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Once again this little teapot did his duty by helping my humans steep up a fragrant potful of this tea as part of their week-long Chai Extravaganza.
The Subject: Bombay Chai from The Boston Tea Company.
Water temperature: 212˚ F
Steeping time: 5½ minutes
Tea type: Black
Scents, flavorings, etc.: Spices
Aroma, dry tea: Rich, festive, Winter holiday fragrance
Aroma in the cup: Spicy
Taste in the cup: Balanced, smooth, spicy kick with each mouthful but not overwhelming
Additional Infusion(s): Did one, weaker taste, good to drink straight
Chilled: Didn’t do
There’s chai and then there’s chai. Basically, what we call “chai” in the U.S. is usually black tea with spices added. Sometimes it’s green tea. I’ve even seen chai made with white tea. Some are really spicy, other mild. Some are more to the sweet side. Lots of variety.
This is a black tea chai (that’s sort of a double name there, since “chai” means “tea”). Shake the bag up a bit (gently) just to get things well mixed. (One problems with teas that have a lot of other “stuff” mixed in is the unevenness of your taste experience due to heavier items settling to the bottom of the package.)
This tea is available both bagged and loose, and the instructions on the label was written for both, making them a tad confusing. I am very thankful, though, that they sent the loose version.
We followed the instructions when preparing the tea, even though we were tempted to use a more traditional chai method (simmering on the stove). As it steeped, we sniffed a couple of times. The cinnamon and cloves scents came out strong, so much so that I was concerned that they would dominate the flavor in the cup.
At the end of the steep time, we strained the tea into another teapot and added 1/3 cup of warmed milk and two packets of sweetener to it, stirred, and poured it into mugs. One sip said it all. Ah!
This is an American style chai, that is, it tends toward the sweet side, but this one is not overly sweet like others we’ve tried. In fact, everything is well-balanced. Other reviewers have thought the cardamom was too strong or some other spice was dominating. Either the formula has been adjusted, or they got an off batch, or I got a good batch, or their mix wasn’t evened out with a gentle shaking of the bag. Who knows. Ours was so even and smooth, with no one flavor trumpeting over the others, that it was heavenly to drink and a far cry above the stuff served at Starbucks, which is strongly cinnamoned. In fact, we would consider this one of the main chais to keep in our pantry. Another such chai is being reviewed later (more of an authentic Indian style chai).
We dared to do a second infusion. The taste was weaker but not too much so. In fact, if you are having tea with someone who doesn’t want milk in his/her tea, you can have the first infusion with milk and your guest can have the second one. It is mild enough to drink straight yet flavorful.
The dry tea is full of lots of interesting things, including broken leaf black tea (their Website doesn’t specify which one), cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and anise seeds.
This is definitely a “drinkable dessert” that you can imbibe at the end of a satisfying meal. It would also go well with a typical Autumn dessert like pumpkin pie, at least, hubby thinks so.
Hubby also thinks this tea would make a fabulous potpourri. I quite agree, but then, I might end up eating more pumpkin pie than normal, prompted by the aroma of the tea.
NOTE: This pouch is what the Boston Tea Company uses for samples. Their normal pouches are opaque, not clear, and block out light, very important for preserving your fine teas.
Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.