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.