Product Review: Yuzu MatchaBooster from Maeda-en

matchabooster-yuzuProduct Information:

MatchaBooster is a ready-to-use matcha-based powder. It mixes easily in your favorite drink and can used as a cooking ingredient.

Boost up your lifestyle with Maeda-en MatchaBooster♪

Where to Buy:  Maeda-en


Yuzu is a tart yellow citrus fruit that goes surprisingly well with matcha. Try the combination yourself and see!

Learn more about this MatchaBooster here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  This is good.  Just as I enjoyed the other MatchaBooster varieties from Maeda-En, I find myself enjoying this Yuzu flavored MatchaBooster.

For the purposes of this review, I first prepared it using 8 ounces of cold water and adding 1 level tablespoon of MatchaBooster powder.  I poured the water into a glass and then added the MatchaBooster and gave it a vigorous stir.  (I seem to have lost my favorite water bottle and haven’t had a chance to replace it!)  There was no froth to speak of with this particular preparation.

While I do find this to be a tasty drink, it is quite sweet.  If I were to change one thing about that, that’s what I’d change, I’d either want it to go lighter on the sugar or to cut the sugar all together and just have the Matcha, Maltodextrin and Yuzu Citrus Powder.

That said and trying to allow myself to see past the sweetness of this, I find this to be very tasty.  The citrus flavor is strong, and it tastes a lot like orange to me.  Maybe a slightly tarter orange, perhaps orange with a hint of lemon.  The sugar does cut through some of the tarter notes, though, I’m sure!

Because it is very sweet, it’s difficult to taste much of the Matcha, and this tastes a lot to me like they’re trying to ‘mask’ the flavor of the Matcha for the people who don’t like Matcha but want the health benefits of it.

Personally, I like the flavor of Matcha and I find myself missing it.  So for my next preparation (read:  experiment), I used 16 ounces of water and used 1 tablespoon of this Yuzu MatchaBooster and 1/2 teaspoon of the Unflavored MatchaBooster.

Now, this is more my speed.  With the sugar cut in half, I can taste the Matcha.  The Yuzu is obviously a softer flavor too, but it still comes through nicely.  I really prefer this product prepared this way.

Another great way to prepare it would be with 16 ounces of coconut water, 1 tablespoon of Yuzu MatchaBooster and 1/2 teaspoon of Unflavored MatchaBooster.  The coconut and Yuzu taste so good together!

Product Review: Teavana® Oprah Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks

OprahLatteProduct Information:

Spicy chai blend of cinnamon, black tea and rooibos, lightly sweetened and finished with steamed milk.

Where to Buy:  Your Local Starbucks

Learn more about this product here.

Taster’s Review:

This product combines two things that I do not like with a couple of things that I do like.  I don’t like Teavana and I don’t like Starbucks.  But I do like chai lattes and I like Oprah Winfrey.  So, I decided that since I happened to be at my local Safeway and there happens to be a Starbucks inside that I’d try Oprah’s “new” (it’s not really new anymore, but it’s new to me) Chai from Teavana that has been crafted into a latte by Starbucks.

Two things that I noticed right off the bat that I appreciated – first thing: it wasn’t prepared too hot.  The very rare times that I stop at a coffee shop to get a chai latte (very rare), it seems like the drink is too hot to consume and it takes forever for the temperature to drop.  This was prepared at a slightly lower temperature, I think, and it was a drinkable temperature.  Nice.

The second thing that I noticed:  it’s not too sweet.  Yeah, it’s been sweetened.  But it’s not cloyingly sweet.  It’s not so sweet that I felt myself recoil from the overwhelming sweetness.  And there’s a nice balance between sweet and spice.

I can taste the tea here and that’s another thing I appreciate.  More often than not, when I do have that rare latte from a coffee shop, many times it’s made from a concentrate and it’s overly processed and I just can’t taste any tea.  I taste some spice but mostly what I end up tasting is warm milk and sweetener.

That’s not happening with this.  I can taste the black tea and I taste a light nutty flavor from the rooibos.  The spices are nicely balanced.  Overall, it’s a pleasant chai latte.  Not my favorite – my favorite is the kind that I make at home where I control the sweetness and the amount of dairy that goes into it.  But for a latte that I picked up at a coffee shop (even if it is Starbucks), it’s pretty good.  And it’s definitely better than Starbucks “classic” chai latte.

