It’s cold today, and I’m feeling totally grim for a variety of reasons, so I figured a warming, energy-boosting (apparently…) chai would make for a better start to the day than the one I’m currently having. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a chai quite like this one before – the base tea is yerba mate, but there’s also a lot of gurana (large, shiny brown balls…?) I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water.

The resulting liquor is a medium green-brown, quite swampy looking. It smells just like a regular chai – spicy, heavy on the cinnamon and ginger. It tastes more savoury than the chai I’m typically used to – more like curry powder dissolved in water than anything else. I’d been expecting a lot of cinnamon/ginger based on the scent, but it’s the cardamon, corriander, and black pepper that are most prominent. I quite like that in a chai, so it’s a happy cup so far for me.

I googled gurana, out of interest, and it appears to be a climbing plant in the maple family, native to Brazil. The “brown balls” are seeds from its fruit, and apparently contain twice the amount of caffeine as a coffee bean. It’s used a lot in energy drinks.

I was expecting the base tea to be more evident in the overall flavour, but it’s actually not. I think the level of spicing is disguising it to some extent, which, when it comes to chai, is no bad thing. One thing I absolutely can’t taste is mint, and given that it’s the third ingredient on the list I was expecting to be able to taste it. Not so, although in all honesty that might be for the best. I’m not sure minty curry powder would be a good thing…

I’m enjoying this one. It’s got a nicely savoury vibe, which is unusual among the teas I drink, and as chai goes it’s deliciously spicy. This one’s a winner with me.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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Hi :) I’m Sarah, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.


Norfolk, UK

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