251 Tasting Notes
GM Sampler of the day. After blasting GM about their ingredients in their Kashmiri Chai, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the Pu-erh Chai, the cardamon pods were actually whole and full of tasty seeds. The smell of the dry tea was very un-chai-like; a faint hint of cinnamon and a sort of basement mustiness. It brewed quickly to a dark fruitwood brown. The taste was very mild with a hint of cinnamon and none of the spicey kick of other chia mixes (I’m talking about clove, black pepper, & ginger spiciness). The underlying pu-erh tea was a perfect complement and I enjoyed this combination better than I did for both GM’s pure Pu-erh sampler and Kashmiri Chai.
A note on how I drink Chai’s: I treat a Chai mix like any other black tea and generally drink it without milk or sugar. For those that I have experience with, more than a single sample batch, I might add a touch of sugar to help bring out the spices. But initially, its straight up, served black :-)
Its too bad that this is a “one of a kind”. Its actually very good. The smell, both of the dry leaves and the resulting tea reminds me of a candle shop. Yep, you know them, you can smell them within a hundred feet in all directions when walking at the shopping mall or your favorite midwestern (USA) tourist trap. Despite that ;-) its a very good, fruity, floral tea.
My wife needed to kill an hour waiting for some work, so she wandered into our local Whole Foods store (we don’t normally shop at such frou frou stores) and discovered that they have whole section of loose teas for $2/oz. Such a dear, she got me a sample of their Assam Breakfast. Brewed some up this morning. The leaves have that salt-n-pepper look of havning some light tips. Nice large fragments and a clean smell (not mustly/moldy). I poured water at a simmer straighted through the leaves in a mesh teaball and didn’t let it sit more than 30 seconds. I was amazed by how much color I got in that 30 seconds. Taste wise it was fairly flat without any astringency or tannic bite. slightly woodsy and not malty like I expected from assam. I suspect, with the salt-n-pepper look, that its a blend..of what I do not know.
The dry leaves gave a quick vanilla shot when I opened the package, but either I got used to it or it faded quickly, as the rich vanilla smell dissipated in a few minutes. The tea brews a nice toasty brown and the vanilla smell is clear, if a bit sharp. The taste has a definite vanilla flavor and finish…sort of like a vanilla cake with a little excess vanilla. A good sipping tea.
Edit: 2nd steep…smells good, like baked goods with vanilla, but not much tea…sample was wrung out.
Edit #2: Over ice, Wow, this is great over ice. Nice refreshing vanilla aftertaste! Rating boost.
Let me first say, this tea is delicious…close your eyes and just drink it. But, I’ve got to bust Golden Moon’s chops for relying on “spice oil”. You see, I’ve had this type of Chai from a company (who’s name I dearly wish I could remember) who used the real, whole spices to make it. GM’s attempt is more like camouflage for the “spice oil”. I searched the tea sample and found 1 1/2 cloves, five “bits” of cinnamon, four empty cardamon pods, and one cardamon seed. The cardamon pods are big and noticable, but useless…they’re like putting in corn cobs, all filler and no value. The rest of the spices were real but, in my opinion, were window dressing for the real flavoring, the spice oil.
This made a nice, drinkable tea when steeped as a black tea, and the windows were well dressed ;-)