Tag Archives: chai

Review: Tazo Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte

Tazo Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte product photo.

Now that it’s the time of year for “pumpkin spice everything”, how do the seasonal flavored teas hold up under the promise of autumnal tea-time goodness?  Today’s beverage: Pumpkin Spice Latte by Tazo Chai, which can be found at selected Target stores, Safeway, Lucky, and other local grocery stores.  The flavored tea is also available in tea bags for those who would rather make their own beverage.  The front of the carton reads: “A seasonal blend of warming chai with pumpkin pie spices and other natural flavors.” Caffeine level is 4 out of 5, which supposedly translates to 46 to 60 mg. per serving. The back of the carton reads: “Cinnamon and cardamom sit by a crackling fire, knitting black tea scarves and catching up over mugs of steamed milk. Ginger waltzes in with a just-baked pumpkin pie, the aroma filling the room with sweet spice.”

140 calories per ½ cup of concentrate with the addition of ½ cup of 2% milk.

Ingredients: water, black tea, black pepper, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, natural flavors, cane sugar syrup, honey, ginger juice, citric acid.

I found Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte to be a mildly flavored, sweet and pleasant variation on their traditional chai. There is no “pumpkin” flavor to speak of, and no “tea” flavor, but the warm spices are there and they mix well with the added milk. I would not say that this tastes like drinking a piece of pumpkin pie; it’s actually very similar to their regular chai, except that the flavor is milder. I also found that the caffeine level was not as high, as compared to their regular chai concentrate, which I drink in the afternoons to get me through the afternoon energy slump without having to take a nap. This Pumpkin Pie Spice Chai blend did not keep me awake at all! It is a tasty drink, however, and very seasonally appropriate, but I will probably not buy it again, instead sticking with Tazo’s regular chai blend.

Copyright 2013, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my other blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest!

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Keep warm with tea during the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships!

HP Pavilion. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation license.

San Jose skating fans, keep warm with hot tea and snacks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships this weekend! San Jose has the honor of hosting the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the country’s most important figure skating event, at the HP Pavilion – also known as the Shark Tank — this week and weekend! Tickets are still available, so why not try and see the new set of possible Olympians compete in person? Local Olympic skaters Peggy Fleming and Brian Boitano will be present.

Knowing that the Pavilion will be kept at a low temperature during the competition, San Jose skating fans should prepare with warm clothing, a travel mug of hot tea, and maybe some snacks from the tea party pantry, for the experience of watching this exciting event live.  According to the HP Pavilion policies, audience members are allowed to bring a small amount of food and drink into the arena for their personal consumption, although large coolers or other large insulated containers are not allowed.  A nice black tea would provide enough strong flavor and caffeine to contribute to the excitement of the event.

The competitions have already begun, but the most anticipated events, the ice dancing free skate and the ladies’ free skate, will occur at noon and 4 p.m. respectively, on Saturday, January 28. The men’s free skate, pairs long skate and the closing ceremonies will be held on Sunday, January 29.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
Skate San Jose 2012 website
HP Pavilion web site
HP Pavilion ticket web site
US Figure Skating Championships tickets on Ticketmaster
“U.S. Figure Skating Championships take place this week in San Jose”
“San Jose prepare for figure skating championship”
“Surprise! Zawadzki steals show, wins short program”
“Current ice dancing world champs Meryl Davis and Charlie White don’t disappoint at U.S. Figure Skating Championships”
“Figure skating legend Peggy Fleming thrilled to see U.S. championships back in San Jose”
“Another tea cocktail for the horse-racing fans!”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea” 
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Meteor-watching in San Jose? Keep warm with tea and snacks”
“How to incorporate tea into your Super Bowl party”
“Review: Mobile Teapot from Village Tea Company”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”

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Filed under Events, Tea, Tips

Winter Fancy Food Show in S.F. will feature lots of tea.

Teatulia products at Winter 2011 Fancy Food Show. Photo: National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. Used with permission.

The Winter Fancy Food Show, hosted by the National Association of Specialty Foods, is scheduled for Sunday, January 15 through Tuesday the 17th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and will feature the best food and drink from around the world. The Northern Ireland Naturally organization is one featured group, and they will have a booth at the show, introducing a variety of environmentally-friendly Northern Irish companies, and all-natural products “with heritage and provenance” including Grace’s Irish Biscuits, who will also launch their “Titanic” line of jam in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the H.M.S. Titanic; Pujana Tea, who will present their Irish Breakfast Tea and green tea as well as peppermint and camomile tisanes; Suki Tea, who will present their gourmet tea blends including one called Belfast Brew, and Alfee’s Flatbreads.  Look for some of these products on shelves in San Jose!

