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.

Cucumber White Tea from Tazo

cucumberwhiteTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Learn more about Tazo here.

Tea Description:

A replenishing blend of delicate white tea, real cucumber and lime peel.

Taster’s Review:

I had my reservations about this tea.  First of all, when I think Tazo, my first thought is of Steven Smith, who started Tazo.  And then I’m reminded that this company was later acquired by Starbucks and in my opinion, they ruined it.

So, now, my happy thoughts of Tazo and Steven Smith (aka the rock star of tea!) have been tainted by Starbucks and speedy, spendy coffee.  But as I prepared this Cucumber White Tea from Tazo, I decided not to let my notions (be they ill-conceived or not) affect my opinion of this particular tea experience.  I would do my best to go into this moment with an open mind.

When I opened the pouch, I smelled the lime.  The cucumber, not so much.  The taste is similar:  I taste lime.  I don’t taste a lot of cucumber here.  I do taste some white tea notes:  fresh, light, and almost melon-esque with hints of the air in the countryside after a hay field has been cut.  I can also taste SOME cucumber notes … but they are diminished by the presence of the lime.

The lime tastes tart and slightly bitter.  I can taste the pithy taste of the lime peel.  But it also has a bright, juicy taste too … I can taste all of the lime here, as well as the crisp notes of the white tea.  I just find myself wishing I tasted more cucumber.  After all, this tea is called Cucumber White Tea.

Overall, it’s not a terrible tea.  It has a light, refreshing taste with a bright acidity from the lime.  Not bad … just not great.