If you missed my card on Sunday, Happy National Library Week! In honor of this week, I have a library blend just for the occassion!
Originally I had ordered a blend from Etsy, but since they are made-to-order, as of this writing I still have not received it. When I realized it was a no-go I had to come up with another library blend stat, and recently I had discovered a site called Adagio Teas that has a rather unique Fandom Blends section, which allows patrons of their site to select teas from their collection, blend them together to create their own custom blends, add a few accent ingredients if they wish, and market that blend with a fandom twist — say, as a certain character, with those particular flavors telling a story about that character. They even have “ship” discounts for certain teas that are “paired” together, and you can mark a tea you’ve purchased as your “one true pairing”! (They really went all out on this concept… and I have to say as an unashamed fanfiction fan, I love it!) I honestly found this concept fascinating, and spent far too long browsing this section of the site — so long, in fact, the site popped up and offered me a $5 coupon! (Well, now, I couldn’t say no to that!) The samplers for these fandom blends are even, quite conveniently, each $5. Had anyone made a library-themed blend to save my plans for Teatime Tuesday this week?
You bet they had!
Enter Khaleesi of the Library, a custom blend from Adagio Teas that isn’t based on any particular fandom… well… except, you know, a love of libraries I suppose, which is good enough for me. That’s what National Library Week is all about, is it not? This tea is described by the creator, Dylan, as “Warmth, spice, and a hint of adventure. What more could you want from a good book?”
The $5 sampler size comes in a small metal tin with a slide-away top. The tea is also available in a 3 oz. size for $12 and a 5 oz. size for $24, which are very reasonable prices compared to many of the tea sites I frequent.
This tea is a blend of Adagio Teas Irish Breakfast, Caramel Black Tea, and Rooibos Vanilla Chai. That makes the full ingredient list ceylon sonata tea, assam melody tea, black tea with natural caramel flavor, rooibos tea, ginger root, cinnamon bark, cloves, cardamom, orange peels, and natural vanilla flavor. It has also been accented with cocao nibs.
Just opening the tin, the tea smelled very heavily of spices!
From just a sample teaspoon, you can see how big the chunks of cinnamon and clove are, which were the two most powerful scents I was getting from the blend.
Now, I typically always use a bit more leaf than suggested, as I like my teas to have a very full flavor, so I used two teaspoons, and the recommended steeping time was only four minutes, which was a bit less than I usually give black teas, so I went ahead and steeped this for five minutes. The color was that same bright ginger color of the cinnamon black tea I featured last week, but the scent was far more astringent.
This was definitely not a subtle tea! The creator claims “the caramel cuts right through the spice of the vanilla chai, and you can just barely taste the Irish Breakfast that acts as a nice, solid base.” Well, one thing is for sure… you definitely can barely taste that Irish Breakfast base, but there is nothing about the caramel that “cuts through” the spices of the chai in this blend, which dominate the flavor of the tea. If you like cinnamon and clove, you’ll be in for a treat, my friend! I couldn’t even taste any of the caramel or vanilla flavorings that were apparently in the blend, and there were so few cocoa nibs they really just don’t have much of an effect on this much spice. The rooibos is also invisible; you can make out the black teas, but those spices! Hoooooo! While the cinnamon black I drank last week felt warming, it didn’t feel… demanding. There was just the right amount of cinnamon. Somehow this just feels like either too much of the vanilla rooibos chai was used in the overall blend, or, and this is my more likely guess, I would’ve preferred this more if the spices had been chopped into smaller bits so they didn’t feel so overpowering in the blend since I brew a single cup at a time.
It wasn’t bad, and I drank my cup quite quickly, as I quite liked how it flavored the black teas (and it was a great energy boost for working on writing!) but I think I prefer my spices with a little more subtlety.
I gave it another try, and this time only used the suggested teaspoon of leaf and steeped for only the suggested four minutes. The creator also suggested using a dash of milk, so I decided to try some vanilla almond milk, and… PERFECTION! The hint of vanilla in the milk mixed perfectly with the spices, and they no longer felt so overpowering. It felt warm and cozy and delicious… if you are interested in trying this out, I highly recommend a dash of vanilla milk of your choice! (I enjoy almond, but I’m sure dairy or soy or some other varient would work just as well!)
