It’s still midwinter as I write this, so various chais and other “warm” teas are what I’m drinking a lot of. There’s something about a full-bodied cup of chai that is comforting on a cold day or night.
Zhena’s Gypsy Tea has several chais. This one is caffeinated black tea – a traditional chai base – which means that at least for me, it’s not something I can drink at night, not if I want to get to sleep before dawn. However, if you are not as caffeine-sensitive, then this would be a great dessert tea or evening tea.
When one first opens the canister of tea bags, the aroma is more winelike, almost fruity, than it is spicy. I don’t know why that should be, but it hit me immediately, and continues to strike me that way when I open the container.
Once brewed, the aroma is nuttier, and the flavor is definitely nutty – the nut flavor is stronger than the spices, although the spices add a nice undertone. It has quite a bit of body too it, and tastes rich even without adding milk as one usually does with chai. If you are adding milk, though, try one of the nut milks, such as almond milk, or even hazelnut milk if you can find it! Those make the taste even more dessert-like, as if you were eating a nut torte with a creamy frosting.
Zhena’s Gypsy Tea says this about the tea:
The harmonious melding of elegant Indian black tea, roasted Viennese hazelnuts, spicy island cinnamon and warm ginger with notes of chocolate, vanilla and caramel make this blend reminiscent of the finest hazelnut tortes and sweet liquors of Viennese café life. Enchanting with honey or sweetener and a splash of milk. Cello music optional.
The spices that this chai contains include cinnamon, ginger root, licorice root, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, and vanilla bean. Licorice root and nutmeg aren’t in every chai blend; they add a bit more to the taste besides the standard masala chai blend.
On the canister, Zhena’s has put a little chart of antioxidant levels for various things. The chart for this one lists the levels of antioxidants for a serving of pomegranate as 134, blueberries, 196, 1 cup of our black chai tea, 1878.
Note that if you are sensitive to caffeine and can’t drink a chai based on black tea any later than lunchtime, Zhena’s has quite a few other chais, including ones based on rooibos – look for reviews of more Zhena’s teas by clicking the name on the list of tea companies that’s in the column to the right of this review (scroll way down!)
A final couple of notes: the tea is organic, Fair Trade certified. The canister is sturdy and reusable to store more tea. And although the label refers to “sachets,” these are ordinary paper tea bags rather than mesh sachets – round, tagless bags.