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, May 22, 2014

Trader Joe's Matcha Green Tea Latte Mix

Last year, we reviewed TJ's Tropical Sweetened Matcha Mix. That product left more than a little to be desired. Neither a tropical fruit drink nor a true matcha green tea drink, Sonia and I felt that it missed its mark—regardless of the fact we couldn't tell which mark it was aiming for. It was just...off. 

And while I've never been thoroughly impressed with the taste and texture of matcha green tea to begin with, true matcha fans like Sonia might get really excited over this Matcha Green Tea Latte Mix. It's thick and creamy, and it actually tastes like matcha. It mixes very smoothly and leaves virtually no powdery grit after stirring—IF you follow the instructions and mix it with hot water. If you want it cold, just chill it after you mix it. Mixing it with cold water requires several years worth of stirring.

For extra creaminess, you can make it with milk or soymilk. I found that if you mix it with water and also serve it on ice, as per the instructions, that it gets a little too watery and thin. If you're going to chill it with a glassful of ice cubes, we found it's best to use some kind of milk. It's still sweet enough, but it loses almost all of its creaminess.

I'm not sure what it is that turns me off about matcha. I feel like it looks and tastes just a little too much like a plant...or algae...granted, sweetened algae, but I'm just not into drinking algae at all. I like tea. I like chai. But I didn't even like that matcha flavored mochi that much—and Mikawaya mochi is wonderful. Mushroom Mochi? Glad Russ reviewed that stuff. You couldn't pay Sonia and I to try it—we're both pseudo-allergic to mushrooms.

How did we get to talking about mochi? Back to matcha. Anyway, I couldn't even stomach the Matcha Green Tea Smoothie from Jamba Juice—and I love me some Jamba Juice. I'm just not a matcha guy. But if I were, I have determined that I might have liked this particular product.

Sonia loves it. She says it reminds her of the matcha latte from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. She gives it 4 stars. I don't think I'll be drinking it on a regular basis, but since I can tell that it's a quality product, I think I'll go with 3 stars. If you're into green tea, but not necessarily matcha, check out Green Tea and Lemonade or Pomegranate Green Tea.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. I have had regular matcha tea and it upset my stomach... it did its trick to cleaning my system out ( yeh, I know tmi)... I stopped using it.. after reading about the adverse effects... a friend had the same effect- and that's w/just matcha tea only...

    1. Yeah KBF, that's kinda part of the reason I'm not into matcha that much...I've had similar experiences with it...

  2. What I've liked best with this powder is putting it a couple tablespoons in a blender with 12 oz of milk and a handful or two of ice cubes. Pretty close to the green tea blended cream at Starbucks.

    1. Yeah, Sonia talked about doing that, but I don't think she's tried it yet...good idea!

    2. If anyone else remembers the green tea blended drink at panera... Blend a couple tablespoons of the latte powder, 1/2 c or so of yogurt, about a cup of chunks of frozen honeydew, and whatever liquid you prefer (I like to make and cool some regular green tea) gets pretty close! And some lemon zest if you're feeling fancy.

  3. Replies
    1. I think it was about $4 at our TJ's, kytes.

  4. do you know how much caffeine this has per serving? i love matcha green tea, but caffeine gives me really bad anxiety, so I try to steer clear of it usually (even in tea)

  5. Mixed 1T and a frozen banana in the food processor for green tea ice cream - really good and only 153 calories!