DavidsTea’s Perfect Tumbler

Perfect Tumbler by DavidsTea
Stainless Steel & Plastic / 20oz (591mL)
$18.00

First Impressions

I picked up the Foxy Perfect Tumbler at my local DavidsTea because I saw the fox design and absolutely loved it. One of my current favourite stuffed animals is a giant fox that my boyfriend bought for me, so I just had to get the tumbler. DavidsTea has had these Perfect Tumblers for a while now, but this is my first one.

The Perfect Tumbler is a double-walled stainless steel cup with a plastic lid that fits snug on top that opens and closes with a slide, which comes apart for easy cleaning with little clips. The drinking hole is large enough to put a stainless steel straw in, as the cup is designed for both use with hot and iced teas. The Perfect Tumbler is not dishwasher or microwave safe. While designed for people on the go (it fits into my car’s cup holders quite easily), it is not leak proof.

Preparation

I gave my Perfect Tumbler a wash by hand in warm, soapy water prior to my first use.

First Use

I steeped tea directly in the Perfect Tumbler (for those curious, I made hot Hong Kong-style milk tea in it). The outside of the cup is cool to the touch, thanks to the double-walled design. The lid fits on easily and the slide works as expected – there’s a rubber bit that helps keep the slide from opening and closing by itself. Not exactly rocket science to figure out how to use it, and it does hold a very decent amount of tea. Because I had made hot tea in it, I set it aside with the lid on and found that my tea was still hot an hour later.

My Overall Impression

I loved DavidsTea’s Perfect Tumbler. I really like the Foxy design, and the overall shape and design of this mug. I can appreciate that it’s not leak proof, based on the design, but do think that some people might be turned off from buying it because of that. If you’re an office worker or want a cup for your home office, this might be a nice alternative to a regular old mug. I did read online that some people had issues with the finish on their Perfect Tumblers (either this one or other designs). I haven’t had any issues yet with the finish being scratched, but I’ve only used it a handful of times so far and it’s held up pretty well with being hand washed.

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Tazo Tea’s Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte Concentrate

Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte Concentrate by Tazo Tea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$3.29USD for 1 carton (31 fl oz/946mL)

First Impressions

When I saw it on the shelf at Target, I knew I had to buy it to try it out! (Side story: Target used to be in Canada, folded very quickly due to money/bankruptcy issues/not paying their suppliers and was, in short, run very poorly in comparison to the American version of the company – so we no longer get Target in Canada so I had to go when I went down last weekend!) I can find the regular Chai Latte Concentrate from Tazo Tea here in Canada, but I’ve never tried the Chai Pumpkin Spice version and I’m not sure if it is available in Canada at all (a quick search through the usual places where I can find the regular Chai Latte concentrate came up empty for the Pumpkin Spice version).

Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte Concentrate comes in a carton with a twist off/on cap. If you’re not drinking the entire thing in one go, it does need to be refrigerated and then it’s good for one week/seven days after opening it. It does seem to have a fairly long shelf life though (the best before date on my carton is June of 2020).

The black tea concentrate is a dark reddish brown that is a bit cloudy. The aroma is quite strong of spices – I can definitely make out cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. The ingredients in Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte Concentrate are: “an infusion of (water, black tea, black pepper, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, natural flavours), cane sugar syrup, honey, ginger juice, natural flavours, and citric acid”.

Preparation

Tazo Tea recommends shaking the carton, and then mixing equal parts concentrate to milk (or dairy alternative of your choice). It can be had either heated (stove top, microwave, etc.) or poured over iced if you’re wanting an iced Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte. I measured out equal parts of the concentrate and 1% milk and had it in a glass mug, heated via the microwave.

First Taste

The aroma from the blend of concentrate and milk reminds me a lot of the regular Chai Latte concentrate. There’s definitely the aroma of the warming spices in there, which is really quite pleasant. I can make out the ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom aromas. The one thing that really hit me when I tasted it was how sweet it is. I think as I finish off this carton, I would mix a bit more milk to concentrate to help temper down how sweet it is (and this is coming from a girl who likes her sweets!). There’s really no pumpkin flavour at all, but the spices that I would expect to find in a pumpkin pie are definitely present and very flavourful, albeit accompanied by a lot of sugar. The black tea base is mostly covered up by the spices in the blend, along with the cane sugar syrup and honey.

As an aside, the original Chai Latte concentrate has nearly identical ingredients to the Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte Concentrate (this one is missing vanilla extract) and has less sugar (16g per ½ cup versus 21g per ½ cup).

My Overall Impression

I thought that Tazo Tea’s Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte Concentrate was just okay. It was really fun to try from a novelty perspective since it is the season for pumpkin spice all the things. The spice blend is on point for what I expect from something that’s supposed to taste like pumpkin spice, it was just on the side of too much sweet for me when prepared the way that Tazo Tea recommends. I think it’s quite concentrated (and very sugary) and will cut the concentrate with more milk in the future (probably a 1:2 ratio instead of 1:1). However, it does make for a nice novelty drink and I will happily finishing the rest of the carton up before the week is up!

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Chai Castle’s Masala Chai

Masala Chai by Chai Castle
Black Tea / Flavoured
$15.00 for 100g

Chai Castle has provided me with Masala Chai for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Masala Chai is one of those drinks that I can never get right on my own from scratch – I think that I’m just too heavy handed with certain spices when I try to figure it out by myself. This is primarily the reason why I leave that to the experts and use prepared blends because I never get it quite right. Chai Castle was kind enough to send me a sample of Masala Chai to try in a shiny resealable packet.

The aroma of Masala Chai is incredibly fragrant – I can make out the ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon when I take a sniff after opening the packet. I’m almost certain that I can identify all of the ingredients as well in this blend: black tea, ginger pieces, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, and aniseed.

Preparation

Chai Castle recommends steeping Masala Chai in 100°C (212°F) water for 3 to 5 minutes. My initial steep of Masala Chai was for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Masala Chai steeps to a beautiful deep reddish-orange colour. There’s some strong fragrances from the steeped tea – primarily that of the ginger, cardamom, and ginger again. This Masala Chai has some very nice flavours. I found a good balance between the ginger and cinnamon. I find the cardamom wasn’t as strong as I usually prefer, and the fennel was very noticeable at the end of each sip.

I found that the initial steep had a nice, light sweetness to it. I brightened up the flavours a bit by adding a small bit of local honey. It helped to bring out the cardamom flavours in the tea blend.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Masala Chai once, adding an extra 30 seconds for the resteep time. I found that the flavour was pretty consistent with the initial steep, with all the flavours slightly weaker. However, the balance of the flavours held up well with being resteeped and it was palatable for a resteep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Chai Castle’s Masala Chai. I really enjoyed the flavours of the spices in this black tea blend, it really did hit the notes that I’m looking for in a chai. While the cardamom could have been a touch stronger, it was brought out by that little bit of honey that I had put into the tea, so I really did like how the flavours were susceptible to being coaxed out by a bit of sweetener. If you’re not too into sweet teas, Masala Chai does have a light sweetness to it, so the honey isn’t necessary.

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