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57

Okay, enough.

I haven’t really read Steepster since at some point before Christmas, having been caught up in the holidays and avid reading of something else that was deemed a little more important to chew my way through at the time. There’s just no way I’m ever going to make it back through all of the Steepster posts I’ve missed. I’ve skimmed back a couple of days and I’m leaving it at that. If I missed anything important, please link me.

For the second tea of the new year, (the first being the orange pu-erh from Nothing But Tea, which Husband has developed an affinity for. You should have heard him try explain why earlier. He sounded like me on Steepster! LOL!) we had the next out of the 52teas Christmas box.

And once again I feel wary. I’m afraid I’ve had some sort of caveat with all the teas in box this year, although in some cases I’ve managed to overcome it. There are only two of the ones that are left that I’m actually looking forward to, so I suppose it’s been a bad 52teas year for me. I recall having better luck last year. Oh well, we can’t win them all, can we?

Anyway, the reason for my hesitation with this time is simply the fact that it’s chocolate flavoured and although I’ve had teas before with some sort of chocolate element to them, I’ve never ever found one that actually tasted properly of chocolate to me. I’m completely open to the idea of a chocolate flavoured tea, and the moment someone manages to make one that works I’ll be the first to swoon. But it hasn’t happened yet. The closest I’ve ever been are those black teas that have a strong naturally occurring note of cocoa. But those aren’t flavoured, and cocoa is not the same as chocolate.

It started out quite well. When I opened the envelope, the first note I noticed was something that reminded me of honey. A strong flower honey. This note persisted after brewing, and now also had a note of chocolate to it. Dark, heavy chocolate and in combination with the strong honey, the aroma of this tea struck me most of all as something akin to a dark chocolate toblerone. Husband thought it reminded him more of stepping into a heavily scented garden, which I consider to be in the same sort of category as my strong flower honey. There was a slight note of milk and of nuts as well.

When I took the first sip, it finally dawned on me why I’ve never managed to find a chocolate flavoured tea that works. When I get something with chocolate I expect a thick and slightly sticky texture, the sort of feeling one get from real chocolate melting on the tongue. When I then get a thin, watery mouthful of tea, it’s just not the same and it breaks the illusion of chocolate quite severely.

Add to this the fact that I might have rather different ideas of what constitutes as chocolate and what doesn’t than many of you Americans. Where I live, milk chocolate must contain at least 25% dry cocoa solids and dark chocolate at least 35% dry cocoa solids. Otherwise it’s not chocolate and is not allowed to be sold under the name of chocolate. The US rules for when chocolate is chocolate are based on how much chocolate liquor it contains, so it’s not directly translatable, but when reading about both it seems, if I understand it correctly, that the US will accept what amounts to less dry cocoa solids than the EU will. This supports my experience with Hershey’s Kisses which some undoubtedly well-meaning soul sent me once. They were quite, quite foul and had little to nothing to do with chocolate. Mind you, this was about a decade or so ago, so I suppose it’s possible that the quality of the product has been increased.

And all of this is why I don’t think this tea lives up to its name. At first there was the initial disappointment that once again a chocolate flavoured tea had failed to work. After having got over that, I could start paying attention to what it actually tasted like, and I have arrived at some very dark caramel. Slightly bitter, with a strong note of burnt sugar to it, but also with just a smidge of sweetness. I discussed this with Husband and while he hadn’t thought of that by himself, he agreed with my assession. It’s nice and all, but to us nothing in this cup even remotely resembles what we understand as ‘chocolate’.

KittyLovesTea

Glad to see I’m not the only one that was not that impressed with it.

Nicole

I have pretty much given up on chocolate tea. I love chocolate far too much and I miss that texture. And you are quite right about Hershey’s Kisses – blech.

AmazonV

Chocolate teas are always a bust for me as well :(

JoonSusanna

I feel like chocolate teas are really hard mostly because so much of eating chocolate is the texture. You can’t really get that in a liquid. I haven’t had this one to say for sure or not, though.

Sigh. The US and food regulations. It really wouldn’t surprise me that we’re missing out. Is there a brand of chocolate you would recommend? I would love to try it and see how different it is.

