I’ve mentioned before that I have somewhat insane, uncontrollable shopping urges. It’s what Missy calls ‘bad dog’ moments. This tea was definitely a bad dog moment. I have a ‘medium’ Finum infuser basket, and it’s amazing and wonderful. So, for home use in our large teapot, we bought a ‘large’ Finum infuser basket from Amazon. It was a little less than $10. However, I had a $25 gift card.

And what do you do with extra money on a gift card? Buy a pound of tea. That you’ve never tried before. Bad dog.

I’ve actually known quite a few people who drink Zhena’s tea, and I know that I’ve had some before, it’s just been years and years. Maybe more. This is why I felt justified in sating my consumerist urges.

So, using the Finum basket in our standard teapot, today we have Zhena’s Gypsy King Chai.

The tea brewed to a nice, thick, caramelly color, and gives off a delicious scent. The clove and the cinnamon have the most definitive aroms coming from my cup… and it really is giving me high hopes.

The first sip (ooh, hot!, probably should have waited longer) comes across as clove and black pepper being the predominant flavors. It is a very smokey, spicy introduction to this tea. I think this tea could definitely be too peppery for folks who do not appreciate a little bite in their chai (but for those that do, woo hoo!).

Shortly after, the ginger and cinnamon take their place in the sip, which add a little bit of sweetness to the somewhat spicy profile. Behind that, the very smooth tea base starts to take form, but it is truly shadowed by the spices in the blend. Which… I kind of expect in most chais, really.

If you let the tea sit in your mouth for just a few moments, you can begin to taste a hint of the cardamom and orange rind. Neither flavor is really powerful enough to stand out on it’s own, but they definitely add to the finish of the tea. Maybe the tea would suffer without those, but I’m not sure. Not that it’s suffering with them in, obviously.

All in all I’m pretty happy with this purchase, and at sub-$20 for a pound, it could be a real cheap staple spicy chai. Though, I’m not sure that it’s a good summer tea, as I am now super, super warm. We’ll have to try it iced and see how it turns out. If nothing else, I’ll box it up and save it for the winter :)

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My fiancé and I are beginning to enjoy tea infusion, and it’s slowly becoming an interesting hobby that the two of us can share. Maybe not slowly… it’s somewhat amazing how much tea you can buy when everything looks shiny and new.

Tea Rating system:

90 – 100: This is a tea I will always have on hand at work, and at home. I will leave it on altars as offerings of perfection.

80 – 89: This, or one of it’s close cousins, will likely be in my cabinet at home. When this tea runs out, I will buy more. I’ll always wonder if there is something better, but be too afraid to look to stray from home to find it.

70 – 79: Definitely good, but not a clear winner. I enjoy it, I’ll finish it, but I probably won’t buy it again until I’ve exhausted all other versions of this product from any reputable retailer. Though, it may enjoy a resurrection for custom blending.

60 – 69: This tea is okay, but definitely not something I’m going to brew again. I’m going to give what I have left away.

30 – 59: I didn’t finish drinking this tea. I actually poured it out, and went for something else. I’ll still give this tea away, but I’ll do it with a warning and a plead for forgiveness.

0 – 29: This tea is riding securely towards an iceberg at the helm of the failboat. I’ve taken this out of my tea tin, and laid it on a napkin as potpurri. I do not consider it fit for human consumption.


Tacoma, Washington, United States

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