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RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review + Coupon – March 2016

Lindsey Morse
ByLindsey MorseApr 16, 2016 | 11 comments


RawSpiceBar Spice of the Month Club
4.1 overall rating
45 Ratings | 26 Reviews

RawSpiceBar is a monthly subscription that sends freshly ground, small batch spice blends and recipes that utilize them.

Typically, RawSpiceBar ships at the end of the month, and it’s usually one of the last boxes I receive. This month, however, I didn’t receive my March spices until about a week and a half into April.


My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)


The Subscription Box: RawSpiceBar

The Cost: $6 per month

COUPON: Use coupon code SPICEFLAVOR to save 50% off your first box!

The Products: 3 freshly ground spice blends from one country or region, enough to create 3 dishes serving 6-10 people.

Ships to: US (with free shipping) and Canada (for an additional fee).

Check out all of our RawSpiceBar reviews and visit the Food Subscription Box Directory for more food boxes!

Keep Track of your subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!


Each month, RawSpiceBar sends spices from one region or geographical area. This shipment spotlights Afghan spices.




This month’s featured spices are: Afghan Lamb Rub, Afghan Pulao Spices, and Saffron Threads.


Afghan Lamb Rub- .3 oz.


This spice blend is a mix of cumin, coriander, turmeric, black peppercorns, and green cardamom.


Afghan Pulao Spices- .3 oz.


From the label: “This blend of sweet and warming spices is created for cooking Kabuli pulao, the national dish of Afghanistan.” It’s a mix of green cardamom, black peppercorns, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, and ground bay leaves.


Saffron Threads- .1 oz.


Saffron is known for it’s golden color and is often used in rice dishes. It’s the most expensive spice in the world, and a little goes a long way!

Afghan Recipes

This month, RawSpiceBar included the following recipes: Afghan Marinated Lamb, Afghan Kabuli Pulao, and Ginger Saffron Tea.

I typically like to make the recipes that RawSpiceBar includes with each shipment, but that didn’t quite work out this month. For some reason, I have a hard time finding quality cuts of lamb at any of my local grocery stores, and no one seemed to have it in stock when I was shopping for this meal. Additionally, I wasn’t all that inspired by the recipe for Ginger Saffron Tea. It sounds interesting, but I wanted to make something a bit more special. So, I checked the RawSpiceBar Blog and found a recipe for Pomegranate Saffron Cake, which I decided to make for this review. I’d still like to make the lamb & pulao recipes, though. If anyone made them and wants to share their experience, I’d love to hear how they turned out!!

Pomegranate Saffron Cake


I simply can not resist a cake with an interesting combination of flavors, and I loved the sound of saffron, sesame, and pomegranate together!


To begin, I processed RawSpiceBar’s saffron threads with some granulated sugar in a spice grinder and then added a splash of warm water.


While the saffron soaked, I creamed butter and sugar in my mixer and then slowly added eggs (whipping after each egg until the mixture was fluffy and emulsified).

Next, I combined the saffron mixture with milk and olive oil. I set the mixer to medium speed and slowly drizzled it into the creamed base.

To finish the batter, I removed the bowl from the mixer and folded in the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder) by hand.


I then transferred the batter to a buttered and floured 9” cake pan.


The cake baked at 350 degrees. About halfway through cooking, I pulled the cake out of the oven and topped it with sesame seeds before returning it to the oven.


Now, the recipe called for finishing the cake with whipped cream and pomegranates, but (again!) my local grocery stores were all out of pomegranates. This bummed me out a bit, so, to compensate, I decided to substitute fresh raspberries but to also add a pomegranate syrup (made from 50% pomegranate juice and 50% sugar).


After the cake cooled, I sliced it into squares and served it with whipped cream, fresh strawberries, and pomegranate syrup.


I was really happy with how the cake turned out! It was soft and fluffy, and the flavors of sesame and saffron were delicious. It’s important to point out, though, that the saffron flavor was VERY subtle. I could definitely taste it, but I’m not sure I’d be able to pick it out if I didn’t know it was there.

Verdict: I have mixed feeling about this month’s RawSpiceBar shipment. First of all, I’m disappointed that the spices arrived so late. I understand that shipping delays happen, but it is frustrating. I was also disappointed that I had trouble sourcing the lamb I needed for this month’s main dish; however, that’s certainly not RawSpiceBar’s fault. On the plus side, I had a lot of fun making the Pomegranate Saffron Cake, and I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I’ve never put saffron in cake before, but I’m now excited to try it again- perhaps with more saffron. I also want to point out that while I didn’t make the recipes for pulao and lamb, I did notice that the recipe for pulao called for 7 cups of basmati rice. Since I haven’t made the recipe myself yet, I can’t say whether this is a typo or just a very large recipe, but it is something to be aware of.

What do you think about RawSpiceBar’s Afghan Spice Box? Did you make the recipes for Afghan Marinated Lamb, Afghan Kabuli Pulao, and Ginger Saffron Tea? If so, I’d love to hear how they all turned out!

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Choose from a 3, 6, or 12-month subscription of global spice blends to be delivered directly to your favorite cook's door. Each month, we pair our fresh, handcrafted spice blends with a mouthwatering recipe to inspire even the most experienced home cook and bring out their best in the kitchen.
Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle. 

