Tia Lupita is a family-owned company with a rich Mexican back story, and their original hot sauce tastes like it comes from the heart: pure homemade, made with a lot of passion for the ingredients. There’s a rich flavor of sweet red jalapenos, mixed with a slight vinegar tang and earthy spices. Yum. The flavor makes Tia Lupita Hot Sauce a stand out. But how does it stack up across heat balance, usability, and collectibility? Let’s dive in to see if it holds up.
Tia Lupita Hot Sauce is non-GMO, gluten-free, low on salt with no added sugars. I write that first because the last two points really drive that homemade taste home. The natural flavors of the peppers and spices take full stage here without a lot of stuff coming in-between.
The ingredient list reads like something you whisked up on your stovetop: red jalapeños, water, organic distilled vinegar, salt, garlic, oregano, black pepper, and cumin. No thickeners, no binders, no extra flavor enhancers. You gotta love it.
Red jalapeños are not like their green counterparts when it comes to flavor. Greens have a bright, somewhat bitter bite, while red jalapeños have an earthy sweetness to them. That delicious natural sweetness is showcased and enhanced so well in Tia Lupita Hot Sauce.
The second you open the bottle, you smell the garlic and a slight vinegar acidity, but once you dive in the red jalapenos sing out their sweet, sweet tune. That’s followed with a well-balanced amount of toasted spices (oregano, black pepper, and cumin) that enhance that earthiness. For those of you who love a slightly earthy, toasted flavor, you’ll get that in this sauce.
The sweetness of the red jalapenos is ever-present, while the spices hit you on the mid- to back-end, and they surprise you with flavors you never saw coming. You’ll have to take at least three bites of this stuff before you can figure out what part of this sauce you like more: the fresh sweetness of the red jalapenos or the fantastic combo of toasted spices? I simply can’t choose; it’s just too tasty.
Tia Lupita Hot Sauce is a mild to medium heat that builds as you go. Upon the first bite, you won’t get much of a kick, but things start to kick up a notch after a few bites in. In this way, it’s an easy sauce to sample a bite or two on before deciding to go full-hog on using it.
They don’t announce its specific Scoville heat level, but jalapeños range from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units. Red jalapeños tend to average hotter than greens due to their additional time on the vine. In this sauce, those jalapeños are first on the ingredients list. So we’ll estimate somewhere from 1,000 to 2,500 SHU here, about the equivalent of eating a fresh poblano or a milder fresh jalapeño.
No matter how much you eat of this sauce, it won’t build past a medium spiciness, and the heat never lingers for too long either. Your lips and tongue won’t be screaming out; they’ll simply delight in the perfectly balanced kick this sauce gives. It’s a sauce that can easily sit at most everyone’s tables.
Are you having a Mexican night? Get Tia Lupita ready. This sauce goes great on anything with melted cheese: tacos, burritos, enchiladas, you name it. It’s also delicious well beyond Mexican cuisine, too. It’s delicious with morning eggs, fried chicken, or simply as a sandwich condiment.
Let’s talk sodium here while we’re at it. Tia Lupita Hot Sauce has 25mg per serving, which is 1% of your daily allowance. This is about as low-sodium as you get, so if you’re watching your salt intake, this is a very usable condiment. Plus, it’s great to add to already salty foods. The natural sweetness here balances well with the salty flavor.
Also, the bottle comes without a stopper, which I love because you’ll want to drench your food in this. I just poured this into a mug and used it as a dip for my chips, and it’s perfect.
The label just gives you that warm, fuzzy homey feeling, with a smiling toon-version of Tia Lupita herself. It makes you feel like you’re eating a sauce straight from home. I love it. It catches the eye and connotes that the hot sauce within comes from a special family recipe. It’s not collectible in the way some extreme hot sauces are. This isn’t flashy, with extreme heat symbolism. But it’s collectible none the less. If you put Tia Lupita up along other medium-heat sauces, that label (along with the hot sauce’s beautiful color) would undoubtedly draw me in. It just makes you feel like good things are hidden inside.
Tia Lupita Hot Sauce is full of fresh flavors, featuring both natural sweetness and deliciously earthy toasted spices. It’s well balanced, with a very eatable mild-to-medium heat. (Amazon)