I am a huge fan of Chai. Those dark spicy blends usually dominate about 1/3 of all my cups, however this particular blend, while not undrinkable, is not up to par. The dry leaves smell fantastic and have a beautiful bouquet, not to mention the large visible cardamom pods and pieces of ginger and cinnamon which get me excited to steep it.
I was heavy handed with the timing and leaves since I enjoy my Chai strong. In fact one of my favorite things about Chai is that no matter how long you steep it, it only gets richer and spicier. However, this is where this particular blend came to falter. After my usual 6 minute steep time, I enjoyed my first cup straight, and it was quite delicious. The spices were very were slightly dull, so I added a pinch of brown sugar to really bring them out, and a dash of cream to make it a tad bit more traditional (and bring down the temperature so I can inhale it as I am wont to do).
However, my second cup was strangely bitter. Not a bitterness I ever have with Chai, so I upped the sugar and cream to mask it, and it only sort of worked. I held off on any additives in cup three and tried to identify the issue. That was when it hit me. I believe they used a very poor black tea as a base for this Chai, which lead to it getting bitter around the same time the spices were reaching their perfect flavor.
I remade it with less steeping and sadly it seems your options are either underwhelming Chai with weak spice notes that need support from brown sugar to be noticeable, or bitter Chai where the tasty spices are overwhelmed by bad black tea. I wouldn’t recommend this first to anyone looking for good Chai, there are better options out there, even in a simple tea bag.
Flavors: Bitter, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Spicy