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This was day 10 (I think?) of the 12 teas of Christmas sampler from 52teas – I am finally getting around to trying both this one and the one from day 12 – both of which were the only new ones (to me) of the last half of the box. This particular sample was the only one of the 12 that had an improperly sealed bottom, but I was able to collect it and still have enough for two full cups, so it ended up okay!

Anyway – steeped one heaping tsp. of this in about 7 oz water at below parameters. The dry leaf was very ground up – I used a paper tea filter instead of my Breville because I remember someone saying how it easily got through the mesh basket, and I didn’t want to have a huge mess on my hands. It smelled quite spicy – no hints of vanilla and caramel, though.

Once steeped, I added milk (probably about 2 oz) and sugar because that’s how I like my chais prepared. Taste-wise, I think the overall spiciness of the chai was kind of weak – it didn’t have as much bite as I wanted. However, I did get a touch of vanilla and buttery caramel, which I suspect the milk and sugar were instrumental in bringing out. I didn’t notice any underlying astringency with the black tea base, but I didn’t try it sans additives so that could be why.

Overall, I think it is a nice, though mild chai. More for people who like the idea of vanilla and caramel tea with a hint of spice, rather than the other way around – but more than a welcome addition to my tea cabinet during this cold weather!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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I have come to the point (as of October 2014) where quality in tea is more important than quantity. Especially because I’m a seasonal tea drinker where hot tea is concerned, and a SLOW one to boot. I generally don’t resteep only because I’d be here all day if I did, though I do break out a gaiwan from time to time.

I adore French teas in practically every iteration, Japanese Sencha (specifically from the Uji region, as they offer the most seaweed flavor), and Dan Cong oolongs. I am trying to focus on plain teas and so companies like Verdant, Upton, and Butiki are on my favorites list.

When it comes to tea, I feel like the 10th Doctor says it best:

“Tea! That’s all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. "

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Atlanta, GA

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