Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Chai tea espresso

Judging by the warming aromas coming from the tea jar sitting on the counter of the permanently coffee scented Mad Bean, I expect chai tea to be a big hit. Cinnamon and cardamom have already been proven to work well infused in espresso, so it just remains to be seen how well black tea and the other organic flavours mix.

Not so well, as it turns out. While the smell was mildly pleasant, the brew turned intensely bitter to the point of unpalatable. Don't get me wrong, I finished it, but immediately regretted it. The aftertaste is brutal, very much the same as that of cloves. It lingers on your palate like an unwelcome guest.

Then I thought, what if we added milk and turned it into a macchiato? This would loosen up the flavours, take away the bitter edge and allow the good aromatics to shine through the cacophony of unpleasantness. That is exactly what happened. An unpalatable shot turned into a pleasant drink. Not good enough for me to want to drink it over a regular Steampunk macchiato.

It is a technique that I think will be interesting to play with, making an overpowering shot and diluting it with micro-foamed milk. Tomorrow I'll try to recreate the good bits of the chai tea with a spice mix and put this theory to the test.

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