I will be the first to admit that I am a snob about 52 Teas. First, I am not a big fan of flavored teas and second because so many of their blends seem waaaaaaay out there beyond the rim. Peanut butter and jelly, lime jello salad green and maple bacon are 3 that come to mind. And I like all of those, just not in my cup.
Given that, you can understand my trepidation about their chai. So, carefully I approached, slowly I opened, and ever so bravely took a cautious sniff. Whoa, this smells really good, authentic even, and it is loaded with spices, clove, cardamom, black pepper, nutmeg, all mixed with CTC Assam tea, which are traditional Indian chai ingredients. I brewed it up with boiling water for about 5 minutes and it continued to smell wonderful. It’s a gorgeous dark brown.
Even without milk or sugar it tastes really good, with an excellent blend of spices. Thankfully, the clove is behaving itself and staying in the background. Perhaps the most prominent spice is the cardamom, as it lends a sweet, lemony scent and taste to the cup.
52Teas describes this tea as such:
We had a few requests for this after the success of our Extra BOLD Masala Chai, so here is a special decaf version!
I have a confession to make. Early on in my tea career, I did not make my own chai. I just didn’t feel confident enough that I wouldn’t mess it up. Well, I have been making our own chai for a few months now and experimenting with a few things. And I received this message from one of our customers via Facebook:
“I’m dying for a powerful traditional chai blend black tea with all the works – no frills with chocolate or vanilla. Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, anise seed. I need it potent in its flavor. This is not Grandma’s tea. I want an Indian man from India to drink it and when he closes his eyes to be as though transported to his childhood kitchen.”
Well, I have accepted the challenge, and here is the result. We started with a hearty blend of CTC Assam teas… and freshly minced spices including cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, star anise, clove and black peppercorns. I ran all of the spices through a coffee/spice grinder so they would mingle better with the ctc tea (and to release all of their goodnesss), and I think my office is going to smell like chai for months now (not that I am complaining).
This is the boldest chai you will find anywhere. Spicy, malty, DELICIOUS. You do NOT want to miss out on this.
The more authentic way to drink Masala chai is with milk and sugar. This rounds out the flavors even more and if anything, the cinnamon seems to come to the forefront. I find it very interesting that the different spices dance around, in and out. With just milk, it seems bolder than with sugar added, which seems a bit odd.
I personally would not call this extra bold, but I am used to Masala chai from southern India, which is much spicier, as is their food. For average American tastes, this is moderately bold, I would say. It is nice to find such good chai in a decaf, as it makes a wonderful dessert drink, especially for a light meal. It is also wonderful on a cold night, such as we should be having, here in the Northeast.