That summer, I was given the opportunity to sample the newest varieties from Blue Lotus Chai: Star Anise Masala Chai and Mandarin Masala Chai. The Eugene-based (Oregon) company brews and naturally flash-dries their black teas with a blend of organic spices into a hot water soluble powder. The powder requires only ¼ round teaspoon to make an 8 oz. cup. You can also cook or bake with them. 10% of Blue Lotus Chai’s net profits will be donated to charity. Earlier this year, I reviewed their other Blue Lotus Chai varieties: Traditional Masala Chai, Mint Masala Chai and Caffeine-Free Rooibos Masala Chai (read the old review here).
Blue Lotus Chai is Non-GMO Project Verified for all varieties since early October, but one is pending according to their Facebook page.
Star Anise Masala Chai + Mandarin Masala Chai are available in and come with a ¼ teaspoon bamboo spoon:
• ½ oz. stand-up pouch (makes 17 cups)
• reusable 3 oz. tin (makes 100 cups)
• 1 lb. bulk (makes 530 cups)
Based in Eugene, Oregon, Blue Lotus Chai co. was founded by Barbara Cameron. All Blue Lotus Chai products do not contain sweeteners, fillers, coloring, or other additives. They are vegan, gluten-free, organic and made of natural ingredients. 10% of Blue Lotus Chai’s net profits will be donated to charity (view the charity list).
As of October 2013, there are 5 chai varieties: Traditional Masala Chai, Rooibos Masala Chai (caffeine-free), Mint Masala Chai, Star Anise Masala Chai and Mandarin Masala Chai. They are available in reusable tin, stand-up pouch or in bulk. A ¼ teaspoon bamboo spoon is included in every tin or pouch.
where to buy
We received two varieties in a single ½ oz. stand-up pouch: Star Anise Masala Chai and Mandarin Masala Chai and brought them with us to Buenos Aires. Each pouch makes 17 cups. The powder requires only ¼ rounded teaspoon to make an 8 oz. cup. The stand-out pouches are convenient to have around for travels and they did not leak nor break after a few one-way international flights.
Mandarin Masala Chai
The Blue Lotus Star Mandarin Masala Chai has a characteristic, slightly tangy citrus aroma that resembled a dry mandarin/tangerine peel. If you add only one rounded ¼ teaspoon powder to 8 oz. cup, you couldn’t taste the chai at all due to the soy milk. The aroma is stronger than the flavor. The citrus and spice profile making it suitable for baking.
We tried it in a 8 oz. hot beverage with soy milk. I’m not a huge fan of soy milk, but we found the soy milk at an Asian grocery store in Buenos Aires and the high-speed blender (or any appliances) wasn’t available in the rented flat to make nut milk. We used organic sugar we found at Buenos Aires Market and two rounded 1/4 teaspoons for slightly more spiciness and flavor for 8 oz. cup.
We followed the instructions on the packaging: For an 8 oz. cup, bring to boil 4 oz. fresh water, add one rounded ¼ teaspoon Blue Lotus Chai blend (increase for more spiciness as desired), stir, add 4 oz. of the milk of your choice and heat. You can add sugar, agave syrup, or no sweetener at all.
ingredients: Naturally brewed and flash-dried black tea powder; 100% Certified Organic powdered spices: ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, citrus blend from extract.
Star Anise Masala Chai
We tried Blue Lotus Star Anise Masala Chai in our daily oatmeal with organic sugar, soy milk, shredded coconut and dried fruits. We used about 3-4 rounded ¼ teaspoons in our oatmeal. The aroma has distinctive Asian notes; reminding me of Taiwan, where star anise features prominently in braised dishes, such as the famous Taiwanese beef noodle soup (view the vegan recipe here). Being one of the more spice-forward chai powders we have tried, I could actually imagine it working well in a savory dish. As it was, we used it to balance out sweeter drinks and dishes like oatmeal.
ingredients: Naturally brewed and flash-dried black tea powder; 100% Certified Organic powdered spices: ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, star anise.
Which variety will you try from Blue Lotus Chai? What are some of your favorite winter season dishes using chai?