Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s Chocolate Chai

Chocolate Chai by Zhena’s Gypsy Tea
Rooibos / Flavoured
$8.99 USD for 36g (for the entire sampler)

This is a review of a tea that I received for my birthday in 2015. I won’t be doing too much digging into the costs of the gifts that I’ve received.

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First Impressions

Chocolate Chai, the fourth and final of the Chai blends in the Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Chai sampler. The dry rooibos sachets have an odd smell. There’s the spicy notes that I would expect in a Chai, but there’s an odd aroma that I can’t quite place. It reminds me a bit of cough syrup, which is probably one of the least appetizing ways to describe a drink.

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Chocolate Chai’s ingredients are: cocao powder, rooibos, cinnamon, chicory root roasted, ginger, chocolate flavouring, licorice root, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, shortbread flavouring, orange peel, and pepper. As with the other teas in this Chai sampler, Chocolate Chai’s ingredients are labeled as being certified organic.

Preparation

Zhena’s Gypsy Tea recommends steeping the sachet in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. I steeped my sachet of Chocolate Chai for about 5 minutes.

First Taste

Chocolate Chai steeps to an almost cloudy orange colour, it smells about the same after steeping as it does in dry sachet form. I can smell some spices, something that reminds me of cough syrup, and not much of anything that would scream chocolate at me. The lack of chocolate fragrance is disappointing, considering the tea consists of cacao powder and chocolate flavouring.

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The taste is lacking. Despite steeping to the directions, Chocolate Chai just tastes very watery to me. The spiciness of Chai that I know (and love!) is sorely lacking in my cup. There is no chocolate taste, and there is the flavouring that is reiminscent of cough syrup in the cup. I tried doctoring up the tea, in hopes that it would improve. Unfortunately, Chocolate Chai did not improve with any sweetener.

A Second Cup?

I did not resteep the sachet.

My Overall Impression

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I didn’t like Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s Chocolate Chai. Since I love Chai, I really wanted to like this tea, but unfortunately it was lacking in aroma and taste. It was a watery disappointment that reminded me more of cough syrup than it did of anything remotely related to chocolate. That said, this is the fourth (and final!) Chai blend in this tea sampler, which I was pleased to have received as a birthday gift in 2015. It was enjoyable to try the different types of Chai, even if I didn’t like the last one I tried at all. I will not be seeking out Chocolate Chai to keep as a tea stash staple.

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Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s Coconut Chai

Coconut Chai by Zhena’s Gypsy Tea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$8.99 USD for 36g (for the entire sampler)

This is a review of a tea that I received for my birthday in 2015. I won’t be doing too much digging into the costs of the gifts that I’ve received.

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First Impressions

The dry leaf smells interesting. There’s the definite aroma of the spices that I know, love, and associate with Chai. And then there’s the subtle fragrance of coconut that mingles with the spices. I couldn’t really smell the black tea base, which is a bit of shame, as the spices overpower the base completely.

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Coconut Chai is made up of: Indian black tea, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom pods, whole cloves, orange peels, nutmeg, black pepper, natural coconut flavour, natural cinnamon flavour. I’m a little confused as to why natural cinnamon flavouring is used when cinnamon is already an ingredient in the tea. While cinnamon is a great spice, and I can definitely taste it in the mix of spices used for this Chai tea, it just doesn’t seem necessary to have the flavouring when the real deal is in the tea itself.

Preparation

As with the other Chai blends in the Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s sampler, the directions call for boiling water with one tea sachet and to steep for 3 to 5 minutes. I steeped mine closer to 5 minutes in hopes of getting more coconut flavour i n the tea.

First Taste

There is coconut in the aroma of the steeped tea! It blends in well with the fragrance of the spices of the Coconut Chai, I think it smells lovely. The taste leaves a little to be desired though, as the coconut flavouring sadly does not come out well in the taste of the steeped tea. Coconut Chai does have that oomph of spice that I expect (and love!) in my Chai though, so it does hit all those spicy notes properly. The tea itself steeps to a lovely reddish orange colour and it smells really good. When steeped according to the directions, there’s a mild sweetness to the tea with no bitterness or astringency. It’s quite pleasant.

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A Second Cup?

Coconut Chai sadly does not steep well for a second cup, the spice level leaves something to be desired when being steeped again.

My Overall Impression

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I liked Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s Coconut Chai. I wish the coconut flavouring came out more in the actual taste of the tea rather than in just the aroma of the dry and steeped tea. Overall, it does hit all the right notes for a Chai for me, but I do think the lack of coconut makes it a tea that I wouldn’t reach for on a regular basis. The taste is great as a Chai, and it’s got a good amount of spice, but it does need more coconut in the actual tea blend itself in order to have the taste of coconut come through. As a Chai, it works great though, I think it’d taste well with the addition of a sweetener or a cream to give it some added richness.

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Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s Caramel Chai

Caramel Chai by Zhena’s Gypsy Tea
Rooibos Tea / Flavoured
$8.99 USD for 36g (for the entire sampler)

This is a review of a tea that I received for my birthday in 2015. I won’t be doing too much digging into the costs of the gifts that I’ve received.

