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Golden Moon sample No. 9 of 31. I’d picked this out after the Orchid Temple but had to wait until today, when I have stove access during caffeine-safe hours, to put it through its paces.

I used the stovetop method LENA described here: http://steepster.com/discuss/25-chai

I made a slight modification, which is that I didn’t boil five minutes after adding the milk. I just brought it to a boil, removed from heat, covered and steeped for 10 minutes, a la the instructions on the Samovar Masala Chai sample. I did this because my stove must run pretty hot. The water boiled completely away before 10 minutes were up, and fortunately I walked into the kitchen in time to save the project from disaster. So I think my personal recipe is going to have to be “boil 10 minutes or until water evaporates.” Either that or try more of a simmer than a boil.

Anyway about this tea. I calculated that I had enough in the sample for 3/4 of a cup of chai, so I used 3/4 tbsp sweetener, 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup 1% milk.

When the sample came out of the mylar vest, it smelled deliciously spicy. Cinnamon and cardomom. Just the slightest, earthy pu erh scent. This changed during boiling. The pu erh came out in the aroma. This pu erh smell didn’t strike me as leathery so much as mossy, wet tree bark or maybe leafy soil. It kicked in shortly after the boiling started, then just as quickly resolved and retreated, and back came the spices as the primary aroma.

The chai has a dark aroma owing to the pu erh. It’s gingerbready, but also vaguely chocolatey.

The taste is interesting. It’s chewy, but because of the pu erh it strikes me as a little rough around the edges. Not in a bad way, mind you. It makes this a less sweet, somewhat earthy drink, but with chai’s spicy creaminess. There’s depth and complexity to the flavor — I’m getting some coffee notes and some chocolate notes. I could see being in the mood for this on a cold rainy day. It doesn’t replace my top choice, but it’s a nice sometimes alternative.

I wonder how it would taste using the Samovar method of adding a spoon of black tea to it? Or would it be more appropriate to add a spoon of loose pu erh?

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Rabs

I keep avoiding this sample. I have yet to gain an appreciation for either pu erh or chai and the thought of these two forces combining, well, let’s just say it makes me nervous.

__Morgana__

Rabs, it could go either way I think. Either your fears will be validated or you’ll find that the combination of the two makes each of them better than they were alone. Certainly I’d think this would be the case for the pu erh because the milk, sweetener and spices tame it quite a bit. For the chai, not so much. If you just don’t like chai, making it with pu erh seems to me unlikely to make it more tempting. Will be looking forward to hearing what you think once you take that bold step forward. ;)

Stephanie

Gingerbready? I have to try this stovetop method!

__Morgana__

Yes, it’s worth a try! It is now my preferred method by a long shot. The consistency and flavor is so much more nommy than just steeping in water and adding milk/sweetner.

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Rabs

I keep avoiding this sample. I have yet to gain an appreciation for either pu erh or chai and the thought of these two forces combining, well, let’s just say it makes me nervous.

__Morgana__

Rabs, it could go either way I think. Either your fears will be validated or you’ll find that the combination of the two makes each of them better than they were alone. Certainly I’d think this would be the case for the pu erh because the milk, sweetener and spices tame it quite a bit. For the chai, not so much. If you just don’t like chai, making it with pu erh seems to me unlikely to make it more tempting. Will be looking forward to hearing what you think once you take that bold step forward. ;)

Stephanie

Gingerbready? I have to try this stovetop method!

__Morgana__

Yes, it’s worth a try! It is now my preferred method by a long shot. The consistency and flavor is so much more nommy than just steeping in water and adding milk/sweetner.

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Bio

I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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