As the name suggests, this is a pretty straightforward, traditional chai blend. It’s a CTC black base again, which is fine as far as it goes, with cardamom, cinnamon, clove & black pepper. It’s very similar to Vahdam’s Double Spice, except that cinnamon is substituted for ginger. On the whole, that’s a substitution I’m perfectly happy with! It’s pretty spicy; there’s a lot of clove, which isn’t my favourite thing in a chai, and an almost tongue-numbing quantity of cardamom. I can’t taste much of the pepper, but the cinnamon adds an edge of sweetness that helps to lift the overall flavour.
I don’t feel this one is quite as well balanced as Double Spice – that one ticked a lot of boxes for me. This one’s a little heavy on some things (clove, cardamom) and a little light on others (pepper, cinnamon), but the overall effect is nice enough. I just made a western style cup with milk, but it might work better as a latte – I imagine it would be a little more muted that way, and maybe not quite so…intense? That might help. Fortunately, I have a little more leaf to play with!
If you like a traditional chai, this is one you probably ought to try (this one or Double Spice, anyway!) I’ve said before that I’m not sold on the CTC base, but I have to admit that it works well in context, and it provides a pleasantly solid, malty backbone for the real stars – the spices – to play against. It’s not the perfect blend for me, but definitely worth a look.