I’m certainly no Chai expert. In fact due to low quality bagged stuff, I have avoided it. Now that I mainly sip unflavored high quality loose leaf it just hasn’t been in my radar to drink. Until now.
I recently received a few chai samples for review. This was one of them. It is a combination of CTC and orthodox Assam. The dry scent is spicy but not too spicy. I steeped it western mug style with water. The brew is a very pretty deep orange that looks kind of burgundy under light. The flavor is a combination of clove and cardamom with cinnamon and ginger holding back a little. The ginger and pepper combine to bring a nice spicy heat to the finish. The base is smooth and slightly malty.
I next added some Splenda because I believe Chai is traditionally supposed to be sweet. This really made the flavors pop. They are more present and equal now.
Then I added milk. This doesn’t exactly muddy the flavors but they do sort of meld together. They are all there but difficult for me to separate. To me muddy implies I can’t tell what notes are present. I can here, yet they are tied to each other.
After some debate of pros and cons, I finally decided I like this best with milk and sweetener. The milk cools the spicy heat and the melding makes this so comforting. I could drink a gallon.
Turns out I kind of do like Chai, when its done right.