What spices come to mind when you think of the fall? I tend to think about cinnamon, ginger and cloves – things that you find in pumpkin pie – as well as apples, oranges and cranberries, even though those are fruits and not spices. I love mixing and matching these flavors in my fall baking, and Trader Joe’s managed to put most of them together in their seasonal Harvest Blend Herbal Tea. The caffeine free tea really captures the spice and flavor of fall, which means it might very well be the perfect thing to warm up with on a fall night. I confess that I say that about a lot of seasonally spiced teas and coffees, but you can tell this one fits the season perfectly with just one whiff of a fresh cup. The base of this tea is chamomile, and it also has cinnamon, ginger, hibiscus, chicory, orange peel and apples in the mix. The cinnamon is probably the strongest flavor, but no one single element dominates the tea. They all blend together surprisingly well – and the combination is so addictive that you’ll find you’ve gone through a few cups without even knowing it.
This tea is also a great base for spiced tea lattes, but if you are going to add milk, be sure to brew the tea at double or triple strength so it keeps its potency!
You can get a pumpkin spice chai latte at Starbucks (or at other coffee shops that offer PSL type drinks) by asking the baristas to add pumpkin spice syrup to your chai tea latte as a sweetener. Pumpkin spice and chai tea are a great combination of two spicy drinks and I don’t know why it isn’t a promoted seasonal item at Starbucks. Fortunately, Tazo fans can pick up a carton of Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte mix at grocery stores and make their own pumpkin spice chai tea lattes at home – and that is exactly what I did.
I spotted this seasonal mix at Target recently, alongside the other Tazo teas in the coffee and tea aisle, where it jumped out because of its autumn orange packaging. I like the regular Tazo chai latte mix because it has a really potent spiciness to it that is just delicious on a cool morning. The pumpkin version is similar – slightly sweet with a lot of spice – with a distinct nod towards the spices that make up the class “pumpkin pie spice” mix: cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. You could really taste the cinnamon and cloves, and the finished latte really smelled like fall in a mug. It is delicious if you love chai and even better than the regular chai latte during the fall – or if you want to serve a hot drink alongside a slice of homemade pumpkin pie. Continue reading »
Every time that I’m in Trader Joe’s, I always check out the new product shelf. It makes it so easy to see what’s new in the store – without having to scan through all the regular shelves looking to see of anything is different. Of course, I usually look for the coffee and tea things first. Trader Joe’s Tropical Sweetened Matcha Mix caught my eye the last time. Matcha powder usually has kind of a grassy, vegetal flavor that can be quite strong on its own and the idea of having a mix that is already sweetened appealed to me.
The mix is made with matcha powder and sweetened with mango and passion fruit juice, along with sugar and maple sugar. It dissolves easily even in cold water, which makes it very easy to stir up a glass. You can really taste the tropical juices, which made the drink very refreshing and helped to push that grassy flavor of matcha into the background. Continue reading »
Chai tea lattes are sweet, spicy and milky. I typically find them to be a great alternative to hot chocolate on a cold day when you want something that offers a little more indulgence than another cup of coffee. On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s, one of their holiday items caught my eye: Salted Caramel Chai Latte Mix. Of course I put it straight into my cart, because there are few things that are more appealing than treats that feature salted caramel.
The latte mix is like many other tea latte mixes: add hot water and stir. The mix includes a blend in cinnamon, clove, cardamom, anise and ginger, as well as black tea, honey, sugar and nonfat milk. The overall flavor is good, and you get a nice blend of spice and honey with a smooth black tea aftertaste. It is quite sweet because of both the sugar (which I assume went towards the caramel flavor) and honey included. For all the sweetness – which made this a good dessert tea drink – I did not get much caramel flavor and I didn’t really notice any notes of salt, although it is listed as an ingredient. Of course, I don’t want my tea latte to actually taste salty, but I did expect there to be a more distinct nod to salted caramel and I don’t think I would have guessed the flavor without knowing in advance what it was. I might have guessed caramel, but definitely not salted caramel.
All that said, I still like this mix even if it doesn’t quite capture the essence of salted caramel. It’s a good blend of flavors and has a holiday feel to it. It is a little too sweet to be a breakfast tea for me, but I like it in the afternoon and after dinner as a sweet way to end the evening.