Side by side comparison time! Note: this is cross-posted with http://steepster.com/cvasilevski/posts/302700
I bought this tea because I got a coupon code from GM for free shipping, and since I’m in Canada, decided to go for it. I’ve had a last smidgen of Golden Moon’s Kashmiri Chai in my cupboard for the longest time and been dreading finishing off my sample since it’s a lovely chai, but I hope that the new organic Masala Chai blend they’ve made to replace their non-organic teas would suit.
So, once I got this Masala Chai in, I decided to do a side-by-side taste test!
Both teas were brewed for 5 minutes in identical mugs using identical filters and a nearly identical amount of leaf. So here’s what I’m noticing about each tea.
The dry leaf: The leaf of the Kashmiri Chai looks larger and more intact, and you can definitely see whole chunks of cinnamon and pods of cardamom. In contrast, the leaf of the Masala Chai looks much more like a CTC tea, and while I can see the occasional cardamom pod, I see a lot of ginger and not much cinnamon. The smell of both varieties holds this up – the Kashmiri Chai smells much more of cinnamon and cardamom, while the Masala Chai smells much more of ginger.
The tea liquor: When they started brewing, the Masala Chai had a reddish tint to it and the Kashmiri Chai looked like more of a cool brown/umber colour. However, after a 5-minute steep, the colour of both teas was pretty much identical. The smell was fairly similar to the dry leaf: Kashmiri smelled cinnamon-ish, while Masala smelled like ginger.
Taste and mouthfeel: The Kashmiri Chai had a smooth sweet taste that coated the tongue and lingered long after the sip was over. I could taste the earthy base of the tea underneath, but could definitely sense the play of spices. In contrast, the Masala Chai smells and tastes strongly of ginger and malt, like gingerbread. Not quite a gingerbread cookie, but if you actually had a loaf of ginger-infused bread. I got a sweet potato note and a citrus note. I really can’t tell here what the base is, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the base were a Ceylon tea of some sort. It didn’t linger much on the palate, but was somewhat malty.
Verdict: I prefer the Kashmiri Chai tea, but considering they don’t make that blend anymore AND that this taste test was a sipdown of the last of the KC leaf, I’m out of luck.
Next, I might consider mixing this Masala Chai with some of Just Organic’s Just Charming Chai – the JO Charming Chai is too cinnamon-heavy, so they might complement each other really well. We’ll have to see.
Flavors: Bread, Ginger, Malt