Orange-cinnamon Ceylons - the American Chai?

These teas can resemble virtually any flavor imaginable.

Mar 28th 12 11:28 pm
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Joined: Oct 14th 10 4:06 am

Orange-cinnamon Ceylons - the American Chai?

by mbanu » Mar 28th 12 11:28 pm

After World War II, flavored black teas rose in prominence in the United States market to the point that they are now one of the best-selling categories of tea there.

One thing I've noticed is how many of the best sellers seem to use a orange-cinnamon blend - Bigelow's "Constant Comment", MarketSpice tea from the Pacific Northwest, Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice...

What do you think it is about that flavor profile that makes it so popular?

Did this sort of flavored tea have regional popularity before WWII?

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Oct 24th 13 1:57 pm
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Re: Orange-cinnamon Ceylons - the American Chai?

by AlexZorach » Oct 24th 13 1:57 pm

I definitely can understand how these teas are so popular. I've tried both of the examples you give too, and I think they're both pleasant and drinkable.

Why are they so popular? I think both orange and cinnamon are familiar and well-liked flavors for the typical American palate.

The other traditional spices in masala chai are, I think, less familiar. I think cardamom is especially less familiar to the American palate, and perhaps ginger...and then pepper is familiar but not usually associated with tea or anything sweet. Look at Indian cuisine--it's totally dominated by cardamom, and it uses pepper in sweets, so it makes sense that these would be popular in their spiced tea blends.

I personally don't like the blandness of mainstream American tastes...I think what makes food in the U.S. great is all the diversity and ethnic food, and the "default" food I find far too bland for me. But I think that the relative presence of orange and cinnamon in mainstream foods in America probably explains the popularity of these blends over the more complex and traditional masala chai blends that include spices less commonly used in the U.S.

Me though? I'll stick with the traditional masala chai, and I personally omit cinnamon and go very heavy on the cardamom.