2013/04/18

Boston Marathon and David's Tea - The Chai Collection

I was in Boston last week. Boston is such a neat city, besides all the history of the place there are so many things to see and do there. Whenever I get a chance to go to Boston I take it. While I was in Boston I took a walk over to the David's Tea store on Washington Street, the staff was friendly and I was relieved to read that they are safe. I saw signs for the Boston Marathon and even though I am not into sports I thought the Marathon would be something interesting to see.

I am deeply saddened by what happened at the Marathon. Three people killed, including an 8-year-old boy, so many injured... Such a thing should never happen.

Of course there are already rumors circulating about the Marathon bombing. Please verify before you click share or forward. Snopes and ThatsNonesense already have pages up on the Boston Marathon. Also there will probably be fake charities run by scam artists using the Boston Marathon so be careful who you donate to. The One Fund is a genuine charity set up to help the victims.




So back to my visit at David's Tea. It was my first time in a David's Tea store though I have been on the website often enough. It was full of temptations. The walls are lined with tea. I really wanted to buy one of the perfect tea mugs, I saw the mugs in person and they are quite sturdy. The store no longer carried the pumpkin chai, except in the chai collection. I reviewed the Pumpkin Chai before and it is wonderful, the best pumpkin tea I have ever had. But pumpkin is considered a fall food so it is not available in the spring. So I will have to wait for fall to buy more of the pumpkin chai and can only wish for pumpkin chai to be available year-round. While I was there I decided to get a cup of the Bollywood chai. I did not take any pictures of the tea, but you can see it on David's Tea. The Bollywood Chai is made of black tea, candied fennel seeds, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom pods and pink peppercorns. Here is my Steepster Tasting note:

I went to David's Tea for the first time the other day. That place is even more fascinating in person than on their website. It was hard not to spend all my money there while rejoicing about not having to pay for shipping. Sadly the only way to get Pumpkin Chai was to buy the Chai Collection, I was hoping that store would have it but they've been out for months. Pumpkin chai should be available year round! But I am getting off track, this is the Bollywood Chai I'm reviewing.

I am not sure how hot the water was, though I assume the lady behind the counter went by the recommended water temp. I had it with milk and honey because that's how I always have my chai. This chai probably could have done with less honey, or no honey at all, I think the fennel and especially the candied fennel seeds made the chai sweeter than I would have liked. If I had made this chai at home I'll bet I would have picked out the candied fennel seeds and ate them, I like candied anything. Besides being too sweet it was an all right chai, the fennel overwhelmed the other spices until it was all I could taste. It's not a chai I would buy again but am glad I tried it. Fennel and licorice lovers will like this chai.

Since I could not buy the pumpkin chai alone I picked up the Chai Collection. I noticed that the Chai Collection is no longer available on the David's Tea website. Good thing I snatched it up when I could. The Chai collection consists of 8 small tins each containing 17-28 grams of chai.

My first chai to review is a chai I have been wanting to try for a while, Chocolate Chili Chai. It contains black tea, chocolate bits, red peppercorns, lilyy petals, aleppo chili, flavoring. My steepster tasting note:
Chocolate Chili Chai dry leaves
I got the Chai Collection from David's Tea. It's a lot of fun trying out all these different chais.

The chocolate chili chai was very chocolatey, though not as spicy as I hoped it would be. I think I was expecting it to be closer to Azteca Fire. Maybe I will add a few more spices next time. This tea has a creamy texture. 


I found the Coco Chai Rooibos to be more exciting. It has rooibos, coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pink peppercorn, flavoring. My tasting note:
Wow I really like this one. Has just enough coconut, not overwhelming, you can taste it. And lots of spicyness. It's just what a chai should be. Also it's caffeine free so I can drink it whenever I want and not worry about it keeping me up all night.
Coco chai rooibos

I like it with milk, honey if I want it sweeter. 

I usually use a tea strainer infuser to make looseleaf tea. But rooibos is so fine it escapes the mesh so if I did not want rooibos floating in my tea I put the chai in a sachet.

Saigon Chai's has real Saigon cinnamon, a really awesome spice we went without for quite some time following the Vietnam War.
Besides the Saigon cinnamon this chai has black assam tea, ginger, cardamom, cloves, pink peppercorns, flavoring. My Steepster tasting note:
A pretty basic chai. I thought it seemed a little weak but I have been experimenting with a new mug and having trouble with getting a tea strainer that will fit in it (this new mug has a 3.5" diameter, too wide for my normal tea strainer) I actually used the infuser from my teapot and I think the infuser resting on the bottom of the cup kept gravity from making this tea as strong as I would like it.

I did not notice anything unusual about this chai, maybe more cinnamon taste than most chais I have had. 

I am still getting the hang of my new glass tea cup but have gotten better with placing the strainer.
This method looks like a racial stereotype somehow

David's Tea Pure Chai is just black tea, cinnamon and cloves, some flavoring. My tasting note:
Still working my way through the Chai Collection. Had this as I usually have my chai, with milk and a little honey.

It's... well, boring, for a chai. This is the kind of chai my mother would like. If you think chais are too spicy you'll like this one.

I like my chais more complicated with lots of spice and flavors. This is just black tea with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, I taste cinnamon and a hint of clove. It's not a bad tea but a dull chai. Think I'll mix in some cardamom pods and some other spices next time or maybe use it as a base for my Sunday night chocolate chai by adding vanilla and some cocoa.

The Chai Amazonia Organic is an herbal but that does not mean caffeine free, it contains guayusa which is a stimulant (like Yerba Mate). It also has cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, fennel, black pepper, pink peppercorns, stevia and flavoring. My tasting note:
Well this is interesting. Earlier I had a chai that was mostly a good base lacking spices, now I have spices lacking a base. I think Chai Amazonia and Pure Chai were meant to be blended together. I will have to try that later.

First time trying guayusa, also first time trying a tea with stevia in it. I added milk but no sweeteners, figuring the stevia would sweeten the tea and it did. Though I think a little honey would have helped make the tea thicker, it is rather thin. I think it's mental after seeing how green and herbal the tea is, but I keep tasting hints of mint. I do not think there is any mint in this tea.

I have not yet tried blending the Pure Chai and Chai Amazonia but will be sure to share how that turns out.

The Coffee Chai has black tea, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, coffee beans, stevia and flavoring. I tried it with milk and a little honey. My short tasting note:
I do not like coffee but this chai was not bad. I might pick out the coffee beans and add some more cardamom (I am really starting to like cardamom pods).

The Chai Collection also has Pumpkin Chai (which I reviewed before) and Chai Guarana which I liked but failed to write a tasting note. It is getting late so I will not be reviewing the Chai Guarana this week but I will get back to it when I can.

There are two different glass mugs in today's blog because a few teas I tried while at my sister's house using one of her mugs. The squarish mug is my own. the taller one is hers, has writing on the side and fits a tea strainer perfectly. 

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