There is nothing quite like a cup of tea to start the day. It’s been part of my morning routine for years now, and I find it both comforting and centering, as well as invigorating, and delicious. It’s calming to hold a hot mug in my hands while stepping onto my porch to watch the neighborhood awaken, or sitting in my sunroom while the birds flock to the feeders in my backyard.
I usually stick with traditional tea bags, either from Aldi or its cousin Trader Joe’s. Sometimes I brew loose leaf tea. Sometimes I pour a splash of half and half into my tea, or heavy whipping cream if I’m feeling really indulgent and willing to throw calorie counts to the wind.
What I haven’t tried before is a tea latte. While I’m not a coffee drinker, I am familiar with lattes, which are made of coffee and milk. A tea latte is the same idea, but made with tea and milk and no coffee.
A few months ago, several tea latte flavors showed up on Aldi’s shelves as Aldi Finds (Special Buys). I was curious, and I was drawn to the attractive, whimsical illustrations on the packaging, but I noticed a lot of sugar and additives such as natural flavors on the ingredients lists, so I initially passed on the tea lattes.
When they showed up as Aldi Finds again a few months later, I decided that since they appear to be a recurring item in stores, I might as well see what the hype is about.
Simply Nature Organic Tea Lattes cost $2.99 for a 32-ounce carton. These are Aldi Finds, which means they are only in stores for a short time.
They come in three flavors: chai tea latte, dirty chai tea latte, and London fog tea latte.
These are black tea concentrates, and to prepare them you simply add milk. They’re certified organic by ProCert.
Each carton contains about five 3/4-cup servings, and it’s easy to prepare these tea lattes. To prepare them, shake the carton prior to opening. Mix equal parts concentrate with milk or a milk substitute. To serve hot, heat on the stove or in the microwave to desired temperature. To serve cold, pour over ice or chill in the refrigerator.
I used whole milk in these tea lattes and heated them in the microwave for about 1 minute and 45 seconds to 2 minutes.
Do not freeze these, and do not microwave the package. The carton should be refrigerated after opening, and it should be used within 21 days.
My overarching first impression about all of these tea latte flavors is that they are extremely sweet, and that sweetness sometimes overpowers the actual flavor of the tea. Maybe this is normal if you’re purchasing a tea latte from a coffee shop, but when I drink regular tea at home, I add a minimal amount of sweetener (usually honey), so this was a different experience all together for my taste buds. You might like these sugary tea lattes if you like sweet tea or if regular tea is not, well, your cup of tea, but with 18-21 grams of added sugar per serving, I don’t consider these to be an everyday kind of drink unless you want to rot your teeth.
Here’s a closer look at each of the flavors.
Simply Nature Chai Tea Latte
This is described as “a rich blend of black tea, ginger, cardamom, clove, anise and nutmeg.” This is very sweet, which is probably why my 8-year-old loved it. It has solid nutmeg flavor, but I felt like a lot of the other flavors were muted by the dominant sweet taste.
Ingredients are: brewed tea (water, organic black tea, spice extracts [cassia, ginger, cardamom, clove, anise, nutmeg, black pepper], natural flavors), organic cane sugar, and less than 1% of organic caramel color, organic ginger juice, citric acid, and natural flavors.
One 3/4-cup serving has 90 calories. I assume this is prior to adding milk, so take that into account if you’re counting calories and keeping track of nutrition information. One serving also has 22 grams of total carbohydrates (8% DV) and 21 grams of added sugars (42% DV).
Simply Nature Dirty Chai Tea Latte
This is described as “a lively blend of classic chai tea spiked with espresso.” This was my favorite of the three tea latte flavors, even though I don’t usually like coffee. It’s still highly sweetened, but the bitterness of the espresso balances the sweetness and gives it a good flavor.
Ingredients are brewed tea (water, organic black tea, natural flavors, spice extracts [cassia, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, clove, anise]), organic cane sugar, organic coffee (water, organic arabica coffee), and less than 1% of organic caramel color, natural flavors, and citric acid.
One 3/4-cup serving has 90 calories. Again, I think this is before adding milk, so you’ll want to adjust your calorie count and nutrition information. This also has 22 grams of total carbohydrates (8% DV) and 21 grams of added sugars (42% DV).
Simply Nature London Fog Tea Latte
This is described as “classic earl grey tea flavors with hints of bright, citrusy bergamot and lavender.” A London Fog, by the way, is the name for Earl Grey tea mixed with milk and sweetener. Again, this is so sweet that the Earl Grey flavors are sort of secondary. Those classic bergamot and lavender flavors are there, but the dominant flavor is of sugar.
Ingredients are brewed organic tea (water, organic black tea), organic cane sugar, and less than 1% of organic caramel color, citric acid, and natural flavors.
One 3/4-cup serving has 80 calories, presumably before adding milk, so take that into account. It also has 19 grams of total carbohydrates (7% DV) and 18 grams of added sugars (36% DV).
Simply Nature Organic Tea Lattes are a treat if you enjoy tea or coffee drinks and have a sweet tooth. They’re easy to make by mixing equal amounts of tea latte concentrate with milk. My personal favorite is the dirty chai flavor.