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?