TeaBrat

Della Terra has a couple of nice ones but generally chocolate teas do not thrill me.

Angrboda

Nicole, Exactly. I agree.

JoonSusanna, I wish I could give you specific recommendations, but I don’t know what’s actually available where you live. I seem to recall having heard that you can get Lindt, though, so that’s a good place to start. In general, try to look for something which is produced by a European company, because they’re more likely to sell European chocolate. I can’t guarantee, though, that exported products aren’t modified to local tastebuds. It’s probably more expensive, but give it a go anyway if you find some.

Tor Lumière Marie

I feel exactly the same about chocolate teas – I keep expecting them to have some kind of richness like a hot chocolate, but it’s like just having a drop of cocoa essence (I have this same issue with almond tea – I suppose creaminess isn’t something that really works with tea). I actually like the sound of the burnt sugar, the chocolate teas I’ve tried so far were all so flat.

Angrboda

Tor Ince, I don’t think I’ve tried very many almond teas that I can remember. I know there has been some nut ones, but not just off the top of my head. I had a walnut green once, though, which was super sweet, almost to the point of being undrinkable.

Tor Lumière Marie

I’ve tried one almond tea from a local tea shop and the sencha sweet almond from the Covent Garden Tea House – I would be more than happy to send you some, if you like! It’s an elegant tea and I feel like I might be missing something, I really want to like it more than I do.

I like the sound of walnut tea. I got some maple syrup and walnut coffee grounds for Christmas; super sweet, but then I like flavours to jump out and make themselves known!

Angrboda

I’d like to try that, but I must warn you that I’m currently likely to be a little slow with return parcels. I’ll follow you, so shoot me a message whenever.

I gave my mother some cinnamon flavoured coffee one year for Christmas. My father thought it was dreadful, but she and I quite liked it. (Probably especially me)

Tor Lumière Marie

Sure thing! I’m revising for first semester exams right now, but I’ll post you a sample in the next week or two.

I’m a huge fan of cinnamon, sometimes I just brew cinnamon sticks for tea (although that’s super sweet if you overbrew). I find flavoured coffee really hit or miss – like tea, really – I remember being super-excited about vanilla coffee, but it didn’t really taste of much.

I see you’re in Denmark, I was in Copenhagen over Easter and fell completely in love! I also picked up some kvæde te/quince tea – is that a popular blend over there?

Angrboda

Strangely enough, I don’t really care for cinnamon in tea, but I like it in cooking and baking. I think for me it just doesn’t mix well with tea. I’m searching high and low for the Perfect Vanilla Tea, though. No luck yet.

Quince is not super popular here, I don’t think. Husband is English too and if I remember correctly he only had very superficial knowledge of it until I gave him some quince rooibos that I had. I didn’t like it at all, but he loved it. Once upon a time I had a rather enjoyable black tea with quince, but I can’t remember where I got it from and haven’t seen it since. I must admit that I had kind of forgotten about it until you reminded me just now, so I think I’ll keep an eye out now.

Tor Lumière Marie

I think the only cinnamon blend I’ve tried is chai, and I still don’t ‘get’ chai. I’ve had amazing dairy-free chai made for me, but I can’t make it with bags at home – it just tastes like a spiced everyday. Maybe I’m missing something.

The perfect vanilla is on my list too! This is probably where my fragrance nerd comes in – I’m that girl who tries every vanilla perfume and complains that it doesn’t smell enough like vanilla pods. Lipton has a very good vanilla caramel, creamy and fragrant, but I haven’t tried a pure vanilla black yet.

I bought my kvæde te from Netto – the brand is House of Tea and it’s a ceylon with little pieces of quince. I’m not sure what fresh quince is like (it grows everywhere in rural England, but isn’t widely used at all – even less than damsons) but it reminds me a little of apricots and red apples with a tiny bit of aniseed. I haven’t tried it in a strong brew or with milk yet.

Cavocorax

‘When I then get a thin, watery mouthful of tea, it’s just not the same and it breaks the illusion of chocolate quite severely"
- YES. THIS!!! I’ve given up on chocolate in teas.

