PRODUCT REVIEW: Chico Chai Strong Brew Chai Concentrate from Chico Chai


Product Information:

For more information, please visit:  Chico Chai

Chico Chai Strong Brew Concentrate is available at these locations.

Product Description:

A strong, spicy brew, ready to be mixed with milk and heated or poured over ice, for a lovely “chai latte”. Chico Chai is brewed by hand, from whole, organic ingredients, and is less sweet than mainstream chai. Each batch is made without preservatives, it’s simply brewed and refrigerated for a unique, fresh flavor.

Taster’s Review:

It would seem that lately, I’m on a bit of a chai kick.  What can I say?  At the first signs of autumn, I’m all about the chai!  Now, I’ll happily consume a chai latte any time of year, but, there’s just something that is so rewarding about sipping a chai – whether it be a latte or drinking it non-latte with just a dollop of honey to bring out those spices.  Nothing tastes more like autumn to me than a good cup of chai!

Right now, I’m enjoying this Chico Chai Strong Brew Chai Concentrate from Chico Chai as a blended ice drink.  I measured out a combination of ice cubes and milk into the blender, and then added the same amount (OK … I admit it, I eyeballed it!) of the strong brew concentrate into the blender and blended it until it was smooth.

Side note:  My husband would like me to add that the blender is loud.  Ha!  When I operated the blender, he thought I was making a chocolate milkshake, and when I told him what it was and that I’d be writing a review, he asked me what I thought of my iced chai drink and I told him “It’s YUMMY!” and he says, there you go.  That’s your review.  Tell them that it’s yummy and your blender is loud.

I am really enjoying this blended drink.  It is cool and frosty and refreshing – but with just enough spice to get my taste buds all warmed up and tingling!  This is sweet – but not too sweet.  (I didn’t add any additional sweeteners to this blended drink.  It is just ice cubes, milk, and the strong brew concentrate.)  I get a good amount of peppery taste from the ginger … ginger is the note that stands out strongest to me.

The peppery quality of the ginger is accentuated with black pepper, and as I continue to drink this icy beverage, I notice the pepper more and more.   I also taste the rich black tea in the background.  It’s a malty black tea – but in this concentrate, I notice no signs of bitterness.  Just a good, strong black tea flavor.

I taste hints of nutmeg.  Ohhh I like the nutmeg!  There are notes of cinnamon, anise, clove and cardamom.  It’s a warm and comforting combination of spices … and it’s spicy, but it’s not a spicy-hot kind of spicy.  It’s more of a comforting warmth that I’d liken to curling up with a good book in front of a crackling fire … that warm, cozy feeling with just enough heat to keep the taste buds dancing.

As delicious as my blended ice beverage was … serving this hot with a 1:1 ratio with milk is even better!  I actually used a combination of half 1% milk and half half & half (did that make sense?  ha!  that is to say that my milk was one part 1% milk and one part half & half!) because I don’t really care for 1% milk but my hubby prefers it.  So, I usually doctor up the 1% with some half & half to give me that creamy taste that I miss with the 1% on its own.

Once I measured out the milk, I brought it to a steamy heat and then frothed it a little bit with my hand held frother.  Then I added the strong brew chai concentrate and heated it up a little bit (Since this product is stored in the fridge and I wanted a hot latte) and frothed it a little more.  The result is a creamy, frothy, deliciously decadent treat that is better than what I’ve ever had from any coffee house!

This is spicy and sweet … but not too sweet.  Of all the sweetened chai concentrates that I’ve tasted, this is definitely one of the best ones (if not THE best) that I’ve tried because it isn’t overly sweet.  This is JUST the way I like it.  Sweet but not cloying.  Spicy but my mouth isn’t on fire.  The spices here are balanced in such a way that I can enjoy all the little nuances of the different spices as well as the black tea … and none of these are overwhelmed by the milk.

This is pure chai JOY!  I’m absolutely loving this stuff!

PRODUCT REVIEW: French Plum Indian Black Tea Cold-Brewed Concentrate from Kickstand


Product Information:

Where to Buy:  Kickstand

Product Description:

The Organic French Plum Indian Black Tea is a scented-blended tea. This type of black tea is scented with the essence of French plums plucked at their peak.

About Kickstand Tea Concentrate:

You can serve it Hot or Cold, mixed with milk, sugar, alcohol or even adding it to a ice cream or cake mix. Prepare it to your taste, the possibilities are endless.

