Tazo’s Dessert Delights Collection

20180112-tazodessertdelightsVanilla Bean Macaron by Tazo Tea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$2.98USD for 1.11oz  (15 sachets)

Butterscotch Blondie by Tazo Tea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$2.98USD for 1.11oz  (15 sachets)

Glazed Lemon Loaf by Tazo Tea
Herbal Infusion / Flavoured
$2.98USD for 1.11oz  (15 sachets)

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First Impressions

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Tazo reached out to me to send me a little something. Fast forward to mid-December when I received a lovely package in the mail from them – complete with a zippered pouch filled with individually wrapped tea bags of their new Dessert Delights collection (Vanilla Bean Macaron, Butterscotch Blondie, and Glazed Lemon Loaf) along with a few extra teas that are part of their core collection (Zen, Passion, and Green Ginger) and an enameled pin set – aren’t they just sweet?

For the purposes of this post, I’ll be focusing on the Dessert Delights collection teas only and will be discussing them each in the same order throughout each section.

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Vanilla Bean Macaron has a very strong vanilla aroma, but surprisingly does not contain vanilla in the ingredients. The ingredients listed are: black tea, natural flavours, chicory root, cocoa peel, licorice root, roasted yerba mate, cinnamon, and cardamom. I can make out the cinnamon and cardamom, and while the vanilla is delightfully strong, it doesn’t remind me too much of a macaron. (As an aside, on the back of the packaging of each bag, the information for the ingredients and steeping instructions are in white, and they’re a bit difficult to read unless you have excellent lighting.)

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Butterscotch Blondie surprised me a lot by smelling just like a butterscotch candy. Surprisingly, the ingredients listed for this black tea blend is nearly identical to that of Vanilla Bean Macaron. This tea consists of: black tea, natural flavours, chicory root, cocoa peel, licorice root, cinnamon, and cardamom. Just missing the roasted yerba mate and it would have been just the same.

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Glazed Lemon Loaf is the one that surprised me the most. This herbal infusion actually smells like a glazed lemon loaf. It has the citrus and vanilla aromas from the dry leaf, along with what reminds me of the aroma of a sugary glaze. This herbal infusion consists of: apple, natural flavours, green rooibos, orange peel, chamomile, rose petals, licorice root, and ginger.

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Preparation

All three of the blends in the Dessert Delights collection suggests steeping in 212°F (100°C) water for 5 minutes. I steeped the two black tea blends (Vanilla Bean Macaron and Butterscotch Blondie) for 3 minutes each and steeped the herbal infusion (Glazed Lemon Loaf) for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Vanilla Bean Macaron steeps to a deep orange with an unfortunate oil slick across the top. I’m not entirely sure which ingredient this came from (perhaps the ‘natural flavours’?), but I found that the aroma was very much vanilla. It reminds me of the aroma of vanilla cupcakes more than a macaron (although perhaps I just need to become more acquainted with macarons?). The flavour of vanilla isn’t subtle in the steeped tea. I found that the spices (cinnamon, cardamom) to be quite warming while the vanilla was just present. I was able to pick out the yerba mate at the tail end of each sip because it left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

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Butterscotch Blondie also steeps to a deep orange, but I didn’t notice an oil slick across the top of my cup. I found that the aroma of the steeped tea still screamed ‘butterscotch’ to me, although I didn’t find that to be the case with the flavour. I didn’t really find that it reminded me of a blondie when I steeped it straight, but I found that a tiny addition of sugar and milk actually helped it along to add some creaminess to it.

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Glazed Lemon Loaf steeps to a happy and bright yellow. The aroma that wafts up from this herbal infusion is one of lemony citrus and sweetness. I found the flavour to be enjoyable, the lemon was rather calming (or perhaps that was the chamomile) and the sweetness was just enough. I could taste some heat from the ginger, and I found it to be nice and soothing. I think this tea was fine on its own, but was improved with a touch of honey.

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A Second Cup?

I did attempt to resteep all three of the Dessert Delights, but found that the second steepings of each were watery and diluted compared to the initial steeps. This can often be the case for teas found in tea bags, especially when the quality of the teas (and size of tea leaves) aren’t top notch.

My Overall Impression

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I liked Tazo’s Dessert Delights Collection. I probably wouldn’t keep much of Vanilla Bean Macaron or Butterscotch Blondie around, but I would definitely buy a box or two of Glazed Lemon Loaf because I think it did the best with matching the name to the aroma to the flavour. Plus, the flavour combination makes for an excellent just-before-bed drink (or a I-have-a-sore-throat cuppa).

At the time of writing, I’m not entirely convinced that this collection is available in Canada. I’ve never seen it in stores, and none of the retail sites for Canadian groceries stores seem to have in in stock. However, if you’re in the USA, you’re in luck! The price isn’t bad either, considering you get 15 sachets for less than $3. Not a bad deal if you’re just looking to try it out.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Tazo’s Awake English Breakfast

Awake English Breakfast by Tazo Tea
Black Tea / Straight
$2.50 for 61g (24 sachets)

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First Impressions

Just a note on the price, I bought two boxes of Tazo Tea while they were on sale for 2 boxes for $5.00. Regular price is usually higher ($4.99-6.99/box, depending on retailer). The box itself is cardboard, I like recyclable packaging. The tea bags come individually packaged in paper and the tea bags themselves feel like they’re biodegradable.

