Latte Matcha from Teanobi

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teanobi

Product Description:

This Matcha is specially blended for a Matcha Latte. This blend provides a smooth rich texture and deep green tea flavor to make a full bodied Latte, just add milk. This blend dissolves quicker than any of our other products for instant use. Can be used both steaming hot and iced.

Our Premium Latte Matcha is made with a higher grade of gyokuro leaves. This yields a finer texture and more delicate flavor. The aroma is sweeter and the flavor is less bitter than our standard matcha. Both are a delight to drink they just have a slightly different flavor profile.

This tea is made from Gyokuro grown exclusively in the Shizuoka region of Japan. There are no preservatives or additives of any kind. Imported directly from Japan to preserve peak freshness.

Taster’s Review:

The first time I prepared this, I did so using the package instructions:  1 cup of steamed milk to 1/4 tsp. Latte Matcha.  It was good, but, to be honest, I wanted the Matcha flavor to be a little stronger.  I felt like I was tasting too much milk.  So, the second time I prepared it, I used a little more Matcha (not quite 1/2 a tsp.) and this was perfect for me!

The flavor is so rich, creamy, and smooth.  Yes, it’s vegetative, but, that’s to be expected.  This IS Matcha!  It has a wonderfully mild sweetness.  There is no bitterness to this Matcha, which I found kind of odd, because I always expect a light bitterness in the background.  Perhaps its the milk that offsets the bitterness?  I don’t know.  Anyway, for those of you who often find Matcha to be too bitter for your personal taste, try it as a Latte using this Matcha!  I think you’ll be surprised at how good this one is!

I have blended this using my bamboo whisk (a chasen) and I have blended it using my handheld frother.  Both work just fine, although I prefer the handheld frother for the latte.  It becomes more frothy and creamy – just like a coffee shop green tea latte.  One big difference, though, is that this one hasn’t been sweetened, so you can decide if you want sweetener in it or not.

I really enjoyed this Matcha.  It’s not only great for making a Matcha Latte, but it also is quite nice in smoothies too.  Here’s my recipe:

  • 8 oz. of yogurt or Kefir (I prefer Kefir, coconut Kefir if you can find it!)
  • Banana
  • 1 cup (or more if you desire) of frozen fruit of your choice
  • 1/2 tsp of Latte Matcha (or more if you prefer)

Blend until creamy smooth.  Enjoy!

Now, I warn you, this smoothie will not have the most appetizing color.  But it is delicious, and it makes for a very satisfying (and healthy) meal replacement.

This is a great Matcha – at a great price!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Original Bhakti Chai Concentrate from Bhakti Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

For more information about this product including how to purchase, visit:  Bhakti Chai

Product Description:

Antioxidant-rich black tea, fresh organic ginger, milled spices and a touch of evaporated cane juice.

Taster’s Review:

Oh. My. Goodness!  This is SO good.  This is so good, that I am on my second cup within a half an hour!

According to the website, Bhakti Chai uses fresh pressed ginger as opposed to dried ginger.  The difference this makes can be tasted!  The ginger tastes zippier, zingier, and ginger-y-er!

The black tea base here is a smooth tasting tea, but really, the focus of this chai concentrate is the spices.  And, that’s quite alright with me, because this is so delicious that I wouldn’t want to change it.  It’s absolutely perfect.

The ginger is the dominate flavor, and I can taste the black pepper supporting the flavor of the ginger.  The cardamom and cloves are a bit more subtle but can be tasted, providing that familiar background chai flavor.  The fennel is also quite subtle, but, I taste a hint of licorice-like sweetness in the distance.

One spice that seems to be “missing” is cinnamon – which is a common chai ingredient.  But, even though it isn’t in this chai, I’m not missing it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cinnamon, but, like I said before, this tastes so good that I wouldn’t want to change it.

The ginger provides a lot of warmth (or “agni”) and offers a very warm, comforting sensation starting at the back of the mouth and permeating its way to the belly.  This is a perfect cuppa on those cold winter-y days.  Like today!

This original concentrate is sweetened, but, I am not finding it too sweet.  Bhakti Chai also offers an unsweetened version, which I will review at a later date.

If you like Chai Latte – this is definitely one you should try.  I love this stuff!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Chai Matcha Latte from Matcha Mountains

Where to Buy:  Where Matcha Mountains Products are sold

Product Description:

Spice up your life this season with our chai matcha latte made from organic freshly ground spices cardamon, cinnamon, cloves… and japanese matcha. Accent our chai with a cinnamon stick or dollop of whip cream and enjoy hot or cold.