Taster’s Review:

Before I get started on the product review for this French Plum Indian Black Tea Cold-Brewed Concentrate from Kickstand, I have about how I had heard about this product.  I occasionally buy from Fab and as a result I get their emails all the time, and Kickstand cold-brew tea and coffee concentrates were being offered on Fab this week, and I was thinking about ordering some of this tea concentrate to give it a try.  That SAME day, I go to the post office, and in my PO Box, waiting for me, is a sample bottle of this tea concentrate, their new “for summer” scented tea to review.  Wow!  Talk about being in-sync with a tea company!kickstandtea

The bottles of this tea concentrate are very attractive – they’re packaged in dark amber bottles that are reminiscent of “medicine man” type of bottles.  They hold 32 ounces of cold-brewed tea concentrate which is to be diluted with a ratio of one part water to one part tea concentrate, and then poured over ice. So, you can make one glass of iced tea, or a whole pitcher if you want.

Since I had a pitcher handy, I decided to just go ahead and prepare the whole bottle of concentrate (that way, I don’t have everyone asking me, “hey, mom, what’s in that bottle in the fridge?”)  And the 32 ounce bottle dilutes into a half-gallon pitcher just perfectly (duh, right?).  However, this produces a rather strong glass of iced tea if you don’t pour it over ice … so I recommend doing so.  And if you prefer not to add ice (or if your iced tea is cold from being in the fridge) you might want to add a little more water to dilute it further, because it’s rather strong.

Since I had just diluted the tea, I went ahead and poured the iced tea over ice, and while my first couple of sips (before the ice started to melt) was strong, now that the ice has melted, I find this to be just right.  Strong … but not unappealingly so.  The tea is robust.  It’s very refreshing and brisk!  It has a sweetness to it and a hint of malty undertones.  Very flavorful!  The concentrate has a citric acid added to it … which I am guessing is meant to help preserve the tea, and this adds a pleasing citrus tone to the tea (like someone squeezed a lemon wedge in my iced tea).

And then there is the very appealing plum note.  It is tangy and sweet.  It isn’t quite like the flavor of plum that I’m used to (like the plums that I usually purchase in the produce section of my grocery store), instead, it’s more of a savory plum note with a certain sweet-tart taste that I find very enjoyable.

On a side note, I noticed that after pouring the whole bottle of tea concentrate into my pitcher, there were “floaters” that looked a lot like citrus pulp.  I don’t know if that’s what it is.  I strained the tea into my glass so that I would avoid getting the floaters in my tea, but I didn’t examine these floaters further.

I really like this product!  I especially like that the concentrate is NOT sweetened … so often concentrates like this are so overly sweet that you just can’t taste the tea.  I like that this product allows me to decide whether or not I want sweetener.    I also like that it’s organic!  I’m really glad I got a chance to try it.

Traditional Marsala Chai from Blue Lotus Chai

Chai Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Blue Lotus Chai

Chai Description:

With its deep and truly authentic flavor and amazing ease of preparation, our flagship product has become part of the daily rhythm of many homes. Tasting is believing!

Learn more about this chai here.

Taster’s Review:

I am totally and completely in LOVE with this chai!  There have been a few chai products that I’ve felt this way for, but, I think that this one may just replace them as my favorite, or at the very least, be a contender for that spot.

This is amazing.  I love it not just because it tastes amazing, but also because it’s a local product and I love supporting my local community.  But, I think I’d be head over heels for this even if it wasn’t local.  Because it is really good.

It is a concentrated spiced powder, so, it’s very much like some of the instant chai products that are out there.  But this differs in a couple of ways.  First, there’s no milk products in the mix, so if you want to control the amount of milk that goes in to your chai – or the type of milk that goes in to your chai – you can do that.  Second, there is no sweetener in this chai, so you can decide if you want it sweet (or not!) and what kind of sweetener you want to use.  I love it for these reasons alone, because I find that so many of the chai preparations out there tend to be overly sweetened and I like being able to have the freedom to choose how much milk I want … sometimes those other prepared chai mixes have too much milk product in them and they end up tasting too creamy for my liking.

I mean, I like a decadent, creamy beverage, but, I don’t like it to be so heavily laden with cream that I feel like I need to scrape the residue off my tongue, you know?  I like that this product offers me the freedom to choose just how much milk goes in to my chai latte!