The trade show, which is unfortunately not open to the public, will also feature lots of American specialty food and drink companies. Many of them are familiar to San Jose tea-lovers, including Oregon Chai, Numi Tea and Stash. Because most, if not all, of the overseas companies also do business internationally, some or all of the following tea-related products may become available in San Jose:

Ajiri Tea, Kenyan Black Tea -- Sofi Award Winner from 2011. Photo: National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. Used with permission.

Aiya’s Matcha Zen Cafe Blend
Bhakti Chai
Boston Tea Company
Ceylon Teas
Choice Organic Teas
Fivemiletown Creamery
Honest Tea
Irwin’s Bakery
Numi Organic Tea
Oregon Chai
Ridgway’s Tea
Sencha Naturals – Green Tea Inspired Foods
Stash Organic Teas
Teatulia Organic Single Garden Teas
Tea Forte, Inc.
The Republic of Tea
Tipu’s Authentic Indian Chai
Two Leaves and a Bud Tea Company

Gluten-free baked goods, perfect to eat with a cup of tea, will also be included.  Local stores that carry one or several of these products include Walmart, Dean & DeLuca, Whole Foods, Andronico’s, Lunardi’s and other specialty food shops as well as British Imports in Campbell. Keep an eye out for new tea products appearing throughout the South Bay this year!

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
Winter Fancy Food Show website
National Association of Specialty Foods website
Winter Fancy Food Show 2012 Press release
“2012 Dine about town and Fancy Food Show attract gourmets to SF”
“Fancy Food Show in San Francisco January 15 – 17, 2012”
“Gluten Free floods Fancy Food Show in SF”
“5 ways a tea-lover can be environmentally friendly”
“American Tea Mavericks interviewed in San Francisco”
“Review of Oregon Chai Original Chai Tea Latte concentrate”

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Filed under Events, Health, Tea, Vendors and Shops

Christmas gifts to buy for a tea-drinker.

Candy Cane Lane tea gift set. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

While many San Jose residents are eager to save money this Christmas season by making some of their gifts, there are still quite a few for whom the convenience of purchasing gifts is worth more than the money spent to buy them. Many holiday sales are still in effect, and some internet vendors are offering free shipping and other discounts, so if you are buying gifts and you have a tea-lover on your list, here are some suggestions that you might want to look for:

  1. A decanter or pitcher specifically for making iced and hot tea in. Teavana sells one, but there are several brands on the market.
  2. A commuter mug with a built-in tea strainer. Satori Tea Bar sells one model that is very convenient, but you can also get them at Peet’s Coffee & Tea and on the internet.
  3. High-quality loose-leaf tea. The most expensive teas are surprisingly affordable if you purchase sample sizes of them. Many tea vendors sell samples for less than $5 each.  You can buy them at Satori Tea Bar, Lisa’s Tea Treasures, other local tea shops, or on the internet.
  4. Tea or chai ice cream. Haagen-Dazs has a green tea and a chai flavor that are available at local Safeway and Nob Hill stores. Local Asian markets also carry green tea ice cream mochi treats in the freezer section.
  5. Powdered instant chai and liquid chai concentrate. Both are shelf-stable items (the liquid must be stored in the fridge once opened), that require only the addition of milk or a dairy substitute to make a nice glass of hot or cold chai. Tazo makes a tasty liquid chai concentrate, and Oregon Chai makes both a liquid concentrate and a powdered instant chai; Tazo and Oregon Chai liquid concentrates are available in most local supermarkets, and Target grocery departments, and Oregon Chai powdered instant chai is available at Nob Hill stores.
  6. Books about tea. Lisa’s Tea Treasures and Satori Tea Bar sell a few titles, as do Barnes & Noble bookstores, but there are many more titles available on the internet. Check Amazon or other mail-order sites.
  7. Tea-flavored candies. San Jose’s Asian markets carry a surprising collection of these goodies. You can get Oreo Matcha candy bars at the Japanese groceries in Japantown, and Bali’s Best Tea Candy hard candies in many Chinese groceries and even in some American supermarkets in the Asian food aisle.
  8. Tea-themed calendar.  There is a Collectible Teapot Calendar put out every year, that is available at the calendar store and kiosks at local shopping malls like the Great Mall of Milpitas.  Also available on the internet.
  9. Tea-of-the-Month Club membership.  Some vendors, like Mighty Leaf Tea, offer 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month memberships in Tea-of-the-Month Clubs.  Members get one or more new teas sent to them every month.
  10. Tea Shirts.  Not just a T-shirt, but one with a clever tea-related slogan on the front, like “Instant Human, Just Add Tea.” Available on the internet from places like CafePress and Etsy.
  11. Tea lotions or other cosmetics.  Celestial Seasonings has a few holiday teas that they’ve added to body lotion for a holiday gift set.  Look in Safeway supermarket specialty holiday product displays for this sort of thing.

