Yes, yes, yes, I know that chai means tea but there’s no mistake in this title. It’s a tea review of Basilur’s Masala Chai, plain and simple.
Although, this tea is anything but plain and simple! It’s one of those complexly spiced teas that come into their own when the Autumn weather kicks in. I’m reviewing this in the first week of September when the apples are falling from the trees, the leaves are starting to turn, and the air has a delightful chill to it.
Drinking the right tea at the right time is one of the highlights of life, isn’t it?
Basilur Masala Chai at a Glance
Full Review - Basilur Masala Chai
- Type: Loose leaf
- Tea: Pure Ceylon black tea
- Additives: Cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, flavouring
- Flavour Notes: Light, warming, smooth black tea, gentle spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
- Aroma: Spices (cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, black peppercorn), dried orange peel, malt, bitter black tea, baked bread, sweetness
- Milk or Lemon: Milk
- Where to Buy: Amazon, Basilur Official Website
The tea caddy holds 100g of Basilur Masala Chai. Opening the airtight internal packet and the spices hit you. It’s a medley of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon without any dominating others. I also get the scent of orange peel and a malty, bitter black tea hugging everything together.
It brews into a dark red velvet colour that’s just so inviting and warm – although it’s not completely clear with a little dust settling at the bottom of my teacup. Spices can catch in your throat and overpower a tea, especially a Ceylon black tea which is typically quite light compared to other teas like Assam. That’s why I was worried about spice particles over brewing and lingering in the tea liquor.
I needn’t have worried though. First drinking it black, I’m met with a very smooth and warming light black tea. It’s void of any bitterness detected in the aroma and has gentle spices that linger softly on the palate into the aftertaste. This masala chai isn’t bold at all.
Yet, when I brewed for longer and added milk it became even better. The milk adds a creaminess to the mix and brings out the sweeter notes I detected in the dry aroma. I highly recommend having it with milk as it adds another dimension to the tea without diminishing the spices and light Ceylon black tea base.
Of course, traditionally you should be drinking chai with milk anyway.
How to Brew Spiced Chai Tea
Use boiling 100°C water, freshly drawn. To drink it without milk, I brewed for 3 minutes. If you’re adding milk, go closer to 6 minutes. I stopped at 5:45.
Basilur includes a small pack of fillable tea bags in the tea tin, so you can brew quickly and easily. The leaves aren’t too small though so you should be fine with a mesh infuser. Use 1 heaped teaspoon.
Tea Tip: there are whole cardamom pods and cloves in the tea tin that settle at the bottom, so make sure you mix it up instead of just taking a serving from the top.
100g should give you approximately 50 mugs. I’ve successfully rebrewed the same leaves 3 times, so that’s 150 mugs if you’re clever with it.
Sip in the evenings under a cosy blanket by a crackling fire.
Why Basilur Loose Leaf?
Basilur very kindly sent me a box of samples, including this large tin of Masala Chai. I love the tins that Basilur package their tea in – they’re equal parts beautiful and practical. The Basilur Masala Chai tin is a half crescent moon shape with embossed golden detail. It has tamper seals at the top that you need to break to get the lid off. The lid seals it very tightly, although maybe not airtight. The inner bag has an airtight seal, so it will keep.
As each month passes, I must admit that I become just a little bit more eco-conscious. With a ridiculously large tea collection, I am focused on not adding more waste to my reviewing hobby. I do wish that Basilur hadn’t included the free tea bags (waste of paper and the plastic wrapper) and simply left the tea loose inside the tin like Whittard tea caddies.
As for the tea quality, the leaves appear to be CTC (cut, tear curl) processed and brew fairly quickly. The small spices that will fit into an infuser (cloves and cardamom pods) are left whole while the large spices (cinnamon) is cut into smaller pieces. Nothing is dusty or finely ground and so the resulting tea tastes fresher.
This is a nice, soothing masala chai. My only tiny problems are that ginger is listed as an ingredient but isn’t detectable, and the inner packaging isn’t strictly necessary. The tea itself is a great quality, very tasty and very hard to get wrong. If you’re prone to being distracted and over-brewing your tea, you’ll find Basilur Masala Chai to be very forgiving to longer brew times.
If you need a staple chai in your cupboard for the cold months, you should check this one out.
I have a tea problem. My current selection is too big for our kitchen! You can find numerous reviews of chai, black teas, white teas, herbal teas and so many more here at Izzy’s Corner. If you need something new to try, you’ve come to the right place. My recommendation to follow Basilur’s Masala Chai is What-Cha’s Argentina Misiones black tea.