Review: KTeas Autumn Afternoon Chai

Black Tea, Cardamom Tea, Chai Tea, Cinnamon Tea, Clove Tea, Decaffeinated Tea, Green Tea, KTeas, Vanilla Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"For a decaf tea base, this actually woke me up. That could've been because of the spices. I felt a bit of a zing. All said, it's a pleasant enough drink."
Geoff’s Teaview: 7.3/10
Other Teaviews: Lynn gave it 6.5/10, Jamie gave it 7.0/10
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kteaslogoMasala chai, and all of its permutations, come across as a little on the strong side to me. Cardamom and ginger - both common ingredients to a traditional masala chai - are strong on their own. Together, they can be overpowering. Of course, many people like that sorta thing, especially in winter. I always hear that this spiced tea is a snow time favorite.

Truth be told, while it's not my first choice, a quickie masala chai mix was the first "tea" I ever tried outside of chamomile (which isn't a true tea). I worked nights at a 7-Eleven after college, and the only wake-me-up juice that tasted good was the powdered stuff. It wasn't really tea in the truest sense of the word, but it had the flavor down.

Years later, I've tried my darnedest not to use the words "chai" and "tea" together. It's a redundancy. "Chai" is Hindi for "tea". To call something a chai tea is to say tea-tea. Just like referring to Indian naan bread is bread-bread. Putting the word "masala" - meaning, "spiced" - before the chai is the correct way to do it. A desi I knew did her best to drill that into my brain.

KTeas Autumn Afternoon isn't a traditional Indian spiced tea per se. Rather, it's variation on a Kashmiri (okay, still Indian) green tea blend called "kahwha", which uses green tea as the base to a cardamom/saffron/cinnamon herbal fusion. I've never actually had it, but I've heard its good. Being a fan of Moroccan Mint, I figure I would be. This, however, differs in that the tea base consists of decaf green and black teas with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, orange peel, and vanilla flavoring. Definitely a new beast entirely - a masala chai-kahwha hybrid.

The loose, dry presentation of the blend was earthy and colorful. The black and green tea leaves were in abundance, but didn't supersede the herbal elements. I had difficulty trying to locate the cardamom pods. There were brown chunks amidst the blend, but I couldn't tell if those were the cloves or cardamom pieces. The orange peel pieces were omnipresent. That said, the mixture smelled divine; not overly spicy, and silky like a dessert bread to the nose.

Brewing instructions were on the lighter side. One heaping teaspoon per 8oz of hot water for three minutes. I adhered to this to the letter. I hadn't planned on a longer steep anyway.

After the time allotted, the liquor brewed to a medium amber, likely the result of the black/green base. To the eye, it looked like how a lighter puer would infuse. To the nose, the vanilla was still quite strong even after the steeping. Cardamom was nowhere to be found. Cinnamon, however, picked up the aromatic slack. The orange peel contributed a smidge of citrus but nothing noteworthy.

Taste-wise, given the amount of ingredients, it was surprisingly understated. I noticed the clove/cardamom punch a little; not too much of a bite, but some. The blend finally earned it's "masala" badge. For a decaf tea base, this actually woke me up. That could've been because of the spices. I felt a bit of a zing. All said, it's a pleasant enough drink. If I were to make a suggestion, for future hypothetical blending, I'd say they should choose one or the other - green or black. Not both. Make it a vanilla kahwah. It holds up fine on those merits. There are plenty of masala chais out there. Dare to be different.

— To purchase KTeas Autumn Afternoon Chai, 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.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff Reviewer
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