When I see names like “Masala Chai II” I always wonder what happened to Masala Chai I. Masala Chai is dead, long live Masala Chai? Just to be sure I double checked the TeaFrog site and couldn’t find Masala Chai I.
TeaFrog gives nice big samples. This one is big enough to make a couple of cups worth on the stovetop. Using TeaFrog Assam Banaspaty as the extra black tea since the mix contains Assam to begin with.
In the packet I smell mostly cinnamon, and then coriander, and then an anise/fennel licorice scent. In addition to cinnamon, cardamom and pepper, this has some pretty interesting ingredients that haven’t been in other chais I’ve tried. I also noticed that ginger isn’t listed, and I think it’s been in all the other chais I’ve had thus far.
True to its description, this is a mellow chai. The cardamom, cinnamon and coriander seem to me to be acting as an ensemble rather than calling attention to themselves individually, which is, I think, a good thing. There’s an interesting, cooling feeling on the tongue after sipping. I’m wondering if this is the anise or fennel? Other than that effect, the anise and fennel is detectable but extremely gentle. There’s no strong licorice flavor, which in my view is a good thing. I’m not tasting the pepper. There’s no kick at the end.
I can’t comment on the authenticity having never been to India. This is a tasty chai, but I think I prefer a little more spice, even in my mellower chais. Though I didn’t taste them back to back, this seems to me less spicy than the TeaGschwendner Indian Chai which was pretty far down on the spicy continuum already.