Wow, didn’t realize this site would create an “empty” log for me if I even clicked on the log link. Well then.
So this is the second Tazo tea I’ve tried at school after the Darjeeling. I finished off the Yunnan I brought from home this morning (turns out my work travel mug does only a minimalist job at keeping liquids hot…or contained in the mug), and wasn’t in the mood for the flavoured black in my backpack, so I went to Starbucks again. I decided on this one because I’ve always been a fan of chai masala, so I figured this one was an even safer bet than the Darjeeling.
(While I was in line, I noticed that SBUX apparently sells a white Tazo tea. SBUX and white tea, really? What a predictable disaster.)
I have to say, first of all, that this one smells absolutely wonderful. It may be that my nose isn’t especially sophisticated, but it smells like what I know to be chai masala. I can pick out the cinnamon and cloves, the anise, a bit of cardamon if I concentrate…very nice. Warm and comforting.
The taste, initially, left a lot to be desired. The spices were fairly strong but indistinct, and the tea base was far too weak, resulting in that rather distinctive bad-chai “toasted water” taste. Yuck. And on top of that, it was quite astringent (do I detect a pattern with Tazo?) which left me with the overall impression of drinking unbuttered toast dipped in black pepper…not quite as awful as I’ve made it sound, but certainly not very pleasant, either. I had to think that I liked the Darjeeling better!
About half-way though the cup, however, I added a bit more raw sugar, and this somehow transformed it. It seemed to bring out the spices in a more balanced way, and the prominent notes became the cinnamon and cloves rather than pepper and toast. Much nicer, which resulted in my mentally bumping up the rating by 10. I still think the base is too weak, though.
Not bad, certainly drinkable if you have enough sugar on hand. I pretty much no longer take tea with milk, but I can see milk mellowing this one into something very pleasant for a quick cup.
(I will have to fix steep time/temperature later, because Steepster apparently hates my aunt’s laptop touchpad mouse, but it’s probably around 82 degrees…and this time I actually saw when the bag hit the water, so 3 and a half minutes.)