Steeping time: 5 minutes
Tea type: Black
Scents, flavorings, etc.: Cinnamon, cloves, cardamom
Aroma, dry: Strong cinnamon, overwhelming other aromas
Aroma in the cup, plain: Strong cinnamon, overwhelming other aromas
Taste, plain: Strong cinnamon, overwhelming other aromas
Aroma in the cup, enhanced: Strong cinnamon, overwhelming other aromas
Taste, enhanced: Smoother, needs extra sweetener, still very evident cinnamon and clove, cardamom is somewhat lost among them
2nd Infusion: Not recommended, was rather bitter and spiciness was virtually gone
Chilled: Didn’t try
My advice to Two Leaves and a Bud: when shipping out samples, put them in a suitable container so that strong aromas don’t spread.
As for the tea “liquor,” it was rather cloudy with spice dust (probably cloves and cardamom), which is typical of chais. We tried a few sips of the tea plain, but clearly this tea is meant to be enhanced with milk and sweetener. A cupful (or two or three) of the enhanced chai was much better, although the cinnamon was still overpowering. (The vendor says on their site that the chai contains cardamom, but we have our doubts.)
We added a few Walker’s shortbread cookies and McVitie’s Dark Chocolate Digestives to our tea tasting experience.
How this chai compares with other chais:
- Twinings Chai (basically tea and spice dust in a bag) — Two Leaves chai is fresher tasting and less bitter.
- Tazo® Chai served at Starbuck’s — Both the Two Leaves chai and the Tazo chai are strongly flavored with cinnamon. However, the Tazo chai is also overly strong in other spices and leaves a slight burning sensation in my throat.
- English Tea Store’s Indian Spice Chai Black Tea — Two Leaves chai is more “Western” in its use of spices, whereas the ETS chai has bold Indian spice flavors and there is no mistaking the cardamom flavor, among others. Which you prefer is a matter of personal taste. We like both but with different foods.
Disclaimer: The teas reviewed here were provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are strictly objective.