55
drank West Cape Chai by Rishi Tea
421 tasting notes

This is a very spice heavy tea. In a blind smell test, one could easily mistake this for garam masala. There are strong notes of cinnamon, star anise, clove, and cardamom. It’s the kind of potent aroma that reminds me of walking into an Indian spice shop.

I prepared this both as a chai and steeped it the normal way following Rishi-Tea’s instructions. The chai turned out to be a complete fail. It smelled and tasted like roasted gram/chickpea flour. There was some cinnamon and an odd cayenne note but I couldn’t get past the weird chickpea flour taste and ended up chucking it after a few sips.

It fared a little better when brewed on its own. The spices were tamer and I could actually taste some of the rooibos base. The dominant notes were cinnamon, star anise, and tellicherry peppercorn in the finish. I didn’t really like the sharp peppery flavor though and had to add a little sweetener to take the edge off.

I think Rishi had the right idea with this blend but bad execution. The combination of spices doesn’t really work and overwhelms rather than complementing the tea. I haven’t dabbled in blends for a long time, but this inspires me to create my own chai blend using the 1 lbs of rooibos sitting in my cupboard.

Flavors: Anise, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Peppercorn, Spices

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Mastress Alita

Ah, the power of different taste buds! This is actually my favorite chai. I like the rooibos over how most chais use assam (not my favorite tea) which I find sweeter/more honeyed, and I like the sweetness the licorice root brings to the spices (though I realize the majority of folks around here seem to have a dislike of that particular ingredient). My only problem is that Rishi only offers it in a pound, and I refuse to buy any tea — even one I love — in that quantity. I simply don’t have the space in my tiny apartment for that much of any one tea and would never be able to drink it before it started to go stale/lose its taste. So I’m always stuck having to buy it in smaller quantities at inflated prices from folks who wholesale from Rishi just because they don’t offer it in 2 oz. or 4 oz. options. Infuriates me!

LuckyMe

I love all of the individual spices in here, it’s how they come together in this tea that doesn’t work for me. I totally feel you on the 1 lb portions. I’ve made the mistake of buying a pound of tea because it was more economical, only to get sick of them from drinking so much or have it go stale on me.

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Mastress Alita

Ah, the power of different taste buds! This is actually my favorite chai. I like the rooibos over how most chais use assam (not my favorite tea) which I find sweeter/more honeyed, and I like the sweetness the licorice root brings to the spices (though I realize the majority of folks around here seem to have a dislike of that particular ingredient). My only problem is that Rishi only offers it in a pound, and I refuse to buy any tea — even one I love — in that quantity. I simply don’t have the space in my tiny apartment for that much of any one tea and would never be able to drink it before it started to go stale/lose its taste. So I’m always stuck having to buy it in smaller quantities at inflated prices from folks who wholesale from Rishi just because they don’t offer it in 2 oz. or 4 oz. options. Infuriates me!

LuckyMe

I love all of the individual spices in here, it’s how they come together in this tea that doesn’t work for me. I totally feel you on the 1 lb portions. I’ve made the mistake of buying a pound of tea because it was more economical, only to get sick of them from drinking so much or have it go stale on me.

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My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea years ago, and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and a few flavored teas. My tea epiphany came a few years ago when I discovered jade oolongs. That was the gateway drug to the world of fine tea and teaware.

With the exception of a handful of lightly scented teas, I drink mostly straight tea. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks are beginning to grow on me. I’ve dipped my toe into a few puerhs now but it’s still relatively new territory for me. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky

Location

Chicago

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