Tulsi Masala Chai from Yogic Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Yogic Chai

Product Description:

Ingredients: Organic CTC BOP Assam, Organic Cardamom, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Cloves & Organic Tulsi (Holy Basil) Leaf

Taster’s Review:

This is a very flavorful chai.  But then, I expected nothing less from Yogic Chai.  When it comes to flavor – Yogic Chai delivers!  Their chai is not too spicy, but not too mild either… it possesses just the right level of spiciness so that you know you’re drinking a chai blend without being smacked hard in the face with the spicy flavor.

Now I will admit that sometimes I like being smacked hard in the face with spice, but, when I want a delicious, evenly-spiced chai, Yogic Chai has never disappointed.

This Tulsi Masala Chai takes Yogic Chai’s award winning Original Masala Chai and adds a bit of dried Tulsi (also known as Holy Basil).  The addition of the Tulsi brings a hint of mint-like flavor that is especially noticeable in the aftertaste.  It is crisp and refreshing without overwhelming the balance of spices.

I like the subtle approach with the Tulsi here.  It’s almost enchanting.  Another delicious chai offering from Yogic Chai!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Original Bhakti Chai Concentrate from Bhakti Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

For more information about this product including how to purchase, visit:  Bhakti Chai

Product Description:

Antioxidant-rich black tea, fresh organic ginger, milled spices and a touch of evaporated cane juice.

Taster’s Review:

Oh. My. Goodness!  This is SO good.  This is so good, that I am on my second cup within a half an hour!

According to the website, Bhakti Chai uses fresh pressed ginger as opposed to dried ginger.  The difference this makes can be tasted!  The ginger tastes zippier, zingier, and ginger-y-er!

The black tea base here is a smooth tasting tea, but really, the focus of this chai concentrate is the spices.  And, that’s quite alright with me, because this is so delicious that I wouldn’t want to change it.  It’s absolutely perfect.

The ginger is the dominate flavor, and I can taste the black pepper supporting the flavor of the ginger.  The cardamom and cloves are a bit more subtle but can be tasted, providing that familiar background chai flavor.  The fennel is also quite subtle, but, I taste a hint of licorice-like sweetness in the distance.

One spice that seems to be “missing” is cinnamon – which is a common chai ingredient.  But, even though it isn’t in this chai, I’m not missing it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cinnamon, but, like I said before, this tastes so good that I wouldn’t want to change it.

The ginger provides a lot of warmth (or “agni”) and offers a very warm, comforting sensation starting at the back of the mouth and permeating its way to the belly.  This is a perfect cuppa on those cold winter-y days.  Like today!

This original concentrate is sweetened, but, I am not finding it too sweet.  Bhakti Chai also offers an unsweetened version, which I will review at a later date.

If you like Chai Latte – this is definitely one you should try.  I love this stuff!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Chai Matcha Latte from Matcha Mountains

Where to Buy:  Where Matcha Mountains Products are sold

Product Description:

Spice up your life this season with our chai matcha latte made from organic freshly ground spices cardamon, cinnamon, cloves… and japanese matcha. Accent our chai with a cinnamon stick or dollop of whip cream and enjoy hot or cold.

Taster’s Review:

THIS IS SO YUMMY!

This is a perfect Matcha Latte … and a perfect Chai Latte for that matter.  It is so good.

This is gently spiced – not something I would categorize as spicy.  More like warm and soothing.  It is sweet but not cloying.  It is smooth, rich and creamy.  The combination of adding steaming milk and the Matcha make for a very foamy, frothy beverage.

The Matcha base tastes vibrant.  It has a light vegetative taste.  It isn’t as vegetal as a typical Matcha.  Perhaps that is because it’s a latte mix, or perhaps it’s because the spices cancel out some of the grassy tones, or it could be because the milk offsets the vegetative qualities of the Matcha.  But if you’ve tried Matcha in the past and found that strong vegetative taste to be a little off-putting, try this!