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I keep hoping to find someone to let me know about the 7 cups of rice thing. 7 cups uncooked will just about double, and there’s no way that my small family (just 3 of us) could even possibly eat all of that. 7 cups cooked is much more reasonable, with a good amount of leftovers, but I can’t find confirmation anywhere. Also, ditto on the problem with finding some decent lamb that won’t break the bank, though where I am the problem is more with it all being pre-seasoned (gross).

Also, I guess it’s good to see I’m not the only one who has had issues with RawSpiceBar over shipping. I subscribed starting with January, which I never got and they ran out of replacement boxes even after telling me it was on the way. February arrived as expected, but every month since then it has been later or has had to be re-sent. Plus, they tried to imply that I was lying or that maybe it was a problem with the post on my end that was causing the problem. Still, except for January’s box, I’ve gotten all of them and I LOVE the product when it arrives. The Parsi box was particularly excellent, as was the Sichuan one.

That said, I know that there are a couple of other similar services fixing to start shipping in the next couple of months, and I will likely switch to one of those. To me, the point of a subscription box is convenience, and it’s not convenient at all if I have to play email tag every month to get it.

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I’m very surprised at the negative comments. I’ve been getting spices for 7 months and haven’t had a single problem. The spices are fresh and I get a big kick out of the recipes. My spices may have been a little late last month, I don’t watch it that closely. I loved the Afghan spices and the recipes that came with them. I did cut the rice recipe in half – 7 cups was a bit much. I made the lamb and rice pulao dishes. My family loved it and wanted me to make the rice again! I didn’t use the saffron yet – I don’t eat a lot of cake. My only complaint is that their email discloses the location of the spices (I lie to be surprised!) and I can’t figure out how to order more spices to recreate some of the dishes again. I was planning to order a gift subscription for my daughter. This is one of my favorite subscription boxes.

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This is the worst company I’ve ever dealt with. I’ve been a member for over 5 months and received 1 shipment. DO NOT RECOMMEND.

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So this was my first month subscribing to this spice thing (I saw it on this site!). I was aware of the shipping issues and stuff but since my husband loves to cook, I was willing to give it a shot. We actually made the pulao but with chicken instead of lamb. We only used half the spices and tried 3 cups of rice (1 basmati and 2 mixed rice blend – this is we had in the house) and it turned out fairly well! The 7 cups of rice turns out was not a typo, it’s just a huge dish. I personally didn’t add any of the nuts it called for and only 1/3 of the raisins it called for (still too many raisins for me). We still have half of the lamb rub and half of the puloa spices at home but when I make it again, I’ll made super to have a big group of people over – even the half recpie was too much for just the 2 of us (we had enough for 6 meals)

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I think comment sections tend to skew negative, so I just wanted to say that I still sub to and really like RSB. I have had minor issues compared to others & haven’t had huge complaints about the customer service (they were a bit slow, but perfectly congenial & helped me with my concerns). I really like the spice quality and the price is so cheap that I’m willing to put up with the (for me, minor) issues.

I really do wish they would put new subs on hold until they can nail down whatever is going wrong. I think they need to hire a dedicated customer service person/service, and I think they might need to find a way to scale up their production (as that’s my suspicion for why it can be late, but I don’t really know).

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Raw spice bar has the worst customer service and they bill without sending anything! No tracking provided and if/when they do send something that you’ve paid for, it’s at random times so it’s hard to keep up with what month you’re getting! I cancelled and will never, ever subscribe or recommend them to anyone. Again, NO TRACKING PROVIDED. Funny that they never make an error making sure that they bill you. The recipes are always wonky too. #cancelled

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The cake looks delicious and intriguing! I was really hoping to warm to this subscription and always look forward to the reviews but all the problems with recipes and shipping, etc. is not worth the trouble (though I will always read and enjoy the reviews and pictures). In northern California we have access to all the ingredients year ’round and the price seems reasonable for the spices but unless the comments get fantastic all of a sudden…No thanks.

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I do not subscribe to this box any longer, but your reviews are always so great to read. Your pictures are beautiful and attention to detail is also great. I love cooking and reading your reviews makes me want to find more time to make more interesting recipes. My hubby would be happy to if I made more than just the same 10 things, lol. Thanks so much, so fun to read food related ones! Well I love reading all the reviews posted here on everything, but especially the ones related to food 🙂

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I purchased two gift subscription to RSB as Christmas gifts (one was 6 months prepaid and the other was monthly). NOTHING was ever delivered to the gift recipients after 3 months (that I had already paid for, or was paying monthly for). They don’t provide tracking information and their shipping is a disorganized mess. It was a huge disappointment and I ended up cancelling and getting a refund–which took a lot of time, effort and emails to accomplish. The concept for this subscription is great, but RSB has been unable to properly execute on this. Take a look at the forum discussions for Raw Spice Bar before you consider signing up.

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I cancelled a while back after lots of shipping errors and the typos on the cards and seeing this, I’m glad I didn’t stick with it. When I first subscribed, they seemed to be doing really well, but it just has gone downhill.

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Same here. I was billed for three months before I even got the first month’s spices! I love the concept and the price but it was so frustrating to have recipes that were clearly wrong (strawberry ice cream without strawberries!) or had missing instructions.

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