Every morning I make a cup of tea. I’ve got my favorite mugs, and I recently purchased a sweet water boiler that tells you the temperature of the water as it heats. The Japanese are serious about their tea, I’m forever thankful for that.
When my wife and I went to Ireland, we were introduced to several brands of strong black breakfast tea. While I stocked up as much as I could, alas, the tea eventually ran out. America has many things for sale, but Irish black tea is apparently not among the more accessible of them. So, decaffeinated and lost, I began my search for an equivalent cup of tea.
The good people at Tao of Tea introduced me to a strong, dark brew known as Assam CTC, or Sada Chai.
Sada Chai is not the same as the Irish breakfast tea. The blend on the right is named 500 Mile Chai, the tea on the left is the tea itself without spices. While highly caffeinated (for tea; we’re not talking Red Bull here), Sada is much more mellow in flavor. It also takes longer to brew than the Irish tea. I’ll leave it brewing for anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes while I prepare my breakfast. The trick is to leave it in a long time, but if you wait too long the water starts to get cold. The last thing you want is lukewarm tea. Blerg.
While I generally brew it as straight tea (with a little milk), my wife does it up right. She actually follows the directions on the tin, adding milk and spices and heating it all together. I love it when she makes that for the both of us.
I never knew my journey to find the perfect black tea would lead me to these rolled little leaves, but I’m glad it has.