Month: January 2013

Review: Green Tea Chai (Novel Cafe, Pasadena CA)

It’s getting to the point where I can’t buy a beverage anywhere without thinking to myself “I should take a picture and review this for my blog!” I buy a lot of drinks because let’s face it, I’m a coffee/tea addict. I can’t resist a good latte or cup of tea. So today, courtesy of my breakfast, here’s a quick review of the Green Tea Chai from Novel Cafe. There’s a few varieties of chai latte at Novel — I picked the green tea one because I needed a little extra zip. Green tea, being less processed than black tea, has more caffeine. And when it’s a gray, rainy sort of day, it’s nice to have a hot beverage to sip while you wait for your food. This chai, served at a perfect temperature for drinking right away, has a very nice blend of spices. They overwhelm the flavor of the tea a little, but I generally expect that in a chai. I swear there’s a hint of mint in it — not something you usually find in chai spice blends, but it works amazingly well with the other flavors and gives it a nice refreshing finish. It’s sweet, but not as heavily sweetened as a Starbucks chai. All in all, a perfect starter for a meal … or a perfect drink to sit and sip while you watch...

Read More

Review: Vanilla Spice Latte (Starbucks)

The holidays have come to an end — and with them, the season of Starbucks’s well-loved holiday drinks. But as the Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte, and Peppermint Mocha ride off into the sunset to vanish until next November, new drinks arrive to take their place. We can’t have people getting bored with the regular menu, can we? This year, the post-holiday theme is Vanilla — complete with an all-new drink, the Vanilla Spice Latte. As a flavored latte, this concoction starts with espresso and steamed milk. The usual options apply: decaf, iced, nonfat, soy, etc. The flavor is created with “vanilla spice” syrup, which is kind of a French vanilla-y flavor mixed with cardamom and a few hints of other spices. Since this is a sweet froufrou drink, it comes with whipped cream and a sprinkling of vanilla bean sugar on top. I love vanilla-flavored things, and this one does not disappoint. It’s not as overwhelmingly spice-flavored as the Pumpkin Spice latte; the cardamom is nicely balanced with the vanilla so you can still taste both. It is quite sweet, so if supersugar isn’t your thing you might want to get fewer pumps of the syrup, and leave the whipped cream off. As a seasonal drink, the Vanilla Spice Latte will probably only be available for a limited time, and may or may not come back next year depending...

Read More