Review: Ineeka Ma-Chai Insight

Assam Tea, Black Pepper Tea, Black Tea, Cardamom Tea, Chai Tea, Clove Tea, Ginger Tea, Ineeka, Organic Tea, Rose Tea, Saffron Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!" It was the strangest brew-up I've ever seen. The bottom of the clear mug was all ginger yellow, while the more auburn-to-brown black tea color hovered above it - dominant but...lighter? Weird."
Geoff’s Teaview: 7.3/10
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ineekatealogI always noticed Ineeka's offerings every time I stepped into the tea aisle of my local Whole Foods. Where all the other wares on display were in cardboard boxes, bags, or tin cans, Ineeka's teas looked like they were packed in Empire Strikes Back-esque carbonite. Seriously, obelisks of metal; both awesome and awe-inspiring. I hadn't seen metallic packaging like that for a tea, let alone a masala chai. I received a review sample of their Ma-Chai Insight several months ago but was hesitant to brew it. The handle instructions seemed daunting to me.

Ineeka has a specific - as they call it - "exclusive delivery system", which - in their own words - is a brew-taché that acts as "an individually packed infuser that contains pre-measured loose leaves for a superlative cup of tea." Directions were...difficult to find. Their website requires you to hover the mouse over highlighted words that access new Flash sections. No links, no text - it's quite cumbersome. And I'm not the sharpest teaspoon in the cupboard.

Instructions - once I was finally able to access them after some website flub-ups - called for the drinker to spread the "wings" of the brew-taché (trademarked term), prop the bag over the cup with the wings acting as supports, pour hot water in, and steep for three-to-five minutes. It took me a moment to even find the arrows to tear the bag open, but I did. In the end, it was fairly simple enough. It was just different...and I fear change.

The loose leaf batch itself was pleasant to the nose. I could make out the cardamom, ginger and saffron pieces instantly along with the black tea base. Cloves and peppers were a bit more troublesome to locate, but by the scent I assumed they were there. It was a spicy chai but not in an overpowering way. When the time finally came around to stop examining it, I heated water to about 205F and propped the brew-ta-thingy on a 16oz clear mug. I only infused for three minutes, though.

It is important to note that the much-touted wings on the brew-taché did not stay in place while I was pouring hot water over the bag and mug. One of the wings actually lost its footing. I had to prop the thing open with two fingers as I was pouring. Not the safest of methods.

After the three-minute wait was up, I examined the liquid. It was the strangest brew-up I've ever seen. The bottom of the clear mug was all ginger yellow, while the more auburn-to-brown black tea color hovered above it - dominant but...lighter? Weird. The steam was a pleasantly balanced aroma of black tea malt and succulent spices. I couldn't detect one particular herb that dominated. They all sort of melded together to complete the kick. The taste also had a surprising effect, seeming mild and relaxing on initial touchdown but jolted me upright with its spice-wallop mid-sip through. The Assam black tea base appeared to be of a lower quality, for it hit me with bold astringency. However, the spices worked favorably to lesson the dry-mouth impact.

As far as masala chai goes, this is a lighter one. Perhaps brewed at a full five minutes it packs more of a punch, but at a subtle three it balances just right. I didn't add milk for fear of taking away from the natural flavor, since the brew was so fragile. Besides some initial trouble with the tea delivery mechanism - nifty though it may be in theory - it turned out to be a pleasant way to warm up. Especially in winter weather similar to carbonite freezing.

— To purchase Ineeka Ma-Chai Insight, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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One Response to “Review: Ineeka Ma-Chai Insight”

  1. Kendra Says:

    Hands down, Ineeka Ma-Chai Insight is my favorite tea. I was given one of those awesome carbonite tins several years ago. The funny inset piece in the lid has allowed it to maintain a great seal. I brew only one or two cups a year. I’m down to two bags. I actually brewed one up this morning using hot organic apple juice instead of water (I wanted a change of pace on Easter Sunday), and the flavors were only enhanced by the apple juice. The passage of several years has not diminished the quality of the brew, either. I would never adulterate a tea this good with milk.

    My Rating: 10/10

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