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twinings aromatics chai

Brewing Instructions:

brew for three to five minutes. Can be drunk with milk and sweetened.

The packaging says:

A tea with the mellow flavour of Indian spices

Tea Testers Said:

Slightly weak tea, with a sweet, peppery smell and quite a strongly cinnamon and cloves taste. Some people also tasted mint. Would be a good afternoon pick-me-up. Noticeably a Chai - infuse in hot milk with honey on the stove for 30 minutes for a more authentic Indian tea experience. Fresh and zingy.

A note of caution before you begin: for the first tea test, teaandcake packaged all teas in paper envelopes. As Tea Taster Geof realised, this storage was not sufficient to stop the aroma of the spicy chai tea seeping and creeping into the other tea samples. We will switch to plastic packaging next time, and warn you the reader back at home: store your teas with caution, or they all may taste the same...

de-t-ailed feedback

Janine: I think I brewed this a bit weak: you'd need plenty of teabags in a pot and leave it to 'mash' a bit longer. It has a very clean, fresh and spicy taste.

Mrs. J: I wouldn't buy this, but I do like it. It was very sweet - don't think you'd need sugar. I can't place the scent...

Mr J: There is nothing like a cup of tea. And this is... It has a quite a scented taste and I liked it - wouldn't have it with milk, though. It's not tea as we know it, but I enjoyed it. Is it a chai?

Stephen: Smells and tastes strongly of cinnamon. I've no idea what it was. Brewed a bit slowly, and was pale. It'd be a good afternoon pick me up. Being someone who prefers Breakfast Tea or occasionally Earl Grey, this was quite a departure for me and I thought it very pleasant. I think Queen Victoria would retort with her trademark "We are not amused" if served with this. However, it would probably suit someone like Tori Amos very nicely...

Geof: Hold on, this smells really strongly of cinnamon and it doesn't taste like a cup of brown. It tastes like a cup of cinnamon. Which if you really really fancy cinnamon is probably great. As tea (a) was originally contained within an envelope that was next to tea (b)'s envelope I'm starting to wonder if tea (a) was a sample of Tetley's finest that had inadvertently absorbed some of tea (b)'s cinnamon-iness. If tea (c) is at all cinnamon-y i shall take this as proof of what shall now be referred to as HYPOTHESIS (1).

HYPOTHESIS 1: poor packaging of the diverse teas has resulted in all nearby tea absorbing a hint of undesired exotic spiciness, known more commonly as "the Chain Coffee Shop Rubbish Tea Phenomenon". This is heavy going, you really need to be in a cinnamon mood, and right now I feel positively malaria retardant. Hold on, don't tell me this is a chai? Note also that I keep needing the lav- either my mug is massive (it's not, it's medium-large and it's got the Hubble space telescope on the side- not the real telescope, an image of the Hubble space telescope you pedants) or the magic extra ingredient is something healthy.

I'm not a well travelled man but I have partaken of native chai, and subsequently have found the current trend for chai-similars to be a saga of disappointment. Every time I've had someone excitedly tell me that such-and-such a place is vending a really good chai I've found that such-and-such place is in fact using a vat of milk to deploy the latest in cinnamon-siege-weaponry to my undefended oral cavity. Okay, so perhaps the 2 weeks of diarrhoea are part of the native chai experience one would not miss, but at the very least the tea should be boiled for several hours in a saucepan with honey and gently curdling milk.

I brewed this tea for 30 minutes, entirely infused in milk over a stove, with honey: tasted awesome. A little soporific but I still managed to stay awake 'til 3 in the morning playing risk so it can't be ~that~ soporific.

Overall I'd have it: entirely infused in milk, with honey, probably in tiny shot glasses. When I'd have it: outdoors after a bracing walk in the sunshine, or if there was a possibility of malaria.

Paula: This tea smelled quite peppery - it brewed to a very pale colour and tasted very aromatic, and a bit pepperminty. It tasted a bit familiar - kind of like an earl grey... Smelled very sweet. I think I'd drink I without milk, though it was unsatisfying as a "proper cuppa" (not enough caffeine, maybe?). I think this would be a good light afternoon tea.

Paula's Boyfriend Mark:
Teabeg smelled peppery and did taste quite minty. It had a sweet aftertaste. Could it be Chinese in origin? I found it unsatisfying as a tea drink.

Beccie: A nice cup of tea. Maybe a bit stronger than your bog standard cup, but not too different in taste - though there was a 'zingy' aftertaste, it wasn't 'creamy' like some teas are. That seemed to make it a bit 'fresher' - a good tea to drink through the day to keep you hard at work. It tasted like a normal cup of tea with a kick... suggesting possible health benefits? It tasted like it could be better for me than the others. Is it maybe a Redbush?

Angela: Weak in comparison to the others, but tasted refreshing, possibly a good afternoon tea. It actually smelt of what you imagine tea to smell like. Didn't really want another cup but wouldn't object if served one. Bet the Queen drinks this. My overall favourite.

Adele: "b's" teabag was fairly similar in styling to "a". I brewed the tea, leaving out the optional milk and returned to my office. A good smell of the steaming infusion told me that it had quite a fragrant aroma that put me in mind of a nice earl grey. The colour of the tea was a pleasant deep brown, a few shades lighter than my previous cuppa. I once again gurgled away like gilly goudon and spilt more tea down myself in the process. I found this tea incredibly refreshing with only a slight hint of the smokiness that had so dominated the previous beverage. It was just right for a mid day pick me up and I could have managed a few more cups of this particular one.

Linette: I knew this wasn't one for me as soon as I smelled the cloves. The flavour isn't overpowering and the minimum brewing time gave it a pleasing strength. The tea leaves are there, with a similar if not as strong flavour as the previous cup, but this time nicely balanced by the cloves and I think possibly the sweetness of cinnamon. Either a Chai flavoured tea or inspired by the same blend. I did not finish the cup however as I found the mixture of cloves and smokiness put me off about halfway through the fourth sip.

Sabrina: B this smelled of aniseed and once brewed vaguely tasted of it too which was a little surprising. However the addition of milk smoothed the taste and made it rather palatable. It was a lot less aggressive than a lot of the spiced teas and it was quite pleasant.

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