Warm summer afternoons fade into cool nights. There's small incremental tinges of oranges and reds and yellows in the leaves. The kids are finally back at school...kinda, but in our dining room...at least there's no mad morning rush to catch the bus this year...still, I digress. Crockpots are being taken out of storage, football is about to be back, and the Pittsburgh Pirates have a less than 1% chance of making the playoffs. All of these are sure signs that fall is peeking just around the corner.
I'm sure in the litany of this blog I've posted a lengthy tirade against pumpkin spice everything at some point. I lack the energy or desire to do so again. Plus there's too much other animosity out there these days. I've made my peace with pumpkin spice - if you enjoy your pumpkin spice lattes and enchiladas and TP and who knows what else, go for it, I won't be partaking so there's more for you.
And meanwhile I'll be focusing on maple. Yes, I know maple season is really late winter into spring when the sap is collected and boiled...but there's almost always more maple products this time of year. I guess it has something to do with it being a tree flavor.
New to the maple lineup this year is Trader Joe's Non-Dairy Maple Oat Beverage. granted, oat milk isn't the first thing I'd think to add a hint of maple too...but it's a good concept, right? Oatmeal by itself is kinda plain, but adding milk and maple syrup turns it into a verifiable treat. Now you can get some of the residual tasty treat without the big bowl of oatmeal first.
The maple flavor itself is actually scarcely more than a small hint. I think that adds some versatility to the product - use as a regular drink, pour over a wide variety of cereals (not Pumpkin Spice O's though), add a splash to coffee instead of creamer and sugar. The maple beverage isn't an all out maplicious sugar bomb of a treat, but more of a subtle pleasure. Me personally? I'm not much of a milk person in any way, shape or form, so while I've tried it I'm not going to be guzzling down this beverage by any means. But it's still a legit treat. Gotta love anything maple.
My lovely bride is more gung-ho than I. She's been scheming different ways to use the milk, as well as already lamenting its eventual seasonal rotation out. Til then, she'll be using a lot in her coffee as she helps oversee a couple kids navigating elementary school on Zoom calls and iPads. You know, like the good ol' days. Or something. Her only maple oat drink-related wish would be for it to be a touch more maple-y, but she's in love as is. Four from her, and I'll tack on a few of my own.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Non-Dairy Maple Oat Beverage: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons