Okay, so I thought I was going to try another Yumchaa this morning, but as I was picking through my stash, my gaze fell on this, and I knew that my plans had changed. It might be March, but it’s still snowing here, so while I’d like to be thinking about nice teas for spring and summer, I’m still well into my chai lattes.
I like an adventurous chai, and this is one of my favourites. Assam base, cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and flakes of chilli. They’re all in evidence in each bag. The cardamom pods are particularly huge, and I can definetly pick out the red chilli flakes and some seeds. If something is going to be spicy, I don’t want it to be spicy by halves, so this pleases me immensely.
The scent of chai is one of the things I love most about it, and this one is no exception. The ginger is immediately obvious, as is the creamy sweetness of the vanilla, and the more dessert-like spiciness of the cinnamon. There’s also something very slightly floral about it, and something that’s reminding me a little of curry. Certainly intriguing.
I’m drinking this as a latte this time, so I’ve added a lot of warmed, frothy milk after brewing for about 7 minutes. Notwithstanding, the flavours come out beautifully. I find the vanilla most obvious in the initial sip, I think because the milk highlights the sweet creaminess of it and brings it to the forefront. Next come the cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, and the finally the tounge-tingling chilli in the aftertaste. I like how changeable this tea can be. I know, for example, that this flavour-profile is unique to its creation as a latte. If I were drinking it black, or just as tea with milk, different ingredients would dominate and the whole taste experience would be completely different.
I find this a versatile, adaptable, exciting tea which can ebe brewed to match many (or any!) of my moods. The first time I tried it was with trepidation, but we’ve become firm friends in the intervening years. Chilli Chai, I love you!