Adagio Teas’ Masala Chai

Masala Chai by Adagio Teas
Black Tea / Flavoured
$8.00USD for 3oz (85g)

First Impressions

Masala Chai came to me in a resealable pouch that had all the necessary information on the label – which is always a nice touch. I have friends and family members with food allergies, so it’s always important to me to be able to check at a quick glance what ingredients are present in a tea blend (thankfully nobody has told me so far that they have an allergy to tea yet!). The rich aroma from the dry leaf is primarily that of the spices that are present in the blend. I can mostly smell the cinnamon and the ginger, as those are the strongest fragrances that I can pick out.

Masala Chai consists of: black tea, cardamom, ginger root, cloves, natural cinnamon flavour, and cinnamon bark. What’s nice is that the ingredients are easy to identify in the blend, there seems to be a fairly even distribution of most of the spices throughout the chai blend.

Preparation

Adagio Teas recommends steeping Masala Chai in 100°C (212°F) water for 7 to 10 minutes. I followed the steeping recommendations and did an initial steep of 10 minutes.

First Taste

Masala Chai steeps to a golden brown with a rich, spicy fragrance from the chai mix. I can easily taste the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. There’s a pleasant sweetness in the tea, which balances well with the spicy notes with this black tea blend. I do find myself searching a bit for the cardamom, which is a flavour that I quite enjoy in chai blends but I also do recognize that it can be easily overpowered by strong spices such as the ginger and cinnamon.

I did pour myself a cup of Masala Chai, and added a healthy amount of locally sourced honey as well as some evaporated milk. Like many chai blends, this is a tea that takes to the addition of sweetener and milk or cream well.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Masala Chai twice, adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found that the first resteep was most similiar to the initial steep – it was a bit watery compared to the initial steep. The second resteep did not fair well, and frankly I did not enjoy it at all. I would say that Masala Chai is good for one more steep.

My Overall Impression

I liked Adagio Teas’ Masala Chai. The flavours of the spices were pleasant, and it did hold it fairly decently to being resteeped. I found myself wishing that the cardamon was more present in the initial steep, and would have liked for it to have a heavier presence in the tea. The other spices were well represented in Adagio Teas’ version of Masala Chai, and I found it to make for a nice cup of tea.

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Gypsy Soul Tea Co’s Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin Spice by Gypsy Soul Tea Co
Black Tea / Flavoured
$7.35 for 40g

First Impressions

I stumbled across a little shop in Pitt Meadows, BC a few weeks ago called Tomes & Tales. The one thing that really drew me to it was the fact that there was a sign outside that said that there was luxury loose leaf tea inside – it’s basically like a beacon to me whenever tea is mentioned! So of course I went inside and checked out the tea selection and bought a few to try. I figured it’d be seasonally appropriate to share my thoughts of Pumpkin Spice on October 31st, so here it is.

Pumpkin Spice came in a sealed (and resealable) foil bag. The other side of the bag is clear plastic so that you can see the tea itself, which is nice (but not always nice for storage if you’re not keeping your tea somewhere dark). The label on the front tells me pretty much everything that I really need to do to make the tea – from ingredients to steeping instructions with a brief description about the tea.

Pumpkin Spice consists of black tea, cinnamon, ginger, sweet blackberry leaves, pumpkin pieces, and cloves. The aroma of the tea is very strong from the spices, it does remind me of the smell of pumpkin pie/spice mixes. The ingredients are easily identifiable, which is nice.

Preparation

Gypsy Soul Tea Co recommends steeping Pumpkin Spice in 100°C (212°F) water for 3 to 5 minutes. My initial steep of Pumpkin Spice was for 3 minutes.

First Taste

Pumpkin Spice steeps to a deep golden orange that is really quite fragrant. The aroma smells very strong of the spices that were present in the dry leaf as well. I can taste the black tea base, which is nice and smooth with no bitterness or astringency when steeped for the 3 minutes. I found that I could definitely taste the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. I can’t really taste the pumpkin, but pumpkin is a significantly milder flavour than the spices and it does smell and taste like a pumpkin spice mix – so it still evokes the memories of pumpkin pie.

I did add a bit of honey for a sweetener, and found it worked really well in bringing out some of the pumpkin flavour – although it really does linger in the background quite a bit.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Pumpkin Spice once, but found that the flavours were a little lacking. I felt like the spices just weren’t as strong as they were in the initial steep. I would say that Pumpkin Spice is good for just one steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Gypsy Soul Tea Co’s Pumpkin Spice. I felt like the flavours did really well at representing pumpkin spice, and it had good warming qualities to it. While the pumpkin flavour wasn’t very strong, it did make me think of pumpkin pie/pumpkin spice, so it certainly did a good job. If you’re not a fan of plain black tea, I would recommend trying this one as a tea latte because it’s the season for PSL and not everyone is a fan of coffee!

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Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix

Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix by Trader Joe’s
Black Tea / Flavoured
$3.99USD for 10oz (284g)

First Impressions

Big ol’ tin of chai latte mix for $4USD? Don’t mind if it I do! It work out to be about $5.25CAD, which isn’t terrible, especially when I consider how much a comparable product might cost me in Canada! I picked up this tin of Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix during my cross-border (mostly tea) shopping trip back in September. The tin has a plastic lid and a foil seal that I had to peel open to get to the powder inside. The powder itself is a light brown with a very mild chai spice aroma to it.

FUN FACT! Chai is another word for tea, so when someone says “chai tea”, they’re really saying “tea tea”! However, we’ve come to expect “chai” to describe spiced teas, usually like a masala chai.

There is a scoop inside of the tin! I found it when I was using a tablespoon to scoop out the powder for my first drink. Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix consists of: sugar, non-fat milk, non-dairy creamer, tea powder blend (with black tea), honey granules, spice blend (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, anise, ginger), silicon dioxide, natural flavours, carrageenan and guar gum, and bourbon vanilla extract. Silicon dioxide is used to prevent clumping, carragenan is a thickening additive (from seaweed), and guar gum is another thickening agent (from beans).

Preparation

Trader Joe’s provides instructions for both making a hot or cold chai latte with the Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix. For hot, it’s 1 scoop (3 tablespoons) with 6oz hot water. For cold, it’s 1 scoop (3 tablespoons) with 2 oz hot water, poured over 8oz of ice and topped with 2oz of cold water or milk. I followed the directions for a cup of hot chai latte.

Since each serving consists of 3 tablespoons (40g) of latte mix, it results in 27g of sugar per serving (if you’re mixing with water). On a side note, you do get 15% of your daily intake of calcium, 2% of vitamin C and 2% of iron per serving. Given that it’s 40g per serving, it is approximately 7 servings per tin.

First Taste

The aroma of the Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix when made hot is really quite fragrant – I can smell the spicy mix, but it also does smell sweet. The colour is darker than the pale brown powder that I started off with. The flavour is primarily sweet, although I can also taste the blend of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and anise. It’s not as spicy as I was expecting, considering the name, but it isn’t bad either. I do think it is quite sweet (after all, it has sugar and honey granules in it!).

A Second Cup?

Since it is a drink mix, all of the powder dissolved with the initial drink so there were no resteeps!

My Overall Impression

I liked Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix. I did find it really sweet for me, which was a bit of a surprise since I’m usually quite fond of sweets. I think a full scoop is a bit much, considering how sugary the powdery mix is. I did try it again with double the recommended volume, but in milk (so 12oz milk plus the 1 scoop of powder) and it was quite delicious – a lot creamier, just a tad less sweet – it’ll also help make the tin last a lot longer.

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