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Taste Test: Starbucks Tazo Tea Infusions

Despite hard times, coffee chain Starbucks continues to try new tactics. Two weeks ago, I introduced you to the company's tea lattes, its latest beverage to hit counters nationwide. But if lattes aren't your thing, Starbucks is hoping you'll reach for its new Tea Infusions instead, which are available in two flavors: Tazo Berry Chai and Tazo Apple Chai. I had a chance to give these drinks — a nondairy blend of Tazo black chai tea and fruit juice — a try. To find out how they fared,

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Tazo Berry Chai: Described as "a blend of aronia berry and blackcurrant juices steamed with black tea and exotic spices," I could taste the cloves and cassis sticks in the chai blended into this beverage. Although the drink had a mellow blackberry taste, each sip had a spicy, peppery ending. It did strike me as very sweet, and I wondered how much sweeter it would taste once lukewarm.

Tazo Apple Chai: Although there were supposedly "sweet spices" steamed into this beverage, PartySugar and I thought it was a dead ringer for spiced apple cider. It was also heavy on the sugar.

If you're in search of a spiced cider with a caffeine kick, or want to enjoy a drink akin to mulled wine without the alcohol, these drinks would be for you. It's hard for me to rationalize forgoing the taste of classic chai tea in exchange for one of these infusions. I found them both to be too sweet. While Starbucks maintains that they can also be served on ice, I wonder whether they would taste even more cloying when enjoyed cold.

Have you tried either of these drinks? What did you think of them?

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