I had just found this tea place called Empress Tea House, hidden away within Prince George on Nicholson Street. Despite being located quite near to Pine Center mall, it was an adventure to find it, especially in the late 2012 snowfall.
Apparently, they have been there for close to six years, but their website shows them established in 2004, which is more close to ten years. Despite, I had never heard of this place until I asked a taxi driver if there were more tea places other than David’s Tea in Pine Center.
The word penetrating doesn’t come up describing teas often, and seeing as I haven’t really purchased a chai in quite a long while, this particular one intrigued me.
The leaves give off a fairly familiar Masala chai scent, not as strong as I would anticipate, but strong nonetheless. Rose pedals concern me, as I associate that to a pale flavor, but it doesn’t seem to be present in the leaves’ aroma, which left me slightly reassured.
Steeping the leaves, though, brings out that hidden pale floral scent. I had also forgotten to add maybe equal amounts of rock sugar, so let’s hope the penetrating spices penetrate the unnecessities.
The first initial sips reaffirm my concerns. This chai is not penetrating enough. The pale characteristics overwhelm a potentially interesting blend of spicy and “sensuous” ingredients, as the flavor is attempting strength, but ultimately cannot go further.
I would expect rock sugar would improve the dull flavor, but probably not by much.
It is a shame; a good chai, the right chai, can be hard to find.