I have had a couple of types of chai. One was made by a friend from India and contained cardamom, turmeric, ginger, and a wee bit of black pepper. She boils the spice mix with CTC tea for 15 minutes or more and then strains it. Strong stuff! And not my cup of tea! Another lady I know makes her tea just like we do but adds cardamom and cinnamon after it steeps. Both recipes add a lot of milk to the chai.
The Harney and Sons tin comes with a recipe, but I decided to try steeping this as usual first. I gave it four minutes because it was CTC, but it really probably should have gone a little longer. It was very mild without additions. The aroma of the dry leaves was mostly cardamom, but a very sweet cinnamon flavor kept peeking out and the steeped tea had a pumpkin pie aroma – possibly nutmeg or allspice. Without additions, it was weak and only slightly more flavorful with milk and sugar. A bite of Belgian cream puff followed by a sip of the chai showed a marked difference in my perception of the tea. Suddenly it was an exquisite pairing! Sandy thinks the fat in the whipped cream in the cream puff may have brought out more flavor, which means that preparing it the way Harney and Sons recommends will probably bring the best flavor results! We’ll give it a try soon.