REVIEW: Limited Edition Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Canned Nitro Cold Brew

Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Canned Nitro Cold Brew Can

What is it?

Starbucks’ new Pumpkin Cream Canned Nitro Cold Brew is a new way to get your pumpkin spice fix! This limited edition can of seasonally spiced caffeine combines nitrogen-infused cold brew with milk and natural flavors.

How is it?

Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Canned Nitro Cold Brew Pour

The can states to “gently shake once, pop open and pour hard into a cold glass for maximum enjoyment,” and I did just that; PLUS, I used a spooky bat cup to really bring the autumn energy.

Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Canned Nitro Cold Brew Holding

Trying to imitate Starbucks’ excellent Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is tough, and my initial reaction is that visually I didn’t get nearly as much creamy head as I would like. There’s a small, lighter colored creamy layer sitting atop the cold brew, and on my first sip, I’m getting big time Yoo-hoo vibes. You know that “chocolate flavored beverage” that popped up right before the Great Depression? That’s the kind of texture we’re working with here, a watery viscosity. It’s kind of milky but not notably creamy, and as someone who usually takes his coffee black, it’s unimpressive but totally fine by me.

The flavor is interesting. The most prominent spice that pops out is nutmeg, followed by what I think is cloves. There isn’t much of a cinnamon presence, which is odd because a lot of times companies will get lazy and use only cinnamon in lieu of a true spice blend. I kind of miss the cinnamon, but also respect the intensity from the lesser-loved spices. The coffee flavor is smooth, present, and pleasant, rounded out with just a touch of sweetness that keeps this beverage coffee-focused, unlike its latte and Frappuccino counterparts.

Anything else you need to know?

Nearly a decade ago, I swore off non-alcohol liquid calories, and 97% of the time I drink my coffee without cream or sugar. One exception to this rule, which used to be the Pumpkin Spice Latte, is now the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. I have a soft spot for the sauce created by Starbucks in 2003 and love how the cold brew version is a modernized take that lets the coffee shine.


Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Canned Nitro Cold Brew Bat Glass

This canned Pumpkin Cream Canned Nitro Cold Brew won’t fool anyone into thinking it came from the hands of an actual barista, but it certainly does a nice job of scratching that autumn itch if you’re unable to make it to a cafe. I was mega excited when this can was announced, and while it’s not going to pull me away frequently from my cup of hot black, it’s a beverage that interests me. There is no mistaking that this is a pumpkin spice-flavored drink, and while I wish it was just a touch creamier, that’s pretty easy to fix with an extra dash of milk at home.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 9.6 ounces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 80 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates,1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: RYSE Fuel Kool-Aid Tropical Punch Energy Drink

RYSE Fuel Kool Aid Tropical Punch Energy Drink Can

What is it?

RYSE Fuel is on the rise in the crowded and growing sugar-free energy drink market. Following initial launch collaborations with Smarties, Ring Pop, and Sunny D, the brand is back at it, colliding with one of the most recognizable and nostalgic faces in the junk food world — Kool-Aid.

How is it?

RYSE Fuel Kool Aid Tropical Punch Energy Drink Pour

Tropical Punch is my favorite Kool-Aid flavor, I’m an energy drink junkie, and I absolutely love this. From what I remember of tall sugary ice cold pitchers of the red stuff, RYSE bottled up this flavor beautifully. Fruity notes of cherry, orange, and pineapple take center stage with a little background flurry from lime. The taste is sweet but not aggressive, with a generous amount of bubbly bubbles that give a sharp and pronounced fizz.

The can packs 200 milligrams of natural caffeine for the stimulant energy rush, along with 500 milligrams each of choline bitartrate and taurine for improved memory and performance. It works well as a pick-me-up beverage without any intense pre-workout ingredients that might make you feel like your heart will explode. And, as an added bonus of pure fun, RYSE used natural coloring from vegetable juice to nail the iconic vibrant red hue.

RYSE Fuel Kool Aid Tropical Punch Energy Drink Color

Anything else you need to know?

If I had one tiny complaint, it would be that the flavor could be a touch punchier. It’s great, but the flavor emulation from brands like Ghost with its Sour Patch Kids and Warheads collaborations nailed it SO hard it makes perfection difficult in this sector. Kool-Aid is very sweet, and while this drink truly brings the flavors of Tropical Punch to life, I wouldn’t mind even a touch more sweetness to drive the profile home amid the flurry of intense effervescence.


