Dry Leaf: Upon opening the packet, I was blown away. The real, discernible spices were extraordinary. The scent was amazing, and the next thoughts were “can I climb in that small packet and live for eternity?” followed by “I need more, much more, of this.” I believe there is bay leaf in the mix as well which adds a great cassia/bay scent.
Wet Leaf: The aromatics sing with cardamom (my personal favorite) edging out the cinnamon for top billing.
Brewed: This is as good as it gets in my estimation. I opted out of milk or sweetener because I wanted to experience it as it is even though the brewing directions stated to use milk and water. I will enjoy it that way next, and post the results, I just had to have this straight up. I have not strayed from the brewing guide once, but I just couldn’t help myself once I saw how amazing the spices were. Hopefully I can be forgiven :) Cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, ginger, and I’m sure more that I am missing form a symphony here that doesn’t just present a note of this or that but an entire performance with an encore. not overly spicy in a heat sort of way but very assertive and easily will stand up to milk and sweetener without losing anything.
Chai in America is generally some poorly (sadly even artificially) flavored low-grade tea buried under milk/cream and tons of sugar. Occasionally a decent cup can be had with tiny bits of actual spices mixed in. Sometimes the balance is way off and skewed too far to the spice notes and the tea is merely a vehicle to darken the water or milk. This is both Yin and Yang in perfect harmony. I have fallen in love twice in one week, first the Jungpana Imperial Muscatel and now with the Masala Chai. This will be forever stocked in my tea cupboard so long as I can obtain it in this form. Again, about as full an endorsement as I could offer any tea. This is a mood lifter, one simply could not be anything but in sheer rapture with this in their cup. Flavored tea often takes a back seat with “serious” tea drinkers, and this would be one that breaks down that wall entirely. I am a truly happy man.