Monday, February 16, 2015

Tea People Desi Masala Chai

Country of Origin: India
Leaf Appearance: small, dark with lots of visible spices
Ingredients: Assam black tea, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves
Steep time: 5 minutes
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: ceramic teacup and mesh infuser
Liquor: very dark brown

I love a punchy chai but sometimes it good to have one that I can drink straight, without the rigmarole of stove-top preparation. That's exactly what this selection from +Tea People was. Cardamom definitely dominated the flavor profile. I believe that this is because the pods were cracked rather than whole as I've normally seen. The base black tea was a bold, malty Assam with just the right amount of astringency. It certainly could take milk and sugar if you were inclined but I had no problem drinking a big mug without adding either one. I've only tried teas of Indian origin from this company but so far, they seem to know their stuff. The product description for this tea included this interesting history of masala chai:

When tea was first grown in India to break Chinese monopoly on tea, it was not a popular beverage among the locals. The usual practice was to drink 'kadha' instead which was water and milk boiled with spices (as was recommended according to the Ayurveda, an ancient alternative medicinal system based in India). The Indian Tea association (at that time under the British) promoted tea among them in the preferred British way by adding a little milk and sugar. However Indian vendors began adding tea to the kadha they drank already. Although the Tea association at that time frowned at this practice as this reduced the usage (and thus the purchase) of tea leaves, the practice stuck and Chai tea was born! 

Desi Masala Chai sample provided by Tea People.