Just so that you know, this is a review of a product of which I was sent a free sample. The opinions in the post are, as ever, mine, and the review is honest. Please note my Patrick Stewart-worthy sentence arrangement in the first line there.
Drink Me Chai sell a range of spiced instant tea powder, with flavours like vanilla, peppermint and mango. They offered me a sample of their original spiced chai and their mango chai, and of course I was delighted to accept. In their own words, Drink Me Chai is
a lusciously sweet, exotic blend of spices, tea and skimmed milk, it’s a different kind of hot drink – based on the original ‘latte’ invented in India more than 5,000 years ago. And because it’s 99% caffeine free, with all the antioxidant benefits of tea, it’s got that extra little virtuous edge too.
Sounds pretty good so far! I looked out my lovely hot chocolate mug – it does say ‘chocolate’ on the front but I think I’m allowed to make exceptions. The sample sachet suggested that I mix the powder with 12oz of hot water or milk – this is 330ml. My mug isn’t quite that big, but close enough. I heated 300ml of soy milk, then mixed a splash of it with the chai powder and mixed thoroughly. I have a tiny whisk for this very purpose, which helps eliminate that issue of ending up with half your powdered drink (be it chai or chocolate) left on the bottom of your mug at the end. Once I’d fully combined the first splash of milk with the powder, I added the rest of the milk, stirred thoroughly and then gave it a final blast in the microwave to bring the temperature back up – it was a cold day here at Rock Salt towers, I wanted my chai to be piping hot. When it was ready, it had a very appealing speckled finish and a very inviting, sweet smell.
When I opened the powder, the smell that hit me first, and strongly, was cinnamon. It was a surprise, then, to find that the finished drink was quite delicate, with the sugar and milk being the most prevalent flavours. Of course, this would be different if I’d used water to make the drink, but I thought it would benefit more from slightly nutty soy milk. You can tell that the drink is spiced, but I would honestly say I was hard pushed to pick out ginger or vanilla – cinnamon was the dominant flavour, with nutmeg joining in afterwards. Nutmeg is quite shy, you know.
The chai was creamy and warming, and more subtle than spiced tea I’ve had before. I have tea bags with pepper and cardamom, which are lovely and tingly in the mouth. This tea is much more concentrated on sweet, mellow and fragrant flavours, making it a good choice if you want a hot drink that’s unusual, but on the familiar side of unusual. For this reason, Drink Me Chai is a great alternative to hot chocolate, with a lighter, more complex flavour and no heavy aftertaste. The powder mixed well, and though there was a little left on the bottom of my mug, there was no chalky or bitter taste that hot chocolate can sometimes develop towards the bottom of a cup.
I’m looking forward to trying the mango drink, but I’m torn between using it as intended, and making it into cakes or scones… While I mull it over, you can go and arrange your own samples of Drink Me Chai (UK only), or you can now find it in many supermarkets.