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!

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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!

Organic Masala Chai from Arbor Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Arbor Teas

Product Description:

This organic, Fair Trade Certified Masala Chai Black Tea blend has a medium-body with exceptionally spicy flavor and aroma. This formula is based on traditional South Indian blending methods and ingredients, using a CTC leaf grade (i.e. very small), as well as green cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper. Despite the CTC grade leaf, this tea has surprisingly little astringency. The clove and ginger really come through, with a wonderful cardamom finish. We recommend steeping a triple-strength cup of our Masala Chai Black Tea and serving it with honey and steamed milk.

Ingredients: organic black tea, organic green cardamom, organic cinnamon, organic ginger, organic clove, and organic black pepper.

Taster’s Review:

I have wanted to try this chai ever since I reviewed the Masala Chai Tea-Infused Chocolate Truffle from Arbor Teas in November.  And I am so glad that I’ve finally had that opportunity, because this is a remarkable chai!

I steeped this just as recommended in the description from Arbor Teas (which I’ve included above), I steeped it extra strong and then served it with honey and steamed milk.  AWESOME!  This makes a delicious chai latte.

First of all, I must say that I love that Arbor Teas recognizes that we don’t all just want to stand at our stove and brew chai tea using the “stovetop” method.  Get real!  It’s messy and to be quite honest, there are few things that I enjoy heating on the stove less than milk.

This chai tastes great when brewed at a concentrated strength in water, and then adding steamed milk to the brewed liquor.  It is a chai after my heart!

The black tea base is strong but not bitter and there is very little astringency to it.  The astringency – what little there is – seems to nearly vanish after the steamed milk is added.  It is smooth and rich tasting, and I love that it is organic too.

The spices are nicely balanced in this blend, and they stand up well to the addition of steamed milk.  The pepper seems to stand out for me, but I like pepper in a chai so that’s not a problem.  It doesn’t overwhelm the other spices – it just adds a new level of warmth to this chai which I am finding to be remarkably complex even with the addition of milk.

Delicious!

Masala Chai from The Chai Cart

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  The Chai Cart

The Chai Cart on Foodzie

Product Description:

Our Masala Chai is a blend of full-leaf black tea and various whole spices. Beautiful to look at and aromatic, this blend makes a bold, fragrant and smooth cup of Masala Chai that will transport you to India in just one sip.

The key to a good cup of chai is the tea itself. The tea used in our Masala Chai comes from the organic estates of Assam — the leading tea-producing region in India.
The magical mix of seven spices — ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, fennel, and black and white pepper — is perfectly balanced so that no single spice dominates the palate. The boldness of cloves and 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 creates a perfect cup of the traditional Indian Masala chai every time. Reuse the tin container as gift/jewelry box or to store spices.

Taster’s Review:

If you’ve read some of my past reviews on chai blends, you’d know that while I consider chai to be a favorite of mine, I am also quite biased when it comes to chai.

I generally do not steep my chai in the traditional “stovetop” method using a combination of boiling water and milk because I find this method to be too messy.  Therefore, it is important to me that the chai can be steeped “my way” – using my smart tea brewing device – and still taste delicious.  If I am going to make a chai latte, I steep it strong (using less water and a little extra leaf) to compensate for the addition of the milk after it’s brewed.

This chai tastes wonderful using my method!  The spices are quite harmonious.  While I can taste notes of many different spices here – cardamom, cinnamon and pepper, among others – I am finding that no one spice seems to overwhelm the others.  The result is a smooth taste that seems to envelop me in a warm blanket of spice and tea.

The black tea base is a robust Assam.  It is strong enough to withstand the strength of the spices without losing its flavor in the mix.  The Assam is rich and a little malty.  There is some astringency to the Assam, but it is barely noticeable in the presence of the spice.  One thing that I do notice, however, is that this Assam is not bitter.  It is just bold yet smooth and very delicious.

