Our blend of natural Chai Tea Latte is an exotic cup of tea with a coffee shop twist. Created from a delicious blend natural spice flavours including cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom, it's made even better sprinkled with sugar and topped off with delightfully frothy milk.
We purchased one of the Dolce Gusto machines a year or so ago when we stumbled on a great special at a local appliance store. My husband had been wanting a coffee machine for some time, but I had been a little reluctant more because of the fact that I don't drink coffee and I wasn't sure I would actually get any use out of it myself, and was thinking it would be one of those things he would use a few times and then it would go back in the cupboard never to be touched again. But how wrong could I have been?! I quickly discovered that there were some non-coffee pod options for those of us who are non-coffee drinkers.
When going to a cafe with family and/or friends I will always opt for a hot chocolate, iced chocolate or smoothie. I have never ventured far from this, unsure of what else I would like and whether the drinks had a coffee component in them. Chai tea latte is something I have heard of but to be completely honest with the word "latte" in it I figured it would have coffee in there somewhere. I have since learnt that latte means milk, and feel a little silly I didn't realise this earlier! When these Chai Tea Latte pods came up for review I thought it would be the perfect time to give them a try.
At home on a cold, rainy day I decided it was the perfect time to trial a hot drink. I filled the water tank up with water and got the pods out of the box. This particular drink requires a chai tea pod and a milk pod. Following the instructions I added the milk first - approximately 120ml (my machine is manual so I'm never quite sure of the exact measurement!) and then put in the chai tea pod. As it began to push the water through the pod I was met with the most amazing cinnamon smell. This got me a little excited that it might be a hot drink I actually enjoy. Once day I cleaned up the machine before sitting down to enjoy the chai tea latte.
The first sip I took I could definitely taste the cinnamon. But there was another flavour that was familiar but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Reading the above description helped - it was the cardamom. I have used this in cooking before and it was definitely the most prominent flavour I could taste. I wasn't sure after the first couple of sips whether I liked it but gave the drink a chance and finished it. As I went further through I did start to enjoy it. Sometimes I can be a bit weary of new tastes and as this drink was quite strong I wasn't really sure. By the end I had decided that while I enjoyed it, I wasn't sure I would pick it over a hot chocolate, but it is nice to know that if I want something different this is something that I like.
I love this tea as I don't drink coffee in the evenings unless I have a migraine as I find in my older years that coffee too late at night keeps me awake for ages and this is a tasty alternative.
I have tried other brands of Chai and Spiced Chai and these pods are heaps better. The taste is gentle and not overpowering but the flavour is not missing like some of the other brands, you can taste the cinnamon. Being in a pod there is no mess to clean up and another bonus is being able to recycle the pods. My son who loves the Peach Tea that is being discontinued has tried the Chai and this is now his choice of drinks with his dinner. His only complaint is that the drink is a little bit too hot to drink immediately as he is only 9 and hasn't learnt how to swallow really hot drinks without burning his mouth yet but he has tried the drink made with cold water going through the milk pod and he said it was just right. My daughter who has only recently been brave enough to try coffee loves this as it makes her feel grown up.
I can guarantee that this drink will be a favourite in our family as long as I can find it easily in my local supermarket as the price is reasonable for the amount of drinks I can get from one box of pods.
I love getting myself a chai latte when out and about as I often find that a coffee just won't be quite to my liking or tastes but a chai latte almost always hits the right spot. I don't see this as cost effective and worth the $9.99 as some of the other pods in this range, as you have to use two pods to make one drink so that would be minus a point for this drink. You have one milk pod and one chai pod and they tell you how much water to use, however the good thing is that if you want to add or minus water, you can do so easily.
When it comes to taste, I do prefer my chai lattes to taste a little stronger, doing it as per the suggestion, I liked it but didn't love it. I did try using less water for the chai but it didn't change the flavour any better, and adding water I find it too weak. I started to have a mug of this just before bed, it's nice enough and being a warm milky drink, it helps make me a tad dozy. I felt like experimenting and so added some butterscotch creamy liquor to my chai and wow! It was delicious, something I happily replicated for the next couple of nights.
I didn't LOVE this drink, but I do enjoy it and will be getting this again.
I was taken by the name of this product, which I have seen often in recent times as more and more specialist drinks appear. To me, the word "chai" is just another word for tea (in many languages), and "latte" the Italian word for milk. I wonder if whoever originally coined the phrase for this particular drink was trying to differentiate it from "caffe latte" which is Italian for "coffee with milk"; maybe "te latte", although equally Italian, did not have the same romantic sound to it as "chai latte". Whatever the reason, the name has stuck and now defines a variety of tea which is made with spices and is quite distinct from everyday teas such as good old gumboot! It appeals to the hipsters among us who like to be at the forefront of the gourmet revolution.