I absolutely LOVE this Matcha Latte.  I love it so much, in fact, that my cup is empty!  I don’t usually finish off the cup before I finish writing the review… but, in this case, it tasted so good I couldn’t stop!  It’s a yummy treat!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Chai Masala Spice Blend from The Chai Cart

Where to Buy:  The Chai Cart on Foodzie

or visit The Chai Cart website for more information

Product Description:

Make any tea into “Masala” tea by adding this magical blend of eight spices known for culinary flavors and therapeutic qualities.

When brewed with black tea and milk, this spice blend makes a bold, fragrant and smooth cup of Masala Chai that will transport you to India in just one sip.

The magical mix of eight spices is perfectly balanced so that no single spice dominates the palate. The boldness of cloves and nutmeg with the spice of ginger are balanced with the fragrance of cardamom and the sweetness of cinnamon. Fennel and white and black pepper add further layers of complexity.

This blend can also be used with green tea or rooibos as well as in soups, stews and countless recipes that need to be spiced up!

Taster’s Review:

This blend of spices is so versatile that it could be used in just about anything.  I considered grinding it fine and using it as a rub on a pork loin, but then, remembering that I still had a teeny-tiny bit of my Sweet Caramel O’Mine tea, I decided that I would use my sample of this spice blend as an enhancement for a cup o’ Spiced Sweet Caramel O’Mine.

I used three teaspoons of the spices with three teaspoons of the tea blend.   This made a very pleasant 3 cups of bold and spicy tea.  I added a dollop of honey and found that it was just perfect served this way.  To make a latte, I would have reduced the amount of water that I used to brew (only 2 cups of water) so that the milk wouldn’t dilute the flavors.

And … OH MY GOODNESS.  This is good.  Somehow the spices bring out the burnt sugar aspect of the caramel, giving this an almost sweet-and-savory kind of taste.  I think the nutmeg and the caramel compliment each other so well!

The main spice flavor that I’m tasting is the ginger, which when combined with the white and black peppers give this cup a very peppery kick!  The cinnamon comes just after the ginger, and the cardamom and cloves add pleasant dimension.  I can’t taste much of the fennel here, and while I do like fennel, perhaps it is a good thing that I can’t taste it too strongly with this tea.  I think it might taste a little too funky with the caramel.

I really like this blend.  I think I may be buying a tin of this in the near future so that I can use it on my next pork loin roast.  If I do this, I’ll be sure to post a review and the recipe on my Foodie Blog!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Authentic Chai Concentrate from Third Street Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

For more information, visit:  Third Street Chai

Product Description:

A generously spiced blend of fine black tea and freshly-milled aromatic spices.

Ingredients:  Filtered Water, Evaporated Cane Juice, Fair Trade Certified Organic Black Tea, Organic Cardamom, Organic Clove, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Fennel, Organic Nutmeg, Citric Acid.

Taster’s Review:

Having already tried the Spicy Ginger Chai Concentrate from Third Street Chai, I felt confident that I’d also like this “Authentic Chai” Concentrate from the same company.

And I do.  This is actually quite similar to the Spicy Ginger Chai except, obviously, it isn’t as spicy.  While this chai still has some detectable ginger flavor, it isn’t nearly as spicy.  This is the chai for those who like their chai lattes to be a little more gently spiced.

But make no mistake, the spices are still here.  This is much more like a coffee house chai – smooth and rich in flavor, but even-tempered enough to enchant even those who are otherwise put-off by the spicier things in life.   Personally, I like the heat of the ginger in the Spicy Ginger Chai.  That being said, I think that this slightly milder version is a better accompaniment with meals and especially with that morning scone!

YUM!

I really love these chai concentrates from Third Street Chai.  It lets me enjoy a delicious chai latte any time of the day with very little mess or fuss.  And the price of one 32-ounce concentrate bottle is about the same price as one chai latte from the local coffee house!  This chai from Third Street Chai is the best of both worlds:  convenience and value!

500 Mile Chai from The Tao of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  The Tao of Tea

Product Description:

Chai is an integral part of life in India and simply translates to ‘Tea’ in Hindi. Calling it ‘Chai tea’ is considered redundant. In India, ‘Chaiwallahs’ (tea vendors) are present at street corners brewing basic black tea with spices.