When I brewed this tea the first time, I prepared it as a latte, adding steamed milk to the brewed liquor.  As a latte, I found that the flavor of the spices softened somewhat.  At first, I found this a little disconcerting; however, as I continued to sip on my chai latte, the flavors intensified.  The latte is smooth, creamy and rich, with a very pleasing spice kick at the end of the sip.

The second time I tried this chai, I decided to try it without the milk.  And it is absolutely lovely without milk too!  It is wonderfully spicy – but not overwhelming.  Warm and soothing and delightful!

So, it turned out that this is quite enjoyable both as a latte and without the milk.  I also recommend infusing the tea at least twice.  I think I actually enjoyed the second infusion more than the first.  The flavors of the spices seem even more harmonious the second time around, and the Assam is a little less distinct, but, still very good.

A very pleasant chai – one I would recommend to all those chai lovers out there!

Fennel Masala Chai from Yogic Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Yogic Chai

Product Description:

Herbal Properties:
– Assam Tea (black Tea): Black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than the green, oolong and white varieties. All four varieties are made from leaves of Camellia sinensis. Black tea is generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas.

NOTE:The USDA recently stated that drinking black tea may lower bad cholesterol levels and could one day be used to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Read more. Click here!

– Cardamom: A household spice that is commonly used to support digestion without increasing Heat.* It has expectorant and diaphoretic actions.* The mucus forming properties of milk are neutralized when cardamom is added to it.*

– Cinnamon: This warming spice is traditionally used in cold formulas as an expectorant and diaphoretic (sweat inducing).* Due to its warming property, cinnamon is known to promote digestion.*

– Cloves: An energizing herb,* cloves are an effective stimulant and aromatic for the lungs and stomach.* Cloves are used extensively in Ayurvedic herbology.

– Ginger: In Ayurvedic and Chinese herbology, Ginger is known to have heating, cleansing, toning and stimulating properties.* Ginger promotes digestion, relieves abdominal discomfort, dispels chills and it is also useful for relieving respiratory complaints due to phlegm and arthritic conditions due to coldness.*

– Fennel: A common spice that it is traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine to improve digestion and absorption without increasing Fire. Fennel is calming to the nerves and their aroma acts upon the mind and promotes mental awareness. * Fennel is also found to increase low milk supply in breastfeeding moms.*

* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Taster’s Review:

I have said this before:  I love spiced chai blends.  Well, many of them anyway.  That being said, I am also biased when it comes to chai blends because I created my own Chai blend that I think is pretty remarkable.

However, I do try to remain as unbiased as I can when I offer a review about a chai, because I want to be as fair and honest as possible concerning any tea.  And now that I have decided to discontinue blending teas, I find that I enjoy other teas much more.

Yogic Chai is one of my favorite companies because they provide exceptional customer service.  When I deal with Yogic Chai, I feel like a person – an individual – and not a customer or order number.  When I email them with a question, I get an almost immediate response (within an hour most of the time!) and it’s not some automated or cut-and-paste response.  There’s a real person communicating with me.  They treat me like a friend.  I like that.

Yogic Chai focuses on what they do best – spiced chai blends – and they have the largest selection of spiced chai blends that I’ve ever seen from one company. From their Original Masala Chai (Black Tea, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves & Ginger) to some rather unusual selections, including Wild Blueberry White Chai and Acai Berry Mate Chai, Yogic Chai proves that they have a passion for chai!  They even have some interesting medicinal chai blends.

This Fennel Masala Chai is (what I’m assuming to be) Yogic Chai’s Original Masala Chai with a heaping helping of fennel seed.  The fennel adds a pleasing taste of black licorice to the cup.  Sweet with just enough snap to it to make it a little less ordinary, the fennel is a very enjoyable addition to this chai.

The black tea used in this blend is an Assam tea which is brisk and strong, but not so aggressive that it overthrows the flavor of the spices.  There is some astringency, but not too much.  It does get bitter if you over-steep it though, so I recommend a brewing time of 4 minutes or less.  I found 4 minutes was just enough time to extract a pleasing flavor from the spices without that bitter bite from the Assam.  Success!