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First Impressions

Caramel Chai smells very spicy and sweet. It’s part of the sampler that Hazelnut Chai came in (my thoughts on the weight per bag vs. total weight of tea in the sampler is proof that math is actually handy in real life) and is the second tea from the bottom. I love the container still, it’s quite handy. The tea bags are the same as for the Hazelnut Chai – nice round bags that don’t come with a string (which I don’t mind too much). Caramel Chai smells heavily of spices and not so much on the ‘caramel’ side of things. It does smell distinctly sweeter than Hazelnut Chai, if that’s any consolation.

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Caramel Chai is made up of: organic, fair-trade certified rooibos, cinnamon, ginger root, licorice root, natural flavouring, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, organic vanilla bean. All of the ingredients listed have little asterisk next to it (aside from the “natural flavoring”) to indicate that the ingredients are certified organic. Pretty neat! But that’s an awful lot of ingredients to make it taste like caramel. I’m not a big of fan of licorice candy, so I’m crossing my fingers that the licorice taste doesn’t come out too much (or, if it does, that it mingles well with the other ingredients!).

Preparation

Zhena’s Gypsy Teas recommends steeping the tea bag in water that’s been brought to a rolling boil and to steep for 3 to 5 minutes. I steeped for about 4 minutes.

First Taste

Caramel Chai is pleasant, very spicy – the Chai really overpowers most aspects of this rooibos tea. The sweetness of the caramel isn’t very bold or inviting. The tea itself is a lovely red colour, and it really benefits from having just a little bit of sweetener added to it. I used white sugar, and that helped to brighten up the flavour and it does help to coax out those caramel notes, which are still quite weak in comparison to the spices of the Chai itself. I quite like it though, it’s a very pleasant cup of tea.

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A Second Cup?

Resteeping Caramel Chai doesn’t do much in terms of coaxing out more flavour or doing well for a second cup of tea. I don’t think Caramel Chai does well with more than one steeping.

My Overall Impression

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I liked Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s Caramel Chai. It hits all the right spice notes as a Chai should, and while the caramel flavour was a little lost for me, a small amount of sweetener helps to coax out the flavour a bit and having a sweetener helps to brighten up the flavour a lot. I think this tea definitely benefits from having sugar (or a sweetener of your choice) added to it. It has a pleasant aroma and is easy on the palate. I think it’s a lovely Chai and the added bonus of being caffeine free (as it is a rooibos base) makes it nice for having any time of day.

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Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s Hazelnut Chai

Hazelnut Chai by Zhena’s Gypsy Tea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$8.99USD for 36g (for the entire sampler)

This is a review of a tea that I received for my birthday in  2015. I won’t be doing too much digging into the costs of the gifts that I’ve received.

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First Impressions

Hazelnut Chai comes it a really cute stacking sampler set, along with Chocolate Chai (herbal red tea), Coconut Chai (black tea), and Caramel Chai (herbal red tea). Each section fits well with the section above. For the most part, they can be rearranged, but Hazelnut Chai has to be the one on the bottom because it doesn’t have a bottom lip that can connect to another section of the tin. Each tea is represented by “4 eco-friendly tea sachets”. Each tin section comes with some information about the tea it holds (caffeine level and ingredients), as well as some general information. For the Hazelnut Chai section, to use fresh spring water that is brought to a rolling boil, and then infuse the tea sachet for 3-5 minutes. There are also some additional instructions for making an iced tea (doubling the amount of tea used) and to make a latte (by adding steamed milk).

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The Hazelnut Chai smells lovely, but it smells more heavily on the Chai side (that rich, aromatic spicy fragrance that many Chais have) rather than hazelnut. The tea sachets are round, so no string which means having to utilize a spoon in scooping it out (not a big deal), and each tea sachet contains 3g of tea. Which doesn’t actually make sense since the entire sampler (of 4 teas) contains 36g of tea which results in 9g of tea per type of tea, but there are 4 tea sachets per tea (which means it should be 12g for each tea, making it 48g total in order to have 3g of tea per tea).

Like the rest of the teas in this sampler, Hazelnut Chai is organic and fair trade certified. The ingredients are: organic and fair trade certified Indian black tea, cinnamon, ginger root, licorice root, natural flavouring, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, black better, and organic vanilla bean.

Preparation

Zhena’s recommends using boiling water that is poured over one tea sachet and to steep for 3 to 5 minutes. I opted for about 4 minutes.

First Taste

Hazelnut Chai steeps to a very pretty reddish brown colour. It’s clear, and has a beautiful spicy aroma to it. There is a bit of an oily mouthfeel to the tea that I noticed on first sip. There is no hint of hazelnut in the flavour, which I wasn’t too surprised with due to the lack of hazelnut fragrance in the dry tea sachet. There is a really nice balance of spice to with the black tea base and makes for an overall very pleasant cup of Chai.

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A Second Cup?

I am always a bit wary of resteeping tea sachets, because most companies that produce tea bags often use lower quality tea leaves or teeny bits of tea leaves. Unfortunately, Hazelnut Chai does not buck that trend. I tried resteeping it and the balance of spice is off, it’s not as strong as it was with the first cup.

My Overall Impression

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I thought that Zhena’s Hazelnut Chai was just okay. As a cup of hot Chai, it has a really nice flavour profile but it is sorely lack in the hazelnut department. I think it would make an excellent latte though. I tend to enjoy my Chais as a latte, so I’m going to be trying this tea again with the addition of milk. I do plan on reviewing the rest of the Chai varieties in this sampler first as hot teas, and then trying them all as lattes and posting an update on if I think they’re good as lattes.

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