Tea Chai Te

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Recent Tasting Notes

77

Pulled out this 2018 blend for the January prompt item “a spicy tea”.

The description of this tea says it is a yerba mate/black tea blend, but I honestly don’t see any black tea leaf in the mix? Just lots of roasted mate and spices. So I brewed a heaping teaspoon in 185F 350ml water for about a 4 minute steep (roughly how I handle yerba mate).

The tea has a rich roasted mate body, with some notes of hot hay, wood, and nuts. Mostly what I’m getting from the spices is a very forward cinnamon flavor… not sweet desserty cinnamon, or red hot candy cinnamon, but that very barky/woody/sweet cinnamon. It is really adding to that roasted woodiness of the tea. There is a light, warming-but-not-burny ginger flavor at the end of the sip that leaves a pleasant warmth on the throat afterwards. There is a little bit of pepperiness to the flavor as well.

It’s a pleasantly warm chai… spiced, but not spicy, with a strong cinnamon presense. The roasted mate is very smooth here. It’s a nice tea for the blechiness that is Pacific Northwest winter.

Flavors: Bark, Cinnamon, Ginger, Hot Hay, Nutty, Pepper, Roasted, Spices, Wood

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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80

Happy New Year’s Eve! Today the prompt is to drink your oldest tea!

While this isn’t my oldest tea (those are all pu’erhs that I continually put off drinking for several reasons: a) I feel they “need” gong fu preparation to shine, which I never have the time to do, b) since they age, I don’t feel an incentive to finish them off for “freshness” purposes, and c) frankly, historically that tea type is my least favorite). I’m pretty busy today (work half the day, then I need to cram in errands the second half and hope the blizzard we are having lightens by then) so I don’t think I’ll be able to fit in any gong fu today… so I made this as my take-to-work thermos tea. It is at least one of my oldest 2018 teas, which have been what I’ve primarily been working on sipping down lately.

Tea Chai Te has a couple blends that incorporate tea leaf and spices into Guittard powdered chocolate; the result is something that, at least visually, appears to look more like a hot chocolate mix, just with chunky bits in it. I really enjoy their “Rainforest Chai,” another of their Guittard chocolate blends, so I decided to prepare this tea the same way I make that one: one large perfect spoon scoop of the tea/chocolate powder dumped into the milk frother, a cup of milk, and the frother on “warm”. When it is done warming/frothing the milk, I pour through a strainer to filter out the tea and spices. I find this incorporates the chocolate powder the best, while trying to steep with water in a strainer just turns into a big mess.

Smells, unsurprisingly, like spiced hot chocolate. It’s a rich, sweet, thick chocolate (thanks to the cocoa powder), but I can taste the spices too: notably a warming of clove and ginger at the end of the sip. Mid-sip I get more of a cardamom flavor. The spices aren’t strong enough to cause any unpleasant mouth-burny sensations, but are present enough to be tasted through the chocolate.

I can’t, however, taste anything that would remind me of yerba mate. Flavor-wise, this pretty much tastes just like their “Rainforest Chai,” which is just spices in cocoa powder. I suppose though, even though I can’t taste it, is that the yerba mate has basically turned this into an energizing, caffeinated hot cocoa, while “Rainforest Chai” is a pleasant evening herbal. I’ll have to see how my energy levels feel as I sip on this throughout another cold and snowy morning.

Edit: Having tried this tea a few times now, I have found my preferred preparation is stove top preparation with a 50/50 milk to water ratio and a tablespoon of the tea/chocolate powder. This is the best marriage of rich and creamy hot chocolate notes while still tasting the distint flavor of yerba mate with sweet spices.

Flavors: Cardamom, Chocolate, Clove, Creamy, Ginger, Spices, Sweet

Preparation
2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Shae

I was most looking forward to today’s prompt!

Lexie Aleah

I didn’t realize some of their blends had Guittard chocolate in them. That sounds delicious I’ll have to pick up a few of them at some point.

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Has a strong artificial caramel flavor. If you dig caramel syrup flavor (like the Torani liquid kind they use at espresso stands) you would love this tea.
It is an okay early morning tea flavor wise and has an adequate amount of caffeine in it. I will drink what I purchased eventually but is highly unlikely I will repurchase.

Flavors: Caramel

Preparation
Boiling 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Finally got the chance to visit and try Tea Chai Te! I was meeting a friend there but he ended up at a different location and I had to wait for quite a while. Meanwhile, while I was perusing the tea menu for loose leaf to bring home the woman working there kindly brought me out a nice cup of tea on the house(Vanilla Peach Apricot). I was the only one in the place at the time but it did get busy later on. We had a good conversation about Steepster and the PDX Tea Festival and she recommended a tea room as well.

