87
drank Indian Spice by Harney & Sons
158 tasting notes

Got this as part of an order from Harney that consisted strictly of a bunch of samples.

This wasn’t quite what I expected, but I think with some playing around it could easily become one of my favorite chai options.

It is not what I would consider typical chai, and I suppose Harney probably doesn’t consider it to be typical chai either. Rather, as someone else noted, it’s a flavored black — there are no bits and pieces of spice or dried fruit or additive here; the tea consists of little black-tea crumbles that remind me of grape nuts, if grape nuts were the color of black tea, and smaller. I was concerned that preparing this in the traditional way — in a pot on the stove, first in hot, sweetened water and then with milk, 1:1 — would ruin the tea, subsequently, and I wasn’t right, but I wasn’t entirely wrong. Despite not being populated with a slew of additional ingredients, the spice profile here seems to come through the milk just fine, and in a balanced, appealing way. In fact, my favorite thing about this tea so far is how balanced the spices actually are…far too often I’m finding chais that club you over the head with cardamom.

That said, I think the little pieces of black tea did not hold up well to being scorched by the hot water, as there’s a faint bitter-sourness to be had. Not enough to be unpleasant — this is still a good cup of tea — but enough to wave a little flag up at me that says ‘hey, jerk, that was a little bit too hot’.

The scent in the pot as the leaf sat in the hot water was not particularly strong. I think the solution to brewing this as a latte in a pot might be to increase the leaf but reduce heat and steep time for that concentrated flavor that holds up well against milk without turning bitter.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

The name sounds so good, but your review is disappointing… :(

sophistre

Awww. Well, fwiw, it’s actually very good! I can see myself ordering it. I think it just needs more careful handling than the ‘slap you in some simmering water and throw milk at you’ treatment that I tend to give chais when I stumble half-asleep into the kitchen, haha. It’s a very smooth cup. There aren’t many chais I would consider drinking without milk and sugar, but I imagine this one would probably be pretty good.

Cofftea

RE: Your “I suppose Harney probably doesn’t consider it to be typical chai either” comment… I’d be interested in knowing if they do or not because this is the tea they use in their chai gift set. Based on that, it would be my assumption that they do.

sophistre

They very well might! I did not, in fairness, ask. As far as the legitimacy of calling it chai, it certainly is — there are about a thousand ways to prepare spiced tea. That said, my comment was meant to indicate that it’s not what most of us have come to expect from a chai mix, i.e., leaf accompanied by spices, rather than just spiced leaf. Maybe there are areas where this varies. Wikipedia says: ‘The method may vary according to taste or local custom: for example, some households may combine all of the ingredients together at the start, bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately strain and serve; others may leave the mixture simmering for a longer amount of time, or begin by bringing the tea leaves to a boil and only add the spices toward the end (or vice-versa).’

Either way, I recommend the sample! It’s smoothly spiced. Probably not for those who like it intensely strong, unless you’re willing to use a great deal of leaf to get there.

Cofftea

I personally wouldn’t call it chai. Chai, unless an instant mix, has gotta be chunky for me=D I don’t even do concentrates. This tea makes me curious although I’m doubting I’ll like it. Curiousity makes me try a lot of teas I’ll doubt I’ll like lol.

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Cofftea

The name sounds so good, but your review is disappointing… :(

sophistre

Awww. Well, fwiw, it’s actually very good! I can see myself ordering it. I think it just needs more careful handling than the ‘slap you in some simmering water and throw milk at you’ treatment that I tend to give chais when I stumble half-asleep into the kitchen, haha. It’s a very smooth cup. There aren’t many chais I would consider drinking without milk and sugar, but I imagine this one would probably be pretty good.

Cofftea

RE: Your “I suppose Harney probably doesn’t consider it to be typical chai either” comment… I’d be interested in knowing if they do or not because this is the tea they use in their chai gift set. Based on that, it would be my assumption that they do.

sophistre

They very well might! I did not, in fairness, ask. As far as the legitimacy of calling it chai, it certainly is — there are about a thousand ways to prepare spiced tea. That said, my comment was meant to indicate that it’s not what most of us have come to expect from a chai mix, i.e., leaf accompanied by spices, rather than just spiced leaf. Maybe there are areas where this varies. Wikipedia says: ‘The method may vary according to taste or local custom: for example, some households may combine all of the ingredients together at the start, bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately strain and serve; others may leave the mixture simmering for a longer amount of time, or begin by bringing the tea leaves to a boil and only add the spices toward the end (or vice-versa).’

Either way, I recommend the sample! It’s smoothly spiced. Probably not for those who like it intensely strong, unless you’re willing to use a great deal of leaf to get there.

Cofftea

I personally wouldn’t call it chai. Chai, unless an instant mix, has gotta be chunky for me=D I don’t even do concentrates. This tea makes me curious although I’m doubting I’ll like it. Curiousity makes me try a lot of teas I’ll doubt I’ll like lol.

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Ohhh, I dunno. I like tea but I’m kind of a tea newbie. At this point I can say with authority that I may never be anything else, no matter how many teas I try…there is always something new out there.

I write a lot.

I also play way too many video games.


Ratings! (Bout time, wot?) This is a new arrangement, so…subject to change!

1-10: Not potable. First-sip disasters.

11-30: Intensely unpleasant…won’t catch me finishing the cup.

31-50: I really don’t like it…but maybe somebody else out there would.

51-70: Drinkable, but probably not the first thing I’m going to reach for.

71-90: Pretty good tea, and stuff that there’s a good chance I’ll have on-hand. Will do in a pinch at the low end, all the way up to regular visitors to my infuser on the high end.

91-100: Teas I really do not want to be without.

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Boston/Cambridge

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