I lost the label on a bag of some sort of spice, and trying to figure out what it is got me really curious of what it possibly could be and what use it could ever serve.

It is light brown, even slightly tan (reminiscent of natural sugar). It has a very slight woody smell, with possibly an undertone of heat. It has no real taste, possibly woody again, and is slightly gritty. It makes me think of ground up bark, if 99% of the flavor was removed.

What spice does not have any flavor or aroma? This seems like an contradiction.

  • 7
    A spice that's 10 years old? Seriously, how old is the spice - age may have removed most of the oil that would impart flavor in many
    – Joe M
    Aug 22, 2017 at 20:20
  • 6
    I'm with @Joe here: if it's a tasteless spice, it's not a spice any more, no matter what it once was. You might want to read about shelf life and proper storage conditions for spices to avoid finding more "mysteries" in the future. I give my spices a quick sniff every six months or so - whatever has gotten stale or lost its aroma needs to go.
    – Stephie
    Aug 22, 2017 at 20:51
  • 6
    (Tan, woody and hint of heat could be cinnamon or nutmeg or even ginger...)
    – Stephie
    Aug 22, 2017 at 20:55
  • 2
    Could you try toasting it for a few minutes? Blooming spices can help the flavor and smell come out. I would agree with @Stephie though, cinnamon or nutmeg are likely choices.
    – Wolfgang
    Aug 22, 2017 at 21:10
  • 2
    A photo might also help, though at this point it is probably improper for consumption anyway Aug 23, 2017 at 12:08

3 Answers 3


What spice does not have any flavor or aroma?

A stale, old one. The flavors in spices are volatile— they don't last forever.

  • 1
    The technical term for this is "trash".
    – Rob
    Feb 3, 2021 at 11:32

I suspect the spice in question was a ground paprika, which has always been one of the weakest dried spices in my opinion.


I was searching for a spice that has no flavor and found this question. If a spice has no flavor, then it probably has no aroma either. Such a spice would be used for texture or color. I was specifically looking for a spice that only was used for its color. If I were to make a guess about what you have found was a cinnamon-sugar mix for cinnamon toast. It would explain the graininess from the sugar and the lightness in color. You mentioned an undertone of heat. This reminded me of cinnamon candy. They can mix cassia (Chinese cinnamon aka false cinnamon) with cinnamon and there is no regulation on quantity or percentages for store-bought cinnamon powder.


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