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White Masala Chai 2To be fair, I must start this post off stating that I am completely biased when it comes to Chai – I simply love it.  Even though, I do not profess to be enamored with black tea, there is something special about a cup of Chai. A traditional drink from India, I was first introduced many years ago to Chai Tea Lattes at Starbucks.  At that time I thought, who drinks tea with milk in it? Surprisingly, the taste was amazing. As my interest in tea blossomed into loose tea, I stopped purchasing the Starbucks version and began making my own with blends purchased from Harney and Sons initially and later Yogic Chai. Yogic Chai, really opened my eyes to the possibilities of Chai. Especially when I discovered White Masala Chai - the subject of today’s tea review. 

Composition: Organic Bai Mu Dan (white tea), Organic Cinnamon, Organic Green Cardamom, Organic Cloves, Organic Ginger

Dry Visual: An amazing blend of dark and green broken and whole leaves and buds. A mixture of small yellow, orange, green, and brown chunks of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and ginger. Some stems are present. Many thanks to Yogic Chai for the photo.

Dry Aroma: Sweet yet spicy – absolutely delicious to inhale.

Flavor:  Never having the opportunity to drink a cup of White Masala Chai, I was truly intrigued by what this experience might bring. I must admit that I really enjoyed this tea. Unlike a traditional Chai made with black tea (most often Assam) White Masala Chai is not pungent or powerful tasting tea. This is not to be construed with a lack of flavor. Characteristic of white teas, the tea in this brew was mild yet flavorful. The addition of the spices – cardamom, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon were definitely evident, but blended in proportion to the strength of the Bai Mu Dan. White Masala Chai is natually sweet and spicy.

A couple of things to note: There was no astringency and no sweetener is required (Yogic Chai even recommends not adding sweetener) – I did drink both with and without sugar. I preferred with sugar, because the flavor of the spices were enhanced. Additionally, milk is not recommended nor was it added – a common way of preparing Chai. The mildness of the Bai Mu Dan could not stand up against the power of milk. White Masala Chai is full-bodied or as some like to say heavy in the mouth, but smooth. 

Liquor: A rich gold hue.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 2 – 3 if the ingredients are allowed to come to boil  in a small pot. Unfortunately, I was at work and without kitchen amenities. Thus I steeped for 10 minutes tasting at intervals in water less than 190 degrees F.

Manufacturer: Yogic Chai

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of White Masala Chai, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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strip_closeup3060  There never seems to be enough time in the day.  By the time one goes to work, schedule and attend all of the kids appointments – from football practice to parent/teacher conferences, spends quality time with the family, and make some mediocre attempt to manage household duties, it is time to go to bed and start the insanity all over again the next day. Whatever your responsibilities call for, it is always nice to steal a little time out of the day to spend doing the things you enjoy doing.  Like … a phone conversation with friends,  reading a good book, a walk in the sunshine (unless you live in the midwest where the weather resembles rainy London or Seattle) or savor a cup of tea.

So this afternoon, I took a few minutes to make a cup of tea and simply enjoy it. In the midst of meetings, performance reviews, and following up on past due invoices, I inhaled deeply the aroma of  Kashmiri Kahwa.

Composition:  Pure Nilgiri loose leaf tea blended with almonds, cardamon, cinnamon and a hint of saffron.

Dry Visual: I am unable to ascertain as the tea comes prepackaged in an aluminum infuser. Thanks Strip Teas for the picture of the actual loose leaf tea.

 Dry Aroma: Spicy – particularly cardamom, which I initially mistook for black licorice and cinnamon.kahwatealeavesclose

Flavor:  The first taste exuded the mild characteristic traits of Nilgiri – I new it immediately when it hit my tastebuds. Whenever I taste a tea for the first time, I do so without reading the ingredients to develop an unbiased opinion of the flavors that present themselves. Immediately following the Nilgiri, I was greeted by the spiciness of the cardamom. The sweet taste of cinnamon formed the middle and Kashmiri Kahwa finished with the combined flavors of cinnamon and almond. The nutty flavor of the almond was difficult to ascertain initially yet presented itself later in the cup as Kashmiri Kahwa began to cool.

Kashmiri Kahwa reminds me of a smooth chai tea – a popular Indian way of drinking tea. Interestingly, where I would normlly add milk and honey to a chai tea blended with assam, I found that I preferred the smooth taste of the nigilri without the addition of either. Perhaps in my next cup.

Liquor: A rich brown.

Brewing Time: The recommended steeping time for Kashmiri Kahwa is 1 Strip Tea for 2 – 4 minutes in boiling water.  I steeped for 4 minutes as recommended.

Manufacturer: Strip Teas

Caffeine: Yes.

What’s In A Name?

Kashmir, the first part of Kashmiri Kahwa, is located within the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Kahwah (also spelled qehwa, kehwa or kahwa) is a traditional green tea recipe that originates from Kashmir. It is made in parts of Kashmir administered by Pakistan and India, as well as throughout various regions of the countries.

If you have had the opportunity to try Kashmiri Kahwa, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

References:

1. Kahwah. (2009, February 5). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:08, April 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kahwah&oldid=268620973

2. Kashmir. (2009, April 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:09, April 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kashmir&oldid=284003085

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