Sunday, October 5, 2008

Review: Chai Spice from Stash

Chai: a beverage that is a blend of black tea, honey, spices, and milk. Etymology: Turkish çay & Russian, Persian, Hindi, & Urdu chay tea

~According Merriam-Webster's Dictionary

I had never heard of Stash Tea Co. before receiving a package from a friend that had been stuffed with Earl Grey from the company. And as far as I knew, it wasn't available in my little part of the country--even though this friend was only in the neighboring state. But I live in a relatively rural area and with many things, we miss out on experiences. Last month, in a fit for autumn drinks, I picked up Stash Chai Spice.

When I first opened the package and the tea's scent drifted to my nose, I began to worry. It smelled a bit like licorice--a scent I've never really been fond of. I worried that if it smelled like that, it's probably not going to taste that well and I've basically wasted my money. But I went out on a limb and tried it anyway. And once again, I was surprised. It did not taste at all like licorice. Far from it!

With the tea bag having the ingredients of:
blended black tea, ginger root, cinnamon, allspice, clove, nutmeg, oil of cardamom, it as some of my favorite spices that I like to use in Autumn and Christmas baking and what I associate with these seasons and holidays. I can almost taste the individual spices. Even so, the most dominate spice I can taste is the clove. I recognize it from it's scent. The scent isn't far off from it's taste. And every time I smell clove, I think of poking cloves into oranges at Christmastime. It's a distinct memory, so it the scent as well as the taste is distinctive to me.

Even as I sip this tea now, I can smell it. I realize that after have poured hot water from my tea kettle over the bag and have let it steep, the licorice scent is no longer there. Or at least, it's no longer as strong. But now, I smell more cinnamon. Clove may be the more prominent in taste, cinnamon is the prominent spice in smell.

In conclusion, smell plays a lot in how we taste. When you have a cold, things taste bland, right? That's why. You're nose is all stuffy and you can't smell. How this tea--or any other tea--is perceived is partly due to the sense of smell, which lends to it tasting how it does. Despite Chai Spice's initial scent, it turns out to be such a wonderful and enjoyable tea. I'm sure that I will form fond memories with it, just as I have with those cloves and oranges. And a bit of advice for picky eaters and drinkers: Don't give drink or food a turn down based on what it smells like, you may just be surprised.

*Pictures provided by Stash Tea Co.


Joseph T. Richardson said...

I learned a lot from this post! I knew chai tea had a lot of spices in it, but I didn't know what they all were!

The best part of this, though, is your descriptions of the smells. My palate isn't that sensitive, and it's really a joy to read such a vivid account of somebody else!

rosemary said...

Very interesting and descriptive post about tea that I never really thought about. I wanted to share a website with you that I found: