This may seem shocking, given the amount of coffee I drink, but I’m one of those rare people who likes drinking coffee and tea. And given my love of the Pumpkin Spice Latte*, it’s only natural that I was dying to try out Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice chai mix as soon as I saw it.
Basically it’s a canister of powder, made with mostly normal sounding ingredients (with only a few polysyllabic chemically things, and tame ones at that). It’s got sugar, nonfat milk, tea, spices, coconut oil and a few random gibs and gobs for flavor and shelf stability. You mix it with hot water and bam, instant chai**!
There’s times in my life when I want a sugary, caffeinated drink with a minimum of effort. This mix is almost perfectly suited for those times. The flavor is good, if a little sweet for my liking. The spices are spiceful.
If you’re not big on tea, don’t worry — you won’t really taste the black tea in this. American chai tea lattes tend heavily toward spice and sugar rather than tea flavor and this is no exception. 23 grams of sugar per serving, according to the nutrition facts. If you’re looking for something less froufrousugardrink and more tea-like, you should probably leave this on the shelf and look for unsweetened Chai you can brew from loose tea.
The powder has some nonfat milk in it, so mixing it with water still gives you a somewhat milky drink. There was some graininess as I got to the bottom of the cup, but that might be from the spices (which generally don’t dissolve).
Verdict: If you like sugary Chai (like Starbucks’s Chai tea lattes) and want to make your own easily, give this a try! It’s delicious. Two mugs up.
*Which is not so much flavored like pumpkin, but like the spices you put in a pumpkin pie. More of a pumpkin pie spice latte. But that’s too many words.
**Yes, I know proper chai is not instant. I like my chai like I like my gratification.