Resteeping is… okay, but I didn’t find it particularly favorable. The spices are so strong they hold out alright, but you really can tell the black tea base is a lot weaker on that second steep. It’s funny, because it was really hard for me to even notice the flavor of the black tea at all behind the spices, until I resteeped the tea, and then I could really tell what a difference it made! While the spices were strong enough to lend a bit more spiciness to another cup, the overall flavoring felt a little meh on a second brew. I’d recommend increasing steeping time on the second steep.
Since it is National Library Week (today is actually National Library Workers Day! Woo!) I thought I’d share with you all the lovely place where I work. Since I love being a librarian, and I love the place I work, I am opting to not reveal the town this library is located in, nor the name of this library. I do not want any personal opinions that I express on this blog or in my fictional writing to ever inadvertently be associated with my place of employment, anyone who works there, or any of its patrons. If you happen to recognize this library, I ask that you respect my privacy by keeping its name and location to yourself. I just want to share this beautiful place with you all because it is such an integral part of me, and visitors are constantly telling us what a gorgeous library we have for the size of our community! It is something I feel no shame in taking pride in.
This is a view of the front entrance of the library. This is actually an addition that was added in the 1990s, but it is the only “front entrance” to the library I’ve ever known. The original entrance to the 1939 part of the building is located around the side, not far from where the parked car and pedestrian crossing sign is. It’s now an emergency exit.
This is a close-up of the wooden book sculptures that adorn our front steps, on either side of the massive flag pole. It’s just painted, sanded wood that a local created, but shortly after we put it up, we had several patrons come in saying, “It’s starting to rain, you better bring the books from out front inside!” They look quite real from a distance!
This beautiful bronze statue was added in 2009 through funds from our Foundation. It’s called “Flights of Learning” and is near the original entrance, facing City Park located across the street.
Just past our Circulation Desk is a cozy reading area we call the “Reading With a View” room, which has a view of City Park. In the colder months the electric fireplace is roaring, and all the newspapers and magazines are handy here to quickly grab something and read for a little while. Quiet study nooks are scattered throughout the library, as well.
This doorway, located just past our Reference Desk, shows where the “new” 1990 building attaches to the “old” original 1939 building. The newer addition has the Circulation area, Reading With a View Room, the New Arrivals, Large Print, and DVD collections, and the public access computers. Past this doorway into the original building is the Reference, Book-on-CD, Playaway, and Nonfiction collections.
This older part of the building also connects to our Idaho and Pacific Northwest History Room. This is a locked collection because there are very rare (and some irreplaceable) materials in there, but it is open and available to anybody, with or without a library card, if they check-in with the Reference Desk. Many scholars use this collection when doing research. It’s a climate-controlled room and quite chilly, but I love that it has the quintessential “old book” smell in there!
This beautiful compass rose built into the tiles of the Nonfiction section looks crooked, doesn’t it? Actually, it is showing correct north… the downtown area of the town I live in, where this library is located, is on a northwest-to-southeast and northeast-to-southwest axis, so all the streets in this grid are on a diagonal slant!
Upstairs on the Mezzanine is our Fiction collection and music CDs. It’s a very quiet area, great for studying or finding a corner to read away. But my favorite part about going up here…
…Is looking down over the Mezzanine railing for a birds-eye-view of the stacks of Nonfiction on the floor below!
Downstairs is our Youth Services department. I really love their dragon mural!
It’s a huge area, with a storytime keva, a programming room, and a room dedicated for teens towards the back.
I work in the Technical Services area, which is a keycard-access area at the back of the teen room, only accessible to employees. The breakroom and custodial areas are also back there. You can just barely make out this area through those gaping doors behind the bookcart our department designed in an employee contest that we felt best represented our department. (Yes, we are often referred to as the “dungeon” of the library, hahaha! We are the keepers of the books, and unless we order them, and receive them, and process them, and catalog them… NO ONE GETS THEM! MWAHAHAHAHA!)
I hope you enjoyed this tour! Be sure to curl up with a cuppa and a book this week!