Pumpkins used to be eaten only once per year on Thanksgiving. Stuffed after a big turkey meal, you would force down a slice of your Great-Aunt Myrtle’s pumpkin pie and immediately regret it.
Trader Joe’s has developed more than 40 pumpkin-flavored products for fall, which it dubs “Pumpkin Season.” Products include pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin macarons, pumpkin soup, pumpkin granola, and (yes) even pumpkin ravioli. I visited my local store recently and was bombarded by the products. Like a horror movie shot in a haunted pumpkin patch, everywhere I turned pumpkin seemed to be lurking right behind me.
As I travelled down aisle after aisle of pumpkin products, one that especially caught my interest was the Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte Mix. I’ve had several friends rave about it, so as The Chai Tea Chick, I wanted to see what all the buzz was about and find out whether this particular mix is worth buying. Here’s my assessment:
Price: At $3.99, you really can’t beat the price. One chai latte at Starbucks costs about the same. I measured out the mix, and you can get at least eight to ten lattes from each canister. That means the next time you see people ordering $5 Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks, you can sip your homemade latte while quietly chuckling to yourself and muttering, “Fools,” under your breath.
Preparation: Lattes are infamous for being difficult to create, but this one is very easy to make. I was able to successfully craft it on my first try, so I have to assume everyone can. Maybe even your Great-Aunt Myrtle, who still isn’t exactly sure what a latte is.
You can either make a hot or cold latte. Basically, for the former, all you have to do is add the mix with hot water. For the iced version, you also add ice and cold water. Then, voilà, you have a latte!
Taste: The latte is sweet and, unsurprisingly, tastes strongly of pumpkin. I looked at the ingredients list, and the mix contains actual pumpkin, not just flavoring. Where the mix fails is the tea. The sugar and pumpkin overpower the drink, and I could barely taste any chai. It’s like a tea-less tea latte.
I recommend serving it iced rather than hot because it reduces the overwhelming sweetness and brings out more of the chai flavor. I also suggest adding milk. The instructions say to just use water, but I experimented and used milk instead, and the result was a drink that tasted more like a latte and less like pumpkin-flavored water.
Who should drink this? I recommend the Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte Mix more for pumpkin lovers than tea drinkers. Enjoy it with your pumpkin pancakes smothered in pumpkin butter and syrup. You will be in autumnal bliss.
For people looking for a stronger tea taste, one Trader Joe’s product I’d suggest is the Unsweetened Green Tea. This green tea is delicious, can be served hot or cold, and has a great natural flavor.
What do you think of the Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte Mix? Are you a pumpkin princess or a chai tea queen?