RYSE Fuel Kool Aid Tropical Punch Energy Drink Caffeine

RYSE’s Kool-Aid Tropical Punch Energy Drink is awesome. Whether you’re a fan of sugar-free energy drinks, riding a nice cool caffeine buzz, Kool-Aid, or all three, I can’t recommend grabbing a can of this enough. There’s a total lack of tropical punch from RYSE’s competitors, so this one is going into my rotation without hesitation. From the very first sip, it was “OH YEAHHH” vibes, and I might just have to go run through a wall with all of this excitement.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 16 oz can
Purchased at: Vitamin Shoppe
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1can ) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Goldfish Dunkin’ Pumpkin Spice Grahams

Goldfish Dunkin Pumpkin Spice Grahams Bag

When Pepperidge Farm opened the collaboration gates with its iconic line of Goldfish crackers last year, I was excited about the possibilities. Sure, Goldfish are known for “blasting” things and “extra crunch-ing” things but colliding with other established seasonings for a limited time is fun, especially when they’re done well. Both the Frank’s RedHot and Old Bay collabs were fantastic, but as someone closely watching for future Goldfish marriage partners, I never saw this one coming. The snack that smiles back has officially gone “basic” with Dunkin’ Pumpkin Spice Grahams.

I love that the bag is shaped and colored like a bag of Dunkin’ coffee, but also thrilled that the Goldfish are pumpkin spice-flavored, not pumpkin spice latte. Rather than go the PSL route, the cracker-cookies aim to mimic the chain’s Pumpkin Spice Cake Donut, which is great for me because I don’t need any more caffeine than I’m already consuming.

Goldfish Dunkin Pumpkin Spice Grahams Pour

Immediately the aroma wafting from the bag is like a warm autumn hug with honey-kissed swirls of graham. This is my first pumpkin spice product of the season, and I’m giddy. The taste immediately hits me in all of my fall feelings — mild cinnamon and nutmeg back up a fantastic buttery sweet brown sugar molasses flavor accented by cloves. None of the spices are too aggressive, but they’re all accounted for.

The snack has a really great texture too. I would never call Cheddar Goldfish “dry” as an insult, but these are less so than your classic Cheddar variety. Like many crackers, normal Goldfish can build up to a salty paste when eaten quickly, and these carry a bit more moisture than their cheesy counterparts, crumbling with buttery ease. That gentle crumble makes them hard to stop popping into my mouth. It’s far too easy to down a 52-fish serving without thinking of closing the non-resealable bag.

Goldfish Dunkin Pumpkin Spice Grahams Swimming

The more I eat, the more the spices mellow, and the flavor fades to a mild but delicious graham that’s incredibly snackable. They’re like a more complex sibling to Cinnamon Teddy Grahams. The Goldfish don’t have the aggressive, in-your-face punch of Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, but I don’t think they need that. No matter how much they might like it, I’m not going to throw these fishies in a bowl to swim in milk, and I love how perfectly balanced the flavor is straight from the bag. When I take a break from the fish and return after eating something salty as a palate cleanser, the spice level is right back to being where it was — a mild but present mix of cloves and cinnamon with the subtlest touch of vanilla.

Goldfish Dunkin Pumpkin Spice Grahams Pumpkin

Dunkin’ Pumpkin Spice Grahams don’t really remind me of a donut, and they don’t taste distinctly like pumpkin, but they do summon the flavors of the sweater weather season wonderfully. Perhaps if Pepperidge Farm finished the fish with a glaze like the donut pictured on the bag, they would do better to channel that flavor. But I like these Goldfish more than Dunkin’s donut, so I don’t mind its absence.

Purchased Price: I paid way too much to get a two-pack shipped from Goldfish, but you can get them at Target for $2.39
Size: 6.6 oz bag
Purchased at: Online
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (52 pieces, 30g) 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Dunkaroos Orange Sherbet

Limited Edition Dunkaroos Vanilla Cookies  Orange Sherbet Frosting Tray

What is it?

While orange creamsicle seems to be all the rage with candy and energy drink companies, 90s nostalgia titans General Mills chose a different spin for its take on a citrusy sweet treat. The new (ish) summertime limited edition Dunkaroos combine vanilla cookies with orange sherbet frosting.

How is it?