Of course, teapots, cups and saucers, tea strainers, tea towels, or anything else that can be used for making or enjoying tea, will make great Christmas gifts for yourself or your favorite tea-lover!  Places like Target, Ross, Marshall’s and Cost Plus World Market have lots of fun things.

Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea

For more information:
“Review: Amandine Decanter by Teavana”
“Review: Mobile Teapot from Village Tea Company”
“Review: the Royal Wedding tea from Lisa’s Tea Treasures”
“Review: Buccaneer blend from SerendipiTea”
“Review: Passion blend from SerendipiTea”
“Review of Haagen Dazs Sweet Chai Latte ice cream”
“Review of Haagen-Dazs Green Tea ice cream” 
“Review of Tazo Organic Spiced Black Tea Latte concentrate”
“Review of Oregon Chai Original Chai Tea Latte concentrate” 
“Where to buy books about tea in San Jose”
“5 books that should be on the tea-lover’s bookshelf”
“Review: Japanese Oreo matcha candy bar by Nabisco” 
Collectible Teapot Calendar Amazon link

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Filed under Books, Holiday, Product Reviews, Tea, Tips, Vendors and Shops

Black Friday shopping stress? Not when you relax with a tea party!

Autumn teapot and cup. Photo: MorgueFile.com

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season, but do you really want to fight with all the crowds on the freeway, in the parking lot, and at the stores? Life in the Silicon Valley is stressful enough. Instead of going out on Friday, stay in with a relaxing pot of tea and keep your sanity (which is more valuable than any sale), and wait a while to take advantage of the sales. They’ll still be around in a few days.  Use some leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner (you know you have them!) to make up your Black Friday morning or afternoon tea menu.  The flavors went well together on the Thanksgiving dinner table, so they’ll do just as well at tea time:

Orange Spice tea
Pumpkin Spice tea
Homemade chai

Cinnamon scones
Cranberry-orange scones
Cinnamon butter
Honey

Savory black olive scones with butter
Turkey salad sandwiches or Turkey and cranberry tea sandwiches
Warm sweet onion spread on crackers

Leftover pumpkin and apple pie
Cinnamon-raisin bread pudding
Aztec chocolate bread pudding
Maple shortbread

You could even use the time to use tea to make some gifts.  Or, you could go into the Santa Cruz Mountains and cut your own Christmas tree. Bring it home, set it in a bucket of water in the back or front yard, or in the garage, and warm up with a tea party! Use up some leftovers, anything else you need can be pulled from your tea party pantry, and you’re set for a relaxing, easy, festive Black Friday. Put on some holiday music, recover from Thanksgiving, and actually enjoy the season instead of losing yourself in the shopping frenzy. It’s just not worth the stress and frustration!

Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea

For more information:
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea” 
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea” 
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“Thanksgiving in San Jose: count your blessings with a cup of tea” 
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Gift ideas for the San Jose tea-lover”
“5 gifts you can make with tea”
“Where to buy books about tea in San Jose”
“5 books that should be on the tea-lover’s bookshelf”
“New fall 2011 tea flavors at San Jose’s Satori Tea Bar”
“5 Reasons to Skip Black Friday Sales” 

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Filed under History, Holiday, Menus, Party Ideas, Tips

Keep warm on Halloween with tea!

Autumn. Image: Nikolay Dimitrov, http://www.e-Cobo.com

Staying in to hand out candy to San Jose’s trick-or-treaters on Monday? Why not put together a collection of seasonal goodies from your kitchen and tea party pantry to warm your soul, and put on a good movie to pass the time between visits. San Jose’s weather has cooled down considerably this month, and Halloween night promises to be chilly, so cups of hot tea and warm treats are practically a requirement! They will be just as welcome to those who go out door-to-door, as those who stay in.

Chai, or some other spicy black tea blend, is a tasty and seasonal choice for autumn. You can make your own from scratch, or use one of the two main brands of chai concentrate available in local grocery stores. Perhaps you’d like something earthy or smoky to accompany the evening? In that case, a smoky Lapsang Souchong or earthy Pu-erh might be a good choice; both can be found at San Jose’s many Asian grocery stores, if not in every supermarket. Flavored teas for the holidays are just now re-appearing in local grocery stores, but you can make your own if you prefer, by using easy-to-find ingredients to make pumpkin spice tea or orange spice tea.

Scones, both savory and sweet, are always good to add to the tea table. If you feel creative, you can even dress them up to look like spiders or other scary-kitchy things, like Slightly Spooky Vampires! If you want to go all out and have savories, too, there are lots of yummy things available in the grocery store, farmer’s market, or in recipes on the Internet. Pumpkins can be made into savory things as well as pies (although mini pumpkin pies sound great!), as well as butternut squash or other squash, mushrooms, roasted vegetables, and all sorts of meats. Try making a filling out of some of these things and baking it inside pie dough turnovers or savory tarts.