I ended up ordering this cup of tea and they weren’t serving pots yet due to Covid. I remember it being really hot as I sipped it. It was somewhat buttery but in a different way than the other milky oolongs, I’ve tried in the past. The floral notes were balanced and even though it was a little different than other milk oolongs I still enjoyed it.

Mastress Alita

I’ve only been to one of the TCT locations (in a downtown location near a Salt and Straw Ice Cream) but I love it there. Every time my friend and I go to Portland, we go there.

Lexie Aleah

The one I went to was son Mississippi in the Alberta area so I think it was a different location. It was really nice though and I remembered your Tea Chai Te reviews. I actually ended up getting some of the macadamia nut mate tea loose leaf that I’ve wanted to try ever since reading your review. (:

Mastress Alita

Oh! I love that Mate! I also love their teas dusted in chocolate powder, like the Rainforest Chai! Their Mt. Hood Vanilla is quite bomb too… I just have too many favorites, lawl! (I admittedly know nothing about streets/locations as my vacation partner-in-crime Todd takes care of all navigation, but I believe it was the NW 23rd Ave location where we always go).

Lexie Aleah

I’ll have to check that location out next time and grab some of that vanilla tea as well!

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77

Happy Ampersand Day! Today the prompt is to drink a tea with the word “and” in the title!

Managed to find one of my 2018 stash that fit the bill. The dry leaf looks like Gunpowder Green (though TCT’s website doesn’t specify), which isn’t my favorite, but I’m hoping the spices might cover up the “smoky” taste I don’t like. It has a heavy fennel/clove aroma to the nose from the dry leaf, which is quite inviting.

The brewed tea also has a lovely fennel/clove peppery aroma, with some deeper almost earthy smells from the green tea. It tastes quite pleasant; earthy/dry grass flavor lacking the smoke, a touch of mint without it being strongly minty like a Moroccan Mint, and a strong fix of fennel and clove in flavor, leading to some citrusy and peppery notes. It really ties together well.

Flavors: Citrus, Clove, Dry Grass, Earth, Fennel, Mint, Pepper, Spices

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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83

I’m fairly certain I’ve had Tea Chai Te’s Lady Londonderry before, but I don’t seem to have a review of it, only one for English Tea Store. I got a sample of this in an order last year, and it was the last flavored black tea sampler left in my stash, so I figured I should just finish it off.

They recommended a 2 minute steep, but I did my typical 3 minute steep in 350ml 205F water for half the sample (about 2.8g). The other half of the sample was brewed the same for the work thermos. The tea has a nice aroma; a jammy strawberry scent, but something about the smell sort of reminds me of Red Vines or cherry cola. Though I didn’t get it on the nose, taking a sip the lemon citrus note is very forward, and it has a very juicy feel to it; like freshly squeezed lemon juice. There is a touch of tanginess from it, but mostly that is mellowed by the sweeter strawberry note that comes in later in the sip and sort of lingers on the tongue in the aftertaste. The strawberry is definitely a more subtle flavor than the lemon, and I get a vague, sweeter strawberry lemonade sort of vibe from the taste. The black tea is very smooth prepared this way, and I don’t have any astringent aftertaste.

This seems to be pretty spot on to my impressions on the English Tea Store version, re-reading my notes, and I would be tempted to believe maybe they both source from the same place, except I did notice mild astringency from the other version, leading me to think this might be a slightly higher quality base tea. Regardless, this is a lovely cuppa and one I probably wouldn’t mind having in my cupboard again at some point, especially for iced tea season.

Flavors: Bread, Candy, Citrus, Fruity, Jam, Lemon, Smooth, Strawberry, Sweet, Tangy

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
ashmanra

Wow, I had forgotten Lady Londonderry tea, but I sure don’t know how I did! I bought a pound bag years ago from English Tea Shop.

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90

Happy National Peach Cobbler Day! Today is the day to drink a tea with peach flavor notes!

I found this one for my Ode to Tea J entry… and I can’t believe it has sat, untouched, in my cupboard since March of 2018. Sigh…

The aroma wafting off my steeping cup is very compelling! I smell a strong tart/pithy orange citrus aroma, mixed with a peach/nectarine aroma which smell so inviting together!

On the tongue, I get a lead of hibiscus; the tea is a bit tangy but it doesn’t have the typical “hibiscus pucker” to it, it’s much sweeter. I’m mainly just getting the fruity sort of taste of the actual flower, and when I get that taste combined with the pithy tangerine note, it creates the feeling of biting into a very juicy orange or mandarine. As the tangier notes mellow on my tongue, I taste sweet peaches; I can detect the particular sweet note of licorice root, but there isn’t enough here to leave that “sticky” feeling on the tongue after the sip, only a mild flavor. The blend of rooibos and honeybush itself is magic, as I’m not getting any of the off-notes I often find in each (medicinal for rooibos, pepper for honeybush); it’s really smooth and sweet.