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Awake English Breakfast is made up of “a blend of black teas”. There’s a malty aroma to the black tea that reminds me a lot of Assam tea, so it wouldn’t surprise me of one of the black teas in this blend is Assam. I did rip open the tea bag to see what it looked like inside, I was not surprised that the tea leaves inside of the tea bag were tiny, definitely not the whole leaf tea that I’ve been getting used to. I mostly bought the bagged tea for the convenience factor that tea bags have when it comes to having tea on the go (where I work, I don’t have a desk and I can’t have open mugs).

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Preparation

Tazo Tea recommends steeping Awake English Breakfast in 100°C (212°F) water for 5 minutes. I followed the steeping directions.

First Taste

Awake English Breakfast steeps to a deep orange, it’s got a great smell to it that reminds me of other breakfast teas. I think 5 minutes are far too long. I ended up trying again (and again) with other tea bags and found that 3 minutes was a good amount of time. 5 minutes – I wound up with a very astringent and bitter cup of tea. Less than 3 minutes and it was just very weak. 3 minutes was a good length of steeping time because I wound up with a strong cup of tea with a very strong malty flavour, but minimal astringency and no bitterness. 5 minutes is definitely far too long for this tea (perhaps if it was whole leaf tea, it would be a different story).

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Awake English Breakfast was good on its own, but also good with some honey and evaporated milk. It helped tone down what little astringency there was with the 3 minute steep.

A Second Cup?

Awake English Breakfast is a one steep wonder, I found that a second steep resulted in a very watery cup of tea.

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My Overall Impression

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I thought that Tazo Tea’s Awake English Breakfast was just okay. As far as breakfast teas go, Awake English Breakfast is okay. I don’t recommend their recommended steep time (5 minutes is just far too long!) and I wouldn’t buy at full retail price ($0.30/sachet vs. $0.10/sachet). It’s very convenient to have tea prepackaged into tea bags, which is what I typically have when I’m at work (each to steep and easy to discard). If you can find it on sale, I would recommend snagging some Awake English Breakfast for some black tea on the go. For the love of tea, don’t over steep this one and pull the tea bag out at the 3 minute mark – life is too short for a bad cup of tea.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Tazo Tea’s Chai Latte Concentrate

Chai Latte Concentrate by Tazo Tea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$5.75 for 32 fl oz

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First Impressions

My first Starbucks love was their classic Chai latte. Ignore the new one that came out a couple years ago with Oprah, and just focus on the original Chai latte. It’s creamy, spicy, bursting with great flavour and it’s also expensive after a while. At over $4 a cup (I usually get grande), I always wanted to be able to make it at home without having to fork over nearly $5 for every cup. The Chai Latte Concentrate is not a product that I’m new to, it’s something that I buy on occasion because it’s definitely cheaper and more budget friendly to buy the carton of tea concentrate than it is to pop into a Starbucks location every single time that I want a Chai latte.

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The tea concentrate is a dark, almost murky reddish brown colour. The aroma of the Chai Latte Concentrate is all of the familiar spices that you would expect to find in a Chai: cloves, cardamom, cinnamon. It also smells like it is very, very sweet. Deliciousness in a cup! The ingredients for the tea concentrate are as follows: water, black tea, black pepper, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, natural flavours, cane sugar, honey, ginger juice, natural flavours, vanilla extract, and citric acid. Everything from water to the first natural flavours is the infusion, and then the added ingredients after it. Cane sugar and honey would account for the very, very sweet aroma and taste to the tea concentrate.

Preparation

The directions on the carton from Tazo Tea is to shake the carton and then mix equal parts of the concentrate with milk (or dairy alternative of your choice). It can be served over ice, heated on a stove, or heated in a microwave. I mixed half a cup of tea concentrate with half a cup of 1% milk and heated it in the microwave.

First Taste

The colour of the Chai latte after it was done in the microwave (and I gave it a little stir) is a pleasant light brown colour that is very similar to the colouring of a Chai latte made in a Starbucks, if not the same. I had to let mine cool for a bit since it was too hot to sip coming from the microwave. While I don’t get the foam that I often have on top of my lattes that I get from Starbucks or other cafes, it’s quite good. If you’re not fond of sweet things, this product will probably not be for you (and perhaps making your own tea concentrate would be something you could try in the future). I personally really enjoy Chai lattes, so I really like the flavour of this tea concentrate. It definitely has the spice and heat that I would expect from a Chai (thanks to all that ginger!), the flavours of cinnamon really come out well and the creaminess that the milk adds really helps to cool down some of that heat.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Tazo Tea’s Chai Latte Concentrate. As I previously mentioned, this was not my first time having this product (and it certainly will not be my last!). I find it really nice to be able to have my favourite ‘treat’ (a Chai latte) without having to spend the money in the local Starbucks. The unused portion of the carton keeps for up to 7 days in the fridge after opening, and for someone who really enjoys Chai lattes, it is cheaper to go with the carton of tea concentrate than it is to get it made in-store. That said, it would be even cheaper to just make my own Chai lattes from scratch (I know, I know), but for a quick, pretty fool-proof latte, this tea concentrate works really well as a nice treat from time to time.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.