Tea of the Week for March 15, 2021!
OK, so every once in a while, I go into the tea studio with no real idea of what I want to create. Enter my Michola Chai. (Don't ask about the name. Probably best to just not.) I knew I wanted to create a chai - I wanted it to be spicy - the kind of spicy that hits you in the back of the throat. The kind of spicy that is like a low, slow fire that builds on your palate - but with just enough sweetness that it softens that heat enough so it doesn't get too spicy.
So, I started with a base of CTC Assam teas - strong & malty. Then I added some Honeybush to add a touch of sweetness. Next, spices: first, the usual masala chai blend of cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom & black pepper. Plus, a little nutmeg & cayenne pepper for that spicy bite I wanted. Now, the sweet elements: first some vanilla bean because - do we ever need a reason for vanilla bean? No. No we don't. How about a little date sugar & a light touch of cola essence - not to create a cola taste as much as to give a very subtle hint of caramel-y sweetness in the background. Finally, just to enhance the overall sweetness, a bit of marshmallow root.
This mix of ingredients may seem a bit odd - even for 52Teas! It may seem like there's a lot going on here & you may even be thinking to yourself, "yep, Anne's finally lost it. She's gone over the edge!" But, bear with me - because this tea turned out really kinda awesome!
It's got a really nice kick of spice - that cayenne pepper starts out with a warm heat that builds in the back of the throat & as I continue to sip, that heat builds gradually. The other spices do their thing to keep the flavor warm & invigorating. Meanwhile, you get the softness of the marshmallow root & vanilla. The sweetness of the date sugar. The hint of caramel in the background from the cola notes.
Plus, it's organic, vegan, gluten-free & allergen-free!
Large size is approximately 50g
organic ingredients: black teas, honeybush, ginger, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, marshmallow root, date sugar, vanilla bean & natural flavors
OK - I know that after reading the above description - you're thinking this tea seems really weird. I get it. I mean, if I were still a tea customer & I were sitting here, reading the ingredient list on this tea, I'd be thinking, yep, this has way too much going on - that's a hard pass.
Instead, I am sitting here, sipping on this tea & can't stop sipping it. I've had several (four!) pots of this tea in the last 3 days! I absolutely love it. It's spicy, it's sweet & it's exactly what I envisioned when I blended it. I find it particularly wonderful for this time of year, when the allergies start their little tickling of the throat - this seems to invigorate and puts those tickles to rest. NICE!
Seriously, if you're looking for a good, spicy-sweet chai, look no further.
to brew: give this blend a really good shake to reincorporate the ingredients. there are a lot of ingredients to this blend & you want to make sure you get a little bit of everything in the measurement. use 3 1/2 grams of the tea to 12 ounces of nearly boiling water (205°F) & steep for 3 minutes. strain & enjoy.
while there is some date sugar in this already, you might want to try adding just a wee bit of sugar (a teensy bit will bring the spices forward). I use a little less than half a teaspoon per 12 ounces of brewed tea & the flavor is awesome. I didn't add any milk/cream to this but I bet it's awesome as a latte too.