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Last Updated: 12:01am BST /05/2001

Long Life Organic Green Chai (£2.79 for 20, Fresh & Wild)

DELICATELY spiced green tea in a bag that takes ages to infuse. Can be sweetened with honey (in the spirit of its impeccable organic credentials), but the spicing doesn't stand up when milk is added.

 
To a tea: Lipton's Tchaé

Dragonfly Organic Cape Malay Rooibos Chai (£1.89 for 25, Tesco and other major supermarkets).

Caffeine-free Rooibos tea gives a rich, rosy colour. Without milk, it is a fragrant, refreshing cuppa, good hot or cold at any time of day, and with milk, a comforting cure for insomnia.

Lipton Tchaé Oriental Spice (£1.59 for 25, Sainsbury's and other big supermarkets).

As with many fruit teas, this is all smell and no flavour, except perhaps for a lingering stewed-tea taste. The cinnamon assault doesn't go with milk. Fails to deliver the peace, love and understanding promised in the advertisements.

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Waitrose Instant Chai Latte Original Spice (£1.99 for 325g tin).

There are no words to describe how revolting this concoction is. Occupying the Horlicks end of the chai market, it is only for lovers of burnt rubber and hot toothpaste dispensed from a shaving-foam can. Vile.

Homemade masala chai

Simmer 1 pint/550ml water with a 1 in/2.5cm piece of cinnamon, 8 cardamom pods, 8 cloves. Add 6fl oz/175ml milk and sugar to taste and bring back to simmer. Throw in 3 tsp loose black tea, take off heat and leave to steep for two minutes. Strain and serve.

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