This month for the summer vacation prompt I’m going to focus on Nepali teas! I purchased a sampler of teas back in 2018 from Nepal Teas booth at the San Francisco International Tea Fest (they came in a lovely handmade pouch too, which I still use as my “travel tea” pouch on vacations). Later, I saw a really great presentation by the owner of Nepal Teas at the Portland Tea Fest in 2019… I moved house and got a cat just a month after that, and ended up naming her “Chiya,” the Nepali word for “tea,” because it somehow stuck out in my mind from that presentation and sounded “cat-like” to me, hahaha!
I assumed each sample packet was one sachet teabag, and found myself surprised after I tore open the top of the foil that there was quite a bit of loose leaf packed inside! I use 2.5g for a 350ml cup, and there was still 5.5g left inside the packet. The packets are tear-foil and not resealable, so I’ll have to use up the remainder of tea today… I may make a latte or a larger pot later.
The dry leaf has a strong peppery smell. Brewed up, I do still smell the pepper, but the strongest aroma from the cup is that particular peppery/minty scent I get from cardamom. On sip, this is a very smooth chai; there is a pleasant warming but it isn’t uncomfortably spicy (I’m very sensitive to spice). The cardamom stands out the most to me in the flavor, but I’m able to pick out the other spices, as well; midsip is a slight pepperiness, and the end of the sip and aftertaste leave a lingering sensation of pungent and sweeter cinnamon and the tiniest, subtle ginger kick.
The black tea itself is perhaps coming off a little weaker than I prefer in a chai, but that could just be the age of the leaves having lost some luster so the spices really take over. There is no astringency though, which I often get from really robust or CTC chais, which is very pleasant. There is perhaps a slight honey-oats sort of flavor from the base in the background, but the sip is so cardamom forward that it is very subtle.
A pleasant cup of chai. Sometimes I find blends with lots of spices can feel a bit overwhelmed and I rarely can taste all the different components then, anyway. This is a simple mix of only a few spices, but each is discernable and adds to the medley in the cup.
Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger, Honey, Oats, Pepper, Smooth, Spices