Gypsy Soul Tea Co’s Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin Spice by Gypsy Soul Tea Co
Black Tea / Flavoured
$7.35 for 40g

First Impressions

I stumbled across a little shop in Pitt Meadows, BC a few weeks ago called Tomes & Tales. The one thing that really drew me to it was the fact that there was a sign outside that said that there was luxury loose leaf tea inside – it’s basically like a beacon to me whenever tea is mentioned! So of course I went inside and checked out the tea selection and bought a few to try. I figured it’d be seasonally appropriate to share my thoughts of Pumpkin Spice on October 31st, so here it is.

Pumpkin Spice came in a sealed (and resealable) foil bag. The other side of the bag is clear plastic so that you can see the tea itself, which is nice (but not always nice for storage if you’re not keeping your tea somewhere dark). The label on the front tells me pretty much everything that I really need to do to make the tea – from ingredients to steeping instructions with a brief description about the tea.

Pumpkin Spice consists of black tea, cinnamon, ginger, sweet blackberry leaves, pumpkin pieces, and cloves. The aroma of the tea is very strong from the spices, it does remind me of the smell of pumpkin pie/spice mixes. The ingredients are easily identifiable, which is nice.

Preparation

Gypsy Soul Tea Co recommends steeping Pumpkin Spice in 100°C (212°F) water for 3 to 5 minutes. My initial steep of Pumpkin Spice was for 3 minutes.

First Taste

Pumpkin Spice steeps to a deep golden orange that is really quite fragrant. The aroma smells very strong of the spices that were present in the dry leaf as well. I can taste the black tea base, which is nice and smooth with no bitterness or astringency when steeped for the 3 minutes. I found that I could definitely taste the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. I can’t really taste the pumpkin, but pumpkin is a significantly milder flavour than the spices and it does smell and taste like a pumpkin spice mix – so it still evokes the memories of pumpkin pie.

I did add a bit of honey for a sweetener, and found it worked really well in bringing out some of the pumpkin flavour – although it really does linger in the background quite a bit.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Pumpkin Spice once, but found that the flavours were a little lacking. I felt like the spices just weren’t as strong as they were in the initial steep. I would say that Pumpkin Spice is good for just one steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Gypsy Soul Tea Co’s Pumpkin Spice. I felt like the flavours did really well at representing pumpkin spice, and it had good warming qualities to it. While the pumpkin flavour wasn’t very strong, it did make me think of pumpkin pie/pumpkin spice, so it certainly did a good job. If you’re not a fan of plain black tea, I would recommend trying this one as a tea latte because it’s the season for PSL and not everyone is a fan of coffee!

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Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix

Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix by Trader Joe’s
Black Tea / Flavoured
$3.99USD for 10oz (284g)

First Impressions

Big ol’ tin of chai latte mix for $4USD? Don’t mind if it I do! It work out to be about $5.25CAD, which isn’t terrible, especially when I consider how much a comparable product might cost me in Canada! I picked up this tin of Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix during my cross-border (mostly tea) shopping trip back in September. The tin has a plastic lid and a foil seal that I had to peel open to get to the powder inside. The powder itself is a light brown with a very mild chai spice aroma to it.

FUN FACT! Chai is another word for tea, so when someone says “chai tea”, they’re really saying “tea tea”! However, we’ve come to expect “chai” to describe spiced teas, usually like a masala chai.

There is a scoop inside of the tin! I found it when I was using a tablespoon to scoop out the powder for my first drink. Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix consists of: sugar, non-fat milk, non-dairy creamer, tea powder blend (with black tea), honey granules, spice blend (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, anise, ginger), silicon dioxide, natural flavours, carrageenan and guar gum, and bourbon vanilla extract. Silicon dioxide is used to prevent clumping, carragenan is a thickening additive (from seaweed), and guar gum is another thickening agent (from beans).

Preparation

Trader Joe’s provides instructions for both making a hot or cold chai latte with the Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix. For hot, it’s 1 scoop (3 tablespoons) with 6oz hot water. For cold, it’s 1 scoop (3 tablespoons) with 2 oz hot water, poured over 8oz of ice and topped with 2oz of cold water or milk. I followed the directions for a cup of hot chai latte.