I don’t know that I’ll be lining up at Starbucks to get this again soon, but, if I happen to find myself at Starbucks, this is probably what I’ll order.

Product Review: Genmai MatchaBooster from Maeda-en

matchabooster-genmai-roasted-rice-Product Information:

MatchaBooster is a ready-to-use matcha-based powder. It mixes easily in your favorite drink and can used as a cooking ingredient.

Boost up your lifestyle with Maeda-en MatchaBooster♪

Where to Buy:  Maeda-en


Genmai is roasted rice often used in tea. Its savory, toasted flavor goes nicely with matcha.

Learn more about this MatchaBooster here.

Taster’s Review:

I like!  I’ve tried at least one or two other powdered Genmaicha teas in the past and have enjoyed them.  I really like how well this MatchaBooster mixes in to the cold water in my water bottle!  It makes a really good drink to go!

For the purposes of this review, I grabbed my water bottle (which holds a little more than 16 ounces of water) and filled it about half way with water.  Then I added a level teaspoon of the Genmai MatchaBooster powder to the bottle and secured the lid and shook it until the powder was well-incorporated.  Then I topped it off the rest of the way with water and shook again.  Now it’s time to enjoy!

No lumps.  No unincorporated particles of tea.  It mixes thoroughly – quickly!  And it stays incorporated.  You don’t need to shake it every time you take a drink.  I did shake it a couple of times while I drank, but this wasn’t to incorporate the tea (I didn’t notice any settlement during the time that it took me to finish the bottle), it was to sort of aerate the tea and try to froth it.

Because that’s probably the only thing that I felt was missing.  When I drink Matcha, I do like that froth.  This doesn’t have a lot of it.

That said, this does have a really good flavor and the lack of froth isn’t keeping me from enjoying it.  Yeah, I miss the froth, but I like the energizing feeling I experience when I drink this, and I love the sweet, toasty flavor of the Genmai together with the light, grassy and buttery notes of the Matcha.  It’s a tasty drink!

It’s really good with just plain water, but if you’re looking to elevate it – try it with coconut water!  Wow!  I love the combination of this Genmai MatchaBooster with coconut water.  The coconut water adds another level of creamy sweetness!  It’s a very refreshing and rejuvenating beverage!

Product Review: Sweetened MatchaBooster from Maeda-en

matchabooster-sweetenedProduct Information:

MatchaBooster is a ready-to-use matcha-based powder. It mixes easily in your favorite drink and can used as a cooking ingredient.

Boost up your lifestyle with Maeda-en MatchaBooster♪

Where to Buy:  Maeda-en


Refreshing green tea flavor with a light sweet taste!

Learn more about this MatchaBooster here.

Taster’s Review:

Not long ago, I reviewed the Unflavored MatchaBooster.  Now, I’m going to try the sweetened version of this tea product from Maeda-en.  The sugar to sweeten this MatchaBooster adds 60 calories to each serving (a serving size is one tablespoon), whereas the unsweetened MatchaBooster has no calories per serving (a serving size of the unsweetened version is 1/2 teaspoon).

I outlined the versatility of this product in that previous review, so for the purposes of this review, I decided to start simple and add 2 tablespoons of product to my favorite water bottle (which holds 16 ounces of water) and give it a vigorous shake.

Even with the sugar addition to this product, it still mixes up easily.  But because you need to add a bit more of the powder to the water bottle, I recommend starting with half a bottle, pouring in the 2 tbsp. of MatchaBooster and then shaking it (this leaves plenty of room for the shake!) and adding more water after the powder is well-integrated.  I was actually surprised at how easily this amount of powder mixed into the water – I expected sediment to settle at the bottom of the bottle quickly but it didn’t.

Not surprisingly, it’s sweet.  The sweetness is a little jarring, really, because I think that there’s too much sweetener in this.  I’d be happy with about half the amount of sweetener used.  Then again, I have often said that I prefer to sweeten my tea – or not sweeten it, if I so choose – and on the rare occasion that I do sweeten my tea, I usually go with a light hand.  It almost reminds me of a cane sugar soda – it’s that kind of sweetness but without the fizzy bubbles.

But even though this is sweet and I can actually taste the flavor of “sugar” here, I can also taste the green tea goodness of Matcha.  It is light and vegetal, buttery with notes of cacao.  It’s an invigorating drink.

