Made on the stovetop with Teavana English Breakfast (High Grown) as the extra black tea, just because it was close at hand having arrived as part of the tea of the month club for August while I was on vacation.
I haven’t made chai in forever, it seems. I forgot how much I like it. To me, it’s really a comfort food instead of a drink. I’m wondering how this one will turn out.
This mix says it has six spices in it, but declines to be more specific. Let’s guess, shall we? A few are easy to discern. There are big honking whole cloves in this mix, as well as green cardamom pods, and a light brown bark-like substance that is probabably cinnamon though it could also be ginger, I suppose. There are also some broken, crispy green leaves that look suspiciously like bay leaves though I somehow doubt that’s what they are. And there is an aroma of anise or fennel though I don’t see anything that looks like anise seeds in here.
Then I cheated and looked it up on Amazon, where the full product description is far less coy than it is even on the Kusmi web site: cardamom, ginger, laurel, cinnamon, anis seed, and cloves. The green must be laurel. Guess what? I looked up laurel and one form of it is the source of bay leaves!
Am I good or what? ;-) This is a different mix than any I’ve had before and also missing pepper, which completes me if I am a chai. I’m skeptical about how I’ll feel about the taste, given the lack of pepper. I am prepared for this to be a rather mild chai, based on past experience with Kusmi flavors.
The flavor has more of a black tea flavor than I’d expected, but I’m going to attribute this to the Teavana addition and move on. There’s just a hint of the anise, not enough to make it taste like licorice, which I’m thankful for. I get a fair amount of cardamom, a bit of ginger, not a lot of cinnamon. Whatever function the bay leaves are serving is not immediately apparent to me. It isn’t converting the gingerbready effect of chai into something savory in any case. If I really concentrate, I can make out a bit of bay leaf like flavor around the edges. But for the most part it is probably there to boost the flavor of something else in a way that isn’t obvious.
I’d say this tastes almost exactly as I expected. It isn’t at all spicy, there’s no kick to it. I like it better than some of the other milder chais just because I find the flavor a bit more interesting. It’s been a long time since I had the GM Kashmiri Chai. I really should have some of that soon to compare. I’m not sure whether I like this better or not, primarily because I can’t remember the GM well enough.
BTW, my Brita pitcher recently began to insist on growing something that looks like algae. I washed it well, changed filters. Algae again. I washed it really, really, really well and am waiting to see if it grows more algae. Anyone else had this happen? Is there a solution or should I buy a new one?