Since each serving consists of 3 tablespoons (40g) of latte mix, it results in 27g of sugar per serving (if you’re mixing with water). On a side note, you do get 15% of your daily intake of calcium, 2% of vitamin C and 2% of iron per serving. Given that it’s 40g per serving, it is approximately 7 servings per tin.

First Taste

The aroma of the Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix when made hot is really quite fragrant – I can smell the spicy mix, but it also does smell sweet. The colour is darker than the pale brown powder that I started off with. The flavour is primarily sweet, although I can also taste the blend of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and anise. It’s not as spicy as I was expecting, considering the name, but it isn’t bad either. I do think it is quite sweet (after all, it has sugar and honey granules in it!).

A Second Cup?

Since it is a drink mix, all of the powder dissolved with the initial drink so there were no resteeps!

My Overall Impression

I liked Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix. I did find it really sweet for me, which was a bit of a surprise since I’m usually quite fond of sweets. I think a full scoop is a bit much, considering how sugary the powdery mix is. I did try it again with double the recommended volume, but in milk (so 12oz milk plus the 1 scoop of powder) and it was quite delicious – a lot creamier, just a tad less sweet – it’ll also help make the tin last a lot longer.

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Tazo Tea’s Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte Concentrate

Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte Concentrate by Tazo Tea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$3.29USD for 1 carton (31 fl oz/946mL)

First Impressions

When I saw it on the shelf at Target, I knew I had to buy it to try it out! (Side story: Target used to be in Canada, folded very quickly due to money/bankruptcy issues/not paying their suppliers and was, in short, run very poorly in comparison to the American version of the company – so we no longer get Target in Canada so I had to go when I went down last weekend!) I can find the regular Chai Latte Concentrate from Tazo Tea here in Canada, but I’ve never tried the Chai Pumpkin Spice version and I’m not sure if it is available in Canada at all (a quick search through the usual places where I can find the regular Chai Latte concentrate came up empty for the Pumpkin Spice version).

Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte Concentrate comes in a carton with a twist off/on cap. If you’re not drinking the entire thing in one go, it does need to be refrigerated and then it’s good for one week/seven days after opening it. It does seem to have a fairly long shelf life though (the best before date on my carton is June of 2020).

The black tea concentrate is a dark reddish brown that is a bit cloudy. The aroma is quite strong of spices – I can definitely make out cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. The ingredients in Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte Concentrate are: “an infusion of (water, black tea, black pepper, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, natural flavours), cane sugar syrup, honey, ginger juice, natural flavours, and citric acid”.

Preparation

Tazo Tea recommends shaking the carton, and then mixing equal parts concentrate to milk (or dairy alternative of your choice). It can be had either heated (stove top, microwave, etc.) or poured over iced if you’re wanting an iced Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte. I measured out equal parts of the concentrate and 1% milk and had it in a glass mug, heated via the microwave.

First Taste

The aroma from the blend of concentrate and milk reminds me a lot of the regular Chai Latte concentrate. There’s definitely the aroma of the warming spices in there, which is really quite pleasant. I can make out the ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom aromas. The one thing that really hit me when I tasted it was how sweet it is. I think as I finish off this carton, I would mix a bit more milk to concentrate to help temper down how sweet it is (and this is coming from a girl who likes her sweets!). There’s really no pumpkin flavour at all, but the spices that I would expect to find in a pumpkin pie are definitely present and very flavourful, albeit accompanied by a lot of sugar. The black tea base is mostly covered up by the spices in the blend, along with the cane sugar syrup and honey.

As an aside, the original Chai Latte concentrate has nearly identical ingredients to the Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte Concentrate (this one is missing vanilla extract) and has less sugar (16g per ½ cup versus 21g per ½ cup).

My Overall Impression

I thought that Tazo Tea’s Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte Concentrate was just okay. It was really fun to try from a novelty perspective since it is the season for pumpkin spice all the things. The spice blend is on point for what I expect from something that’s supposed to taste like pumpkin spice, it was just on the side of too much sweet for me when prepared the way that Tazo Tea recommends. I think it’s quite concentrated (and very sugary) and will cut the concentrate with more milk in the future (probably a 1:2 ratio instead of 1:1). However, it does make for a nice novelty drink and I will happily finishing the rest of the carton up before the week is up!

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