Hey there Teacups! I’m back today with another Let’s Talk Tea post and this time around I’m going to be reviewing Birchall’s – Virunga Chai. They very kindly gifted me a selection of their teas to try out and feature in this series and out of all of the teas they sent I couldn’t think of a better one to start with than this beautiful chai.
This chai has both a black tea and rooibos base and for that reason it stood out to me when picking what I wanted to try and I just couldn’t wait to try it once it arrived at my house. As you all know at this time of the year chai blends are my go to so this arrived just at the right time. It’s been a good while since I’ve had a stand out chai that didn’t have additional natural/ artificial flavours so going into this tasting session I was really excited to see what this Chai had to offer.
Here’s what Birchall have to say about this blend over on their website: “Our Virunga Chai is a powerful interpretation of a classic Indian tea, carefully crafted by the fifth generation of Birchall Graham’s family. Virunga Chai infuses the brightness and vitality of a supreme African black tea, grown close to Virunga National Park, with an eclectic blend of herbs and spices.
Our pursuit of quality ensures we have expertly matched our exceptional broken black tea with the subtle sweet spices of cinnamon and cardamom and the warming flavours of ginger and red rooibos from South Africa. The unique result is a vibrant and uplifting blend that will soothe and satisfy throughout the day. We look forward to you enjoying it as much as we do.
We will donate 5p from the proceeds of each pack to help save Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park and protect its mountain gorillas and other wildlife.”
Ingredients: Black Tea, Rooibos, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves, Orange Peel & Ginger.
Tea Tasting Notes
Because I’ve now been drinking loose leaf tea for so long now whenever I do a tasting session with a bagged tea my expectations are always much lower and I never expect the bagged teas to wow me like the loose leaf ones do. I know that makes me sound like a bit of a tea snob but its true; most of the bagged tea out there isn’t very good and it’s not often that bagged tea tends to wow me, but this one managed to do just that and I would ever go as far as to say that this is one of, if not the best bagged chai I have ever had the pleasure of trying.
With the black tea in this blend being African black tea, which is normally very robust and malty, I was a little bit worried that it was going to over power the rooibos but that wasn’t the case at all. Even from my first sip I could taste both and neither overpowered the other, they just blended together harmoniously, with the rooibos adding a delicious nutty note and amplifying the black teas woody note.
In terms of the spices in the blend the cloves and the cinnamon are the strongest but again neither overpower the other they have been used in just the right quantities so they are noticeable but they aren’t so strong that they make it undrinkable. The cardamom is a little more subtle but you can still taste it especially in the aftertaste. I wasn’t expecting much from the orange peel as I’ve had a few blends recently with orange that promised great things but didn’t deliver at all but in this blend the orange is noticeable and pairs perfectly with the sweet & spicy ginger. Both come through more towards the back of the mouth and in the aftertaste more than anything but I’m glad they were both noticeable.
There aren’t many bagged chais out there that I would rave about like this but this one is honestly really good. There also aren’t many bagged chais out there that you are able to drink on their own because they are too astringent but this one is far from astringent. It’s just as delicious on its own as it is with milk and honey and that really did surprise me. I’ve now finished the box that was sent to me and I really did finish it fast so I’ll no doubt end up ordering some more of this blend in the future.
Overall Teacup Rating: 5/5 | For a bagged chai this is absolutely delicious and I’ll be ordering so much more in the future.
If you want to know more about Birchall Tea and purchase some of this blend for yourself, you can do both here . As always if you have any questions at all either stick them in the comments or send them to me on Instagram/Twitter @teaisawishkim and I’ll answer them all as soon as I can.
Speak to you all again soon. Happy Steeping – Kimberley
*The tea featured in the post was gifted to me for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and have not been paid for*