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.