Oh hey! I figured out the problem with this tea, and now it is a definite and substantial improvement. I usually steep my chai teas with 212F water for 4 minutes, and that’s a sufficiency. Any more than that and I start to get the stewed-tea effect.
That’s not the problem here. This one wanted a full 8 minute steep, and once I did that, the flavor improved wildly. It also rebrewed well. OK, I amend my earlier rating, this one’s a keeper. Not a regular, but a keeper.
First rating: 66
Why do I keep buying Chocolate Chais? Why do I do this to myself? It’s never what I’m after – I’m always hoping for that awesome mouthfeel of a particularly good spiced hot chocolate, and tea is never that thing. This is not the fault of the Chai, it is the fault of my expectations, and I’m well aware of that. I should stop trying, give up, and go drink a normal chai because that will taste like what I’m expecting, or spice my hot cocoa. Not try to combine the two.
That being said, this chai actually does a much better job than most of achieving something close to what I’m trying for. If it were a bit heftier on the spices, I might try actually boiling the tea in milk and then straining it, and seeing if I could make chocolate spiced milk. (I did try steeping a hefty tablespoon of it in 8 ounces of water and then combining it equal parts with milk – it still wasn’t right.)
There is a definite chocolate-ness to this Chai. It’s not pretending about the chocolate at all. As it cools, and after you’ve swallowed it, there is actually quite a nice chai there as well in the aftertaste, not too heavy on the cloves, no numbness in the mouth. (And not punching me in the teeth with cardamom, which I appreciate. I had another tea recently that used green cardamom that was too fierce.) The nose is also definitely chocolate – I expect that’s not just the nibs but the real chocolate bits in there. (Makes cleaning my tea strainer a bit of a chore, but that’s what fats will do.) So all in all, a perfectly serviceable chai that is exactly what it says on the tin.
But it’s not spiced hot cocoa, which is what my brain expects when I drink something that smells this chocolate-y, and so I have a sad. I will not be buying it again, but I at least will not be as sorry that I tried this one as several other chocolate teas and chais I’ve tried in the past.
Somebody remind me I don’t like chocolate chai next time I go tea shopping, ’kay?
Flavors: Cardamom, Chocolate, Cloves