2tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 9 minutes. The packet recommends 2tsp for 1 cup of water, which seems like a lot to me, but with tisanes, things can get tricky. So I’ll follow the instructions. Packet also recommends a steep time of six to eight minutes. I got distracted and left it for 9.
Dry leaf: gorgeous dark roasted mate. I was delighted to see that, because the packet lists only “mate” as an ingredient. I was worried that green mate, so fresh and vibrant, couldn’t stand up to chai spices. Roasted can, I have no doubt. I love roasted mate, and it can be hard to find. Strong scent of ginger and cloves, which I love. Clove is an ingredient I don’t often encounter in chai blends. Stash uses it, and Stash was the first chai blend I ever tried, so now for me cloves need to be there. And ginger. I adore cloves and ginger. Cinnamon I can take or leave in a chai blend. This probably tells you I am an unsophisticated brute who knows nothing of chai.
Wet leaf: glossy dark roasted mate, but of clove and ginger showing.
Liquor: quite dark, though not as dark as a pu-ehr. Dark golden brown, as a Nigiri might give. Translucent: light passes through without interruption from down or fragments. Fragrant still with clove and ginger — and a bit of cardamom, which I also adore but can only take in small doses. Too much cardamom gives tisanes, teas and coffee a soapy mouthfeel. I also find too much cardamom hard on the stomach. Given how long I’ve steeped this, I’m a bit nervous.
Just on the edge of soap with the cardamom, and I blame myself. A shorter steep would solve that.
A very balanced blend. The roasted mate is all toasty and a bit earthy, a subtle touch of bitterness — which really works here. I don’t think it needs any sweetening, because the ginger and cinnamon sweeten things nicely at the end. The cloves add depth, and the pepper leaves a lingering bite that builds with each sip.
The mate lift kicks in fast, as it should. Not a smack to the head, but a definite boost. Very pleasant.
I really like it. Citizen Tea seem to have a good handle on blends. Watch the water temp and steep times on this beauty, and enjoy.