Based on the traditional Indian drink masala chai (mixed-spice tea), Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Chai starts with a chai tea blend that’s a combination of honey, vanilla, and black tea, heightened by a mélange of spices like cinnamon, anise, clove, cardamom, and ginger. In honor of Pumpkin Season, in addition to the traditional chai spices, Pumpkin Spice Chai is accentuated by pumpkin pie spices and real pumpkin. Like pumpkin pie, you can enjoy Pumpkin Spice Chai hot or cold. Unlike pumpkin pie, Pumpkin Spice Chai is drinkable, and ready in moments—you just add (hot) water and enjoy!
Where to Buy: your local Trader Joe’s
You’ll be seeing a few different reviews for a few different pumpkin flavored chai blends on this blog over the next week or so … what can I say? It’s that time of year!
I just returned home from Trader Joe’s and I think that they had a pumpkin explosion in their kitchens (or wherever it is that they make all their food) because there is pumpkin EVERYTHING in the place. They had pumpkin waffles, pumpkin scones, pumpkin butter, pumpkin macarons, pumpkin bars and pumpkin soup just to name a few things. They even had pumpkin ravioli. Yep, I bought some of that too.
They also had a few pumpkin tea selections including a pumpkin rooibos blend and this product: Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte Mix. And it is mmmmm!
I don’t usually go all crazy for chai tea latte mixes like this because they tend to be more sugar than they are tea and I like to decide how much milk and sugar I’ll be putting in a tea (if I decide to put any in it at all). But, something about this tin of Pumpkin Spice Chai called to me and before I could say no and walk away, the tin was in my basket.
And I am really happy to say that while this is a sweet drink, the sweetness in this works. It doesn’t taste too sweet (then again, I do admittedly have a sweet tooth). This is on the sweeter side – I rarely sweeten my teas although I do usually sweeten my chai just a little bit because I think that a little bit of sweetener enhances the spices. But even though it is on the sweeter side, the spices offset some of the sweet notes and there is a nice balance between spices and sweet.
Best of all, though, is that I can taste PUMPKIN in this. It seems that all too often when I see a tea with the words “Pumpkin Spice” it turns out to be just the spices (as in pumpkin pie spice) and no pumpkin flavor. This has pumpkin!
Hooray for Trader Joe’s pumpkin harvest!
The spices are robust but not what I’d call “spicy.” It’s a well-rounded taste of warm spices. I can taste the ginger but not so much that it’s “biting” me. I can taste the cinnamon, clove and cardamom. They’re warm and comforting. I taste just a hint of licorice-y sweetness from the anise. If there is a scale on “spiciness” of a chai, this would rate maybe one measurement below medium. It’s spicier than “mild” but it’s not quite medium.
Kind of like a pumpkin pie.
The black tea is almost hidden here, though, and that’s my one big complaint about this. I think that the next time I make some of this, I might brew up some black tea (perhaps an Assam) and mix that with this so that it amplifies the black tea.
It’s tasty as it is, of course, but, I would like more tea flavor. Hey, I’m a tea freak, remember?
And one thing that really stands out to me with this product is that the “latte” part isn’t overwhelming the rest of the flavors. This doesn’t taste like too heavy a latte. I find that to be true with a lot of the chai concentrates that you can find on the grocery store shelves. Those tend to be all sugar and milk and very little actual chai. I appreciate that this has some flavor and the sweetener and milk are accentuating those flavors rather than hiding them.