drank Kashmir Tchai by Kusmi Tea
1184 tasting notes

Made on the stovetop with Teavana English Breakfast (High Grown) as the extra black tea, just because it was close at hand having arrived as part of the tea of the month club for August while I was on vacation.

I haven’t made chai in forever, it seems. I forgot how much I like it. To me, it’s really a comfort food instead of a drink. I’m wondering how this one will turn out.

This mix says it has six spices in it, but declines to be more specific. Let’s guess, shall we? A few are easy to discern. There are big honking whole cloves in this mix, as well as green cardamom pods, and a light brown bark-like substance that is probabably cinnamon though it could also be ginger, I suppose. There are also some broken, crispy green leaves that look suspiciously like bay leaves though I somehow doubt that’s what they are. And there is an aroma of anise or fennel though I don’t see anything that looks like anise seeds in here.

Then I cheated and looked it up on Amazon, where the full product description is far less coy than it is even on the Kusmi web site: cardamom, ginger, laurel, cinnamon, anis seed, and cloves. The green must be laurel. Guess what? I looked up laurel and one form of it is the source of bay leaves!


Am I good or what? ;-) This is a different mix than any I’ve had before and also missing pepper, which completes me if I am a chai. I’m skeptical about how I’ll feel about the taste, given the lack of pepper. I am prepared for this to be a rather mild chai, based on past experience with Kusmi flavors.

The flavor has more of a black tea flavor than I’d expected, but I’m going to attribute this to the Teavana addition and move on. There’s just a hint of the anise, not enough to make it taste like licorice, which I’m thankful for. I get a fair amount of cardamom, a bit of ginger, not a lot of cinnamon. Whatever function the bay leaves are serving is not immediately apparent to me. It isn’t converting the gingerbready effect of chai into something savory in any case. If I really concentrate, I can make out a bit of bay leaf like flavor around the edges. But for the most part it is probably there to boost the flavor of something else in a way that isn’t obvious.

I’d say this tastes almost exactly as I expected. It isn’t at all spicy, there’s no kick to it. I like it better than some of the other milder chais just because I find the flavor a bit more interesting. It’s been a long time since I had the GM Kashmiri Chai. I really should have some of that soon to compare. I’m not sure whether I like this better or not, primarily because I can’t remember the GM well enough.

BTW, my Brita pitcher recently began to insist on growing something that looks like algae. I washed it well, changed filters. Algae again. I washed it really, really, really well and am waiting to see if it grows more algae. Anyone else had this happen? Is there a solution or should I buy a new one?

Boiling 8 min or more

Try some white vinegar. I have never had this happen, but vinegar is my all purpose defunkifier!


Ah! Good idea. I will give it a try. I might also see if it can stand a trip through the dishwasher and scald the microscopic plant life to death.

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Try some white vinegar. I have never had this happen, but vinegar is my all purpose defunkifier!


Ah! Good idea. I will give it a try. I might also see if it can stand a trip through the dishwasher and scald the microscopic plant life to death.

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. 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 write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with 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. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

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

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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