Indian Spice - Chai (Harney & Sons)

Friday is Black Tea, Floral Tea, Fruit Tea, Chai and Pu'erh Review Day!

I know plenty of people who like "Chai." In they go to their favorite coffee house and they say "I'd like a chai tea latte with soy milk and no cream please..." Little do they know, they're not getting real chai!


Quick Info

FAB* Rating 5/4/4
Company Harney & Sons
Blend Name Indian Spice
Blend Base Chai
Country of Origin India
Package Type Loose in tin
Price per Package $12.00 USD
Quantity 8oz
 
*Flavor, Aroma, Boldness

I don't care who you are, good chai... 'real' chai will take more than a few minutes to make. It takes time and preparation. You need to simmer the milk (or soy milk) with the chai tea in a pot with some water and sugar for night on 10 to 12 minutes. Unless you do that, you're really getting gypped out of an experience as much as robbing your palette of something special.

Harney & Sons makes several blends of chai tea, and thank your chosen deity for they even include generally proper instructions for preparing it!

The Indian Spice blend Harney has put together is fantastic! It's a well balanced package for your senses to be sure!

Properly made chai is better than hot chocolate (or cocoa if you're more of a purist like me). It took a lot of convincing for me to try chai again after having the stuff from coffee houses. But I'm glad I did it, and I don't think I'll ever look back!

Harney indicated a 4 minute simmer, but a 10 minute simmer is more appropriate if you're going for a more authentic chai (at least that's as I've been informed). 4 minutes won't destroy the experience, but the flavor doesn't permeate the mixture as much ad it also doesn't allow the sugar cubes to fully dissolve.

I would recommend a finely grated sifter as a pass-through for when you remove the tea from the stove as it's difficult at points to ensure the liquid makes it into your mugs... especially with larger quantities of chai!

I may seem a bit harsh on non-traditional chai, but it's not without reason. Distiller or condensed chai products lack the flavor and undertones of a properly made pot of chai.

  2 comments for “Indian Spice - Chai (Harney & Sons)

  1. March 9, 2009 at 3:45 PM

    Chris: Great site, and thanks for the blogroll link!
    Have you been to BeanHaus in Covington (top of Mainstrasse)? You should try it if you haven't. They have a wonderful selection of teas - from leaves, thank goodness. They are the anti-Starbucks, right down to the free wireless. They aren't quick - it can take 20 minutes to get my chai tea latte - but it's worth it.
    I love that I can take a whiff of each tea before I order. They have little containers of tea leaves on the counter and they have a huge, and changing, selection.
    Since I had chai (usually marsala, but sometimes other flavors) at the BeanHaus, I haven't been able to tolerate Starbuck's. Or, I couldn't until Starbuck's recently upgraded their teas. Now they are tolerable in a pinch, but no BeanHaus. For me, it's the standard in coffee shops.

  2. March 10, 2009 at 7:22 PM

    Michelle,

    Thanks for dropping by (and of course for the kudos)! I have not been to BeanHaus in Covington, but I'll add it to my list of tri-state area businesses to critique for sure!

    Properly made chai is a real experience, one worth savoring each time since each instance will be a little different, even with the same blend!

    I have some rather inventive Chai blends which I plan on reviewing here soon! I hope you'll stop back often and try out new teas!

    Starbucks carries Tazo teas, and they use tea bags for cost reasons. I haven't reviewed Tazo teas as of yet, but do plan on it.

    The pre-steeped aroma can tell you a lot about a tea. I plan on doing a writing within the next couple months on some of this.

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