I am, as are most others, constantly looking for that one chai, the perfect chai. It has lead me to this tea. I have high hopes for this one because of the base teas used, a mi lan dancong and a mi lan black tea. I have yet to try the mi lan black tea by itself, but I did get a sample for basing it off of this tea. But I love mi lan dancong from verdant, which makes me hopeful in itself, plus there’s the lack of so many overpowering spices. There’s only a few. Plus, the saffron, marigold, and vanilla added to make this super creamy has me giddy.
I open the package and I smell the chocolate, vanilla, and cardamom as the predominate notes. There is a bit of ginger, the heat of it almost makes this smell like a Mexican hot chocolate…yum! There dry leaves are pretty to look at as well. The mix of the mi lan teas and lots of marigold petals contrasting.
I brew this western style, 205*F at 1 minute via Verdant instructions for this. The wet leaves smell juicy and cardamom-y. I can smell the dancong and the black tea. I can smell the chocolate, the creaminess, and a fruity-floral note.
The infusion is a nice golden color. It’s lighter than I would have expected it to be, but it’s still a rich gold. The infusion has the most spectacular aroma…homemade pumpkin pie! Oh good lord, I could sit here all day just sniffing this! I can’t get past the pumpkin pie smell to get anything else, then again I don’t want to! I love homemade pumpkin pie, it is my favorite pie, my favorite dish of the autumn season!
When I finally stop sniffing my tea enough to get a sip out of it I am not necessarily bombarded, but my tongue is trying to taste everything at once! At first there is that juicy quality from the dancong. There is a stone fruit note followed by cardamom. Then there’s vanilla, creaminess, a stone-mineral note, honey and caramel sweetness, a hint of chocolate, with the heat of ginger in the aftertaste. Whoo! and that was only the first sip!
I added a little bit of farmers market clover honey and I found it made it too sweet. The natural honey-caramel notes makes this tea sweet enough that I didn’t need to add any sweeteners. Then I added some milk. I added too much, although it did help to bring out the chocolate note more.
In the second steep I got more chocolate, more cardamom, and the ginger moved to the tip of my tongue lasting into the aftertaste. The juicy quality wasn’t quite as strong, but the vanilla and creaminess was still there. I didn’t add any sweetener to this steep, but I did add some milk, less this time. It made it taste more like a chai, but more watered down at the same time. This chai seems too light to be able to really handle milk, but that’s ok because this is delicious without any!
The third steep I’m starting to taste the pumpkin pie I had smelled earlier…this makes me happy! I’m not adding anything this time as I’m finding it better by itself. While this is a delicious chai, I am still on the lookout for one that holds up to milk well as I seem to prefer chai lattes. I do have the Laoshan chai from Verdant, but have yet to try it.
The one thing I found very interesting about this tea is that while tasting all the notes and trying to taste it as a chai, my mind and tongue kept trying to taste the dancong notes by itself! This is an excellent tea even though it’s not what I was looking for in a chai! Great job Verdant!