Just got the Golden Moon sampler last night, so I’m excited to dig in. After spending most of the week with Den’s subtle greens, I wanted to move to a tea that would smack me in the face with its flavor – hence the choice of Pu-erh Chai. I’d normally drink anything called chai with milk and sugar, but in the interest of unbiased tasting I resolved to do the first half of my little pot without any additives, and then put in the cream and sugar to see how that changed my perception of the flavor.
The first thing to comment on is the generosity of the cardamom – when I opened the packet I counted five fat pods in there. I was a little wary of the “spice oil” in the ingredients list but what the hey, let’s give it a try. I used boiling water and steeped it for four minutes and ended up with a very dark, coffee-colored liquor. Cinnamon is strongly present, and after a few sips I’m willing to bet there’s a good dose of clove oil in there; I’m getting that tingly numbing sensation this substance usually gives me. Cardamom is making an appearance, and there standing in the background is the earthy pu-erh flavor, not nearly as strong as I would have expected. Much more subtle than the pu-erh I’ve had in the past.
Okay, second half of the pot with milk and sugar. Now that’s better! It looks like hot chocolate now and tastes almost as good. If anything though the pu-erh flavor is buried even deeper and mostly shows up as an aftertaste, which makes me wonder: Why would I choose this over regular chai? I don’t yet have a good answer to that…
Score goes up for the flavor, but comes down again because of the “what’s the point?” factor.