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I wasn’t expecting much before I opened this- I’m usually not a fan of chai and only purchased this as part of a sample pack. I gained some hope, however, as the strong cinnamon smell, the generous helping of whole cloves, and the pieces of orange peel made me think this was going to be more of a Christmas tea than a chai. It seems to be blended from at least two different kinds of tea- a slightly twisted black tea and what looks like a knot-shaped green tea. The blend also contains something that looks like a tiny peppercorn- biting down on one, I’m still not sure what it is.

The sampler this tea is a part of did not come with any kind of brewing instructions. Because the blend may be made of both black and green teas, I wasn’t entirely sure whether to give it a cooler green tea brew, or a hotter water temperature that would coax the most from the cloves. It strikes me that this is a tea that would offer drastically different flavors at different temperatures. I ended up going with a cooler temperature because I don’t actually enjoy very hot tea, and was disappointed to discover that Pirate Chai takes FOREVER to brew at a green tea temperature, and it isn’t very good. It does taste like a Christmas tea, albeit a weak, watery one. Some cinnamon and orange peel flavors emerge, but they’re not very satisfying. The liquer was a lovely copper color, however.

Take 2: heated the water longer, steeped again. A woodier cinnamon flavor predominated, with clove and orange undertones and a vague bitterness to the finish that faded quickly. Whatever the blend of tea was, it was entirely lost in the spices, which is why I don’t usually enjoy chai in the first place.

All in all, not a cup that I’m very excited about, but it’s drinkable and I’m going to continue experimenting with proper brewing times and temperatures. Since the tin is only sample sized, though, I may run through the whole thing before I get it right.

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I’m an avid roleplayer, artist, lover of tea, and a not-so-gourmet cook, with more creativity and enthusiasm than common sense sometimes.

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Pembroke Pines, Florida, United States

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