Leaf Type: Fruit/Herbal Tisane
Where to Buy: Chai Diaries
The first thing you’ll notice about this holiday blend is the color: a vibrant amaranth red that grabs you by the lapels and demands your attention. Then the aroma: enticing vanilla, sophisticated orange peel, hints of rose and lemon all tangle for a share of the stage in this bold elixir. Finally, the first divine sip.
Learn more about this tisane here.
I have to disagree with the above description … the first thing I noticed about this Blood Orange Tisane from Chai Diaries is not the color. What I noticed is that this is not a one with an overload of hibiscus! Yes, there is hibiscus in it, but, after steeping for six minutes, the tisane is not heavy, thick or syrupy the way a tisane with too much hibiscus would be.
The fact that the hibiscus is not overdone gets bonus points from this reviewer … because as you are probably aware (if you’ve read very many of my tisane reviews!) I don’t like hibiscus! In small amounts, hibiscus can be beneficial to a tisane. It adds a little bit of body and color to the brewed cup, as well as a distinct flavor – tartness! – not to mention significant health benefits. But too much hibiscus can mean a very tart, syrup-like thickness to the brewed tisane. Not very appealing, at least, not to me!
This tisane, on the other hand, is very appealing because the hibiscus is done the right way … as are the other components to this tisane. It is sweet with enough tartness to keep it interesting. The vanilla in this adds a very enjoyable creamy note to the cup, tasting a bit like a one of those creamsicle frozen treats!
While it is good served hot, I found that I preferred it iced! I recommend brewing it stronger when you want this one iced, because the flavor softens a bit as it cools. And brewing it stronger means adding more dry leaf to the teapot … not steeping it longer. Keep the steep time to 5 – 7 minutes to minimize the hibiscus’s impact on the final product.
This is sweet enough that it doesn’t need any sweetener – and this would be a fantastic alternative to overly sugared sodas for the kids (and adults!) in the summer!
Leaf Type: Black Tea
Where to Buy: Chai Diaries
This stunning blend of black tea, ginger, cinnamon, green cardamom, and other natural flavors is Bombay at its finest, an alpha city with an alpha palette. Only now, you can brew it for yourself in the quiet dim of your kitchen.
Learn more about this chai here.
As you’re probably well aware by now, I love a good chai! And this Bombay Masala Chai from Chai Diaries is really, really good! And the most surprising thing about that is that it’s in a sachet! That’s right … I found a really, really good bagged chai!
I don’t often get excited over a sacheted tea of any type, but, I like the idea of a a sacheted chai because … as I’ve often lamented about in the past, when brewing chai “stovetop” style – simmering the tea leaves in a pan of milk or a combination of milk and water – it results in a mess. Sure, the flavor is better when the chai is prepared stovetop, but, it’s so rarely worth the mess that I’d have to clean up to brew chai stovetop. But, with a sacheted chai … this cuts the cleanup considerably! This will make it EASY to brew chai stovetop, if so desired!
For the purposes of this review, however, I didn’t steep it stovetop. I did steep it in water, extra strong – I used two silky pyramid sachets instead of one – so that I could make a latte out of it, but if you want to drink it straight, just use one sachet. Since I was in the mood for a creamy, rich chai latte, I grabbed two sachets. And the result is YUMMY!
The black tea is not an assertive black tea, but it is not what I’d call “mellow” either. It manages to stand its own. It’s strong and flavorful and offers a nice base for the masala spices. The cinnamon is the strongest spice I notice, but it isn’t really a spicy-hot cinnamon (like red hots) or even a “sweet” cinnamon … it’s somewhere in between … or perhaps more accurately, it’s a little of both. It’s like someone took a spicy-hot cinnamon and mixed it with a sweet cinnamon, and the result is a complex cinnamon note that is rich and really delicious.
The ginger pops out around mid-sip, and since I did take a sip of the chai before I added the steamed milk, I will say that the ginger was much more prominent prior to adding milk. The milk softens the peppery kick of the ginger a tad. But, it is still there … just not quite as bold. The cardamom adds a nice, exotic sweetness and warmth to the cup, and I love the vanilla … in fact, the vanilla may be my favorite part here, because when combined with the creaminess of the milk … it becomes a very decadent treat! Almost like dessert! So good!
As far as “heat” goes, I’d rate this a medium heat chai. It’s not super spicy (although it is spicier when you don’t add milk, and you don’t really need to with the vanilla notes which add a nice dimension of creaminess to the non-latte version of this chai), but it’s not what I’d call a mild chai either. It’s got some heat to it, and it is very well-spiced … warm but not too hot.
A very pleasant chai … one I look forward to revisiting soon!