Had another go with this yesterday, while watching an old episode of The Vampire Diaries on DVD. When I made the first cup a few days ago, I kind of forgot what I was dealing with and treated it much as I would any other black tea. I was “rewarded” with a very strong chilli kick, which was almost a bit much. So today, I decided to try and remedy that a little and brewed this as a latte instead. I used quite a big cup, added an extra teaspoon of leaf (with some trepidation, admittedly), and used half as much water as I usually would. After about 5 minutes, I topped it up with some warmed milk.
It’s much better this way. The chilli is still there, but it’s a spicy warmth rather than a hot burn. The other flavours are also a little more prevalent — there’s more chocolate coming through, and some of the other spices, like the cinnamon and ginger, are making their presence known.
It’s nice to know that there are a couple of ways I can brew this, depending on the flavour profile I’m looking for. It’s equally reassuring to know that I can tone the chilli down into something pleasant, rather than a challenge. I feel more at home with this one now.