The Good: Amazing aroma, Good taste, Easy to prepare, Caffeinated
The Bad: Needs sugar to get the most out of its flavor, Extraneous tea garbage
The Basics: My first experience with Oregon Chai is their “The Original” Chai Tea and it is good, but better with a touch of sugar.
I am a person who loves tea. My index page on beverages is dominated by the tea reviews I have written and I continue to branch out to explore other tea brands and tea types whenever possible. Before she left for the summer, my wife bought all sorts of tea for me to try and review while she was gone. One of the new companies (at least for me) that she bought a bit of product from was Oregon Chai. Going through the boxes of Oregon Chai tea that she picked up, I thought I would start with what I hope might be a baseline tea: The Original Chai Tea.
It is, as one might expect, a very average tea, but with just a little sugar, it becomes something a little bit better!
The Original Chai is a tea from Oregon Chai. It is a tea that has caffeine and it is a fairly strong chai tea. The Original Chai comes in Oregon Chai's standard individually-wrapped tea bags, means that each tea bag has a wax papery envelope it is sealed in for freshness. Each tea bag has a five-inch string with a little paper tab at the end, which is quite a bit more waste than I like from a tea bag. When I make pots of tea, I tend to use two bags and making a steeping pot of The Original Chai reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags. A box of The Original Chai comes with 20 individually-wrapped tea bags.
The Original Chai is marketed as a chai spiced tea and it succeeds more on the aroma than it does on the execution, at least until sugar is added to it!
Ease of Preparation
The Original Chai is a chai tea, which means preparation is as easy as boiling a pot of water! The Original Chai, as the directions clearly state, requires water that is boiling. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea and reusing the tea bags yields a mug full which is about 3/4 strength. It was only when reusing the teabag (or when the tea was cold) I found the tea to have a dry aftertaste.
To prepare The Original Chai, simply boil up some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take three to five minutes to steep and with boiling water, the tea was ready at the four minute mark and letting it steep longer does not truly change the results. Letting the tea steep more than five minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea. However, after brewing for five minutes, trying to reuse the teabag is likely to net the consumer a weaker second cup or pot, though this was a tea that was very easy to enjoy reusing the bags from.
Brewed fresh, the Oregon Chai Original Chai Tea smells delightfully of chai and cinnamon. The aroma is very warming and inviting and it embodies exactly what one expects from a chai tea. In fact, this smells like a teahouse on a busy day, its scent is so potent and spicy!
On the taste front, the Original Chai tea has a very deep and surprisingly rich flavor to it. Outside a powerful secondary taste of cinnamon – dry and spicy – the Oregon Chai Original Chai tea tastes just like a high-quality black tea. The flavor is more forthright and concentrated than one might usually associate with a chai tea.
With a teaspoon of sugar, the black tea flavor is entirely wiped out in favor of a spicy array of flavors. In addition to the sweetness from the sugar, the Original Chai tea takes on the distinct flavors of cloves and cinnamon. As an odd trade-off, though, the tea develops a powerfully dry aftertaste to it. When cold, the tea is just dark, bitter, and dry.
That Oregon Chai’s The Original Chai is dominated by a black tea flavor is utterly unsurprising because the primary ingredient is Assam black tea! The primary ingredients for The Original Chai are: Assam black tea, ginger root, and clove bud. The Original Chai tea contains about 50 mg of caffeine.
Were it not for the sugar I add when I make The Original Chai, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein.
Oregon Chai's The Original Chai is a fairly dark black tea. As a result, cleanup is rather simple, save on fabrics. The mugs and steeping pot easily rinse out. This tea will stain if it is left on fabrics, so simply do not let the tea cups or mugs linger on light colored materials that might stain!
The Original Chai is easy to clean up after - the tea bags may be disposed in the garbage, or composted if you have a good garden and/or compost pile. One of the nice things about this tea - like most - is that so long as it is kept cool and dry, it can last for a long time and it is easy to clean up. However, like all Oregon Chai teabags, there is extra waste from the strings, paper tabs and individual wrappings around each bag.
For my first experience with Oregon Chai, I found the The Original Chai tea to be heavier than expected but a delightful spiced tea when sugar was added to it.
For other teas, please check out my reviews of:
Bigelow Sweet Dreams
Yogi Ginger Organic
Dilmah Ceylon Green
For other beverage reviews, please check out my Food Review Index Page!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.