May Flowers! I was a little disappointed that the Spi Chai sampler by T2 I tried the other night, which was supposed to have rose and jasmine petals, ended up not having any, so here is my second try at a floral chai! This blend is the Kama Sutra blend by tea wholesaler Metropolitan Tea Company, which means it’ll be in tea shops across the country. I purchased mine from The American House in San Diego, California, during a vacation. This particular chai blends Indian and Kenya black teas with chai spices and rose petals, jasmine blossoms, and lavender buds.
Unlike my sad Spi Chai sampler, I do have ample flower petals in this tea, and a pronounced floral scent from the bag! It’s actually a very interest aroma, a little like cardamom and clove mixed with lavender, and I actually find the combination of aromas oddly pleasant! The base tea steep up very strongly, and it actually wasn’t as bitter as I was expecting (I think the floral notes actually helped a lot in this regard), but it did have a fair bit of astringency following the sip.
This is a chai that needs to be well shaken, and preferably scooped from down inside the bag rather than from off the top to get a good flavor, since the spices are ground up and tend to sink/settle easily. When I took the tea from the top I got a very weak flavor that was like some slightly cardamom-flavored black tea, but when I shook the bag and then dipped the teaspoon down into the center of the bag, my second cup actually had a very full, spicy flavor. This was a strong chai, with the cardamom, ginger, and black pepper leaving a strong impression on my tongue. I think the floral notes got a little lost by how strong the spices and how astringent the black tea was; I could make out a hint of lavender toward the end of the sip when the spices were starting to die down a bit, but wasn’t tasting any rose or jasmine in my cup.
Since this chai has such a strong black base, I tried it latte style as well, and it was much nicer taken that way. That tamed the black pepper notes and the astringency, and the sweetened milk helped bring more of the floral notes to the forefront, as well; the lavender finish suddenly really popped! If I ever make this again, I will only make this as a latte in the future.
This is actually pretty nice as a latte, since I do like the way the spices and lavender play against each other, but on the whole I think the blend still needs a little balancing between the spice notes and the floral to more fully bring out all the flavors. I would’ve liked to be able to taste the other florals in the blend, to have a bit more balance between all the spices, and just a better balance between the spice and floral so they aren’t competing. I really do think it could be done!
Flavors: Astringent, Black Pepper, Cardamon, Ginger, Lavender, Malt, Spicy