FrappeWhere this product would really excel – I think – is in recipes, like the Frappe.  This is going to be like the coffee shop’s Matcha blended ice drinks – only for a fraction of the price.  Really, the price of this package at $5.90 is probably about what you’d pay for a “tall” drink at the coffee shop.  (It’s been a really long time since I’ve bought one of those drinks so I really don’t remember how much they cost!)

In my opinion, this Sweetened MatchaBooster really is a little sweeter than I like my Matcha to taste, so, I recommend mixing this with the Unsweetened MatchaBooster to “boost” the sweetness of the unsweetened without going super sweet.  I prefer it with about 1 tbsp of this Sweetened MatchaBooster and 1 tsp of the Unsweetened MatchaBooster in my water bottle with 16 ounces of water.  This has been my favorite way to enjoy both of these products.  I like the combination of the two products better than I like either one on its own!  It’s sweet but not too sweet and I get more of the Matcha flavor that I adore.

Product Review: Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte Mix from Trader Joe’s

pumpkin-spice-chaiProduct Information:

Based on the traditional Indian drink masala chai (mixed-spice tea), Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Chai starts with a chai tea blend that’s a combination of honey, vanilla, and black tea, heightened by a mélange of spices like cinnamon, anise, clove, cardamom, and ginger. In honor of Pumpkin Season, in addition to the traditional chai spices, Pumpkin Spice Chai is accentuated by pumpkin pie spices and real pumpkin. Like pumpkin pie, you can enjoy Pumpkin Spice Chai hot or cold.  Unlike pumpkin pie, Pumpkin Spice Chai is drinkable, and ready in moments—you just add (hot) water and enjoy! 

Where to Buy:  your local Trader Joe’s

Taster’s Review:  

You’ll be seeing a few different reviews for a few different pumpkin flavored chai blends on this blog over the next week or so … what can I say?  It’s that time of year!

I just returned home from Trader Joe’s and I think that they had a pumpkin explosion in their kitchens (or wherever it is that they make all their food) because there is pumpkin EVERYTHING in the place.  They had pumpkin waffles, pumpkin scones, pumpkin butter, pumpkin macarons, pumpkin bars and pumpkin soup just to name a few things.  They even had pumpkin ravioli.  Yep, I bought some of that too.

They also had a few pumpkin tea selections including a pumpkin rooibos blend and this product:  Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte Mix.  And it is mmmmm!

I don’t usually go all crazy for chai tea latte mixes like this because they tend to be more sugar than they are tea and I like to decide how much milk and sugar I’ll be putting in a tea (if I decide to put any in it at all).  But, something about this tin of Pumpkin Spice Chai called to me and before I could say no and walk away, the tin was in my basket.

And I am really happy to say that while this is a sweet drink, the sweetness in this works.  It doesn’t taste too sweet (then again, I do admittedly have a sweet tooth).  This is on the sweeter side – I rarely sweeten my teas although I do usually sweeten my chai just a little bit because I think that a little bit of sweetener enhances the spices.  But even though it is on the sweeter side, the spices offset some of the sweet notes and there is a nice balance between spices and sweet.

Best of all, though, is that I can taste PUMPKIN in this.  It seems that all too often when I see a tea with the words “Pumpkin Spice” it turns out to be just the spices (as in pumpkin pie spice) and no pumpkin flavor.  This has pumpkin!

Hooray for Trader Joe’s pumpkin harvest!

The spices are robust but not what I’d call “spicy.”  It’s a well-rounded taste of warm spices.  I can taste the ginger but not so much that it’s “biting” me.  I can taste the cinnamon, clove and cardamom.  They’re warm and comforting.  I taste just a hint of licorice-y sweetness from the anise.  If there is a scale on “spiciness” of a chai, this would rate maybe one measurement below medium.  It’s spicier than “mild” but it’s not quite medium.

Kind of like a pumpkin pie.

The black tea is almost hidden here, though, and that’s my one big complaint about this.  I think that the next time I make some of this, I might brew up some black tea (perhaps an Assam) and mix that with this so that it amplifies the black tea.

It’s tasty as it is, of course, but, I would like more tea flavor.  Hey, I’m a tea freak, remember?

And one thing that really stands out to me with this product is that the “latte” part isn’t overwhelming the rest of the flavors.  This doesn’t taste like too heavy a latte.  I find that to be true with a lot of the chai concentrates that you can find on the grocery store shelves.  Those tend to be all sugar and milk and very little actual chai.  I appreciate that this has some flavor and the sweetener and milk are accentuating those flavors rather than hiding them.