I don’t normally do product reviews on this blog — but run, don’t walk, and pick up a can of this amazing, amazing stuff.
This year I became a big fan of the drink known as a “dirty chai”: that is, a cup of hot chai latte (sweetened, spiced black tea with frothed, steamed milk) that is spiked with a shot of espresso. I’ve always loved a good chai, and Coralie is never averse to whipping up a delicious cup when I drop in to visit. Add in the espresso and you get a great mingling of flavors and a nice punch of caffeine, perfect for my crazed study and writing sessions at my favorite Durham study spot, Francesca’s Dessert Caffe. There’s only one thing that I dislike: most coffee shops make chai using a tea concentrate (much faster than the traditional steeping/boiling method) that is heavily sweetened to soda-like levels… No good for me! So I only allow myself a dirty chai once a week or less.
When I saw this canister at Trader Joe’s last week I hesitated before dropping it into my basket. I used to have quite the affinity for flavored coffees, and know that some of them taste like a chemical bath with some freeze dried coffee on the side. But a quick look at the ingredient list full of legitimate flavors and I thought, why not? And I’m so glad I did.
This gives you all the goodness of a dirty chai with the ability to control the amount of milk and sugar you put in. I drink it with a splash of lightly sweetened almond milk, which is just enough sweetness for my sugar-averse palate. Both my roommate and I are tearing through this can, making flimsy excuses to brew a cup of coffee at all hours. I have actually stopped going to coffee shops this week so I can work at home and drink a cup of this stuff — I’m addicted, and considering stockpiling this in case there is a zombie apocalypse (or the stuff is discontinued, as TJ’s often does without warning).
Here it is with a freshly brewed cup (+ almond milk), and my newly framed Tintin artwork in the background. The page featured is from a book I picked up when I was in Brazil visiting Coralie several years ago (back when we started the blog!), so I thought it was appropriate to put in a little Portuguese with this Brazilian coffee. Extra credit to those who can identify which book the panel is from!
UPDATE: Apparently this is now discontinued (see comments)
UPDATE: Do you miss Trader Joe’s Vanilla Spiced Chai Coffee? — information here about requesting the return of the chai coffee
UPDATE: Flavored coffee taste test: Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice vs. Vanilla Chai-Spiced — TJs brings out another seasonal, spiced coffee blend. How does it stack up?