I've long had a love-hate relationship with hot tea. Growing up in the South, we lived on iced sweet tea. And we drank plenty of coffee — pots and pots on long nights writing poetry with my goth friends in high school (ha!). But hot tea just wasn't a thing.
As an adult with slightly more worldly tastes, I've tried to get into hot tea for years. For some reason, though, it just tasted like hot, weakly flavored water to me. Until I discovered chai tea. I was probably in my early 20s, and I think I may have been in a coffee shop in New Orleans if my memory serves me correctly. I'd heard of chai, and when I saw it on the menu, I had to try it. One sip and my idea of tea totally changed. Chai was spicy. It was milky. It was sweet. It tasted nothing like weakly flavored water.
Back home, I experimented with various brands of chai tea bags, but most were disappointing. Some of the pricier loose-leaf chai tea blends were good but not cost-efficient. My friend Leslie's homemade chai — made with whole cardamom and cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and such — is hands-down the best. But it's labor-intensive, and I'm never gonna do that.
Enter Blue Lotus Chai — a powdered chai that needs no steeping. Just add it to hot water and plant milk, stir, and drink. I've reviewed a few of their chai blends here and here. Now, they've added a new one to the mix — Golden Masala Chai.
It's the basic Blue Lotus blend of black tea powder, ginger root powder, ground cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, and cloves but with added ground turmeric and maca powder. Turmeric is an excellent, all-natural anti-inflammatory, and maca is great for boosting energy, mood, memory, and athletic performance.
To brew, all you do is heat 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup plant milk (I used cashew milk) and then stir in a spoonful of Blue Lotus Chai powder. A small wooden scoop that's just the right size for one portion is included in every bag and tin of Blue Lotus. And then I like to add agave, Bee-Free Honee, or stevia for sweeteners. One thing I've learned in my tea experiments over the years is that I do not like hot tea unless it's sweetened. I can drink unsweetened iced tea but not hot.
There's no added sweeteners in Blue Lotus Chai, so adding it is necessary if you're like me. There's also no milk powder (so it's vegan), no artificial flavoring or coloring, no additives, no mess, and no steeping. The powder just dissolves into the hot liquid, and it's ready to drink instantly. No waiting.
As for the new flavor, I couldn't tell a huge difference in taste from the original Blue Lotus Chai, but I did notice a slight flavor of maca. It wasn't overpowering (maca can be very strong in large doses) though, and it blended in well with the chai flavors. The turmeric was also subtle in taste, but it added a nice yellow color to the tea. And with my chronic knee inflammation, I can use all the turmeric I can get.