Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Flavorful, Strong And Invigorating, India Spice Chai Tea Wakes One Right Up!

The Good: Great aroma, Caffeinated
The Bad: None that I can find
The Basics: A perfect Chai tea, Celestial Seasonings' India Spice Chai is delicious and has no detractions!

Celestial Seasonings teas get a lot of credit from me (not undeserved) for being innovative and creating flavors of tea that are actually flavorful. Unlike some tea companies, Celestial Seasonings is not content to have much in its repertoire that is simply tea flavored. Instead, Celestial Seasonings strives for teas that blend spices, recreate fruit flavors or embody the purest flavor of mint. Some of their more creative teas of late have been their chai teas.

One of the most underrated chai teas in the Celestial Seasonings catalog would have to be India Spice Chai. This is essentially an adjective chai tea that is meant to simply taste like chai tea and it succeeds at that. But more than that, it creates a strong tea flavor that is maintained no matter what is added to the basic tea and it does not have any unpleasant aftertaste. The result is a hot tea that is undeniably great and one for anyone who loves tea to pick up.


India Spice Chai is a 100% Natural Chai Tea from Celestial Seasonings in their Teahouse Chai line. This Chai tea is 100% natural and is naturally caffeinated. This is a wonderful tea and whenever I am at home and have a hankering for Chai tea drinks - like I have when I go out to Panera Bread - this is a tea I have started to turn to more and more. It lacks the sweetness as the chai drinks that have become so trendy in cafes in the United States in the last five years.

India Spice comes in Celestial Seasonings's standard stringless tea bags, which are paired together with easy to separate perforations that allow one to separate the tea bags. When I make pots of tea, I tend to use two bags and leave them connected. A box of India Spice comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.

Ease Of Preparation

India Spice is your standard black tea as far as the preparation goes. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea and could be reused and make a second cup of India Spice with a decent amount of flavor. The second cup, naturally, does not come out as strong as the first, but provided the first steeping was not more than the recommended upper recommended steeping time of six minutes, a second use can come out with about 5/8 to 3/4 strength. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well for both a first and second steeping.

To prepare India Spice tea, bring a pot of water to a boil and pour it over the tea bags. The directions recommend that the cup be only 3/4 full so that milk may be added later, but that's only necessary if one wishes to make this beverage into a drink like one gets in restaurants. I brew mine at full strength in the pot and decide about alterations when I pour into my mug! This tea takes four to six minutes to steep and when the water is actually boiling, it comes out strong at the four minute point without needing any additional time. After six minutes, though, the flavor does not concentrate any more so there is no benefit to letting it steep longer than that.


India Spice is a slightly dry chai tea that has a spicy aroma that is almost impossible to define. For a change, the tea does not smell like cloves or cinnamon, but it does have a similarly rich aroma that permeates the room the tea is brewed in. The aroma alone - having checked out the ingredient list, it is probably the nutmeg and Chinese star anise that create the unique bouquet - is enough to wake the consumer up.

As far as taste goes, unadulterated by anything else, India Spice is a tea-flavored tea with a lot of body and a rich, strong taste. Beyond that, it is almost impossible to define. Despite the array of spices in the tea, it does not taste like the varied spices, like cinnamon, cloves or ginger. It is not woody like coffee and it is not bland like standard black tea. Instead, India Spice Chai is very much its own flavor. It tastes like tea and the taste (like that of "Earl Grey") defines itself.

With a teaspoon of sugar, the flavor becomes a little easier to define. Sugar brings out the subtle vanilla flavor and the flavor of the black pepper. The tea becomes sweet, but the aftertaste kicks with a little peppery bite that is delicious and surprising. With milk or cream, India Spice tastes like a store-bought spiced Chai drink. The milk seems to mute the tea and pepper flavors and brings the clove and cinnamon tastes to the forefront. One of the wonderful things about this flavor of tea is that no additive overwhelms it. Instead, the tea flavor dominates and the different spices come out in different amounts based upon what additive is added. But the taste is always strong, unlike some teas. This tea always tastes like some form of tea.

Cold, the tea is delightful and in the summer I do enjoy it that way (I make believe I have my own little Panera in my kitchen!) and cool the flavor of cloves and becomes a little more dominant, which I like. The tea has a strong, mysterious flavor to it any way it is prepared.


This tea has more ingredients than most of Celestial Seasonings's teas, at least under the heading of "spices." The top three ingredients, though, are black tea, spices and roasted chicory, which accounts for much of this tea's flavor. There is nothing unpronouncable in this tea and it is 100% natural. It is noted that this tea is gluten free, so those for whom that is important, please be aware.

In terms of nutrition, like most teas, India Spice is not something you want to try to live on. Sure, you might have a wonderful tasting end of your life, but, considering that one 8 oz. mug of this tea provides nothing of nutritional value to the drinker, it's unclear how long one could survive on tea alone. There are no calories (save what one adds from sugar or milk), no fat, sodium, or protein, but there is caffeine. The new packaging from Celestial Seasonings, though, does not detail the caffeine any more (I miss the caffeine meter!).


India Spice tea is very 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. The tea itself is a very dark tea and will stain most fabrics, so I tend to recommend not spilling it on important documents, antiques or linens.


India Spice Chai is a great tea and one that is perfect by default. In the absence of anything negative, it becomes a perfect tea for anyone who loves drinking tea!

For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews of mine, please check out:
Vanilla Strawberry Rose
Honey Chamomile Green Decaf
Devonshire English Breakfast


For other food and drink reviews, please check out my index page for an easy-to-navigate listing of all I have reviewed!

© 2010, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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