61
drank Gingerbread Chai by 52teas
117 tasting notes

This is my first 52Teas blend! Thumper taught me not to say anything if I can’t say anything nice, so I’m having a bit of a tough time getting the words to flow, here. It’s especially tough given how beloved 52T are to the Steepster family. I’m going to go ahead and leave off the rating, for now, and take the blame for this poor first impression.

My little sample bag says to steep in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. 3-5 or 2-5, I forget which. But I always pick the longest steep time, because I always want the strongest, most robust flavour possible. This time, doing so resulted in an undrinkable brew.

The dry leaf’s fragrance is sweet in kind of a generic way. If you’d blindfolded me and waved the bag under my nose, I would’ve said “sweet,” and I probably would’ve said “black tea.” I wouldn’t have said “gingerbread” or “chai.” The brew smelled more like I expected: now I could definitely smell chai, and as the tea cooled I could smell gingerbread more and more.

My first sip of unsweetened tea caught me a little off-guard. It tasted like black tea with cardamom. Not chai, and not gingerbread. It was a little bitter, too. So I added honey, and that made it palatable, but it still tasted like black tea with cardamom. I’m sad to say that now that the tea’s cooled a bit, it’s become unbearably bitter, and I’m going to have to pour it down the drain. Really sad. (On the other hand, the Universe is probably doing me a favour: I’ve already drunk some black tea today and shouldn’t be having any more.)

I shan’t rate this until I’ve tried the stovetop method. Crossing my fingers that I can get the same great taste out of this as most of the others who’ve reviewed it!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

With 52Teas previous black tea base, you definitely do not want to brew it at the longest steep time (and just for point of reference, steeping at the longest time does not necessarily produce the strongest, most robust brew, it will produce more tannins, therefore producing a more tannic, astringent brew.) I think that with this particular tea, a 3 minute time is much better. I personally prefer 2.5 minutes with 52Teas original black tea base.

The first blending of this tea was unbelievably good, but the rescued reblend of it (which is what I sent you in your box, I believe I sent you this) just wasn’t as good as the first batch. :(

Ysaurella

sometimes find out the right steep time is really a struggle. But when we manage, we can see the more astringent tea turning so sweet and nice…Teas deserve often some experiences and patience. I’m sure you’ll find your right time

Nik

Thank you, LiberTEAS! Yes, this is the one from your sample box. I will try a 2.5- to 3-minute steep next time. Thank you, Ysaurella, I appreciate your optimism. :D

DaisyChubb

I agree! Try a shorter steep time with 52teas – sometimes a little TLC with the base goes a long way – a way that is totally worth it! Hope you find a way to enjoy :3

JasonCT

Namaste Nik – just curious, how do you make/take your Indian chai?

Nik

Hi, Jason! I don’t, actually. My mum has always made the chai, and she does so with Tetley tea bags. =) We never had the typical masala chai in our home, because she doesn’t like masala. I’m actually very new to stovetop preparation—like, a couple of days new. I made Mayan Mist yesterday (http://steepster.com/bleepnik/posts/137647) and it was amazing, so I’ll probably make any future tea in the same/similar way. Mayan Mist is a rooibos blend which I figured wouldn’t hurt anything by being in there from the beginning; with a black tea blend, I’d probably boil the water first, then add tea/blend, milk and sugar. I really have no idea what I’m doing and am just doing what feels right. It’s worked so far.

JasonCT

Very cool nik, ill look forward to reading about you adventures!

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Comments

LiberTEAS

With 52Teas previous black tea base, you definitely do not want to brew it at the longest steep time (and just for point of reference, steeping at the longest time does not necessarily produce the strongest, most robust brew, it will produce more tannins, therefore producing a more tannic, astringent brew.) I think that with this particular tea, a 3 minute time is much better. I personally prefer 2.5 minutes with 52Teas original black tea base.

The first blending of this tea was unbelievably good, but the rescued reblend of it (which is what I sent you in your box, I believe I sent you this) just wasn’t as good as the first batch. :(

Ysaurella

sometimes find out the right steep time is really a struggle. But when we manage, we can see the more astringent tea turning so sweet and nice…Teas deserve often some experiences and patience. I’m sure you’ll find your right time

Nik

Thank you, LiberTEAS! Yes, this is the one from your sample box. I will try a 2.5- to 3-minute steep next time. Thank you, Ysaurella, I appreciate your optimism. :D

DaisyChubb

I agree! Try a shorter steep time with 52teas – sometimes a little TLC with the base goes a long way – a way that is totally worth it! Hope you find a way to enjoy :3

JasonCT

Namaste Nik – just curious, how do you make/take your Indian chai?

Nik

Hi, Jason! I don’t, actually. My mum has always made the chai, and she does so with Tetley tea bags. =) We never had the typical masala chai in our home, because she doesn’t like masala. I’m actually very new to stovetop preparation—like, a couple of days new. I made Mayan Mist yesterday (http://steepster.com/bleepnik/posts/137647) and it was amazing, so I’ll probably make any future tea in the same/similar way. Mayan Mist is a rooibos blend which I figured wouldn’t hurt anything by being in there from the beginning; with a black tea blend, I’d probably boil the water first, then add tea/blend, milk and sugar. I really have no idea what I’m doing and am just doing what feels right. It’s worked so far.

JasonCT

Very cool nik, ill look forward to reading about you adventures!

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Bio

2012.10.07: I hear people like to understand other people’s ratings, so here’s a loose guide:

01-29: Dear God, why.
30-49: I’ll finish this cup, I guess, but no more.
50-59: Meh.
60-69: Decent. Maybe I can blend it with something else and make it better.
70-79: Heeey, this is quite good!
80-89: I love it, but I’m not in love with it.
90-100: Permanently resident in my Happy Place.


Update: I have steeped, and it was good. =] Still a tea-ophyte, though.


This is a tea site, so I feel like “well, I’m Indian” should be enough of an introduction. Because, I mean, it’s kind of in my genes, right? But the fact of the matter is that I’m an absolute tea-ophyte.

I’ve just discovered a world beyond Celestial Seasonings. I’ve just discovered “sachets” instead of “normal” tea bags and bought my first loose tea sampler. I don’t get the whole water temperature and steep time thing yet, nor that if I want to get a yixiang tea pot, I’d need one for each type of tea. I have this infuser ball thing, but I haven’t used it yet.

Don’t cringe, but right now I’m still just boiling water and pouring it over a teabag, adding some sugar, and drinking a nice, hot cuppa. I’d like to learn more, I think, and I’d like to train my palate. I figure participating in this community is the best way to do that.

So ya. Hi!

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