What chai is this
February 4, 2015 2:28 PM   Subscribe

...and is it safe to drink after 12 years of safekeeping?

The drink in question.

Obviously this is Bagh Wakri tea, but specifically, what kind?

I bought this in 2003 or 2004, IIRC. Is it safe to drink after all these years? Conventional wisdom about tea would suggest yes but I want to make sure.

PS any recipes to make this into really good chai welcome
posted by ditto75 to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know about safety, but it's got to be stale as all hell by now. I would throw this out if I found it in my pantry. Dude, I mean I have some chamomile from maybe a year and a half ago that I was thinking about just tossing because, after that long, can it still really be that good?
posted by Sara C. at 2:35 PM on February 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

Agreed. Safe, but not tasty.
posted by something something at 2:38 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Brew some up and taste it. I think the main concern will be palatability and not safety--there are styles of tea which are aged for much longer than this, and may not reach peak flavor for decades after production. My personal experience is that old tea that isn't aging gracefully tends to become unpleasantly bitter. Also, if it's chai in the American sense of the word (tea plus spices), most of the volatile oils have probably dissipated. I see that Wagh Bakri makes a spiced tea but can't read your package or match it to anything in their current product line.
posted by pullayup at 2:43 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Does the tea itself look like the tea in this picture and just smell like tea, not tea + spices? If so it is tea processed by the CTC method, and probably Assam tea, i.e. tea from Assam.

If instead of looking like tiny pellets it looks like dust or the stuff you find inside a teabag, then it may be one of the other teas listed on the Wagh Bakri site like dust or fannings. (click on the bags of tea pictures toward the bottom of this web page for descriptions).

I've drunk tea this old, when it was sealed in its original packaging. It was not bad, but had lost some of its oomph so to speak.
posted by gudrun at 4:02 PM on February 4, 2015

Some info./recipes for masala chai.
posted by gudrun at 4:09 PM on February 4, 2015

I've also had elderly tea. You'll hopefully just find that you need to add a bit extra to the pot and it just tastes weak but not otherwise disappointing.
posted by kmennie at 6:03 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I treat decent tea as more or less drinkable till the end of days if it's been stored in a cool, dark, dry place. I have sealed bags that I bought a decade ago, and I'm not throwing 'em out.

However, this looks very much like standard bulk CTC tea (little pellets, strong-brewing, but not especially fancy) that you could replace with a fresher bag from your nearest south Asian grocery for not much money.
posted by holgate at 10:19 PM on February 4, 2015

Yeah, safety isn't an issue here, unless it somehow got wet and mold started growing, but that would be obvious. It probably will be really stale, but I'd try it anyway - the worst that happens is you get a cup of tea you don't like, and you don't have to finish that first cup of tea if it's that bad.

I don't think I've ever had tea last 10 years, but I've had years-old tea before, and it was perfectly drinkable, though definitely weaker and less tasty than fresh tea. If it stayed sealed until now your chances are much better.
posted by randomnity at 11:55 AM on February 5, 2015

« Older Do we need our Pulse to live?   |   Herodotus for beginners? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.