Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bengal Spice: Another Great Adjective Tea, But Where's The Caffeine?!

The Good: Great taste, Aroma, Everything in it is good
The Bad: No Caffeine!
The Basics: With a wonderful flavor of cinnamon and cloves, Bengal Spice is a taste treat, even if it lacks caffeine to be a true pick-me-up.

Because of my desire to review all of the one brand, I had to use some of my hard-earned new job money to place an order with Celestial and get some new teas (and restock on some old favorites I've already reviewed!). Sure, I'd prefer to make a trip back out to Boulder (which I'll be headed to again in August!) but that's not in the cards right now.

So, I've opened one of my last few boxes of Celestial Seasonings tea and I'm actually pretty thrilled to be reviewing Bengal Spice because it is a delicious Herb tea, one of the many Celestial Seasonings "adjective teas" that I am proud to recommend. For those unfamiliar with my tea reviews (and why is that, by the way?!) "adjective" teas are ones that have titles that do not tell the person drinking them exactly what to expect. I actually like adjective teas in general better than fruit teas because fruit teas too often disappoint me with not tasting like they promise.


Bengal Spice is a 100% Natural Herb Tea from Celestial Seasonings. It comes in the standard Celestial Seasonings 1.7 oz. box that features twenty tea bags, paired up and connected with weak perforations that allow for easy separation of tea bags. The stringless tea bags are kept inside a wax paper bag that easily refolds to keep the tea bags protected from humidity that might otherwise ruin the product.

The tea bags are used - obviously - to make tea, a drink known well over in the civilized world, usually made from herbs like tea leaves and flavored with spices, roots and/or fruits. Bengal Spice is a sweet and strong tea for those who want something less obvious than a fruit tea and more flavorful than a bland tea.

Ease Of Preparation

Well, the important part of making tea - be it Bengal Spice or any other tea - is taking the tea bags out of the box, having a vessel (mug or steeping pot) to put it or them in and having access to boiling hot water. Personally, I used a 32 oz. steeping pot and I use two tea bags per brewing. The standard 8 oz. coffee mug that some use is never enough for me; yes, I'm so cheap that if I'm boiling up water, I want to make it worth it!

Preparation is easy; simply boil water and pour it over the tea bags which are in your steeping pot or mug. Bengal Spice requires boiling water and the steeping time of four to six minutes is a fairly accurate time, as recommended by the manufacturer. At three minutes, though, when I've been tea-thirsty, I've drunk some and it came out just fine. Bengal Spice is also one of the ideal teas for the thrifty individual as reusing the tea bags nets a fairly good pot or mug of tea. A second brewing using boiling water and the six minute brewing time yields a pot or mug that is about 3/4 strong as the original brewing, which is impressive and rather decent for a heady, flavorful tea like Bengal Spice.


Bengal Spice is a great tea for those looking for a flavor that comes from aroma. While brewing Bengal Spice fills up a room with the strong scents of cinnamon and cloves. The scent effervesces through a room wonderfully and it opens up the consumer to the taste they are soon to partake of.

Bengal Spice might taste like Bengal, I don't know, I've never been there. Heck, it could be the precise taste of tiger sweat, which would explain the Bengal tiger on the box of the tea. Regardless of the "Bengal" that rescues this tea from committing to an established flavor, Bengal Spice kicks some serious taste buds with the spiced flavor. Naturally sweet, the tea is a strong, flavorful mix of the tastes and scents of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla! In fact, this spiced drink hardly tastes like a tea, it tastes like . . . well, it tastes enough like a tea that it can't truly be defined as any other type of hot drink, but it's like a mulled cider without the fruit flavor. It's like the best drippings off a well-prepared roast without the salt.

Bengal Spice is one of those flavors of tea that is difficult to explain, but delicious to the taste buds. It is a tasty and rich tea and with all of the spices that are traditionally dry like black pepper, cloves and nutmeg, it's surprising how naturally sweet the flavor of Bengal Spice is without being dominated by a sugary taste - which the tea is not. Anyone who is sick of bland tea will love Bengal Spice. It truly is delicious, even if it is hard to describe.

Fortunately, Celestial Seasonings had some ideas on that front. In the preparation for the tea, they recommend adding a little milk to make the tea taste like a chai tea drink and with the addition of even a little milk, Bengal Spice tastes exactly like a tea house chai drink! Those who are into the trendy chai drinks without wanting to seem pretentious or a slave to fashion Bengal Spice offers a great way out!

Bengal Spice is also delicious cold or iced. In its cooler forms, the dryer cinnamon flavor comes out with a little more kick from the pepper. The sweetness fades a little and honestly it has only been when the tea is cool that I've added sugar. But it's delicious either way!


Bengal Spice is tea, so while it is flavorful, it is pretty low in any nutritional content or detriment. Those looking for something without fat, calories, sodium, carbohydrates or protein will find Bengal Spice a great way to get none of those things! In addition, this all-natural herb tea is caffeine and gluten free. Yes, outside flavor, there is nothing in this tea except what one adds from sugar (not truly necessary) or milk.

And it is no surprise that the primary scent and taste from Bengal Spice is cinnamon as the primary ingredients are cinnamon, roasted chicory and roasted carob. There is nothing unpronouncable or suspect in Bengal Spice, justifying its place as a 100% natural tea. The lack of caffeine comes from a lack of black tea leaves or anything else that naturally contains caffeine.


Storage of the tea bags is simple with Celestial Seasonings' wax paper bag that can be folded to keep out humidity and as long as the tea is stored in a cool dry place, it's hard to believe that it would not stay good after its expiration date (which is two years away when the tea is bought fresh!).

Cleanup is easy as well. Simply toss out the used tea bags into the garbage or compost pile. It's that simple. Vessels that hold the tea rinse out easily and ought to leave no resin or anything else that mars the ceramic mug or steeping pot. Bengal Spice is a fairly dark tea, though and if it spills, it will stain light fabrics. Cleaning up immediately lessens the chances of stains, but it is still a dark tea and it's difficult to catch it if it gets on something.


Bengal Spice is a great dessert tea and it would be a wonderful breakfast tea if only it had come caffeine to kick the drinker awake! As it is, it is pleasant and an easy "recommend" for anyone who likes tea and even those who just like spiced drinks (this would probably taste wonderful brewed with warm rum). It is a pleasant drink and sure to satisfy from the moment it begins brewing to the final sip.

For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews, please check out:
Raspberry Zinger
Peach Apricot Honeybush
Sweet Apple Chamomile


For other food and drink reviews, please visit my index page on the subject! That is available by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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