Spot of Tea: Good Earth Vanilla Chai Tea

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[Photograph: Jessica Leibowitz]

I get frustrated with spiced teas. I rip open the package and a waft of cinnamon, cloves and other delicious spices come soaring out, perfuming the air and getting me pretty darn excited about the forthcoming cup of tea. But you all know what usually happens next; the steeped tea tastes weak, bland and not even close to that promising aroma.

Good Earth Vanilla Chai is incredibly aromatic, immediately releasing a blend of creamy vanilla and peppery spices (listed as chicory root, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, black pepper, cloves, and star anise). Yet despite my initial fears, this tea is remarkably balanced. There is a distinct cinnamon flavor, with noticeable notes of cloves and star anise. The vanilla creates an underlying sweetness that doesn't overwhelm the tea and the black tea stays round instead of bitter even after the suggested 6 minutes of steeping. This is one chai where honey and milk would be welcome but aren't necessary.

Available online; $4.49 for 18 bags. We received a sample for review.

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