Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Teabox
This particular blend has been created using rich Assam tea and exotic Indian spices, including saffron, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger to make an extraordinary cup of chai. The flavor is virile and aroma heady. Savor a cup of this tea inspired by the city of joy – Kolkata.
Learn more about this tea here.
The photo shows a few saffron threads in the Kolkata Street Chai Tea from Teabox, but I didn’t see that many when I measured out the tea into the basket of my Kati tumbler. In fact, I only saw one tiny piece of what might have been a saffron thread when I measured out my heaping bamboo scoop. There could have been more in there, I could have missed a small piece or two, but the picture shows numerous long threads of saffron. In reality, what I have is a fraction of a fraction of one thread.
I do realize that saffron is one of the most expensive spices out there (if not the most expensive) and to add it so liberally to a tea blend would be very costly. Given that they’re selling this blend for just under $10 for 100 grams of the tea, I can see why they need to be thrifty with the saffron threads, but don’t mislead the customers by showing a photograph with many saffron threads when the blend contains less than a fraction of that.
All that aside, this is a very tasty chai. The CTC Assam is very rich and malty. It’s somewhat astringent, but not overly so. It’s not bitter although I do get some bitterness from the saffron. I steeped the tea in near boiling water as per the suggested parameters on the website, and steeped it for only 3 minutes rather than the suggested 4 minutes. The black tea is full flavored and satisfying. It’s a good base for the spices.
I like the combination of spices here. Yes, I can taste the saffron (even a small amount IS effective). As I mentioned before, I get a slight bitter note from the saffron as well as a hint of honey like flavor from it. The honey-esque notes are a wonderful complement to the warm notes of cardamom and ginger, and I love the nutty flavor of the nutmeg in this.
I’m usually quite happy when I find a chai with nutmeg in the blend and of the many different chai blends that I’ve tasted over the years, I must say that this one has the most obvious nutmeg flavor to it! Quite a delight to taste!
I really enjoyed this tea despite my misgivings about the misleading photograph. The chai blend is very flavorful and I do recommend it. But I also would recommend to Teabox that they represent their tea more truthfully in the photograph. If someone buys this based on what they’re seeing in the photograph, they’re going to be disappointed when they open the package to find significantly less saffron than the photo suggests.