Ze_Teamaker

As an American, I think Hershey sucks as well. It has a kinda icky taste. Personally I think it is if you combined real chocolate and bakers chocolate; also it seems to taste better if it is used for baking.

Dylan Oxford

So far, my favorite vanilla black is colonille from serendipitea. We drink a fairly large amount of said tea. Plus, they’re super nice people.

cteresa

The differences between US and European chocolate are even deeper than percentage of cocoa solids. Speculation was when they started to make chocolate in the USA they did not know exactly how to process the milk and the process they used was different, leading to production of butyric acid. The wikipedia explains it better

""Hershey process" milk chocolate is popular in North America. It was invented by Milton S. Hershey, founder of The Hershey Company, and can be produced more cheaply than other processes since it is less sensitive to the freshness of the milk. The process is a trade secret, but experts speculate that the milk is partially lipolyzed, producing butyric acid, which stabilizes the milk from further fermentation. This compound gives the product a particular sour, “tangy” taste, to which the American public has become accustomed, to the point that other manufacturers now simply add butyric acid to their milk chocolates."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Types_of_chocolate

I really do not like american chocolate and was glad when I was able to understand the whys of it.

About quinces, never had any tea. Beware of one thing though, the ornamental quinces are not nearly as glorious as real ones! They grow very easily in my country and are very popular to make a sort of jam (true marmelada, which gave origin to marmalade). But they need a lot of sun to ripen properly, not sure if the ones growing in England are not the japanese ornamental ones whose fruit is not great. Even the fruit ones have the most beautiful blooms!

Kashyap

I agree…real chocolate, dark and lush…or forget it…it rarely balances well with tea and those few lucky and skillful enough to do it proper, realize that its a balancing act….

LadyLondonderry

Hershey’s might be the most widely available chocolate in the United States, but it is certainly not the only kind made here. Skip the Hershey’s and go for the Scharffen Berger or Green & Black’s.

cteresa

Green and Black´s is nice, though IMO a bit pricey for what it is and the fairtrade thing apparently slightly dodgy, but it´s a british company isn´t it?

LadyLondonderry

Apparently it was originally … it’s now owned by Kraft Foods, and my current bar was manufactured in Poland. It’s global chocolate now. :)

cteresa

Everything is sort of global now, Twinings is made in Poland I hear. American candy bars sold in Europe are usually made in Europe and would not be surprised if some brands are owned by Unilever. But I tend to associate the nationality with the original one, so G&B is to my mind british chocolate (as is Cadbury´s which is I think also now owned by the same company or some other boring conglomerate).

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Comments

KittyLovesTea

Glad to see I’m not the only one that was not that impressed with it.

Nicole

I have pretty much given up on chocolate tea. I love chocolate far too much and I miss that texture. And you are quite right about Hershey’s Kisses – blech.

AmazonV

Chocolate teas are always a bust for me as well :(

JoonSusanna

I feel like chocolate teas are really hard mostly because so much of eating chocolate is the texture. You can’t really get that in a liquid. I haven’t had this one to say for sure or not, though.

Sigh. The US and food regulations. It really wouldn’t surprise me that we’re missing out. Is there a brand of chocolate you would recommend? I would love to try it and see how different it is.

TeaBrat

Della Terra has a couple of nice ones but generally chocolate teas do not thrill me.

Angrboda

Nicole, Exactly. I agree.

JoonSusanna, I wish I could give you specific recommendations, but I don’t know what’s actually available where you live. I seem to recall having heard that you can get Lindt, though, so that’s a good place to start. In general, try to look for something which is produced by a European company, because they’re more likely to sell European chocolate. I can’t guarantee, though, that exported products aren’t modified to local tastebuds. It’s probably more expensive, but give it a go anyway if you find some.

Tor Lumière Marie

I feel exactly the same about chocolate teas – I keep expecting them to have some kind of richness like a hot chocolate, but it’s like just having a drop of cocoa essence (I have this same issue with almond tea – I suppose creaminess isn’t something that really works with tea). I actually like the sound of the burnt sugar, the chocolate teas I’ve tried so far were all so flat.

Angrboda

Tor Ince, I don’t think I’ve tried very many almond teas that I can remember. I know there has been some nut ones, but not just off the top of my head. I had a walnut green once, though, which was super sweet, almost to the point of being undrinkable.