Chocolate is another popular treat to enjoy this dark night, and if you stay out of the kids’ candy handouts you’ll have more room for good-quality chocolate with your tea! Baking with chocolate, like making Spicy Chocolate Bread Pudding, is always a good thing to do when you want something comforting and indulgent to accompany your tea. You can even make mini cakes and dress them up like Chocolate Mice or Spider Webs for the occasion!

If you plan to go out with the kids, you’ll need something hot to bring with you, and what better beverage than tea? There are many portable hot beverage containers available on the market, and the product called the Mobile Teapot from Village Tea Company is a good choice for those of us who prefer loose tea to tea bags; Satori Tea Bar in downtown San Jose sells an almost identical design made by a different company. Whatever you do, stay safe and warm on Halloween, and drink more tea than alcohol, because we all have to go back to work the next day!

Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea

For more information:
“What to do if it rains in San Jose on Halloween: have a tea party!”
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“How to make masala chai at home”
“Tea 101: what is pu-erh tea?”
“Review of Tazo Organic Spiced Black Tea Latte concentrate”
“Review of Oregon Chai Original Chai Tea Latte concentrate”
“How to make holiday orange spice tea”
“How to make your own pumpkin spice tea”
“Slightly spooky savory black olive scones for Halloween”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“Aztec chocolate bread pudding to eat with tea”
“How to create easy vampire cupcakes for your Twilight tea party”
“Chocolate Mice” recipe from Food & Wine magazine
“Red Velvet Spider Web Cupcakes” recipe from Food & Wine magazine
 “Review: Mobile Teapot from Village Tea Company”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Review: afternoon tea at Satori Tea Bar”

Some other seasonal tea party themes:
 “A Twilight theme tea”
“Twilight themed midnight tea picnic”
“Twilight Saga: Eclipse tickets with a midnight tea”
“Gothic high tea” 
“Autumn harvest moon tea”
“Dia de los Muertos Tea”
“Steampunk Tea”

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Filed under Menus, Party Ideas, Tea, Tips, Vendors and Shops

Review of Tazo Organic Chai Spiced Black Tea Latte Concentrate

Tazo Organic Chai concentrate. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Chai is becoming more and more popular in the United States, and liquid chai concentrates make it very easy to enjoy an instant cup of chai.  Tazo Organic Chai Spiced Black Tea Latte Concentrate is described as “a rich blend of flavorful teas, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom & vanilla” and “an enticing source of wonder, inspiration & optimism.”  It is packaged in 32 oz. sealed, aseptic cartons and does not need refrigeration until after it is opened.  Tazo is made in the USA from imported teas, is certified organic by the QAI, and Kosher.

The carton reads: “Chai first enchanted tea drinkers in the Himalayas more than 2,000 years ago, a time when all things were organic.  To make Tazo Organic Chai, our tea shamans combine full-flavored teas with aromatic, natural spices.  Enjoyable hot or iced, this drink is especially delightful when consumed with pure thoughts” and “Like tea itself, good fortune is best when shared with others.  To see how Tazo gives back to communities around the world, visit us at http://www.tazo.com/csr.”

Preparation instructions (in French and English) on the carton read: “A splendid cup of chai—1. Simply shake carton and mix equal parts of Chai concentrate withmilk (or any milk substitute).  2. Add heat. Tazo tea lattes are easily prepared using your microwave, stove top, or open fire pit.  To Prepare Cold: Mix with equal parts milk (or any milk substitute) and pour over ice.”

The ingredients are “an infusion of (water, [organic] black tea, [organic] black pepper, [organic] cardamom, [organic] cinnamon, [organic] ginger root, [organic] cloves, natural flavors and [organic] star anise), [organic] cane sugar, [organic] honey, [organic] ginger juice, natural flavors, vanilla and citric acid.”  There are 70 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrate in a 4 fl. oz. serving (undiluted with milk).

Tazo Chai has a nicely balanced flavor and is not overly sweet.  The black tea flavor is in the background, and the warm spices are the predominant flavor, but none stands out and can really be identified apart from the other spices.  There is a bit of heat sensation from the ginger, pepper, cinnamon and/or cloves when the chai is consumed cold, which would probably be more pronounced if the chai was hot.  It is a tasty addition to a tea party pantry, and a good choice to have on hand for chai lovers.

Tazo
P.O. Box 125
Portland, OR 97207
1-800-299-9445

Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read?  Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information: “Review of Haagen Dazs Sweet Chai Latte ice cream”
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“How to make Thai tea”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“How to make masala chai at home”
“How to make ‘instant’ chai”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”

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Filed under Product Reviews, Tea, Vendors and Shops