I’m in the mood for chai. Simply because it’s near me. Funny, but when it’s near me, I’m in the mood for chai.

This was actually on the big side as far as my (free, thanks!) Herbal Infusions samples have gone. It’s enough for 1+ cups of tea. But it isn’t quite half a tablespoon, so I’m leery of trying to make it on the stovetop. Instead, I’m planning to steep like a black tea and then add some milk/sweetener.

The vanilla note in the dry leaf mixture is striking and very appealing. The others in the stable of chai spices smell like their comforting selves.

Once made into chai, this has an interesting note that stands out in both the aroma and the taste. It’s not vanilla, it’s something else. Time to take a look at the ingredients and try to figure out what it is. Here they are, according to the web site: Premium black tea, calendula petals, chopped and powdered ginger, cardamon, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, natural flavors

I’m thinking it must be either a flavor added by the calendula petals, or coriander that I’m tasting because those are the only two ingredients that don’t seem necessarily common to most of the other chais I have tasted. I suppose it could also be vanilla, on second thought. Though it’s not the vanilla flavor I’ve experienced in other teas. It’s almost fig-like.

Notice something else about those ingredients? I suppose one of the natural flavors is vanilla, because there isn’t anything else identified as vanilla in the mix.

So here’s where I’m coming out. It’s better than the Numi chais I’ve tasted because the spices are stronger and hold up to milk (and the black pepper probably single handedly accomplishes that and is missing from the Numi). It’s about on a par with the Tazo chai, maybe slightly better, and perhaps would be significantly better if prepared via stovetop method. But as prepared today, it’s not as interesting a mix of flavors as the Golden Moon pu erh chai I had earlier today and it’s not as smooth and near perfect as Samovar’s. Good, with perhaps a potential for greatness.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes


Bay Area, California



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