Limited Edition Dunkaroos Vanilla Cookies  Orange Sherbet Frosting D

The re-release of Dunkaroos has been contentious. On the one hand, we got our ‘Roos back. On the other hand, the cookie’s shape and taste are different, so naturally, people got in their feelings about it. I, however, like to approach things glass (or frosting cup?) half-full style and really like the new thin and crispy circular “D” cookie. It’s admittedly a lot less fun than the kangaroo shape, but no less delicious. The cookie carries a wonderful butteriness akin to shortbread that’s slim and crumbly but not so much that it breaks when getting dunked —- functional, tasty, and not too sweet.

Limited Edition Dunkaroos Vanilla Cookies  Orange Sherbet Frosting Goo

The orange sherbet frosting is perfection. It is quite sweet and full of zesty orange essence without going overboard. Its creamy consistency and sugary citrus-forward flavor do well to channel the experience of orange sherbet, which complements the buttery vanilla cookie well.

Anything else you need to know?

What makes this release even more exciting is that, as far as I can tell, this variety has never been done with Dunkaroos. The initial flavor of vanilla with rainbow sprinkle frosting is an all-time classic, followed up with chocolate frosting, which was predictable and good. While all of us 90s kids wish they’d bring back the cinnamon graham cookie, I love that the brand skipped over previous entries like chocolate chip and strawberry and went straight for something never done before, which bodes well for future creativity and new releases to come.


Limited Edition Dunkaroos Vanilla Cookies  Orange Sherbet Frosting Cookies

I will admit I’ve had an orange phase in the last year, so this is a profile that currently really appeals to me. But I wholeheartedly believe General Mills knocked it out of the park with its first seasonal release since the relaunch of the ‘Roos in 2020, and I’m excited to see what it might have up its sleeve for the Halloween and holiday seasons.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2 3/4 oz
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 tray with frosting, 42g) 180 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Mtn Dew Energy Baja Blast

Mtn Dew Energy Baja Blast Can

What is it?

Baja Blast has washed down Nachos Supreme with authority for nearly two decades. Introduced in August 2004 as the first ever fast food exclusive soda collaboration between Pepsi and Taco Bell, the fan favorite has been allowed to spread its bubbly wings over the past eight years. Not only can the popular pop be bought in 20-ounce bottles and 12-packs at Walmart, but in 2022 it expanded into the burgeoning low-calorie energy drink market via Mtn Dew Energy.

How is it?

Baja Blast was designed specifically to complement Taco Bell’s salty and spicy food, so the profile has always been kind of mild and admittedly isn’t a favorite of mine from the Mtn Dew lineup. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll get the Zero Sugar version anytime I get a fountain drink at Taco Bell, but on its own, it doesn’t pack a whole lot of “wow” factor compared to the original, Code Red, or recent limited editions like Spark.

Mtn Dew Energy Baja Blast Glass

The flavor is hard to pin down because it’s so mild, but regular Baja Blast is described by PepsiCo as “a tropical lime storm,” and that’s fairly accurate if we’re talking about a very mild and sweet storm, like a key lime storm. Take that bit of sweet key lime and collide it with the classic inevitable Dew flavor and some nondescript citrus, and you’ve got your Baja blanket. To go along with the mild flavor, the can delivers a low level of carbonation with fairly wide bubbles that I want a bit more presence from. Even though the smoothness may be preferable for some, I like a nice bubbly burst and think some tighter bubbles would bring out more citrus storminess.

Mtn Dew Energy Baja Blast Pour

Anything else you need to know?

One of the features of Mtn Dew Energy is its use of fruit juice, and that small 5% of fruit juice does have an impact here, and it’s not a good one. The use of white grape juice concentrate makes the Energy version of Baja a touch less sweet than its purely artificial-based counterpart, which is a detriment to the flavor as a whole. I even get some grape juice flavor in the finish that builds the more I sip, which isn’t surprising since it’s the second ingredient. It’s very drinkable, and I’m sure it would go swimmingly with a Crunchwrap Supreme, but as a flavor, it’s not an improvement over the original.


Mtn Dew Energy Baja Blast Caffeine

Mtn Dew Energy remains a good but not great line, with only one or two flavors that really impress me. I could see myself repurchasing this if it was on a good sale but will likely reach for a bolder, punchier lime when I want my citrus craving quenched.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 16 oz can
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 25 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 180 milligrams of caffeine.