Tea Pairing

Malian Kinkeliba Chai by Oya Tea

It’s no secret that my favorite time of year is coming up and while most would probably call me basic for loving the autumn season I have always been an autumn child. In my 30 years of living this has been a true constant and I don’t see it ever changing. One of my dreams is to move to a place with actual changing leaves as my current home provides not even a tri-colored fallen leaf to keep me sated. All I can do is look out my window hoping for gray skies, orange trees, and a crisp wind as I cuddle with a warm cup of tea.

Last night I was ready for a warm cup partly for the satisfaction it brings me and also because I wanted something to help me sleep as that has been an issue as of late. I dug through some of my boxes and right after I proclaimed aloud that “I need one BIG tea box to organize these,” I pulled a caffeine free tea out from my May Sipsby box.

The Malian Kinkeliba Chai by Oya Tea

It is made of cinnamon, kinkeliba, star anise, turmeric, cardamom pods, allspice, clove, rainbow peppercorns, and natural ginger and cinnamon flavors. All the ingredients needed to envision a lovely autumn evening. (I know it’s only the beginning of September, but I can imagine)

This healthy chai blend is formulated with kinkeliba, an herb traditionally used in West Africa to support healthy metabolism. It’s caffeine-free, so you can enjoy any time of day!

I gleefully ripped open the little package and was greeted with the warm scent of cinnamon. It was almost overpowering, but such a nice aroma to close the night with. As with most of my teas I needed to stuff it into an infuser and since I hadn’t used Mr. Playpus Maximus in quite some time I figured I would pull him out for this occasion. I had some trouble getting him to stay upright to brew the tea, but eventually he danced into a good position.

I steeped for the recommended 5-10 minutes, which felt like an eternity. It’s hard when you are used to 3-5 minute steep times. While the smell was pungent, tasting the tea you would think it didn’t have a strong scent at all. Then again I have come to expect this of most caffeine-free teas. Despite this it was warm and did carry some of the taste of its ingredients into my blood stream. It was exactly the type of warm hug I was craving.

Next came the task of pairing which always proves rather challenging. It could be that I am ramping up for Halloween and it could be that the story that popped into my head, while horror themed is pretty tame compared to even the R.L. Stein variety. Still, it’s a story that sets the tone for a cool windswept night surrounded by fallen leaves as you gaze up at a large dark mansion. The cinnamon and peppercorn give you just enough kick to risk entering and from within you are taken away on a mystical ghost story. The book I’m referring to is…

The House Next Door by Richie Tankersley Cusick

It was a book I remember not being necessarily scared by, but definitely obsessed with. I can’t count the number of times I re-read it. Its binding is bent to hell and sitting on my self is shows the normal wear and tear that only a continuously read copy of a book can hold. The age range for this is most assuredly middle-grade to very young adult. I don’t expect anyone older to understand why this was such a fun read if they haven’t experienced it for themselves at that age.

It’s a fun spook of a love story that will get your heart pumping at just the right amount, but you will be able to fall asleep afterward. Much like the Malian Kinkeliba Chai.

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