Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Trader Joe's Salted Caramel Chai Tea Latte

I already used a clever "tai chi and chai tea" line in my review of Trader Joe's Spicy Chai Latte. So what should I say at the opening of this review? Hmm. How about this? A quote from Angel Taylor: "On a date...to get some chai tea lattes. You open the door for me always."

I'm not sure if she's referring to her date being a gentleman and opening the door for her, or if she's referring to the chai itself, which might open a figurative door to India for her...or something like that. But either way, I think she and her bf should swing by TJ's and check this stuff out.

When Trader Joe's puts the word "salt" or "salted" in the actual title of one of their products, they usually want to draw special attention to it. And in most cases, at least for me, it makes me raise an eyebrow. But after successes like Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds and the Dark Chocolate Caramel with Black Sea Salt Bar, I'm usually curious and optimistic about their "salted" products.

As was the case with previous "salty" products, you can definitely taste the salt. Rather than it just being another ingredient to blend in with all the other flavors, it somehow becomes a featured flavor. You can distinctly taste salt, caramel, and chai, no matter how you prepare this beverage.

The canister simply calls for hot water. We've even had comments on our Facebook page concurring that all you need to use is water when mixing up a "cuppa" this chai. Sure, it's drinkable that way. You can still taste the aforementioned salt, caramel, and chai-ness...but both Sonia and I agree that it's a hundred times better when made with milk.

We used 1%. It comes out thick, rich, sweet, and filling. When made with just water, the tea can still be hot—and still great for these chilly January days, but when made with milk, it's a hearty, dessert-ish, restaurant-quality treat. It felt and tasted like a powdered mix when we used water. But that's just our take on it. Tell us what you make it with in the comments below. I'm sure one of you has completely reinvented the wheel and used almond milk or something like that that will make us feel stupid for using cow's milk...but let us have it! I assure you that any pride that I project in this blog or in real life is simply part of an act—a cry for help, really.

But anyhoo, we really liked it with milk. We'd give it something like 3 stars a piece if we had only ever made it with water. But since we used milk, we'll give it 4 stars a piece.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.


  1. I actually prefer half water and half milk when I mix up a Chai (and I'm crazy about my Chai). It seems to be just right that way. Not too rich. Just rich enough.

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  3. I love this stuff! I mix it in with hot tea - delicious!

  4. I could see that working, haverlee...as long as there's some milk in the mix...

    What kind of tea do you mix it with, Kara?

  5. I dropped into my local TJ's today, and no salted caramel chai. Booooo!! You make it sound so yummy!

  6. I just use water and I think it's perfect and creamy as is. No need for the extra calories! I made it iced one day with 1% milk (after using hot water to dissolve the mix) and while I thought it tasted good, it was just too rich for me. There is non-fat powered milk and coconut oil in the mix itself, which gives it a nice creamy taste that I've had as a dessert many nights this winter. I wish this was a permanent product instead of a seasonal, because I'm hooked!

  7. I make it with regular black tea. Sometimes adding milk.

  8. Nutrition facts are helpful, but the review would be most complete with an ingredients list, and pricing at the time of purchase. Looks like this can sports seven servings per container. Apparently it's a limited edition and TJ's no longer stocks it: as of 2/18, it retails on Amazon for $15/can (about $2.15/serving).

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  10. This is my favorite Chai tea. I love it with water, but have never tried it milk. A true cup of comfort. Too bad it's seasonal at TJs.

  11. This is my favorite Chai tea. I love it with water, but have never tried it milk. A true cup of comfort. Too bad it's seasonal at TJs.