Caffiend: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's Iced Pumpkin Latte

'Tis the season for coffee shops to start peddling their holiday flavors. Christmas shoppers looking to stay wired while standing in long lines will be running for peppermint, pumpkin, and apple spice-flavored caffeine concoctions. 

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is one of many java outlets offering seasonal drinks. I wanted to try the ice-blended Spiced Pumpkin drink, which is what I ordered at the Tatum & Shea location, because it looked like a yummy frozen treat. But after the baristas mistakenly gave my ice-blended drink to the woman behind me who ordered an iced apple spice latte, I ended up with an iced Pumpkin latte instead of the frozen blend.

Despite not being what I ordered, the iced Pumpkin latte was pretty good. It was very flavorful, and tastes rather like the liquid center of a pumpkin pie. The pungent, heady roast flavor of espresso was apparent, as well. The sweetness is almost overwhelming; there's definitely no need to add sugar to offset any bitterness.

The energy boost was pretty typical for a 16 ounce latte containing around 80-120 mg of caffeine. I felt awake, and maybe even a little queasy from the sugar rush. All in all, the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's Spiced Pumpkin latte is a decent attempt at holiday flavor, but Starbucks still has better blends.

People who'd like to try the Coffee Bean's holiday blends for free are invited to do so at participating locations on Thursday, November 12, from 4 to 8 p.m. (Heck, maybe I'll even try getting the iced Pumpkin blend again that day). Visit for more information. 


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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea