Sunday, February 13, 2011

Arbor Tea's Masala Chai Review

Type: Black
Origin: India
Price: Free sample (regular price - $17.50 for 5.5oz.)
Vendor: Arbor Teas
Brewing Method: Per Instructed - 1 teaspoon of leaves, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 212°F, steeped for 3-5 minutes
Overall Score: 4.0 out of 5

Masala Chai is a black tea base (I am assuming Assam) with green cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper. Upon opening the package I can smell the cinnamon and cloves right away. It has an overall spicy aroma between the ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper. The dry blend is colorful with the yellowish ginger, brown cinnamon, and green cardamom against a black background of tea leaves. The vast amount of cloves worries me, though.

The liquor smells spicy as the cloves and cinnamon battle it out to be the most prominent scent. I can faintly smell the ginger in the background. The color is dark orange right out of the teapot and then it turns to a light brown when the milk is added.

Wow, despite my worries about the army of cloves in the blend, this chai doesn’t taste half bad. With the milk added, per recommendation of Arbor Tea’s website, it cuts the harsh spices and gives them a warming characteristic rather than a stabby one.

The cinnamon and cloves are still front and center, of course, but I can also taste the ginger in the background. The tea has a general warm, soothing feel, yet the hearty flavor still packs a punch. I could see this being a good breakfast or “wake me up” tea.


Jackie said...

Very nice pics on your blog. I went over to Arbor Teas to have a look at their selection. I've never ordered from them before. I like that this tea is organic. Seems all their teas are labeled "Organic Fair Trade."
I'm not a Masala Chai fan myself, since I don't really like spices in tea. The strange thing is though, that I love all those ingredients in my cooking! What's wrong with me, eh? ;)

Alex Zorach said...

I haven't tried this blend, but I've often found, like you describe, that clove can dominate the initial aroma of a dry chai blend, without overwhelming the actual brewed chai.

I've also come to like more clove over time. Clove is interesting: it contains many chemicals that have powerful medicinal properties, affecting both the mind and body. It shares the main component of the essential oil with the tulsi plant, which explains their similar aromas and somewhat similar effects.

dining table said...

This is a nice review that you got here. I would love to try this tea. It looks delicious.