Tor Lumière Marie

I’ve tried one almond tea from a local tea shop and the sencha sweet almond from the Covent Garden Tea House – I would be more than happy to send you some, if you like! It’s an elegant tea and I feel like I might be missing something, I really want to like it more than I do.

I like the sound of walnut tea. I got some maple syrup and walnut coffee grounds for Christmas; super sweet, but then I like flavours to jump out and make themselves known!

Angrboda

I’d like to try that, but I must warn you that I’m currently likely to be a little slow with return parcels. I’ll follow you, so shoot me a message whenever.

I gave my mother some cinnamon flavoured coffee one year for Christmas. My father thought it was dreadful, but she and I quite liked it. (Probably especially me)

Tor Lumière Marie

Sure thing! I’m revising for first semester exams right now, but I’ll post you a sample in the next week or two.

I’m a huge fan of cinnamon, sometimes I just brew cinnamon sticks for tea (although that’s super sweet if you overbrew). I find flavoured coffee really hit or miss – like tea, really – I remember being super-excited about vanilla coffee, but it didn’t really taste of much.

I see you’re in Denmark, I was in Copenhagen over Easter and fell completely in love! I also picked up some kvæde te/quince tea – is that a popular blend over there?

Angrboda

Strangely enough, I don’t really care for cinnamon in tea, but I like it in cooking and baking. I think for me it just doesn’t mix well with tea. I’m searching high and low for the Perfect Vanilla Tea, though. No luck yet.

Quince is not super popular here, I don’t think. Husband is English too and if I remember correctly he only had very superficial knowledge of it until I gave him some quince rooibos that I had. I didn’t like it at all, but he loved it. Once upon a time I had a rather enjoyable black tea with quince, but I can’t remember where I got it from and haven’t seen it since. I must admit that I had kind of forgotten about it until you reminded me just now, so I think I’ll keep an eye out now.

Tor Lumière Marie

I think the only cinnamon blend I’ve tried is chai, and I still don’t ‘get’ chai. I’ve had amazing dairy-free chai made for me, but I can’t make it with bags at home – it just tastes like a spiced everyday. Maybe I’m missing something.

The perfect vanilla is on my list too! This is probably where my fragrance nerd comes in – I’m that girl who tries every vanilla perfume and complains that it doesn’t smell enough like vanilla pods. Lipton has a very good vanilla caramel, creamy and fragrant, but I haven’t tried a pure vanilla black yet.

I bought my kvæde te from Netto – the brand is House of Tea and it’s a ceylon with little pieces of quince. I’m not sure what fresh quince is like (it grows everywhere in rural England, but isn’t widely used at all – even less than damsons) but it reminds me a little of apricots and red apples with a tiny bit of aniseed. I haven’t tried it in a strong brew or with milk yet.

Cavocorax

‘When I then get a thin, watery mouthful of tea, it’s just not the same and it breaks the illusion of chocolate quite severely"
- YES. THIS!!! I’ve given up on chocolate in teas.

Ze_Teamaker

As an American, I think Hershey sucks as well. It has a kinda icky taste. Personally I think it is if you combined real chocolate and bakers chocolate; also it seems to taste better if it is used for baking.

Dylan Oxford

So far, my favorite vanilla black is colonille from serendipitea. We drink a fairly large amount of said tea. Plus, they’re super nice people.

cteresa

The differences between US and European chocolate are even deeper than percentage of cocoa solids. Speculation was when they started to make chocolate in the USA they did not know exactly how to process the milk and the process they used was different, leading to production of butyric acid. The wikipedia explains it better

""Hershey process" milk chocolate is popular in North America. It was invented by Milton S. Hershey, founder of The Hershey Company, and can be produced more cheaply than other processes since it is less sensitive to the freshness of the milk. The process is a trade secret, but experts speculate that the milk is partially lipolyzed, producing butyric acid, which stabilizes the milk from further fermentation. This compound gives the product a particular sour, “tangy” taste, to which the American public has become accustomed, to the point that other manufacturers now simply add butyric acid to their milk chocolates."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Types_of_chocolate

I really do not like american chocolate and was glad when I was able to understand the whys of it.