This may be one of the nicest rooibos blends I’ve had in a while! There are a lot of polarizing ingredients in it, but they happen to all be polarizing ingredients that I personally love, so this mix just works perfectly for me. This is just juicy citrus, sweet peach, and slightly floral honey-tasting nectar of the gods to me.

Why did this sit in my stash untouched for so long…?

Flavors: Citrus, Fruity, Hibiscus, Honey, Licorice, Orange, Peach, Smooth, Sweet, Tangy

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
AJRimmer

Oh whoops, for some reason I thought tomorrow was Peach Cobbler Day! I couldn’t find an N tea, so I thought it lined up perfectly since I’d still have something to post. Oh well, tomorrow will be my Peach Cobbler Day :P

Mastress Alita

I’ve been sick with a bad migraine and missed posting any reminders (or even my tea post) until I could extract myself from bed. It’s all for fun anyway, just drink tea and be happy. :-)

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70

Ninth tea for March Mad(Hatter)ness! (What happened to #3-8? I’m having to skip around a bit depending on how my work schedule falls and the way tea and the time involved for different types of tea brewing, caffeine vs. no caffeine, etc., fall into that schedule). This is for the pu’erh tea round, going against Tea Etc.’s Chocolate Covered Strawberry.

This is going to be a landslide victory, considering that despite multiple efforts pu’erh tea just “isn’t my cuppa” no matter how hard I try… though, on occassion, I do find some flavored blends using it as a base alright. So when a pure pu ended up randomly selected against a flavored pu it almost seemed unfair to keep that randomizer… but you know what they say, all’s fair in love and tea…

Like all the teas in my bracket, this was purchased in 2018, from Tea Chai Te in Portland (though obviously they are sourcing it). I believe the copy writing at the time indicated the pressing on these tuos was 2008. I guess of all the tea in this bracket, this round is the one that should be least phased by the old age…

I used one tuo for 350ml 205F water, steeped for 5 minutes. I didn’t have time for a rinse prior (I barely had time for such a long steep before draining it into the work thermos and heading out the door!) and the tuo did have issue breaking up properly. That was entirely on me.

Has that strong, familiar earthy potting soil dirt smell. But, for a puerh, I’m doing alright with the flavor. It will never be my favorite type of tea, but this one has come out very smooth, and sweeter than I’m used to. I wonder if the tuo being unable to break up well left the steep “weaker” but, consequently, with a flavor that is far more appealing to me personally. It’s earthy, but doesn’t feel overwhelmingly so. There is a slight, but pleasant, minerality on the sip, which leans into a wet rocks/wet earth flavor. There is a slightly mellow and sweeter finish, while the liquor is that satisfying thick and rich mouthfeel that really coats the throat and stomach.

I am super surprised by this one! I doubt it is going to beat out Chocolate Covered Strawberry (I have very fond memories of that tea!) but it is putting up a hell of a fight to stay in the race. This is probably the highest rating I’ve given to an unflavored pu’erh.

Flavors: Dirt, Earth, Mineral, Sweet, Thick, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
tea-sipper

Yeah some of these teas, it will be tough on other teas because of Fond Tea Memories. It would almost have been more fair if I had used all teas I haven’t tried before in the brackets!

Mastress Alita

I specifically didn’t want to open any of my “sealed” packages though, so I made sure my randomizer selected from my oldest teas. (though many of those I still haven’t tried yet!)

tea-sipper

yeah, that makes sense too. I think all of the teas that were picked for my brackets were already tried by me anyway

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88

Day 24 of Sara’s Old Tea came with a big sachet of Hoji Matcha Chai!

No longer available from Tea Chai Te, this can still probably be purchased if you make a phone order, as they still have everything needed to make it.

I brewed it and added a bit of almond milk, just enough to cool it down to my preferred temperature.

The chai flavors blend together so well, that I had to take several sips to try to tease out what’s in there. I taste clove, ginger, and licorice, with a bit of woody flavor from the houjicha near the end of the sip. It tastes like… sitting and talking with Sara with a pot of tea at Tea Chai Te in Portland, the one on NW 23rd Avenue, a block from Salt & Straw ice cream.

I finished my glass before finishing the review.

Flavors: Clove, Ginger, Licorice, Wood

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 6 min, 0 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
gmathis

I read your last sentence first. That’s a very good quality indicator right there!

Mastress Alita

What turned into, “Oh ya, I need to send Todd my old package of Hoji Matcha Chai” then became, “I need to throw away this gutted DAVIDsTEA advent packaging in the big dumpster, it’s bulky… oh heeeeeeeeeey…”

Todd

gmathis haha yeah, it was that good :)

Sara: Oh LOL, so that’s how it happened…

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84

Day 6 of Sara’s Old Tea!

