Classic Masala Chai from Chai Safari. . . .

As a chai tea lover, I’m surprised I haven’t run into more Chai Safari teas in my experience.  Needless to say, I was excited to brew up a cup of spicy tea and try a new flavor.

I took one look at the dry leaf of this tea and immediately wanted to look up the ingredients.  The black tea leaves are processed into small pellets, which is typical for some types of chai, but I was confused when I saw the green tulsi leaves mixed in.  It’s not everyday that you see green ingredients in a chai tea, it’s usually lots of golden ginger and warm, brown cinnamon. Classic Masala Chai blend from Chai Safari has many of the classic chai staples like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon, but it mixes in some more surprising ingredients like black pepper, tulsi (holy basil), and saffron.

Brewed this is everything you would expect from a chai tea: bold and warming, with the spice-cookie flavors of ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom.  I love the idea of the peppercorns in my teas, but it is hard to pick out the pepper flavor in this brew. Maybe some of the heat I associated with the ginger is actually from the black pepper.

The piece that sets this chai appart is the inclusion of tulsi and saffron.  These herbs add just a hint of floral sweetness in the scent and aftertaste. These refined flavors are an unexpected compliment to the bolder spices and made me realize that there is more to chai than ginger and cinnamon alone.

I will have to adventure into Chai Safari again and check out more unexpected chai tea flavors!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Chai Safari
Description: The Classic Masala Chai is India’s most popular chai. India’s own home grown recipe and consumed as a staple beverage across the country. This blend of exotic spices is the experience that will take you for a trip on this journey. The chai has dominant flavours of dried ginger and cardamom pods with a touch of black pepper’s spicy aftertaste. The sweet undenotes are delivered by cinnamon, Tulsi and a pinch of Saffron.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chai Houjicha from 52Teas. . . .

I like me a mellow chai. I like roasted green teas. And I often enjoy 52teas’ blends. So I was very pleased to receive a generous taster pouch sample of this blend. It has not disappointed!

The dry leaf smells of clove, cinnamon, and a hint of pepper. Brewed up, it smells of clove and cinnamon. The dominant flavor is the roastiness of the hojicha, with a hint of cinnamon and the lingering bite of clove. Adding rice milk really makes this dreamy. It adds a sweetness and touch of creaminess that just perfectly complements the mellow spices, highlights the roasted note, and smooths out the clove. I tried adding honey for the sake of being comprehensive, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. This blend consistently delivers a solid second steep. I have also found that the caffeine kick here seems to be pretty mild, so I can have it later in the day than most other caffeinated teas. Overall, this is a mild but flavorful chai that is perfect for a chilly afternoon.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  52Teas
Description

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Country Chai Spice from The Cozy Leaf. . . .

Country Chai Spice from The Cozy Leaf already made me feel warm and relaxed just from the name.  Makes me think of being under a quilt out at a cabin, maybe beside a warm fire. Beyond the name, this tea had a surprisingly pleasant long list of spices in its ingredients list.  Cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom, I expect, but not all chai teas comes with cloves and anise, and the never seem to come with fennel. What a lovely change of pace.

Brewed, this is a sweeter chai, thanks to a hearty serving of anise and cinnamon.  The anise isn’t strong enough to make this a black jelly bean chai, but it does add its token throat-soothing, candy-like properties.

Much to my surprise, the ginger and clove take a back seat in this tea, subtle enough that you might miss them if you’re not paying attention.  The fennel and cardamom are gentle and earthy, and add a much needed almost-savory pairing to the anise and cinnamon.

Just when I’ve thought that I’ve tried every chai tea I can think of, I find something new.   I look forward to getting cozy with another cup of Country Chai Spice from the Cozy Leaf sometime soon.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The Cozy Leaf
Description:

Full-bodied black tea chai made with real chai spices of rich cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, and sweet anise and clove for a healthy and delicious treat.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Full Moon Chai from Plum Deluxe. . . .

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, tea-friends– it takes a lot for a chai to impress me. Now, it also takes a lot for a chai to disappoint me– I find them to be the workhorse of my tea cabinet. Usually, most chais are pretty good: spicy, sweet, bold and earthy. Pretty good, no matter what you throw in there. But for a chai to be REALLY special? It has to go above and beyond.

If you know my love for Plum Deluxe’s offerings, you know where this is going– this one went above and beyond. The addition of vanilla butternut extract (which, hello– am I the only one in the world who didn’t know that “vanilla butternut” was a thing? because it’s delicious.) takes the perfectly-blended spices to the next level of creaminess– almost to the point where this chai could do perfectly well on its own, sans cream or sugar, and still knock it out of the park.

If you often find yourself just satisfied (rather than blown away) by a chai like myself, I’d highly recommend this one, friends. Perfect for cozying up on a chilly winter afternoon!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe
Description

Full Moon Chai was one of our original blends, now back with even more creative energy.  We’ve taken our classic, signature masala chai and added a splash of vanilla butternut extract. This simple twist adds a depth, warmth, and vibrancy to your traditional chai, and also gives the flavor a hint of sweetness and creaminess without having to add lots of sugar or milk (though we do like this blend prepared as a traditional masala chai or chai latte).

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Muskoka Chai from Pluck Teas. . . . .

It’s a gloomy day in the city. Rain all day keeping everything wet. High winds keeping everyone cold. The threat of snow looming. Perfect day for snuggling up in bed with a good book and a hot cup of tea. Alas, I had to get my butt to work so I sat in traffic and and then under the florescent lights of the office for what felt like forever. When I finally returned home, I wanted something special and a chai latte just seemed right. I mean, when done properly, a good tea latte is like a nice hug for your tastebuds.

This particular chai is a little bit different. Sure it has the typical cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and ginger. It also has some sneaky star anise which I wasn’t pleased about and a dash of black pepper which I think I am okay with. However, among all those traditional chai elements, Pluck stuck in a little bit of Canadian goodness by adding Muskoka cranberries to the mix. Like I said, I wanted something special and in theory this fit the bill.

I brewed this up in water, and topped it off with frothed skim milk and the end result is nice. I think this would have done better done the non-lazy way of steeping the tea in the milk on the stove, low and slow to really let the flavors sink in or even with a richer milk (skim can get a bit watery in lattes). As it is now, it is a little harsh. You expect creaminess but the tea really takes over. The ginger is strong in flavor, though not in spice, and the cardamom lurks somewhere in the middle. The star anise is nowhere to be found, which makes me happy, but if I am being honest, the cranberry is missing too and that is the whole reason I was drawn to this tea in the first place. One nice element is actually the pepper. I find at times it jumps out and really makes the other flavors, like that of the cinnamon, cloves, and other chai spices pop.

It’s an alright chai and I can see it doing well in the right conditions. However, it fails to deliver on the one ingredient that is supposed to make this stand out and that makes this tea disappointing for me. I shouldn’t have to search for the very ingredient this is named for.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:
Where to Buy:  Pluck Teas
Description

Dried Muskoka cranberries add an unexpected twist to this premium traditional Chai made with an organic Assam black tea, that also features whole cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!