Review of Chai Classic (Formerly Organic Tazo Chai)

5 of 105 of 55 of 574 of 100

Bags of this tea came from a conference's coffee-break session, alongside a bunch of other Tazo and Bigelow teas that I mostly have tried already. Somehow, despite liking chai a lot, I hadn't had this one yet. It's a keeper—not the best chai I've chugged, but very satisfying, robust, and sharp. My wife likes to pack away a selection of favorite bagged teas along on trips where one might be around no tea (or uncertain-quality tea) for awhile. This would be ideal for that purpose, except that she doesn't like chai.

The dry-bag aroma was middling, more peppery than I expected, but the taste was much richer. The label doesn't specify that Tazo uses Assam, but it's fairly obvious, given the dense, fast, very dark browning of the liquid, the large degree of swelling of wet, chopped tea leaves in-bag (a trait I've noticed with Assam more than others), and the potent, malty base-tea flavor that isn't overwhelmed by the spices. This rendition of chai did taste a little cinnamon-heavy to me—not a bother, since I like cinnamon. Still, enough of the cloves and cardamom come through to keep it from tasting like I simply poured hot water through cinnamon sticks and into Assam tea, then sprinkled it with black pepper. The aftertaste is spicy and warm, and lingers all around mouth and throat for several minutes. As such, this may be a fine comfort tea for a cold, snowy day.

I liked this tea quite a lot. The only drawbacks were the weak dry-bag aroma, only a little stronger scent in-cup, and a decidedly offputting component of wet-bag smell that reminded me of armpit odor. Don't sniff the bag (hard for me not to do with spiced tea!) and all should be fine.

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