Spot of Tea: Choice Organic Masala Chai


[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

My favorite chai is steeped loose, with whole spices, but at my desk in the morning, I often reach for the easy way out. This blend from Choice Organic teas smells so amazing that I don't feel bad at all: sweet ginger, cinnamon, and clove waft up like freshly baked gingerbread.

The flavor is nicely balanced, too, with a backbone of smooth black tea that's not at all overpowered by spices, and a little black pepper to perk it up. (Chai can so easily feel like sucking on ground spices, but this one has enough rich tea flavor and body to keep things in perspective.) It can handle milk (and sugar, if you're into that) but really doesn't need it, and each sip brings out another flavor: cinnamon sticks are out front, with cardamom in a supporting role.

Are you a chai drinker? Have a favorite brand to recommend?

Available online, around $5 for 16 tea bags.