One thing I’ve noticed with Yogic Chai is that their chai spice blend is in good balance – not too much ginger, not too much cinnamon.  I can taste notes of each spice without one spice getting all the attention.  This is true of this blend as well, even though fennel is “showcased” by the name of this tea, it is not an overpowering taste, but instead, it falls in line with the other spices and becomes part of the blend.

I prefer this particular chai blend with a dollop of honey but without steamed, frothed milk.  I found that the milk off-set the taste of the fennel more than I wanted.  It was still good “latte” style and I could still taste the fennel, but, there was less of that fennel taste that I really enjoy.  So, with this one – try it first before you add milk!

A must try for chai lovers!

Product Review: Masala Chai Tea-Infused Chocolate Truffle from Arbor Teas

photo taken by amazonv, and used with her permission.

Where to Buy:  Arbor Teas

Company Description:

White chocolate ganache infused with our spicy Masala Chai Black Tea, coated in white chocolate, and topped with a chocolate marble.

Taster’s Review:

Editor’s Note:  This review represents part 4 of 6 reviews, one review for each of the six flavors in the truffle collection available from Arbor Teas.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love these chocolates from Arbor Teas?

This one is a white chocolate ganache that’s been infused with Arbor Tea’s Masala Chai Black Tea blend.  I haven’t tried their Chai, so I don’t know if this is a fair representation of the flavor of their chai tea, but, if it is, I’d have to say that it is a very pleasing chai, indeed!

I can taste the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves distinctly, but less flavor from the ginger and black pepper come through.  There is a nice peppery aftertaste that cuts through some of the sweet white chocolate, however, it is a faint flavor.  I detect very little of the black tea flavor, but I can taste a hint of it.

My favorite part of this treat was the gold-leaf embellished chocolate marble on top of the truffle.  I can taste a hint of bourbon in this and I personally think that there should have been more to this; it would have accented the flavors in the truffle very nicely.

If my favorite local coffee house made a white chocolate chai latte, I would imagine it tasting a bit like this.  It is very sweet and rich, but very decadent and delicious.

Spiced Masala Chai from Mark T. Wendell

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Mark T. Wendell

Company Description:

We are pleased to offer this uplifting, full-bodied blend of India black tea with masala, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and cardamom. A traditional Indian offering that is often served with plenty of milk to create a delicious, spicy Chai.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’m quite biased when it comes to masala chai blends.  That being said, this is a delicious masala chai, and I’m really enjoying it.

Although the ingredient list for this tea seems somewhat simple compared to some other masala chai blends, it has a very nice balance of flavors.  This skillful blend of cinnamon, ginger and cardamom is very much in harmony – it is not too spicy, it is not too hot from the cinnamon, it is not too peppery from the ginger, nor is it too zesty from the cardamom.  Each of these ingredients is present and accounted for in the flavor presentation, and there is no power struggle to overwhelm the cup.

I suspect the addition of vanilla to this blend has something to do with this harmonious flavor.  It has a very enjoyable smoothness to it – a hint of creamy sweetness.  It, too, is not an overpowering flavor; rather, it is very subtle.

The black tea base is also noteworthy in this blend, it provides an even flavor and texture that is not too mellow – it has a pleasant briskness to it that offers a nice contrast to the warm spices and smooth vanilla taste.

I would recommend this to the tea drinker looking for a chai that is not overwhelmingly spicy.  While I enjoyed my cup of this hot with just a little honey (come on, you’ve gotta have honey with your chai, right?) as my cup cooled I noticed that the flavors stood strong – making this an excellent choice for iced masala chai.  I’ve also enjoyed this chai as a latte, and it’s so good!  While the steamed milk does mute the spices slightly, the milk does bring out the vanilla and elevates this tea to a very creamy, decadent treat!

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