Today my neighbor and I are getting ready for that great American
institution - the yard sale. It's in our barn, so that had to be tidied, after whole summer of mad untidiness! We's pooped! Tomorrow is the sale, so I don't think I'll be tea tasting - just guzzling to stay awake and alert. We collect so much junk in our lives that we can't let go of. Sometimes I think I'd like to get rid of it all and just start over with a small house and quit when I have the essentials.
Today isn't really a tea tasting day either, but as I was getting a pick me up cuppa I saw that bottle of Masala Chai spice I bought at the Christmas Tree Shop a couple weeks ago. Hmmm. So I popped in 2 PG Tips in my new Teavana teabrewer, added a good big shake of spices and brewed it up. Oops, the spices made it impossible to drain, so I used a strainer and really, really rinsed out the tea brewer; now this brew got some 1/2 and 1/2 and believe it or not, sugar - yes, I used sugar. That's how you do chai. It is really good. A little light on the cinnamon, so I added some, but nice and spicey, peppery, gingery, everything a chai should be and then some. It is surprising to me that some little thing like this from the CTS would be this good, but it is. I wish I had bought more.
Buying something like a spice at the CTS is fine, sometimes, but don't buy "gourmet" tea there and expect it to be of high quality, because it won't be. You need to remember that a lot of their things are last seasons or overruns, so buy cautiously. That said, I have often bought some name brand herbal teas there that have been fine. But I didn't have high expectations. I'm not much of an herbal person, I keep it for my friends who are or for times when I want something warm, with no caffeine and tastier than hot water.