The dry… pu-erh puck smells like sticky rice!
I brewed it western style, which probably isn’t ideal, but that’s my setup.
I like the flavor, plenty of sticky rice and some wet leaves. The sticky rice flavor really makes it for me.

Flavors: Earth, Rice, Wet Earth

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
White Antlers

Todd I brew my sticky rice pu erh Western as well. It’s one of my favorite breakfast teas.

Mastress Alita

I even use it to flavor white Minute Rice!

Todd

I may have to order some! I see Tea Chai Te doesn’t have this one in stock, but there are other sticky rice pu-erhs!

I read that! It sounds great as rice water.

Mastress Alita

Todd, TeaSource has these as well!

White Antlers

Todd I get mine from Mandala Tea. The herb that provides the sticky rice flavor is nuo mi xiang. Upton Tea carries this as well.

Todd

Thanks!

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85

I reviewed this in the past, prepared as a latte on the stove, and it wasn’t nearly strong enough. Finally getting back to trying this again.

Though I usually make chai as a latte, I brewed it this time hot and plain, and it’s already a vast improvement from what I remember. The base tea is a lovely sweet vanilla/honeyed cream, and there is a nice amount of spice without the tea being bitey. Mostly it is that peppery/citrusy taste of cardamom, with maybe a little pepper or ginger pop at the end of the sip. The rose is present but not strong or perfumy; it’s a soft, sweet floral that, mixed with the vanilla, really brings out a wildflower honey note. Rose and cardamom is a natural pairing, and this is really quite nice.

I think the sweeter vanilla black base makes this one not quite bitey enough to suit adding milk really well, though perhaps using more leaf than I’m used to for a latte could improve it. But I am really digging this as a hot tea with no additions, which will probably be my preferred method for this one going forward. Raising rating!

Flavors: Cardamom, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Ginger, Honey, Pepper, Rose, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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85

Simmered 9g of this in 3 cups water/1 cup vanilla oat milk on the stove and served it in a big pot this morning for myself and sister before we headed to breakfast and then she had to get back on the road. I think if I made this again, I’d use even more leaf, as even at 3 parts water/1 part milk the flavors were a bit more muted than I like in a chai.

There was a lot left over in the pot so I’ve had it chilling in the fridge all day now as an iced latte! It’s very sweet, with a more forward vanilla flavor (perhaps the fact I use vanilla oat milk enhanced the vanilla notes?) The rose is present but not overwhelming, at least when made as a latte. The spices aren’t very strong here either, the most prominent is cardamom (which I think pairs nicely with the rose flavor) with a more subtle hint of ginger.

I need to experiment with it a bit more (plain, varying amounts of milk) and see what that does to the flavor. This brew felt a little overwhelmed, but I think this could be amazing with some tweeks.

Flavors: Cardamom, Cream, Floral, Ginger, Rose, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 9 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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86

Finished what I had left with a nice big pot. Sweetened with a tiny bit of honey. Really, really nice vanilla flavor. The mate doesn’t overwhelm the creaminess of the vanilla. Still getting a macadamia nut cookie vibe, which I love. This is one I would return to.

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86

I was very intrigued by a macadamia nut tea. Combined with the vanilla, I was hoping for a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie vibe, and hot was actually pretty close! A very nice, creamy Yerba mate blend that wasn’t overwhelming.

Mastress Alita

I really enjoy this one too!

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91

Much, much better as an oat milk latte. Used my new milk frother and made an absolutely wonderful latte, sweetened with honey, and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Mastress Alita

I love Tea Chai Te! I like to make this one with coconut milk; the coconut milk adds the sweetness and compliments the flavors really well.

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87

Day 1 of my advent from Inkling! I audibly gasped when I took my first sip of this tea. It has an incredibly lovely vanilla flavor, that seems to be surprisingly difficult to find. Really enjoyed this at the end of my work day yesterday.

Flavors: Vanilla

Shae

Adding to my wishlist! I love a good vanilla tea.

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90

After listening to Jenni King rave about this tea for years (literally!) I finally caved and got my hands on some. And she wasn’t wrong…this is one of the best vanilla teas I’ve ever tried! Not quite as good as Whispering Pines Golden Orchid, but perhaps a close second. The vanilla flavor is rich and natural and compliments the base tea well. It’s delicious straight, but milk takes it to the next level and I’m betting it would make a pretty awesome sweetened tea latte as well, though I haven’t tried that yet. I’m down to the last couple teaspoons of my 2oz tin and will almost certainly be restocking.

Flavors: Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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98

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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