There are few things more satisfying than a good cup of chai tea on days like this: blustery and cold, with a wind that will nip the warmth right out of you. After having just been out in this weather, I needed something warm and brisk to invigorate me.
Frontier Co-Op is not specific about the tea used in this blend, but because it is a full-bodied, strong tea, I assume it is an Assam, or at the very least a blend containing Assam. The flavor is very bold, with a fair amount of astringency.
The spices are very aromatically pungent in this blend – a trait that translates well into the brewed tea. This tea is very spirited, indeed! The ginger in this blend delivers quite a powerful impact upon the palate, which is further emphasized by the presence of pepper, cinnamon and cardamom. The fennel delivers a sharpness as well. The palate is left feeling energized (not to mention well-seasoned!) after each sip.
Frontier Co-Op describes this chai as
Black tea blended with spices and generally served hot or cold with milk and sweetener. There are many favorite recipes for chai, but the spices most often included are cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and black pepper.
As I’ve often confessed here on The Tea Review Blog, I do not brew most chai teas with which I’m presented in milk. Milk brewing (or even a brewing in a combination of milk and water) is messy. I like my tea brewing to be as simple as possible – it extends my enjoyment of the tea itself when the process is easy and even somewhat meditative.
This tea expresses itself well when brewed in water. But pay attention to the amount of time you brew your tea, because it grows bitter if brewed too long. I found that even 2 1/2 minutes made my first cup a bit bitter. I steeped my second cup for just 2 minutes and this greatly improved the flavor of this tea. Serve it with a generous dollop of honey and a splash of milk… and you’ve got a latte that will WoW you!
Both the spices and the tea are quite finely ground. This can be considered both a blessing and a curse. When it comes to spiced chai teas, a fine ground tea will deliver a very robust flavor, because there is more surface area exposed to the brewing water. However, because it is finely ground, it’s shelf life is greatly diminished, because there is more surface area that can come in contact with the elements that make teas go stale before their time.
Because of the fine ground, I recommend using a little less than your ordinary measurement. For example, if you usually use a teaspoon of tea per cup, use just a little less than that of this tea, or you will brew a very strong (very STRONG) cup.
While this is certainly not my favorite chai, this Chai Tea from Frontier Co-Op is 100% Organic and Fair Trade Certified, so you can feel good about the tea you’re drinking and where it came from. And it is delicious and soothing, especially when your body is chilled to the bone!