I should preface this by saying that the way I’m use to getting chai is as a chai latte from the likes of *bucks and I’m pretty sure they use some sort of a mix instead of whipping out a teapot and loose leaf on the spot. :P So when I looked in my tea drawer and saw this in there, I thought I’d try it and go legit.
Out of the bag I get a spicy-spice smell more than a hot-spice smell. Cardamom, cinnamon, maybe the almond or cocoa in the background and then something that smells like whole peppercorns (versus the sharp peppery smell of cracked or ground pepper). Not bad.
11/2 teaspoons for about… 9-10 oz water? I should make a habit of measuring. Anyway, this steeps up with a nice spiciness filling the kitchen, and I’m kind of jazzed about trying something new. 4 minutes are up. The game plan is to try this on it’s own and then add dairy to mimic my lattes. Decant. Sniff. Sip.
For all the spicy-spice I smelled, I’m totally shocked at how the hot-spice grabs the back of my throat. I almost choked in surprise. I guess that’s where the cayenne was hiding. Of all the dried peppers I cook with, my ground cayenne adds more heat than any actual flavor in my opinion. It’s the case here too, I feel. Swishing, I get a tingliness at the back of my throat and sides of my tongue from the pepper, but the tea is there as a definite foundation- which I can appreciate. Sip. A swirl of spices keeps me interested. I close my eyes and try to slowly find and hold onto each individual spice, but …there’s something else here too. What is that??
Okay, so now I add a little half & half and a splash of skim milk. The skim is way too thin for a creamy mouthfeel. Sip. Okay, so now I add a lot more half & half and another splash of skim. Thaaats about right. Half tea/half dairy? Sipping now, the pepper is still there but much calmer now that my milk is beating the capsicum into submission. :) The cinnamon and cardamom are still there, more distinct now that the pepper isn’t in the way, and if I concentrate I can kind of find the cocoa lingering here and there, but never long enough for me to get a hold of it. What has rushed to the forefront of my tastebuds, however, is that taste . What is that?? I glance at the ingredients list.
I blame my mother for this. She gets heartburn from ginger and never used it when she cooked for me when I was a kid. So now anytime I get a load of ginger in my mouth, my tastebuds are beset with this alien taste they have no idea how to cope with and they then proceed to throw a small tantrum. Now anytime I take a sip, all I can register is ginger! ginger! ginger!
Well, show’s over kids. Mayan chocolate chai goes back in the drawer for now. Perhaps I’ll pull it out again another day when I feel up to the challenge of acquiring a taste for this stuff they call ginger.