The Good: Amazing aroma, Great taste, Easy to prepare
The Bad: Decaffeinated, Extraneous tea garbage
The Basics: A flavorful decaffeinated tea, Stash's Premium Chai Spice Decaf tea is a winning tea which smells and tastes wonderful!
Despite my love of environmental responsibility, especially when it comes to teas, I am finding myself more and more impressed by Stash teas these days. Since my wife picked me up a new steeping pot the other day and we made our first pot of tea in it the Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey, it seems the teas I am reviewing these days that I actually enjoy the most are from Stash (note: I've been through almost the entire Celestial Seasonings catalog, though!). Both the Stash Mango Oolong Tea (click here for review!) and their basic Earl Grey (reviewed here!) are actually very good and when I've had the opportunity to enjoy Stash teas, I have availed myself of the opportunity. Following the Double Bergamot taste treat from Stash was Chai Spice Decaf tea.
For those who know me and my reviews, I am not usually a fan of decaffeinated teas. While I wonder how Stash can make the claim that their black tea has been naturally decaffeinated, I do find myself enjoying the tea and being impressed by the taste of this one. Despite the premium line nature of the tea (which makes it a tea that is packaged in boxes of 18 as opposed to 20), this should be a staple tea for those who like caffeine-free teas.
Chai Spice Decaf is a tea from Stash. It is a tea that has no caffeine and it is a fairly strong black tea. Chai Spice Decaf comes in Stash's standard individually-wrapped tea bags, means that each tea bag has a wax papery envelope it is sealed in for freshness. Each tea bag has a five-inch string with a little paper tab at the end, which is quite a bit more waste than I like from a tea bag. When I make pots of tea, I tend to use two bags and making a steeping pot of Chai Spice Decaf reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags. A box of Chai Spice Decaf comes with 18 individually-wrapped tea bags.
Chai Spice Decaf is marketed as a chai spiced tea and it does a good job at that by being loaded with spices which instantly overwhelm the nose and prepare the consumer for a delightful tea experience.
Ease of Preparation
Chai Spice Decaf is a black tea, which means preparation is as easy as boiling a pot of water! Chai Spice Decaf, as the directions clearly state, require water that is boiling. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea, though reusing the tea bags yields a mug full which is about 5/8 strength. It was only when reusing the teabag (or when the tea was cold) I found the tea to have a dry aftertaste.
To prepare Chai Spice Decaf, simply boil up some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take three to five minutes to steep and with boiling water, the tea was ready at the four minute mark and letting it steep longer does not truly change the results. Letting the tea steep more than five minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea. However, after brewing for five minutes, trying to reuse the teabag is likely to net the consumer a very weak second cup or pot.
Coming out of the package, Chai Spice Decaf has one of the most delicious and potent cinnamon and chai scents of any tea I have ever had. Once brewed, the tea smells like potpourri with its wide array of spiced smells. Anyone familiar with nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon will instantly discover those scents wafting up from their mug or steeping pot and the potency of this tea is exceptional.
It also is a generally good preparation for what one gets when they taste the tea. Chai Spice Decaf tea is a flavorful blend which is an easy pick-me-up with a taste that is heavy on a variety of spices, yet still manages to have a light flavor to it. By this, I mean that Chai Spice Decaf is not a robust tea which forces itself over the consumer's tastebuds, but rather a tea with a more mellow flavor that seems to focus on the richness of the different spices it contains rather than simply blowing the tongue out with all the different flavors. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable tea that is chai and has the distinct flavors of each of the spices one can smell. It is worth noting that for such a spice-rich tea, Chai Spice Decaf does not have a dry aftertaste, which is common with many cinnamon-heavy teas.
With a teaspoon of sugar, Chai Spice Decaf actually has a strange culinary event occur; the flavor becomes slightly more sour and it takes on an aftertaste that is sour and dry. This is muted by adding a splash of milk, which makes Chai Spice Decaf into a cafe-style chai tea drink.
Cold, Chai Spice Decaf is dry and loses some of the flavor, so this is definitely a tea that is better piping hot!
That Stash’s Chai Spice Decaf is flavorful and heavily spiced makes sense and the ingredients list reflects that. The primary ingredients are: naturally decaffeinated black teas, ginger and cinnamon. Chai Spice Decaf tea is all natural, Kosher, and does not contain caffeine.
Were it not for the sugar I add whenever I make Chai Spice Decaf, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein.
Stash's Chai Spice Decaf is a fairly dark black tea. As a result, cleanup is rather simple, save on fabrics. The mugs and steeping pot easily rinse out. This tea will stain if it is left on fabrics, so simply do not let the tea cups or mugs linger on light colored materials that might stain!
Chai Spice Decaf is easy to clean up after - the tea bags may be disposed in the garbage, or composted if you have a good garden and/or compost pile. One of the nice things about this tea - like most - is that so long as it is kept cool and dry, it can last for a long time and it is easy to clean up. However, like all Stash teas, there is extra waste from the strings, paper tabs and individual wrappings around each bag.
Stash Chai Spice Decaf is a flavorful, but not overwhelming tea which offers decaffeinated tea drinkers a good option for a tea that does not sacrifice caffeine at the expense of flavor.
For other teas, please check out my reviews of:
Bigelow Sweet Dreams
Yogi Ginger Organic
Dilmah Ceylon Green
For other beverage reviews, please check out my index page!
© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.