At our "Development" event, the tea theme was chai and now we will tell you why.
First off, it is one of the most iconic and adored flavours in the realm of teas. Chai is the warm morning beverage of choice for the majority of people in the world's second-most populous country. It has also found its way into mainstream tea franchises and has become a favourite along the tea spectrum from the tea-literate all the way to the novices and neophytes.
For many, chai simply means "tea" as it is the name of this delectable beverage in several languages. But, regardless of its provenance, a cuppa labelled "chai" will have common tasting notes that include at least a few of the following flavours:
Now, traditional chai has a black or a decaffeinated-black tea base, but this dark foundation is fogone in so many variations, including rooibos (red) versions of a base and versions that do not use a base at all but rather allow the chai flavours to sing solo in an herbal tea.
Beyond a variation to the tea base, there are many flavour splinters that will modify a percentage of one of the main chai flavours — often cinnamon or ginger. In other situations, a new twist or infusion is added into the blend. Two of our Teamusing favourites are Uncle Lea's Cinnamon Chai Tea (rooibos base) and President's Choice Chocolatey Chai Tea (herbal).
If you're looking to up the ante on flavour, then the chai flavours can be found in some interesting herbal blends which increase the volume of the strong flavours like ginger, clove and nutmeg.
One consideration for these robust and savoury teas is the steeping time. The best flavour is generally accomplished in approximately 5 minutes. We find that steeping for longer will make the tea too strong and flavourful to drink with a straight face.
Two of our favourites in this arena are the Good Earth Sweet and Spicy Tea which infuses some orange and other nectarous notes to balance the strength of the other flavours and Celestial Seasonings Benegal Spice Herbal Tea which adds in flavours of roasted chicory and carob into the traditional chai blend of flavours.
Now when it comes to the inclusion of cream or milk, we trust that each Teamusian will adhere to personal preferences; However, it should be noted that traditional chai (India) is taken with milk. Our inclination is to include a lightener in all varieties that have a base to bring the richness of these blends to life; But, to let the flavours roam freely in the herbal varieties.
Regardless of which base you choose, or the lack thereof, and whether you select to include milk, we do hope you'll find a time to enjoy some delicious chai and do some Teamusing of your own.