Blerg. Disappointing on so many levels, not the least of which that Williams Sonoma rarely lets me down.
First of all, let me say that this is essentially a powder. I opened the tin, expecting…you know, spices. This is a not that. It looks like sand. It looks granulated.
The smell of…whatever it is, kind of smells like chai. It definitely has that spiced quality to it. But overwhelmingly, and it took me a second to recognize this because I was NOT expecting it, it smells like rubber cement. I kid you not. It has that distinct, alcohol-like quality to it, and it does that sharp, not quite stinging thing to my nostrils that rubber cement does.
At this point, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t just stop here, but the guy in Williams Sonoma had spoken very well about it. I’m guessing that they’d had samples before in the store and he’d tried it. I know you’re thinking “retail spiel” etc., but I used to work retail and I can usually recognize when someone’s trying to sell you something just to make a sale. Plus, I don’t think that the people in Williams Sonoma are commissioned, but I could be wrong on that. Anyhow, I figured why not, since Angrboda had had some of David Rio’s stuff [from a completely different part of the collection] with some success.
So I, somewhat dubiously, measured some out and shook it into some milk that was heating in a saucepan. I didn’t bother adding any sugar, since it looked like it already had some in it.
Once the mixture had heated adequately [though some of the powder never quite dissolved, which was somewhat disconcerting], I poured it into a cup.
Okay. This kind of makes me think of what it would taste like if Swiss Miss did chai, except you don’t get any mini marshmallows. It’s synthetic tasting. And at the risk of sounding gross, the overall taste makes me think of that taste you get in your mouth before you brush your teeth in the morning. That, plus maybe some spices, plus sugar. If you dumped a teaspoon of sugar into your mouth first thing in the morning, you could probably replicate this pretty closely.
I’m already trying to strategize trying to return this to Williams Sonoma. It would be ridiculously pretentious, so I won’t do it, but a big part of me wants to bring in some of Samovar’s Masala Chai and make it for them, then say, “This? This is chai. This is spiced rubber cement. Can I return this please?” Likely I’ll just go in and ask nicely and hope they allow me to exchange it for something else. Though if I see the guy that recommended it to me, I’ll probably give him a few polite words on what I thought about it. Plus, he was kinda cute, so…you know. That doesn’t hurt either.
If that doesn’t explain why this rating is going to be abysmal, I don’t know what else will.