Why do we use these spices in our Sticky Chai Blend?
Because we care about Flavour.
We're not just throwing a whole lot of spices into a pot and calling it a day. Flavour is part taste, mostly smell. It is a chemical sensation - we taste tastes and smell smells when our receptors are triggered by specific chemicals in foods. Flavours are made up of hundreds of different aromatic compounds, not just one, and it is this combination of chemicals that gives each spice its unique character.
The aroma chemicals of herbs and spices are volatile, which means that they're light and small enough to evaporate and waft into the air and into our nose.
There are 3 families of aroma compounds:
1. Terpenes (fresh, pine, citrus, floral) are the most volatile of the aroma compounds which means they are readily boiled off when exposed to heat.
2. Phenolics (woody, warm, sweet, anise) contain a water molecule and therefore tend to be more water-soluble, which is why this ends up being the prominent flavour in Chai.
3. Pungent flavours are actually a feeling of irritation that verges on pain, and induces temporary inflammation on the mouth.
Let's break this down into the spices that make up our Sticky Chai Blend.
Righto, that's a lot of information. What does it mean?
Firstly, notice how every spice brings something different to the table.
Secondly, notice the number of Terpene-heavy spices we have in the mix. Remember that these spices have highly volatile aroma compounds. Therefore, once you expose it to heat, you lose a lot of these fresh, pine, citrus, floral aromas. To make up for that, we've jam-packed these into your Sticky Chai Blend so that you don't miss out.
Thirdly, notice the 2 spices that impart pungent characteristics - Black Pepper and Chilli. Well, these perform a very important role in your Chai-drinking experience. More on this next time.
Before you go, here's a refreshing little treat for you - Cold Brew Chai.