The Chai Palace is a Canadian tea company based in Mississauga, Ontario. All their tea is blended and packaged in Canada. According to their website, many of their teas are sourced through the Ethical Tea Partnership, which aims to improve the lives of tea farmers in source countries and maintain a sustainable industry.
Owner Reema Farooqui grew up in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, where tea culture is abundant and blending your own chai is the norm. After being disappointed with the artificial tastes and flavours she found in stores here, she decided to start blending her own chai using recipes handed down in her family, and The Chai Palace was born.
Farooqui sent me three 25g samples of their teas.
Lemon Mint Chai
Blend: gunpowder green tea, peppermint, spearmint, lemon peel
In this blend you have the shiny, tiny pearls of smokey Chinese gunpowder green contrasted with fresh mint and a pop of lemon.
Often when gunpowder green is used as a blending base or hidden in a tea bag, you’ll find dull, loose pearls (indicative of not a very good quality of gunpowder, or rolled with older leaves), but that was not the case here! The tiny balls shone and gave a nice honey-amber base to the liquor.
One thing I immediately loved about this blend was the large pieces of dried lemon rind that jump out at you. That’s definitely real lemon.
My tip with this tea would be to make sure you blend it at a cooler temperature (~85˚) and not to steep it too long. 3 minutes should be more than enough. Both mint and green tea you need to be careful with, as over-steeping can quickly lead to a bitter brew.
This was a lovely little pick-me-up in the middle of a study session. You could easily add a little extra lemon or honey too, if you had a cold and wanted something to soothe your throat.
Keep in mind when you are measuring out the dry tea that the green tea pearls will unfurl to be much larger, so you might not need as much as you think.
Classic Chamomile Tea
Blend: lemongrass, chamomile, orange peel, peppermint
An aromatic, caffeine-free tisane. Chamomile is one of our oldest known herbs. Today it’s best known for its calming and anti-anxiety properties, and was a favourite medical infusion of the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks.
The large, Egypt-sourced chamomile flowers stand out in this blend. Adding peppermint and lemongrass to this timeless beverage is a nice touch that leaves a clean, refreshing aftertaste on your palate as you exhale. When you smell the dry infusion, the orange peel stands out, but after steeping is much more faint. Try exhaling through your nose to get that citrus finish.
The liquor is nice and clear. You could let this sit and infuse for longer if you like. The suggested time on the bag is 3-5 minutes, but you can extend that to 7-10 minutes to get a stronger brew. There is a nice balance here. The lemongrass and mint don’t overwhelm the chamomile.
Royal Rose Chai
Blend: black Assam tea, rose buds, rose petals, cinnamon, cloves
This was my personal favourite of the three teas I tried, and the most unique blend to my palate. I had never tried a rose chai before. What a treat!
The Assam was brisk, malty and bright. When combined with the warming cloves and cinnamon, this would make a lovely tea for when it’s cold outside.
This blend could brighten an otherwise chilly and dreary winter afternoon: The fragrance of roses is a natural mood-enhancer, and you have the cinnamon and cloves to get your blood flowing. The rose aroma of the tea is uplifting.
This also makes a lovely base for a milk tea. I’m not a big milk blender, but warm, spicy assam just begs to be tried with milk. If you’re feeling fancy, you can sprinkle a bit of extra cinnamon or rose petals on top.
I was also embarrasingly excited about finally having a ‘Royal’ tea to use with my ‘Royaltea’ teacup (admitted tea nerd).
The Chai Palace deserves an aesthetic nod for their dry tea. In addition to blending these for taste, all three samples I received are beautiful to look at as well.
The Classic Chamomile is so good-looking with its large Egyptian flowers that it could almost be left out as a table decoration. Maybe they should start a line of tea potpourri. I’d buy that.
Many thanks again to The Chai Palace for providing this tea for my review. Reema has also kindly included a discount code, compliments of The Chai Palace.
Use the code: Happychai for a 15% discount on their website. Valid until December 31, 2015.
They’re also in the middle of running a 20% discount fall. Use the code: pumpkin2015. Valid until October 12, 2015.
You can also follow The Chai Palace Twitter account where they post new deals and trade tea quips with their customers.
One of the best things about the arrival of fall is that it’s prime tea-drinking season. I’m always mug-in-hand on my way to class, and drink more of the spicy and warming teas. I look forward to having more teas like the Royal Rose Chai.
With an average price of ~$6 per 50g bag, their product is very reasonably priced. I think it’s a good deal for what you’re getting.
If you have a tea you’d like me to try, feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org