What spices come to mind when you think of the fall? I tend to think about cinnamon, ginger and cloves – things that you find in pumpkin pie – as well as apples, oranges and cranberries, even though those are fruits and not spices. I love mixing and matching these flavors in my fall baking, and Trader Joe’s managed to put most of them together in their seasonal Harvest Blend Herbal Tea. The caffeine free tea really captures the spice and flavor of fall, which means it might very well be the perfect thing to warm up with on a fall night. I confess that I say that about a lot of seasonally spiced teas and coffees, but you can tell this one fits the season perfectly with just one whiff of a fresh cup. The base of this tea is chamomile, and it also has cinnamon, ginger, hibiscus, chicory, orange peel and apples in the mix. The cinnamon is probably the strongest flavor, but no one single element dominates the tea. They all blend together surprisingly well – and the combination is so addictive that you’ll find you’ve gone through a few cups without even knowing it.
This tea is also a great base for spiced tea lattes, but if you are going to add milk, be sure to brew the tea at double or triple strength so it keeps its potency!
Trader Joe’s is usually a good place to get good coffee at a very good price, with lots of single-origin and premium coffees to choose from. On my last shopping trip, I spotted a new addition to their coffee lineup: Trader Joe’s Single Serve Coffee Cups that are made to work with a Keurig coffee maker. Keurig fans will be happy to see these and will be even happier about their price, which is only $2.99 per box.
These single serve coffee cups are not made with the signature K-cup packaging that you’re probably used to and that is because Green Mountain Coffee Roaster’s K-cup patent recently expired, so the door is open for other manufacturers of similar coffee pods. Trader Joe’s version has soft coffee-filter walls instead of firm plastic ones, and a plastic, not foil, lid. The plastic and foil combination keeps the coffee in the K-cups tightly sealed in an airtight environment. The coffee filter body pod doesn’t, so Trader Joe’s pods are individually packaged in little bags to keep their coffee fresh. This extra packaging means that you only get 7 pods in a standard box, where you would probably find 10 or 16 of the traditional K-cup pods. But they’re still a good deal at their low price point ($.42 per cup).
You can get a pumpkin spice chai latte at Starbucks (or at other coffee shops that offer PSL type drinks) by asking the baristas to add pumpkin spice syrup to your chai tea latte as a sweetener. Pumpkin spice and chai tea are a great combination of two spicy drinks and I don’t know why it isn’t a promoted seasonal item at Starbucks. Fortunately, Tazo fans can pick up a carton of Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte mix at grocery stores and make their own pumpkin spice chai tea lattes at home – and that is exactly what I did.
I spotted this seasonal mix at Target recently, alongside the other Tazo teas in the coffee and tea aisle, where it jumped out because of its autumn orange packaging. I like the regular Tazo chai latte mix because it has a really potent spiciness to it that is just delicious on a cool morning. The pumpkin version is similar – slightly sweet with a lot of spice – with a distinct nod towards the spices that make up the class “pumpkin pie spice” mix: cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. You could really taste the cinnamon and cloves, and the finished latte really smelled like fall in a mug. It is delicious if you love chai and even better than the regular chai latte during the fall – or if you want to serve a hot drink alongside a slice of homemade pumpkin pie. Continue reading »
Pumpkin spice lattes are a staple at Starbucks in the fall, but they’re so popular that almost everyone is trying to put one out there to grab the attention of pumpkin spice fans. McDonalds has just introduced a Pumpkin Spice Latte to their menu, a drink that will be offered for a limited time during the fall. I admit that I was curious and made a mental note to pick one up the next time I was driving by a McDonald’s and felt like having a cup of coffee.
When I finally got around to trying one a few days ago, I found that the drink captured the idea of pumpkin spice very well, and that it had a nice spiciness where I could easily taste cinnamon and cloves. I expected it to be very sweet, but the pumpkin spice syrup didn’t cover up the flavor of the coffee. Surprisingly, I actually thought it was less sweet than the Starbucks version – although it is also slightly less spicy than the Starbucks PSL and definitely isn’t quite as rich seeming, either.
Overall, I liked it and would definitely drive through to get one again. It is less filling than the Starbucks version (probably because it has slightly fewer calories and less fat) and will definitely hit the spot when I want to warm up with a little spice on a cool fall day.