A warming blend of pumpkin pie spices and black tea.
Cinnamon and cardamom sit by a crackling fire, knitting black-tea scarves and catching up over mugs of honey-laced steamed milk. Ginger waltzes in with a just-baked pumpkin pie, and the room turns aromatic with sweet spice.
Ingredients: An Infusion of Water, Black Tea, Black Pepper, Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Star Anise, Natural Flavors, Cane Sugar Syrup, Honey, Ginger Juice, Citric Acid
Leaf Type: Chai (Concentrate)
I'm not generally one to buy tea concentrates, I prefer to make my own, but I have yet to make a pumpkin chai that tastes quite as good as what I can buy at the local coffee shop. I'm absolutely convinced that my favorite barista has a bit of magic in her, there really is no other explanation as to why my pumpkin chai doesn't taste as good as hers. When I saw that Tazo had a pumpkin chai concentrate I was curious as to how it would stack up to Caribou Coffee or Peet's Coffee and Tea (my normal destinations for pumpkin chai since Starbucks, who owns Tazo, doesn't offer it.)
The package directions say to mix equal parts of Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte concentrate with milk or any milk substitute. I opted for half and half since that is what I normally make my chai with (plus we're out of milk again.) After mixing the two together I took a sip and was surprised to find that I didn't really care for it. It had an odd flavor to it that I couldn't quite pin-point, it was sharp and somewhat bitter. That was rather surprising considering the amount of sugar in this concentrate. I put it in the fridge and left it overnight thinking I'd give it another try later. When I pulled it out the next morning the flavors had settled, the sharp taste I objected to was gone. All I tasted was an extremely sweet chai, much like what I order at the coffee shop.
I decided to take a sip of the concentrate to see if I could tell what flavor I had found so objectionable the first time— it turned out to be the ginger juice. The flavor tasted strongly of raw ginger, so much so that it was overpowering the other flavors. It seemed to fade into the background once I let the chai sit in the fridge overnight. It's possible the flavors would have toned down if I had decided to make my drink hot, but I was really in the mood for a cold drink and decided to make my chai before bed so it was ready by the next morning. I didn't really find this to be any sort of inconvenience, but some people might.
Now lets talk about price. The last time I bought a pumpkin chai at the coffee shop it cost me $4.10 for a small 12 ounce drink. The chai pumpkin spice latte concentrate retails for $3.99 full price or $3.00 on sale (plus Tazo frequently puts out coupons bringing the price down even further.) I can make about 5 small drinks for slightly more than I pay for 1 drink at the coffee shop which is a pretty good deal. This definitely appeals to my frugal nature (and the part of me that hates going to the coffee shop in the middle of winter to feed my caffeine and sugar habit.) I'm still not sure this is something I would purchase often, but it is nice for an occasional treat.
My Rating: 79/100
Would I purchase this again? Possibly. I have to admit, I do like the convenience of this latte concentrate. It's perfect to keep on hand for last minute guests, but isn't something I'd purchase often.
In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that Smiley360 and Tazo have provided me with free coupons to help facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own.