Taster’s Review:

THIS IS SO YUMMY!

This is a perfect Matcha Latte … and a perfect Chai Latte for that matter.  It is so good.

This is gently spiced – not something I would categorize as spicy.  More like warm and soothing.  It is sweet but not cloying.  It is smooth, rich and creamy.  The combination of adding steaming milk and the Matcha make for a very foamy, frothy beverage.

The Matcha base tastes vibrant.  It has a light vegetative taste.  It isn’t as vegetal as a typical Matcha.  Perhaps that is because it’s a latte mix, or perhaps it’s because the spices cancel out some of the grassy tones, or it could be because the milk offsets the vegetative qualities of the Matcha.  But if you’ve tried Matcha in the past and found that strong vegetative taste to be a little off-putting, try this!

I absolutely LOVE this Matcha Latte.  I love it so much, in fact, that my cup is empty!  I don’t usually finish off the cup before I finish writing the review… but, in this case, it tasted so good I couldn’t stop!  It’s a yummy treat!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Authentic Chai Concentrate from Third Street Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

For more information, visit:  Third Street Chai

Product Description:

A generously spiced blend of fine black tea and freshly-milled aromatic spices.

Ingredients:  Filtered Water, Evaporated Cane Juice, Fair Trade Certified Organic Black Tea, Organic Cardamom, Organic Clove, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Fennel, Organic Nutmeg, Citric Acid.

Taster’s Review:

Having already tried the Spicy Ginger Chai Concentrate from Third Street Chai, I felt confident that I’d also like this “Authentic Chai” Concentrate from the same company.

And I do.  This is actually quite similar to the Spicy Ginger Chai except, obviously, it isn’t as spicy.  While this chai still has some detectable ginger flavor, it isn’t nearly as spicy.  This is the chai for those who like their chai lattes to be a little more gently spiced.

But make no mistake, the spices are still here.  This is much more like a coffee house chai – smooth and rich in flavor, but even-tempered enough to enchant even those who are otherwise put-off by the spicier things in life.   Personally, I like the heat of the ginger in the Spicy Ginger Chai.  That being said, I think that this slightly milder version is a better accompaniment with meals and especially with that morning scone!

YUM!

I really love these chai concentrates from Third Street Chai.  It lets me enjoy a delicious chai latte any time of the day with very little mess or fuss.  And the price of one 32-ounce concentrate bottle is about the same price as one chai latte from the local coffee house!  This chai from Third Street Chai is the best of both worlds:  convenience and value!

Spicy Seattle Chai from MarketSpice

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  MarketSpice

Product Description:

Our spiciest chai, with plenty of Pepper, Ginger and Cardamom. Add milk and sugar to taste. Ingredients: Black tea, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Tellicherry Peppercorns, Ginger and Cloves.

Taster’s Review:

This chai is AWESOME!

As most of you probably know (because I’ve said it enough!) I am very discriminating when it comes to chai – because I truly believe that I created the best chai blend ever.  However, that doesn’t mean that I cannot appreciate other chai blends, and this is definitely one for which I have tremendous appreciation!

It is SPICY!  The pepper and ginger are prominent, and I can actually feel it hit my throat in the finish – like a spicy, peppery blanket that warms my palate, then radiates down my throat and warms my entire body right down to the tips of my toes!

In fact, after my initial sip, I had to check the MarketSpice website to see if this chai had chili pepper in it, because the heat from the pepper is that kind of heat.  The website does not indicate that there is chili pepper of any kind in this – so I suspect that it is the rather fine grind of black Tellicherry peppercorns that brings the heat, as well as the ginger.

But, while the heat from these two ingredients is rather dominant, they do not overwhelm the palate so much that the other ingredients – cinnamon, cardamom and cloves – cannot be tasted.  The flavor of the black tea is even quite present in the sip – it is rich and bold and offers a tasty base for these zesty spices.

I really like this chai.  I have tried it several times now.  The first time I tasted it, I drank it with no additions, the second time, with just a drizzle of honey.  I found that the honey brought out some of the other spices very nicely and softened the edge from the tea, ginger and pepper just a little.  For an extra special treat, try it with brown sugar – the molasses in the brown sugar will be delightful with this spicy chai!

The third time, I broke down and made myself a chai latte by steeping the tea extra strong (using a little extra leaf and a little less water) and adding honey and some warmed 2% milk and frothing it.

