Yesterday was a busy but kind lazy day… does that even make sense? 😉 I was out and about all day but didn’t really do anything super productive – it was fun though! The highlight of the day was of course the Starbucks blogger tea tasting. It was scheduled for 11am and I wasn’t sure if they were going to feed us there, so I had a small bite to eat while catching up on blog reading, just so I wouldn’t show up starving…
I met up with Shannon before the event, and we walked over there together. It was really nice meeting another Boston blogger and we chatted the entire way there. Upon arrival at the Starbucks we were greeted by a few other bloggers, including Bridget and Pam … and a few moments later Tina and her husband, Mal, showed up. We got right down to tea tasting business, though, so there was no time for real chatting until after we were done with tea and pastries. Speaking of pastries, there was a huge spread of them for us to taste. Good thing I had my snack before leaving, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to control myself. I mean, they had cupcakes, scones, muffins, cakes… these are all the things that make me weak 😉 A pretty horrible photo for you (the tasting already began when I snapped this):
First up… the Tazo BlackTea Latte. This is where I’m absolutely horrible at describing things – the Starbucks pamphlet says it has hints of dark caramel, malt and black cherries. Honestly I don’t know if I tasted all of that but it was delicious 😉 It was made with 2% milk and sweetened with classic syrup (they use 1oz of syrup for a grande sized cup). Just like a coffee latte, the tea latte is made with 1/2 tea and 1/2 steamed milk. I really enjoyed how smooth it was. I’ve never been a fan of adding milk to my tea (I always drink it black), so it actually surprised me how much I enjoyed the taste of a tea latte. The syrup made it too sweet though. I think ordering it unsweetened with skim milk is definitely the way to go!
It paired very nicely with the suggested apple bran muffin (the healthier option), which had some delicious dry cherries in them. Starbucks introduced this bran muffin as part of their Start Your Day Right initiative, and I was happy to finally sample this better for you muffin. I love bran muffins!
The more indulgent pairing for this was the iced lemon loaf. I used to eat these like it was my job a few years back (mmm, icing) and just one bite of this treat brought back a lot of NY memories. I think this latte is “neutral” enough (not in a bland way) that it pairs nicely with just about anything, but I’m not sure why this pound cake specifically was chosen as the recommended pairing. Hey, I enjoyed it so I’m not complaining! 😀
Next up… Tazo London Fog Tea Latte – (stealing Starbuck’s words again)… a delicate floral blend of fragrant black tea leaves is flavored with the citrusy essense of Italian bergamot and a hint of lavender. My taste buds were once again overwhelmed by the sweetness of the syrup, so I couldn’t taste the hint of lavender here, but it was again a very smooth tasting latte and the one thing I learned about Starbucks is that they are happy to customize any drink for you, even the fancy sounding ones 😉 So next time I have this, I’ll definitely skip the syrup to really enjoy the real taste of this delicious tea. I totally dropped the ball on taking pictures of the teas for the rest of the event, but you can pretty much imagine the cup above if you need a visual.
The London Fog Tea Latte was paired with a mini vanilla bean scone (not a low fat dessert but with portion control can be a nice little treat once in a while). I got a little excited about trying this guy, so you get to see a picture of a scone that’s been tempered with a little 😉
And for a more indulgent pairing, we tried the raspberry scone. This was delicious and very buttery. We all agreed that it was a bit of an add choice for a pairing, but oh my goodness was it delicious!!
Last latte that we got to taste was the Tazo Vanilla Rooibos (pronounced like roy-bus) Tea Latte. The taste was nothing like the other two lattes. It had a very strong honey aroma and had a very complex vanilla/cinnamon/spice flavor. There was definitely a lot of natural sweetness in this tea, which I really enjoy as a straight up tea drinker.
Food pairings!! The Vanilla Rooibos naturally went well with another bite of the vanilla bean scone:
And the treat I’ve been eyeing the moment we stepped foot in the Starbucks… a red velvet cupcake. The frosting was a bit on the sugary side for me (what was with me – I typically can’t get enough sugar?) but I’m never complaining when I get to taste cupcakes for breakfast! 😀
I had a bite of this little guy:
And from here we moved on to the Tea Infusions, which are made with chai concentrate and steamed juices.
The Tazo Berry Chai Tea Infusion combines, as the name suggests, chai and berry juice. It had a deep berry color and someone mentioned it tasted a bit like malt wine 😆 It was thick, with an intense berry flavor. Very intense. Just one sip was enough for me…. I think watering it down and icing this, would make for a more refreshing drink.
We paired it with the reduced fat blueberry and the reduced fat cinnamon swirl coffee cakes. Both were so light and fluffy, I wanted to grab the whole cake, turn off all the lights and see what happens 😉 I decided to behave a little more lady-like and just enjoyed a few bites of each (ok, I kind of finished the blueberry piece by the time we were done with the tasting ). PS – don’t let the “reduced fat” name fool you – this maybe lower in fat than some of their other cakes, but it is still a caloric item and should only be enjoyed in moderation if you’re trying to eat healthy. I REALLY loved it though so it was worth every calorie in my opinion!
And last tea of the day… Tazo Apple Chai Tea Infusion – same idea – 1/2 chai concentrate, 1/2 apple juice and was equally intense and sweet. The sweetness comes from the chai concentrate and the natural sugars in the apple juice. No additional sweetener was added. I’m going to be truthful here, the infused teas are not my cup of tea… hehe 😆 Too intense! But the lattes are definitely going to become my new obsession, especially since Starbucks provided us with some tea samples and a $10 gift card, so I will definitely be back for more! Oh, and they were also nice enough to let us each order a latte the way we wanted it. I went with the Vanilla Rooibos with skim milk and no syrup. It was still quite sweet so it was like a nice dessert that I got to enjoy for an hour while shopping
Thank you Starbucks so much for organizing this!! It was a great experience and I think it’s a great idea to bring the Boston bloggers closer so we can all enjoy the city and everything it has to offer.
After the lovely tasting event, I met up with my husband for a bit of shopping, followed by a light lunch at Chili Duck Thai Restaurant, a little bit of relaxing in the apartment with a lovely cocktail + snacks and dinner at Cambridge 1, followed by drinks at my parents house. See what I mean by busy yet lazy?
Here is the yummy chocolate martini my husband made for me … wouldn’t you pay like $12 for this at a fancy restaurant? 😛
And another picture of the Kashi oatmeal dark chocolate cookies. These and Barney Butter (not together) are my new food obsession!
+ some Annie’s organic cheddar bunnies that jumped in my mouth after all the sugar that was consumed…
I’ll be back later with separate posts featuring lunch + dinner. Thank you all for reading! 😀