Today’s tea is Masala Chai, and it is a black India tea from Arbor Teas. It is also organic and fair trade.
Each company’s chai is a little different. This one has: organic black tea, organic green cardamom, organic cinnamon, organic ginger, organic clove, and organic black pepper. It is suggested that you brew it triple strength (three teaspoons of tea/8oz water, rather than 1) and add steamed milk and honey. Since I am not doing the steamed milk thing, I am brewing it my usual way (two heaping teaspoons for a standard size mug) and adding milk, but no sweetener. I prefer my tea unsweetened.
In the New Tea Lover’s Treasury chai is described as “…a tea-based drink completely adulterated with spices and mixed with overboiled and overcooked milk.” Well. I’m as snobby as the next tea snob, and normally I don’t drink flavored teas, but chai has a special place in my heart. I love the chai that is served in Indian restaurants, but I have never completely warmed to the chai that is served in coffee and tea shops, mostly because it is unbearably sweet. (Pratt, 157)
This Masala chai smells fabulous, and the cardamom hits me as soon as I open the package. The medley of spices is fantastic–you could make sachets with it and put it in your closet. The tea leaves themselves are very short and choppy, almost like crumbs. The scent is delightful, and I don’t want to stop smelling it.
After it is brewed, the spices expand and are even more fragrant because they are warm. The tea is strong with the dancing spices that leave your tongue tingly. The black pepper adds just a touch of heat at the back of the throat that make all the flavors come together. To me the spices make it sweet enough so that no additional sugar is necessary. The spicy aftertaste is what makes this tea so special. Would I add this tea to my rotation? Absolutely! It is perfect for a rainy Fall morning like today.
You can get it here: http://www.arborteas.com/organic-masala-chai-black-tea.html