There’s nothing like a nice cup of chai tea on a chilly day. I’ve tried a variety of chai, from David’s Organic Saigon Chai, to Bigelow’s Vanilla Chai Black Tea. While those are good, my best chai award has to go to Teavana’s Maharaja Samurai Chai Tea blend.
Something to remember about loose teas is that storing them in tins, rather than the bags they come in at the store, really preserves their flavor and makes them last longer. Teavana has gotten some really cute tins in recently, with better working lids, and pretty designs to make tea storage fun. I keep my chai tea in this fabulous metallic-detailed bird tin.
To start, begin boiling your water. As with other teas, it’s better to not pour extremely hot water onto the tea, so I usually let it cool for about four minutes after it comes to a boiling temperature before adding it to the mix. While you’re waiting, put about 1.5 teaspoons of the loose tea into your strainer.
With this blend, I sweeten it by adding about half a tea spoon of Perfectea Rock Sugar, also into the strainer. This chai is naturally light and sweet, so it doesn’t need a lot of sugar, just enough to bring out the flavors and accentuate the taste. Adding it into the strainer is also better if you don’t want your tea to become too syrupy.
Now it’s time to steep. As with any tea, steep time may be different depending on your strength preference. With this tea, however, I suggest steeping no longer than 5 minutes, with the just-below-boiling water. This gives it the right amount of flavor, without leaving it bitter. After that time has passed, remove your strainer, and empty the contents.
The Maharaja-Samurai Chai Tea Blend is tasty, light and very aromatic. When you inhale the tea’s steam, cinnamon and ginger stand out, blending smoothly with the oolong, mate and green rooibos teas. The spices are also the strongest taste at first sip. Cloves and nutmeg follow, adding to the spiciness. The taste tones down with lighter, fruity notes of pineapple, papaya and star anise, which provide the sweetness of this beverage. What makes this chai so great is the perfect balance– a tasty blend of spicy and sweet that keeps you coming back for more.