This week we come to one of my favourite brands – well, actually, the first time I had a pukka tea I didn’t like it at all. But I have a few that are real favourites now, and I think the black spiced chai (which I had for the first time this week) may be destined to be one of them.
Source: Pukka teas are occasionally available in bigger supermarkets, but I haven’t seen this one before – and usually the range in a supermarket is pretty abysmal. I found a health food shop that had an enormous range of teas, including lots of Pukka ones, so I nabbed this one (and love).
You can also buy direct from their website. It looks a little different from most tea websites because the company’s products are based around ayurvedic principles and herbal remedies based on this system – which isn’t a system I particularly subscribe to, but they do produce really good tea.
Cost: a box of 20 teabags costs £2.09 on their website, and I paid the same amount in the shop I went to. Only available in teabag form, and only available in boxes of 20 teabags.
Ethics: There isn’t any information on the box, but luckily the pukka website tells of the pukka pledge: their products are
- 100% organic
- Fairly traded
- Carbon neutral
- Purely vegetarian
… which I think is pretty impressive.
Brewing instructions: one teabag per mug. Fill with boiling water (as it’s black tea based), and leave to infuse ‘for at least 5 minutes’, says the box. This is definitely right … I think I might’ve ended up leaving teabags in for around 10 minutes (although more by apathy than design). Overbrewing doesn’t seem to be a problem.
You can add milk and honey if you like; having tried it with and without it’s good both ways, but I feel like adding milk mutes the flavours a little. Which is also nice, but different.
Appearance: just looks like light black tea. With and without milk:
Nose: cardamom, ginger and cinnamon. (The 5 ingredients are cinnamon, black tea, ginger, cardamom, and licorice root.)
Taste: a gentle but flavourful chai. It seems to me to be halfway between Dragonfly’s Cape Malay Rooibos Chai (which, as the name suggests, is redbush based and doesn’t contain any black tea) and Twinings Chai. The former is very light and herbal, and the latter extremely robust … and this chai from pukka is moderately light, but still has that element of black tea which strengthens it.
I think you really can taste each of the ingredients, which is pretty neat. It all balances well: first up you taste tea, cinnamon and cardamom, and then this is followed up by a slightly gingery-cinnamon aftertaste. The licorice is harder to spot but does add sweetness.
Food match: Something light, and possibly spiced. I had mine with some very fine shortbread biscuits.
After adding milk and honey, drinking the tea felt very like eating mixed spice biscuits (such as one might have at Christmas) – I’m not quite sure whether that means that one should combine the two or not …
I’d love to try it with a cake containing cardamom – I bet something like this Lemon, Almond and Cardamom Cake (recipe from Waitrose) would be delicious.
Are you a fan of chai? Why or why not?
Have any favourite pukka teas? Mine are love, three mint, and night time.