Sunday, May 04, 2008

Let's Get Yogic (And Have Some Chai!)

Hi all,

It's been a little over two weeks since my last post, but you'll be delighted to know that the semester is now over, which means I may be able to post much more often!

Today's post will be a review for Yogic Chai. Yogic Chai contacted me a few weeks ago, and asked if I would examine some samples for them and then post a review. Of course, since I love chai, I accepted immediately!

I will first explain one of the blends I received, and point out the good and pad points, then I will discuss quality, and will then finally discuss packaging and the shipping experience, after which I will make some closing remarks about the product and the company that makes it!

The tea that I will write about today is the one that impressed me the most, for a variety of reasons. It is called Kuki Chai Masala, and it represents much of what I have always loved about a quality chai - balance. The Kuki is a mellower version of the Chai, which lacks much of the spiciness one would expect from a traditional Chai. However, what it lacked in oomph it made up for with flavor, smoothness, and balance. The mildness of this blend might be due to the fact that it is a Kukicha blend. For those of you that don't know, Kukicha teas are made from more than just the leaves of a tea - they also include twigs and stems, in fact, some Kukicha do not include any leaves at all, which I believe is the case with this tea (Please, Yogic, correct me if I am wrong.)

Although the Kuki lacked the spiciness I have come to expect from a quality Chai, it did not lack flavor, and still remained a rich, luxurious dessert tea. Adding cream is nice, but not necessary, as much smoothness and creaminess is already present.

I particularly enjoyed the cinnamon flavor in this brew, but had a more difficult time detecting the ginger (which is usually part of a Chai mixture), however I believe I did eventually detect it. The dominant characteristic in this blend is absolute balance. This is one of the most well-balanced teas I have ever enjoyed. Each flavor complemented the others perfectly. There was neither too much nor to little of any one spice, and I did not find that any spice was overpowering in the tea, or covering up for other flavors. This is probably the best mild Chai I have tasted in 10 years.

As for quality, this Chai is second to few. I would say second to none, but my local Grounds for Coffee actually has one that they hand-blend that I find to be superior. The granular tea is made of whole, unbroken ingredients, including whole, unground spices. This is a delight, especially in a chai, as many modern chai beverages will grind the spices a little or a lot, and this takes away from the true essence of the spice, which, in my opinion, can only truly be released when steeped whole.

This tea also contains excellent clarity and cup color, showing up to be a nice amber-orange color. Additionally, it has almost no cloudiness, which is a great sign that they only use whole leaves and herbs, and tea dust never makes it into their final blend. This is a relief, and a sign of premium quality in a tea.

The packaging is nice, but could use some work. The teas arrived in brown, foil-lined packets with a label on the front which names the tea and it's net weight and a disclaimer stating that it contains caffeine. While this presentation is aesthetically pleasing, it lacks several important characteristics.

First, it provides little protection to the tea. The packet could easily be crushed in shipping, which would significantly diminish the quality of the tea. Second, it does not
provide a listing of ingredients. Personally, I am a person that likes to know what his in his tea, so this was a bit of a disappointment. Third, it lacks any temperature guidelines or brewing instructions. Someone not very familiar with loose tea would be at a loss for how much they should use per cup, what temperature they should heat the water to, and so forth.

While the packaging is somewhat lacking, this is something that can easily be corrected with relatively little work. Fortunately, the tea inside is of superior flavor and quality.

The shipping experience was also nice. The teas were well-packed, and arrived safely and not crushed - something to be admired. The teas also arrived quickly, and without incident, and queries sent to the provided email address were always aswered very quickly and professionally.

Overall, I would rate Yogic Chai, as a company, very highly. There are few shortcomings, and of those shortcomings, none affect the actual quality of the tea. For this inerested in a milder version of their favourite Chai, I would recommend this company wholeheartedly, as I believe they have done a truly beautiful job.

Thanks for reading everyone! Now that the semester is over, posts will pop up a little more often, which will be good for all of us.

You can visit Yogic Chai on the internet at www.yogicchai.com/

Over and out,
Relznuk Zero Relznuk

4 Comments:

Tea Escapade said...

I too love Chai tea. I initially began my Chai experience with a chai tea latte from Starbucks. However once I began brewing myself...I will never return to that concoction. Next, I move to Tazo brand chai tea. Now I am drinking Indian Spice by Harney and Sons.

I love the spicy nature of chai, however, I am always open to trying something new. I cannot wait to visit Yogic's website.

Thanks for sharing!

Relznuk said...

Hi, and thanks for your comment. My interest in Chai also began at a starbucks, interestingly enough. Although I still find theirs passable, it certainly wouldn't be my first choice anymore. Home-made chai is always the best.

I agree that the spiciness in chai is one of its best qualities.

I hope you enjoy their website. Let me know!

Thanks,
Relz

green tea said...

I like to make my own masala chai (when I have time) with bay leaves, black peppercorn, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, cardamom, and ? TEA of course! boiled toiled. etc.

yum!

thanks for the review. How was the caffeine kick?

-gT

vicmanb said...

Nothing like having a masala chai while you're waiting for a train in Banglaore.

Thanks for your review, I am eager to try Yogic chai blends.