Thursday, November 10, 2022

Chai-Boy, Chai-Boy, Wanna be your only Bev(rage) - Trader Joe's Spicy Chai Mix

Confused by the title? It's referencing a song that has been stuck in my head for over 20 years! I swore that I must have heard it on the radio. Nope! It was actually from a 1991 Barbie cassette tape! I FOUND IT! (I freaking love YouTube!I even found the full album, including the She's got the Look cover, 19:17!

Anyway, I love chai, and was actually looking into buying some spices and making it at home from scratch, which is fairly easy to do, but I spotted this at Trader Joe's and thought I would treat myself to a little laziness. 

I'm hoping that this will be good!

Prepared with two of the provided scoops (as suggested,) a bit of hot water, and then topped with ice and whole milk, this is...not a chai latte. What is this? I've had a lot of chai in my life, cups of the real-deal in Indian restaurants, and lot of Americanized-takes (like the one from Panera Bread made with a concentrated syrup.) I expected this to fall short of -real- chai, but to get blasted out of the water by the Panera version? This is pretty weak stuff. It doesn't even register as chai at all!  I would liken it to a very sweet vanilla cinnamon drink, like, if you told me this was some kind of iced churro mix or something, I would believe you. But chai? Where is the spiciness that the labeling promised? 

I prefer iced chai lattes, but I wanted to try this both hot and cold to give it a fair shake, and it's a good thing I did. This tastes way better hot than it does cold. 

Hot, the spices shine more, giving you a cozy blend of honey, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and ginger. Interestingly, honey takes center stage. The spices are present, but they're all mellowed out by creamy vanilla. This is comforting on a crisp fall evening, but I wanted a spice-heavy chai, like the name promised, and this did not deliver.    

With a powder, you get convenience. No need to buy a bunch of spices, or dirty a pot on the stove, but there is no way to adjust the sweetness or enhance the spices without adding additional ingredients. Add more water to make things less sweet? You weaken the spices. More powder to increase the spiciness? Now it's basically a flavored coffee creamer. The best way to enhance this is to add more spices...but if you already have the spices, you're probably better off making your own chai in the first place. 

This is an okay product, sweet, soothing, nice for fall night sipping, but this is not the chai I was looking for.

Also, apparently I add YouTube videos to posts now~!

Fans of this would also like: Tazo Pumpkin Spiced Chai Latte, Indiya Restaurant Review, or Bolthouse Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte

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