Since I had never made a chai tea latte (or for that matter tasted one), I followed the instructions to the letter and my two friends who had volunteered to be tasters were given a cup each to try. There was a moment of silence while they both took their first sip, then I waited in anticipation to hear what they would say. My first friend put his cup down and assured me that it was everything he had expected. He has in the past purchased commercially produced chai lattes, and said this was equal if not better. He liked the cinnamon overtones which were not too overstated but still clearly recognisable, and appreciated the subtle smell of the drink as it was brewing in the machine.
My second friend finished her drink before giving me her feedback. She wanted to be sure that she had enough to say! She was impressed that the level of sweetness was just right for her, and the recommended strength was perfect as well. Her comment was that, although it was reasonably strong, there was none of the acidic aftertaste she has noticed in similar drinks she has had in the past. In fact, she thought she might like to try a second later on!
Both of my friends were unanimous in their appreciation of this product. They said they would be buying some of the pods (they have their own machine but had not previously been aware of this variety) and could see it going particularly well with dessert to round off a good meal. He thought it would be better served in a glass mug with a pinch of cinnamon on the top as the illustration on the box made it look very attractive. However, she said it did not really matter as it was the taste that was most important. Apart from that they could find nothing to criticise in the content or the packaging.
In my younger years, I have worked in cafe's for well over 7 years. But I have never enjoyed coffee. Far too bitter for my liking. So being in such an environment for an extended period of time, means I have tried pretty much every non-coffee beverage available in the cafe world. This includes Chai Lattes, where the ingredients came in either liquid or powder form. In my experience Chai Lattes came out best with powdered ingredients as they mixed better, and created a much fluffier product, than when just adding stretched milk to a shot of chai syrup. So I was expecting the product to fall in the middle, as the pod would fall under the powder category, but the milk would lack the proper stretching to create a true latte consistency.
Looking at the pod, it was interesting to see that both pods gave the instructions of 3 fingers of water, yet one says 120ml, and the other says 100ml. I'm not sure whether there is something inside the pods that would alter the amount of beverage that exits, but it seems odd that the same setting would yield different quantities of fluid.
For the purposes of the review, I decided to risk a tumbler, so that we could see the true appearance of the beverage and gauge how well it mixes or separates. Using the box as instructions, it shows milk pod + chai pod = chai latte, so I added the milk pod first. It was interesting to watch it being made, as I expected to lose a lot of the white milky colour as the chai was added afterwards, and yeat the chai colour broke through to the bottom and ended up looking just like the image on the box (minus the garnishings)
Flavour-wise, I found it very weak. Far too milky for my liking (I'm lactose intolerant as it is, so if I'm going to end up on the toilet, I'd rather have a great flavour to make up for my future troubles). The milk was the primary flavour that came through, which was a little disappointing. I tried running some more water through the chai pod, but that just served to dilute the drink further. I decided to try again, but only using the chai pod. It was much more enjoyable, with a strong cinnamon flavour, with notes of cardamom and cloves. Slightly too rich (this was to be expected as I left out the diluting milk factor entirely) but much better flavour that with too much milk. With the milk pod in, the texture was nice, and was good and fluffy. It's just unfortunate that I had to choose between flavour and texture.
Especially as it is coming into the hotter summer months now I would prefer to just use the chai pod, and add a dash of my own soy milk afterwards, to bring the temperature down a bit, and have greater control of dilution (and obviously avoid the milk). This does create the problem, however, where I would end up with a number of unused milk pods, which will add further to the waste that these pods create. I hope one day that Nescafe will release the flavour pods separately, and allow me to purchase a box of milk pods or soy pods as needed, rather than forcing them into each box as a mandatory ingredient. I much prefer stronger flavours, and it seems a waste to have all of these milk pods go into the trash.
This is where I confess that until a couple of days ago I had never tried a Chai tea latte. I have heard people ordering it and even been with friends as they drank it and enjoyed the aroma. To be honest the cost of drinks in a cafe always put me off ordering something I wasn't sure I would like. At a recent KIWIreviews product meeting for Dolce Gusto I got the chance to try whatever drink I wished from their range and took the chance to try their Chai Tea Latte.
To say I enjoy it is an understatement. It is now my drink of choice to enjoy once I have done my chores for the day and the kids are in bed. It tastes as great as it smells. It is a smooth milky drink with a lovely blend of spices. In essence it is a grown ups fluffy. It is also my sugar hit for the evening so I don't find myself reaching for the chocolate biscuits as I normally would.
To make it requires two pods, one milk and the other Chai tea. This box contains the pods for eight 220ml servings. The box suggests you use the milk pod first but having tried it both ways I prefer the tea first as it gives a more blended drink. As a box sells for $9.99 this works out at $1.25 a cup which is significantly cheaper than a cup in a cafe. If you are a Chai drinker you are sure to enjoy this.
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