500 Mile Chai
The tale of ‘500 Mile Chai’ originates from the many late night truck drivers stopping at small Chai stands ‘Dhabas’ on the highway and asking for really strong, sweet Chai to help them drive long distances (in a humorous tone – “for another 500 miles”).

Taster’s Review:

This is a good chai – and it is quite different from many other chai blends that I have tried.  In many other blends, it seems as though the emphasis is on the spices, and it can be sometimes difficult to discern the flavor of the tea base amid the stronghold of the spices.

But here, the black tea base is strong and solid!  There is some real power to this black tea.  I suspect it is an Assam due to its malty tone, and to the fact that when it is steeped too long, it gets just a little too bitter (care to guess how I know that?)

When steeped for the right amount of time, however, this is a delicious tea.  I found that 3 to 3 1/2 minutes is just right for me.  When I got to four, the tea verged upon bitterness, but at 3 1/2 the tea tasted just perfect.  I did not steep this using the chai “stovetop” method (steeping in simmering milk on the stove) because as I’ve attested to in previous reviews, I try to avoid this method whenever possible.  Too messy!

So, instead, I steeped for 3 1/2 minutes in boiling water.  I tried this latte style (steeping at a stronger concentration and serving with steamed milk) and without the milk, and while I prefer it latte, it is quite delicious either way.  I do recommend a little honey or agave nectar though to help bring out the richness of the spices.

The flavor of the cup is bold and well-spiced.  Invigorating!  The blend of spices is well-balanced.  In some blends, the ginger or cinnamon is overwhelming and can cancel out some of the notes of the cardamom and cloves, but here, each one of these spices is nicely represented without one stealing the show.

This is DEFINITELY strong enough to keep you going another 500 miles!

Spicy Seattle Chai from MarketSpice

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  MarketSpice

Product Description:

Our spiciest chai, with plenty of Pepper, Ginger and Cardamom. Add milk and sugar to taste. Ingredients: Black tea, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Tellicherry Peppercorns, Ginger and Cloves.

Taster’s Review:

This chai is AWESOME!

As most of you probably know (because I’ve said it enough!) I am very discriminating when it comes to chai – because I truly believe that I created the best chai blend ever.  However, that doesn’t mean that I cannot appreciate other chai blends, and this is definitely one for which I have tremendous appreciation!

It is SPICY!  The pepper and ginger are prominent, and I can actually feel it hit my throat in the finish – like a spicy, peppery blanket that warms my palate, then radiates down my throat and warms my entire body right down to the tips of my toes!

In fact, after my initial sip, I had to check the MarketSpice website to see if this chai had chili pepper in it, because the heat from the pepper is that kind of heat.  The website does not indicate that there is chili pepper of any kind in this – so I suspect that it is the rather fine grind of black Tellicherry peppercorns that brings the heat, as well as the ginger.

But, while the heat from these two ingredients is rather dominant, they do not overwhelm the palate so much that the other ingredients – cinnamon, cardamom and cloves – cannot be tasted.  The flavor of the black tea is even quite present in the sip – it is rich and bold and offers a tasty base for these zesty spices.

I really like this chai.  I have tried it several times now.  The first time I tasted it, I drank it with no additions, the second time, with just a drizzle of honey.  I found that the honey brought out some of the other spices very nicely and softened the edge from the tea, ginger and pepper just a little.  For an extra special treat, try it with brown sugar – the molasses in the brown sugar will be delightful with this spicy chai!

The third time, I broke down and made myself a chai latte by steeping the tea extra strong (using a little extra leaf and a little less water) and adding honey and some warmed 2% milk and frothing it.

When served as a latte – the spices present themselves a little differently.  It is still spicy, but the creaminess of the latte softens the spices and creates a warm, comforting cup that puts the coffee house chai lattes to shame!  The chai latte was absolutely delightful and my favorite way of serving this, although I quite enjoyed the other preparations as well.

An excellent chai – perfect for those who like their chai on the spicy side!

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