My first proper Chai, just in time for Christmas.

So the final in my Bohea Tea selection is a Spiced Chai. I have waited until after my birthday last week as after then I give myself permission to start feeling christmasy. And one of the ways that really makes me know christmas is on the way is are the smells & flavours of spices in baking such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & more. So this spiced chai is a perfect one to try as the nights draw in, the temperature drops & christmas is an oncoming glow.

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‘Chai’ originates from India originally a blend of black tea usually Assam with spices such as green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, and black peppercorn though there is no official recipe for the blend, so flavours will constantly vary. The word ‘chai’ means ‘tea’ so when people say ‘chai tea’ they are actually saying ‘tea tea’. The blend is most often called  ‘masala chai’ which means ‘spiced tea’ which is a more accurate name for it. In different regions of india, different specific spices are used and some blends even use green tea. Traditionaly the blend is infused with hot milk or a mix of milk & water. Some even use condensed milk which doubles up as a sweetener otherwise white, demerara, palm or coconut sugars are use to suit the drinker.

The dry leaves are small twisted dark brown with small pieces of dried ginger, cinnamon & other lovely spices. The smell is sweet & spicy with the lovely maltiness of the Assam.

img_4472The smell is like opening a baking cupboard before making gingerbread houses with my mum & sister. The mix of spices makes a beautiful adventure of flavours in the palette. Having the Assam (which honestly I’m not always the biggest fan of) gives it a wonderful base & isn’t too overpowered from the spices & sweetness.

The wet leaves have lightened to a dark brown & have unfurled to be small and  broken, the smell of cinnamon has grown a bit, its not stale like old spices, but almost fresh like newly baked biscuits.

The smell of the liquor is warm, of cinnamon & nutmeg. You can smell the malty bass of the assam which is great as the smell doesnt feel that it requires anything else. The colour is a bright rich golden hue, that when it catches the light reminds me of the Christmas star.

img_4479The flavour is spicy & sweet with delicious layers of flavour. I don’t often try Chai so I don’t have much to compare it to, but I really like it.  It’s not an overly full mouthfeel or is it sickly sweet which I have found with the chai I tried before. Its like a delicious homemade christmas biscuit, evoking memories of the first mince pie or gingerbread man eaten on the season. Like a few other teas I’ve tried recently, it satisfies my sweet tooth. Ive been taking it to univeristy in the mornings & its been a perfect 9:30/10am drink when I’m thinking of biscuits.

As I’m mildly lactose intolerant which is one of the reason I started exploring for better tea to drink without milk. However Chai is one of the few that does feel as if it needs it. I’d love to try this with milk, perhaps almond, it would help to thicken an already lovely flavour but just make it that it more wintery (if that makes sense) . Its a delightful flavour that  I am looking forward to carrying on drinking over the Christmas  season! img_4471

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