About quinces, never had any tea. Beware of one thing though, the ornamental quinces are not nearly as glorious as real ones! They grow very easily in my country and are very popular to make a sort of jam (true marmelada, which gave origin to marmalade). But they need a lot of sun to ripen properly, not sure if the ones growing in England are not the japanese ornamental ones whose fruit is not great. Even the fruit ones have the most beautiful blooms!

Kashyap

I agree…real chocolate, dark and lush…or forget it…it rarely balances well with tea and those few lucky and skillful enough to do it proper, realize that its a balancing act….

LadyLondonderry

Hershey’s might be the most widely available chocolate in the United States, but it is certainly not the only kind made here. Skip the Hershey’s and go for the Scharffen Berger or Green & Black’s.

cteresa

Green and Black´s is nice, though IMO a bit pricey for what it is and the fairtrade thing apparently slightly dodgy, but it´s a british company isn´t it?

LadyLondonderry

Apparently it was originally … it’s now owned by Kraft Foods, and my current bar was manufactured in Poland. It’s global chocolate now. :)

cteresa

Everything is sort of global now, Twinings is made in Poland I hear. American candy bars sold in Europe are usually made in Europe and would not be surprised if some brands are owned by Unilever. But I tend to associate the nationality with the original one, so G&B is to my mind british chocolate (as is Cadbury´s which is I think also now owned by the same company or some other boring conglomerate).

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Bio

Ang lives with Husband and two kitties, Charm and Luna, in a house not too far from Århus. Apart from drinking tea, she enjoys baking, especially biscuits, reading and jigsaw puzzles. She has recently acquired an interest in cross-stitch and started a rather large project. It remains to be seen whether she has actually bitten off more than she can chew…

Ang prefers black teas and the darker sorts of oolongs. She has to be in the mood for green and white, and she enjoys, but knows little to nothing about, pu-erh.

Her preferences with black teas are the Chinese ones, particularly from Fujian, but also Keemun and just about anything smoky. She occasionally enjoys Yunnans but they’re not favourites. She has taken some time to research Ceylon teas, complete with reference map, and has recently developed some interest in teas from Africa.

She is sceptical about Indian blacks as she generally finds them too astringent and too easy to get wrong. She doesn’t really care for Darjeelings at all. Very high-grown teas are often not favoured.

She likes flavoured teas as well, particularly fruit flavoured ones, but also had an obsession with finding the Perfect Vanilla Flavoured Black and can happily report that this reclusive beast has been spotted in a local teashop near where she works. Any and all vanilla flavoured teas are still highly attractive to her, though. Also nuts and caramel or toffee. Not so much chocolate. It’s a texture thing.

However, she thinks Earl Grey is generally kind of boring. Cinnamon and ginger are also not really a hit, and she’s not very fond of chais. Evil hibiscus is evil. Even in small amounts, and yes, Ang can usually detect hibiscus, mostly by way of the metallic flavour of blood it has.

Ang is not super impressed with rooibos or honeybush on their own. She doesn’t care for either, really, but when they are flavoured, they go usually go down a treat.

Ang used to have a Standard Panel of teas that she tried to always have on hand. She put a lot of thought into defining it and decided what should go on it. It was a great idea on paper, but in practise has been discovered to not really work as well.

Ang tries her best to make a post on Steepster several times a week. She tends to write her posts in advance in a word doc (The Queue) and posting from there. This, she feels, helps her to maintain regularity and stops her from making five posts in three days and then going three weeks without posting anything at all.

Angrboda is almost always open to swapping. Just ask her. Due to the nature of the queue, however, and the fact that it’s some 24 pages long at the moment, it may take a good while from she receives your parcel and until she actually posts about it.

The Formalities

Contact Angrboda by email: [email protected]
Contact Ang on IM on Google chat

Find Ang on…
Steam: Iarnvidia (Or Angrboda. She changed her display name and now is not certain which one to search for. She uses the same picture though, so she is easily recognised)
Goodreads: Angrboda
Livejournal: See website.
Dreamwidth: Ask her

Bio last updated February 2014

Location

Denmark

Website

http://angrboda.livejournal.com

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