Last blog “Teafaced” brought you chai tea reviews from some of Kent’s local coffee shops. Local shops, however, aren’t the only coffee shops in Kent. Commercial coffee shops also have chai tea lattes that prove no chai tea latte is the same. Here are your chai tea latte reviews from Kent’s commercial counterparts.
Rating Scale with 5 being the strongest and 1 being the weakest.
Dunkin’ Donuts - Vanilla Chai
1370 E. Main St.
Kent, OH, 44266
Dunkin’ Donuts is still pretty new to Kent since its arrival in November. The coffee and donut shop has a stylish setup as well as an extremely convenient drive-thru (that I frequent too often), and a different take on the chai tea latte with a powder chai mix instead of a liquid chai base. If you are generally new to coffee and tea, or even dislike the drinks, this chai tea is a great pick for you.
Chai base: Dunkin’ Donuts’ powder chai mix
This latte is really sweet, like most of the Dunkin’ drinks, and if you are like me, this drink is just too sweet. I feel like I am drinking straight melted sugar, and it usually gives me a headache. Bottom line: for a sugar junkie, this is a dream; for a dentist, this is a nightmare.
This latte is so, so, so creamy. It’s like drinking hot chocolate but if the chocolate was switched with vanilla and you squeezed out a can of Reddi-whip into the drink. It’s actually quite nice and is pretty soothing. The creaminess of it reminds me a lot of warm milk with vanilla.
This latte is pretty low on the spice. There are still remnants of cinnamon in the drink, but it isn’t powerful or overwhelming. If you don’t like strong spice, you’ll like this because it lightly flavors the drink.
I am really not a fan of the Dunkin’ Vanilla Chai. I like more flavor in my chai latte and this is just too bland for me. I think the powder chai mix is what really throws me off. Although this drink has powdered milk in the base that helps the drink’s amazing creaminess, having a powder mix is just too sweet. The spice in this drink also just falls too short for me to be a chai latte I want to keep returning to.
Starbucks - Chai Tea Latte
436 E Main St.
Kent, OH 44240
To me, Starbucks is the mecca of coffee shops. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and the drinks are delicious. I really think the baristas at Starbucks make great drinks, and I never find myself disappointed with what I order (unless it’s at a Target Starbucks, those baristas don’t always have coffee crafting skills since a lot of them are also Target cashiers). The chai tea latte at Starbucks was my first coffee house drink ever, and I always find myself coming back for an old favorite.
Chai base: Tazo chai latte
This latte isn’t too strong with the sweetness, but it has just enough to keep the drink from being overwhelmed by the bitterness tea often has. The steamed milk in the latte actually adds more sweetness than the chai base, and there is a sweet touch of vanilla.
This latte is incredibly smooth because the milk is steamed just right. It’s not too thick to weigh down the drink, and it’s not too thin to almost water it down. The drink's creaminess really complements the warmth of the spice and helps to set the latte apart from the others.
This latte does have a biting spice to it. Personally, this is my favorite part of the latte. I love the added heat to the drink with the cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. But, the reason this much spice works in this latte is the creaminess that helps tone it down and smooth it out.
Although I didn’t want to be a Starbucks snob, this chai latte is my absolute favorite. It’s not as toned down and balanced as the Tree City chai tea latte, that I also highly recommend, but to me, that’s what makes it great. It’s rich and creamy but not too sweet, and the kick of spice lingers on your tongue and warms your throat all the way down.