk and sugar in all my tea, though the milk does seem to muffle the brightness of the spice notes a bit too.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.
Description

We like to do things a bit differently at Bluebird. Our latest infusion is a thoughtful blend of Lapsang Souchong, malty Assam + aromatic masala chai spices. A BREWtiful blend of tea + culture alike!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!