This loose chai masala highlights a special ingredient: tulsi, which is holy basil. Dried tulsi has a sharp, vegetal flavor; a bit spicy, a tad bitter. It has an elusive, floral, spicy bouquet. This chai masala has assam, it is not caffeine free as I’d originally thought, and includes the usual masala suspects. I purchased it from a tea shop that sells loose tea in large canisters, without the ingredients listed, just the name of the tea, which is then scooped into little brown paper bags. Here is a link to the ingredients so that you’ll know just what is going on in this tea:
When you open the bag, you smell the mixed spices, the sweet assam and the tulsi, which has the appearance of dark green bits. The masala is beautifully balanced: no flavor jumps out and demands all the attention, and that’s so important to me in a chai masala. I used one teaspoon to one cup of water, boiling, in a teapot, and steeped for 3 minutes. The brewing tea had such a lovely fragrance: the tea, spices and tulsi created a unique scent. The result was a light, spicy and sweet cup of tea. I added a drop of pure maple syrup; unorthodox, I know, but it complemented the sweetness of the tea and mellowed the aromatic tulsi. This is definitely a unique chai masala for me, and I’m so glad I added it to my cupboard. Will I ever go to India? I close my eyes and sip this tea and imagine it! Next time I will make this on the stovetop, properly!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Although I can be heard to mutter “Dust! Fannings and dust!” when drinking a poor cup of tea, I really don’t think I’m a tea snob. Want to talk about your favorite tisane with jelly beans in it? I’m there. Want to talk about gyokuro and assam? Done. I welcome the chance to discuss all things tea and tea related because I’m that kind of nerd: a tea nerd. Other things I’m passionate about: my family: my husband and daughter and our Chihuahua and new cat; literature, and social justice. I have poor eyesight, a good temperament, an odd sense of humor and a lot of curiosity.



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