This one comes from my 12 Teas of Christmas sampler – when I opened it, I thought it was the Extra Bold Masala Chai, and was surprised to read it was Caramel Vanilla. The aroma pre and post steeping is just that of the bold chai (which I have had bad experiences with, it can get very very bitter). I did this cup with boiling water and a brief steep, maybe two minutes. After letting it cool I could get a hint of caramel aroma, but the taste was pure chai. Very similar to the Extra Bold Masala Chai. I get a hint of caramel at the end of the sip, but it is more an echo than a taste. As it cools it becomes more bitter, so I added a bit of milk which enhances the illusion of caramel and vanilla. Certainly not a favourite, but I haven’t had a chai in a while so that’s nice.
Update: That black tea is SO BITTER. Might do the rest of the sample as stovetop with milk, but I definitely shouldn’t use boiling water. Might go add some sugar as well as the milk (neither of which I usually add. I happen to think it’s a poor tea that requires milk or sugar, but I know that isn’t a popular opinion). Hoping that with alternate preparations I can really get the most out of this sample. Sugar and milk helped cut down the bitterness, but I’m still making a pinched up face while I drink!