May 18, 2017

Chai Safari

Back in March when it was still definitely winter, I drank several teas from Chai Safari, specifically Spiced Tulsi Black, Classic Masala Chai, Golden Tips Black, and Handrolled Pearl Green. I'll start with the black teas which I drank separately from the green tea.

My favorite of three black teas was the Golden Tips Black. The dry leaves smelled sweet with notes of chocolate, dates, and tea leaf fuzz. The tea was whole leaf with lots of visible buds. The golden honey liquor also smelled of chocolate with a malt addition and had a light mouthfeel. Both the Classic Masala Chai and the Spiced Tulsi Black required milk to temper their liquors.

The pearled green tea was beautiful and smelled savory of broccoli and cabbage accompanied by a whisper of sweetness. This tea infused per instructions tasted like a Chinese style green tea, savory and nutty but I wanted more depth so I experimented with parameters. The recommended water temperature was 90-95C (195-203F) which to my mind seemed like it would be too hot for a green tea with lots of buds. When I prepared the tea as directed - 1.25t/2.5 grams, 200 mL (6 ounces), 3 minutes - the result wasn't bitter but it wasn't multilayered. (I used the 2.5 gram measure as 1.25t of this tea was more than the given gram weight.) My experiments did not yield good results, though. I used 8 ounces (slightly more than recommended) of 175F water and a 3 minute steep. The liquor was not enjoyable. I tried a gaiwan using 175F and 30 second infusions but the liquor was bitter though the gaiwan lid smelled wonderful, though, of stone fruit and grass. I recommend sticking to the vendor's steeping instructions.

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