Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Culinary Teas
This traditional Indian Chai is named for the city that is the birthplace of chai. Cochin Masala includes Ceylon black tea, ginger, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, and black pepper. When brewed this full body tea produces a spicy aromatic flavor. Superb with milk and sugar.
The dry leaf is interesting – the leaves look almost like granules. They are very small, and as a result, you may find this is a bit difficult to strain because the fine leaves tend to congest the mesh in a strainer. But it is certainly worth the effort, because this is a really delicious chai.
The spices in this chai are quite bold and on the peppery side, as the ginger and black pepper are a little more prominent than the other spices. The others hold their own, though, and I can taste each individual spice – and I like that! The cinnamon offers a warm, zesty background note, and I like how the cardamom and coriander compliment each other. The spices are spicy-warm, but not what I would consider spicy-hot. There is a certain intriguing sweetness to these spices as well. It’s a very well-conceived masala blend.
The black tea is robust. Much more robust than I would expect from a Ceylon, which I often consider to be on the mellow side. But the word “mellow” certainly doesn’t come to mind when considering this Ceylon. It has a strong character! It is full of flavor and provides ample body to support the masala spices.
I added a dollop of honey to my cup and found that this helped to soften the edge just a little (if you prefer your chai to be on the edgy side, though, don’t add the sweetener), and a splash of milk makes this a very delicious chai latte. If you want to go the traditional route, you can also prepare this stovetop – although I prefer to steep my chai in water.
However you choose to steep and serve your chai – this one is certainly worth a try!