Tag Archives: iced tea

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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Refreshing Citrus Rose Tea Punch recipe

tea punch ingredients

Citrus pomegranate rose tea punch ingredients. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Labor Day may be the unofficial “end of summer” but it’s not the end of the hot weather here in San Jose!  Cooling, refreshing drinks are still necessary to survive the warmth, especially for those of us who live in older homes without air conditioning.  Tea – especially iced or cold-brewed – is a great drink to keep in the fridge, and it makes delicious mixed drinks and punches.  Served over ice, it is wonderfully cooling and easy to drink. Here is the recipe:

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Raspberry-basil tea spritzer recipe

Fresh basil, raspberries and iced black tea for a refreshing spritzer. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Now that the hot summer weather has reached San Jose, people are looking for refreshing, cooling recipes to help them enjoy the season and keep hydrated. Sweetened soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are very popular locally, but it’s a good idea to have some healthier drinks around, and you’re not limited to plain water! Iced tea makes a great base for cool summer drinks, and can substitute for alcohol in many recipes. Try adding iced black tea to a sangria recipe instead of the wine, or making a refreshing tea punch or spritzer that all can enjoy.

To make a spritzer, add iced tea, fresh fruit, sweet herbs or citrus zest and sweetener to taste, and top it with carbonated water in a glass of ice, and you have one of the most refreshing and healthy, not to mention delicious, summer beverages! Here’s an example:

Raspberry-basil tea spritzer
5 fresh raspberries
1 fresh basil leaf
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 cup prepared iced English Breakfast tea, chilled
½ cup carbonated water, chilled
fresh lemon zest for garnish
ice cubes

Cut or tear the basil leaf into small pieces and put in the bottom of a 2-cup measuring cup with the raspberries and sugar (if using). Use a spoon to mash the berries and basil together, and mix thoroughly. Pour the iced tea over the fruit and basil, and let it sit for at least 10 minutes to infuse the flavor into the tea. Pour the tea mixture into a glass filled halfway with ice, and top with the carbonated water. Add lemon zest and an ice tea spoon or a straw, and enjoy! Serves 1.

This recipe will work with bagged or loose tea, flavored or unflavored tea, iced tea made by the traditional or the cold-brew method, sweet basil or mint, any kind of sweetener or none at all, and sweetened or unsweetened carbonated water! Try using black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, or an herbal tisane as the tea base; jasmine green tea or rose-scented black tea will be delicious additions. Look for almost over-ripe berries or stone fruits at the farmer’s markets this time of year; very ripe, soft fruits will mash easily in the bottom of the glass, and they actually have the best flavor. Try peaches, apricots, nectarines, strawberries, blackberries, boysenberries or cherries; red raspberries and blueberries make wonderfully festive tea spritzers in patriotic colors, perfect for the 4th of July or any summer afternoon! With the variety of herbs and fruit available in San Jose this time of year, and the flavored and unflavored teas and carbonated water in local supermarkets, you have an almost unlimited choice of flavors for your spritzers.

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, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
White Tea Sangria recipe
Iced Tea Sangria with Fresh Fruit recipe
Jasmine Iced Tea Sangria recipe
Orange Mint Tea recipe
“Iced tea in mixed drink recipes”
“National Iced Tea Day: 20 Refreshing Iced Tea Cocktails”
“Another tea cocktail for the horse-racing fans!”
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“Is it too warm to sleep? Try soothing orange-blossom mint tisane”
“Celebrate the Fourth of July with a tea party picnic!”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“How to use edible flowers for tisanes”
“Review: Amandine Decanter by Teavana”
“Greet the summer in San Jose with iced tea during Iced Tea Month”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“Cool off with tea ice cream”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Bottled tea may contain fewer antioxidants than freshly brewed tea”
“Different types of Chinese black tea available in San Jose”
“Chinese oolong tea in San Jose”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Use tea as a holiday champagne substitute”
“The Elixir of the South: sweet tea”
“Review: Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“Memorial Day in San Jose calls for iced tea”
“5 teas for San Jose’s beer fans”
“San Jose kids can spend a summer afternoon with tea and books”


Filed under Recipes, Tea, Tips

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.

P.O. Box 125
Portland, OR 97207

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”


Filed under Product Reviews, Tea, Vendors and Shops