I normally don’t buy Chai as I prefer to make my own. However, when I smelled this tea it’s scent brought me back to memories of waiting out Curfew at a chai stand in front of the train station in Jaipur.
Jaipur is semi-arid and can get quite cold at night, especially when it is just coming out of it’s winter season. So, there was a large group of us huddled together around a fire drinking Chai and eating those flaky, unsweetened pastry like biscuits all the Chai Wallahs seem to sell. I remember being asked for my passport by a police officer who seemed to think I was Kashmiri (this was during another period of tension between India and Pakistan over Kashmir) and even after kept trying to trip me up by speaking to me in Urdu. My ancestors are mostly of Irish, Scotch and British descent, but for some reason people have trouble placing me. I have been told at times that I look like a vey tall and pale person from Portugal, Italy or Ireland at times but also have been asked whether I was Afghani, Turkish, or Kashmiri as well, In a way this makes sense and I could truthfully answer yes, because the Celts originated somewhere north of Turkey before migrating west.
Anyways, back to the tea. It smelled pretty authentic in the box, I was nostalgic so I bought it.
The dry tea is a mix of grades of tea ranging from CTC to OP and smelled heavily of cardamom with the other spice enriching it in the background.
Once brewed, the tea smelled of cardamom with a hint of cloves with cinnamon and ginger in the background/ The base tea smelled deep and biscuity and fruity.
The tea is smooth with little astringency. Cardamom is the strongest flavour. While, cloves provides a cooling top note. Ginger and cinnamon follow these flavours. The base is still present and is fruity, and malty with biscuit notes underneath. It is quite a naturally sweet tea with the base and spices blending nicely. It is not peppery and hot like some Chai’s can be. Although Ginger Chai, is still my favourite, I can definitely appreciate this one. The Cardamom is lovely in it and the other spices nicely support it.