The first time I prepared this, I prepared it according to the suggested preparation instructions, which suggests 4 oz. of boiling water, 1 rounded scoop of chai powder (each package comes with the most adorable little bamboo scoop that measures out 1/4 teaspoon of chai powder), and 4 oz. of milk.  Add sweetener of choice if desired (I added about 1/4 teaspoon of turbinado sugar).  After you stir to combine the ingredients, heat it up a bit (to replace the heat taken by the chill of the milk), and enjoy.  It was delicious, but I found that I wanted the flavors to be a little stronger, so I added another half a scoop – yet another reason I love this chai, I can add more to the cup if I want to! – and found the beverage to be perfect chai JOY!

The cup was rich, spicy, and creamy.  Decadent!  I can taste the richness and hint of malty notes from the black tea, and I love that I can taste the nutmeg here!  This chai blend has all the “usual” suspects:  cinnamon, clove, cardamom and ginger … plus some black pepper to spice it up (which I can taste too!) and then the aforementioned nutmeg.  It is spicy but not overwhelmingly so.  Blue Lotus Chai has achieved a really nice balance.  (However, if they’re looking for suggestions for blend #4, might I suggest one with Anise and/or fennel?  I do love a licorice note in my chai!)

I love this chai latte that I made thanks to the ease of Blue Lotus Chai!  This blend has everything I want from a chai latte, and I loved that I could very easily customize it to make it that way.  You can’t get that from your local coffee shop!  This is the way chai SHOULD be!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Organic Ginger Lemonade Concentrate from Third Street Chai

For more information about this product:  Third Street Chai

Third Street Chai products are sold on Amazon

Product Description:

Made with organic lemon juice, luscious fresh ginger & sweetened with 100% real cane juice.

Taster’s Review:

OK, so this isn’t tea.  You’ve probably already guessed that.  But, since it is produced by the same company that creates yummy chai and iced tea concentrates, I felt it was alright to review this product too.

I really don’t drink a lot of lemonade – not just because I’m a fan of tea, but also because I really don’t care for most of the lemonade mixes out there and I don’t like squeezing lemons myself to make my own lemonade.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t like lemonade.  I guess I was just spoiled by my gramma who had a very prolific lemon tree in her back yard and would make fresh lemonade.  That amazing lemonade turned me into something of a lemonade snob.

But this stuff is different!  This is yummy!

The addition of ginger is brilliant as it gives a very pleasing contrast of flavors.  This isn’t your ordinary tart-yet-sweet lemonade.  The light peppery taste of the ginger gives this a very refreshing twist.  It doesn’t taste or feel as cloying as a typical “soft drink” lemonade might.  The ginger cuts through some of the sweetness, although it isn’t an overwhelming presence.  It’s a very light touch of ginger.

This lemonade is so very refreshing and delicious.  The mixing is simple, 1 part lemonade concentrate to 3 parts fresh water.  Much easier than squeezing your own lemons!   And for those who are crazy about tea (like me) try adding this to your tea to make an Arnold Palmer (half tea/half lemonade).  YUM!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Organic Pomegranate Green Tea Concentrate from Third Street Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Third Street Chai

Available on Amazon

Product Information:

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Green Tea with Pomegranate Concentrate, Malic Acid, Ascorbic Acid

Taster’s Review:

I gotta tell you, I’m loving this stuff!

Yeah, yeah, I know that the purists are going to hate on me for it, but with this iced tea concentrate on hand, it is so easy to whip up a pitcher-full of tea at a moments notice.  And given the weather we’ve been experiencing here in the Pacific Northwest lately – yesterday, it was the hottest day we’ve had all year, and today we had a hail storm! – it’s great to have something quick and easy for cool, thirst-quenching refreshment when that hot weather strikes!

This is a sweetened concentrate, and if I had any criticism of it at all, it would be that I’d rather it wasn’t pre-sweetened.  I like to choose to sweeten or not sweeten my tea and not have that choice already made for me.  That being said, while this is a little sweeter than I would have made for myself, I am not finding it too sweet, and the sweetener does not overpower the flavor of the green tea and pomegranate.

The pomegranate is nicely tart and I think that this helps to cut through some of the sweetener of this tea.  The green tea is a delicate flavor, but, the light taste of it is quite delicious.  Overall, this makes for a refreshing iced tea that isn’t too heavy.  It is soothing and relaxing to sip, while at the same time, it invigorates.

This is something that I would buy for myself again.  Not only is it simple and convenient, it is very tasty and something that my guests enjoy as much as I do.  Third Street Chai rocks it out of the park with this tasty number!