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VanMag's all-star interns review Starbucks' newest beverage offerings. (It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.)
We’re going to let you in on a little secret, here: being a VanMag intern has its perks. For example, when our beloved editor Stacey is away from the office and four brand-new piping hot Teavana tea lattes show up, someone’s gotta try them. We did what we had to do. For the good of the magazine, of course.The new spring-themed Teavana tea lattes will be available year-round starting today, but only in Canada. Yup, apparently we have a particularly progressive tea-drinking population, which Starbucks says has to do with emigration, health consciousness and “a penchant for learning about different varieties” (read: we’re snobs). No matter how you slice it, we got to try the new lattes, which took three years to develop and are made with ground tea leaves instead of being brewed from a bag, first. Sorry, America.The lattes come in Rooibos, Matcha, and Black tea flavours. There’s also an option to add Blossoming Rose syrup, a rosewater-reminiscent flavouring that was inspired by Japanese sakura tea. We tried them all, and here’s what we thought:
★★★★Interns Amanda and Alyssa agreed that this latte was the best of the four. This tea is super light, smooth and creamy (the powdered tea leaves give it a much more silky texture than bagged tea) and the vanilla-like aroma is definitely a highlight of this drink: avid tea-drinker Amanda called the fresh, floral scent “intoxicating.” It’s certainly much sweeter on the nose than on the palate—the presence of cane sugar was much less evident in this than in the Black tea.
★★★Intern Allie rated this latte number one. Generally a coffee-drinker, she’s into more simple flavours when it comes to tea. She found both the smell and the taste of this drink similar to that of an Earl Grey latte, which is basically what it is: steamed milk, black tea and a light sweetness were all this tea had to say for itself. It definitely lacks some of the more complex flavours of its companions, but if you’re into simplicity, it’s the drink for you.
★★★There’s no denying it: if matcha is in the equation, beauty is in the result. This drink has an almost unfair advantage in the colour department; the rich green froth has an undeniably elegant whimsy. Taste and scent-wise, though, Intern Alyssa thought it was pretty average. The vegetal quality of the matcha was not too strong, and it had just the right amount of sweetness. But like its black tea counterpart, there is really only one notable flavour; this Shrek-coloured drink is lacking in layers.
★★★Full disclosure: Intern Jessica drank this so quickly that we really only have her opinion to go from, but she made up for it with a very detailed description. Jessica reports that this drink was like “taking a warm shower.” With the rosy, floral aroma and hibiscus taste, it felt like a sweet cleanse. The colour was a highlight, as well: dusted with hibiscus crystals, the frothy drink was the colour of cherry blossoms. It was a little too sweet for her taste, though; she preferred the Matcha latte.
These lattes are pretty and tasty, but the texture is the real star of the show. The powdered tea leaves and whole milk set these drinks apart in terms of consistency, and we’re loving it. As far as taste goes, it really depends on your taste whether you like them a little or a latte (sorry). Try one for yourself…unless you’re in America.