I think I write about the weather on Books & Tea quite often. It seems strange to me that this frequent topic of awkward small talk earns so much press on my blog, but I cannot help it that weather fills me with both inspiration and nostalgia. I sense that it settles in most often during the changing of the seasons, which is perhaps why I’ve been on a posting frenzy lately. And while I am grateful that Michigan is in the full bloom of Springtime, what I appreciate most are the occasional days we’re experiencing right now that are reminiscent of our Autumn– days that are cool and overcast and even a little rainy. Wintertime is taxing, but I still wish Autumn were right around the corner (hot tea! cozy blankets! apple cider! Oreo cookies with orange filling! soup for dinner every night! colorful crunchy leaves!).
Last weekend was one of those weekends that was chilly and rainy, and sadly I sensed it would be one of the last ones until October finally rolls around (although, when I first moved to Michigan back in 2005, I was greeted by frost on the grass and rooftop…on the 4th of July). Of course I took advantage of the weather by curling up in a chair with a blanket, a new book, and the most cozy blend of tea I could find in my cupboards– Thai Chai by Adagio Tea.
First of all, I apologize for the quality of the above picture; one of these days I need to buy a battery for my camera. Second of all, if you can look past the blurriness, is that not a beautiful-looking blend? And the scent of it is oh-so-divine although I didn’t personally didn’t pick up on the “exotic” flavors I had hoped for. I’m kind of torn by how I feel about that, actually. Part of me is bummed because I wanted to feel like I was sitting at the beach and drinking piña coladas, and that did not happen. The other part of me doesn’t care because this was a damn fine mug of tea. The cinnamon and cardamom and ginger were the most prominent scents to me, which is probably why I couldn’t stop thinking of speculaas. And, since I like speculaas more than piña coladas, this really ended up working out in my favor.
Even though I’m learning that the recommended steeping instructions on Adagio’s packaging should be followed rather closely to ensure consistently tasty cups of tea, I decided to throw caution to the wind anyway and brew the tea my way. In other words, this is a bad habit that is proving really hard to break. Adagio suggests steeping 2 teaspoons of Thai Chai in 8 oz. of boiling water for 5 minutes. I tossed in an additional heaping teaspoon for good measure, and then lost track of time, so I think my tea steeped for a little over six minutes. I sweetened the deal with a little bit of sugar, took my first sip, and was blown away by how bold and spicy it was (ginger being the most prominent spice to my tastebuds). I imagine had I followed instructions, the flavor would have been a little more mellow but equally satisfying.
Surprisingly, I could taste the coconut in the Thai Chai. My previous experience with Adagio’s Coconut tea, which had a flavor that was too subtle for my preference, had me convinced it would be indistinguishable, but I was wrong. I wouldn’t describe the flavor as nutty or coconutty though. What it added to this tea was a creaminess that balanced out the spice. It added complexity to a type of tea that to me, sometimes comes across as one note despite the amount of ingredients that are included in the blend. I was quite impressed with the Thai Chai, and I won’t hesitate to add it to my cart when Autumn rolls around later this year.