Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Chai Spice Loaf

There may come a day when I stop reviewing pumpkin spice products. To be honest, I wouldn't be completely heartbroken if that fateful day arrived soon. But before that happens—before I stop reviewing TJ's profound plethora of pumpkin products—two things will have to happen: Trader Joe's will have to stop releasing new pumpkin products OR I'll have to hit a looong streak of pumpkin nastiness, AND Americans will have to stop Googling "trader joes pumpkin spice" in such enormous numbers. Once those things come to pass, I shall hang up my hat as this blog's designated pumpkin and pumpkin spice reviewer extraordinaire.

However, this product did not help towards that end—that is, it's pretty friggin' tasty. Now I certainly don't have anything against Maple Sugar Candy, but before you pumpkin agnostics go declaring maple sugar the new pumpkin spice, you'll have to try pumpkin chai. Several readers tipped us off that this dessert was indeed worth a gander, and they were definitely not wrong.

I always thought pumpkin spices and chai spices were remarkably similar. And together, they're even better than they are separately. The cream cheese-based icing is where most of the chai flavor resides, and it's undoubtedly the sweetest and most decadent part of the product. It's absurdly delicious. Good thing they don't sell the icing in a can by itself. If they did, there'd be a widespread frosting-abuse epidemic, and people would be checking themselves in to clinics and joining twelve-step programs en masse.

The bread's not too shabby either. It's nice and soft. A bit crumby perhaps, but moist enough that the crumbs and chunks can be reassembled by mashing them with a fork before shoveling them into your mouth. Together with the icing, it's a delectable blend of sweetness and spiciness.

At $4.99 per loaf, it's not the cheapest pumpkin product we've tried this year. But in my opinion, it's worth every penny. It's perfect for dessert, but I must admit I've had it for breakfast on at least one occasion—easier to justify those calories in the morning, you know.

Four and a half stars from me. Four from Sonia.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.


  1. I so loved this! And you're right -if they put the icing in a can there would have to be a 12-step program just too break our icing habit.

  2. I agree with you the icing was amazing. I hope TJs will bring this product back next year.

  3. I just picked this up, expecting...a little more. The frosting is not bad (though VERY sweet) but the cake is rather dense and dry. Not bad enough to take it to work and pawn it off on my coworkers, but probably a one-time buy. YMMV

    1. My husband and I thought the same thing about it being dry. We love pumpkin spice and chai, and this just wasn't even good enough to finish.