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The world is divided into tea and coffee drinkers. It is a twain that will never meet and your choice of caffeine drink is one that will lead to many associations and dissociations over the years. The coming together of tea drinkers, or for that matter coffee drinkers, over their choice of beverage can be both warm and momentous. What is it about these beverages that help camaraderie and emotions flow so easily, we’ve often wondered?
Our lives are often filled with memories that involve a cup of hot beverage of your choice. And it is quite serendipitous, when these memories come rushing back as you sip on the same beverage. It is no wonder then that many great writers take to describing their aroma and taste in such exquisite detail.
We favour tea, and the delicate balance of bitterness and tannins, it brings to our palate. Our mornings begin with a steaming hot cup of black tea brought to a boil with a selection of Indian spices, and a dash of milk. It is much like a gentle wake up call to get the day started. The fragrance of these spices fills our home and one that we now associate with dawn.
Afternoons are for a gentle green, flavoured with jasmine, or more recently the immunity boosting tulsi and turmeric. By evening, we are found cupping a mug of robust Darjeeling tea, with a teaspoon of milk, and the promise of refreshment.
A whole new world of tea
As such, we’ve spent several years experimenting with tea, carrying back little parcels from our travels around the country. From herbal teas packed in cloth tea bags by a Himachali commune to the crisp green unfurling leaves of the rolling hills of the Nilgiris and the sharp black of the peaks in Assam, our tea shelf may just be bursting.
But, when we hear of a new homegrown tea brand, we can’t help but try it out. World of Chai looked promising and we loved how it caters to both the beginner and the tea connoisseur. It makes no qualms about the fact that it is here as a shopping site, and no more. So, you won’t be greeted by spools of information on the kinds of tea or its benefits. We did find that quite refreshing. It’s nearly asking you to get down to business and not digress.
And, we did.
The World of Chai offerings are divided into simple categories: House Blends, Green Teas and Herbal Blends. The floral ones here are both teas and tisanes (infusions that don’t actually have tea leaves). They are also all blends and we found no teas without flavouring.
There are quite a few options and we love the pictures that help you get acquainted with the texture and ingredients of the tea you are about to receive. You can choose between 100 grams and 200 grams variants. If you are confused, you could also opt for World of Chai’s trial packs. These include 20 grams of four varieties of tea. You could opt for the Black Masala, Green or the Floral options.
We think this is a great way to get started and sample the quality of a new brand. We also believe that much like finding the perfect scent, the search for a tea that speaks to you can be truly rewarding.
Getting down to business with World of Chai
We loved the floral selection on offer on World of Chai, the hard-to-find lavender buds, the rose blend and the sparkling Butterfly Pea Flower Tea that results in a mug of warm blue liquid. We love our floral tisanes and can’t wait to sip into a calming lavender before bed. We are also intrigued by the Butterfly Pea Flower and Jasmine blend.
The green tea varieties are diverse and interesting too and come with a range of floral additions. There are a few spiced and immunity-boosting offerings too. What it lacks in generic information, the World of Chai website makes up in detailed descriptions of each of the blends. You know the ingredients, the recommendations (with or without milk) and also the region where the tea is procured from.
World of Chai is all about the quality of the ingredients and they claim to keep the prices low by procuring straight from source. Well, the proof of the pudding does lie in the tasting.
While we don’t normally favour premixed spice tea blends and prefer to add the spices in a brew on our own, we were quite taken in by the variety World of Chai promises. They also retail a few spices and that reassured us of their quality. After much deliberation, we settled for the Bombay Cutting Spice Tea.
We chose a 100 grams bag and placed an order with World of Chai. The tea arrived in just two days and claimed to be freshly packed. We do opt for fresh tea as much as we can as tea sitting on the shelves can often lose a lot in flavour. And when it comes to blends, atmospheric factors can act on its constituents to disturb the original balance they were out to provide.
The World of Chai tea was packed in a bright green metallic bag with an illustration that pays tribute to traditional women tea plantation workers. It is a nice touch and the pop of colour already has us in a sprightly mood.
A cup of warmth
By the time the tea had arrived, we had come down with a seasonal flu. No, it wasn’t COVID, we had it tested. We were left with a troubling throat pain and were looking for something that would help soothe it. The tea order couldn’t be better timed.
Once you open the World of Chai tea, the smells of cardamom wafts through the air instantly. There is also the mild fragrance of another spice that we eventually identified as saunf. The Bombay Cutting Spice tea is a CTC blend harvested in Darjeeling. It smells fresh and we couldn’t wait to have our first cup. It also comes in a neat, resealable bag, so you don’t have to look for that perfect airtight container before you open it.
We set a pot of water on boil, threw in a spoonful of leaves and waited for it to turn sufficiently brown. We threw in a dash of milk and strained it into our favourite mug. The Bombay Cutting Spice Tea is a light tea with soothing texture and a spice blend that is distinguishable but not overwhelming. The cardamom lends it a fresh, green aroma and the saunf (fennel) is what reminds us, albeit briefly, of the tiny glasses of cutting chai that are ubiquitous on the streets of Mumbai.
The World of Chai tea is of great quality and the spices pack the right punch in this beautiful blend. We also tried a few experiments, adding some ginger and tulsi to the brew, and must admit, it lent a whole new dimension to the blend. It’s going to be our go-to for the rest of the season of sniffles and we are already in the process of ordering our second bag.
We do recommend that every time you decide to make yourself a pot, shake the bag thoroughly, so as to not let the tea leaves settle at the bottom and the powdered spices emerge at the top. And may we also recommend that you pair your World of Chai tea with some soft butter cookies?