When served as a latte – the spices present themselves a little differently.  It is still spicy, but the creaminess of the latte softens the spices and creates a warm, comforting cup that puts the coffee house chai lattes to shame!  The chai latte was absolutely delightful and my favorite way of serving this, although I quite enjoyed the other preparations as well.

An excellent chai – perfect for those who like their chai on the spicy side!

Acai Matcha from Shanti Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Matcha (Green Tea)

Where to Buy:  Shanti Tea

Product Description:

Matcha tea is kind of like a super-powered green tea—since you’re ingesting the whole leaf instead of just the brewed beverage, you get up to ten times the antioxidant effect and nutritional value of your standard green. Matcha’s rich in antioxidants, as well as chlorophyll and fiber, and has been found to have natural mood enhancing effects. All in all, matcha’s got no match when it comes to healthy teas.

Taster’s Review:

This is a really good flavored Matcha.  Flavored Matcha is not as common a product as other flavored teas, so it’s an exciting thing to find one.

The flavor is a bit different than other flavored Matcha teas that I’ve tried, I don’t know if that is because this is intended to use to make Matcha Lattes.  The first time I tasted it, I enjoyed it as I would normally prepare Matcha – that is with some hot water in my chawan and whisk with my chasen.  And this results in a pretty tasty tea.

The flavor is smooth and rich, with very little bitterness.  It is a lot less bitter than I usually experience with Matcha (which is typically a little bitter and a little sweet – a delicious contrast).  It is also not quite as vegetative.  Prepared traditionally, what I taste mostly is a creamy, sweet and rich tasting tea with mere hints of a vegetative taste (it’s kind of in the background!) and a tart note from the Acai berry.  It isn’t an unpleasant tartness, though.  I’m really enjoying it.

My Chawan from Koide Studio

But because I didn’t feel like I was truly experiencing this tea as it was intended, I decided that I should also try this as a latte.  I put a few heaping scoops (I used my Chashaku) of the Matcha in my Chawan, and then I made a thick paste using two tablespoons (I eyeball it) of hot (not boiling) water.  Then I added steaming milk and whisked it until blended and frothy.

As a latte, I notice that I get more froth than I did preparing it traditionally.  The flavor is much creamier, and I notice more of the vegetative notes as a latte, but less of the acai berry, which slowly creeps up to the palate in the finish and imparts a lovely tart note.   Not a pucker-y type of tart, just a pleasant, fruity tart taste.

After trying it as a latte, I decided to get a little more adventurous and try it with some orange juice.  So using the same method as before (a few heaping scoops, a little hot water, thick paste), I replaced the hot milk with a little bit of cold orange juice.  This may be my favorite way to enjoy this particular matcha because I like the way that the acai berry and the orange flavors mingle.  There is very little vegetative taste, it is sweet, slightly creamy, and pleasantly tart.

This Matcha is incredibly versatile.  It would also make a great addition to a smoothie, if you’re so inclined!  I like that the acai berry is subtle, but just enough to help smooth out some of the bitter notes of the Matcha.  I really enjoyed my time with this Matcha!

Product Review: Spicy Ginger Chai Concentrate from Third Street Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

For more information, visit:  Third Street Chai

Product Description:

A generously spiced blend of fine black tea, fiery ginger, and freshly-milled aromatic spices.

Ingredients:  Filtered Water, Evaporated Cane Juice, Fair Trade Certified Organic Black Tea, Organic Cardamom, Organic Clove, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Fennel, Organic Nutmeg, Citric Acid.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t usually go for chai concentrates.  I don’t stop at a lot of coffee shops (although here in the Pacific Northwest, there seems to be at least one on every street corner) and order chai lattes that are made from those concentrates.  The reason is that I find that they don’t really taste very much like tea.  They are more like some sort of sweet (sometimes sickeningly sweet), spicy, milky beverage that is alright, but not something I’d want to drink on a regular basis.  On average, I’d say I have one of those coffee shop chai lattes about three times a year.

But… if I found a local coffee shop that used THIS chai concentrate, I might visit more often!  This is really good.  I prepared it according to package directions, using a ratio of 1 part concentrate to 1 part milk, put it into a mug and then zap it in the microwave for a minute or two.

The results are delightful.  Although it is sweetened – it is sweetened just right for me.  It is not so sweet that the sweetener overpowers the flavor of the black tea and the spices.  And neither does the milk.

I can taste the strong black tea and the spices – and if the name of this particular variety is any indication to you, I especially taste the ginger.  It is peppery but not over-the-top spicy.  It warms me up without making me feel like I need something to offset the hot spice.  Just enough zing without making my mouth feel like I should call the fire department!

This is really delicious!

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