From the queue. I’ll do two a day for the next week. I’m currently writing posts faster than I can post them, even when posting daily. It’s all these boatloads of untried things, you see. I suppose I feel inspired these days.
Bonnie shared this one with me and I confess I’ve been gathering courage to try it. You see, this is a loose puerh with cacao hulls, some vanilla black and some roasted chicory root. Apparently they also do a version with vanilla rooibos, but Bonnie chose the one without for me.
It’s the chicory root that has me concerned. It started to concern me already when I first smelled it and discovered that rather than smelling like cocoa and puerh, it just smelled allround weird. Worrisome. The first thought that popped into my head was ‘thin coffee’. Now, I know some people enjoy having their tea coffee flavoured. I, however, am one of those people who feel those two things should be kept as far apart as possible. I mean, I like drinking tea, obviously, and I also occasionally greatly enjoy a caffe latte (or even on rare occasions a small cup of ordinary coffee with milk). Drinking one does not exclude the liking of the other at all. It’s the combination of the two that I find to be frankly disgusting. Coffee flavour has no business being in my tea and vice versa.
So you can see why I’m concerned, yes?
However, it was shared with me by someone who meant well and thought I would find it interesting, therefore I’m going to have a cup of it anyway. I sometimes take a long time to do it and sometimes I end up not even posting about it, but when people have shared something with me, I always try it, even though I don’t believe I’ll like it. It’s the polite thing to do and it’s also a practice that has given me more than a few very pleasant surprises. For example, it was cteresa sharing a fruit-flavoured rooibos with me that led me to discover under which circumstances I can actually really enjoy a rooibos after having gone for years believing I didn’t like any rooibos at all. Now I’ve got loads of fruit-flavoured rooiboses.
Besides, isn’t this really the purpose of swaps? Exploring the things you would never in your life have tried otherwise? See you later, comfort zone!
So here we go! Tea that smells like thin coffee. It’s the chicory root, of course, that gives the coffee-y impression, not real coffee. I believe I’ve had blends with chicory in them before. I’m almost certain I have. I have clear memories of having tried it in a blend, but I can’t remember which blend that might have been or what I thought of it. I don’t, however, remember it as being awful. I think I would have remembered something on the lowest end of the point scale. This gives me confidence.
After steeping it’s much more cocoa-y in the aroma. The chicory is still there, but it’s dampened significantly by the cocoa, and the primary impression I’m getting now is freshly baked brownies that has just come out of the oven 20 seconds ago. The good sort of brownies, baked with loads of high quality chocolate rather than cocoa powder. It makes me want to bake again! Haven’t baked anything at all since before Christmas, but there are still lots of biscuits left and those need to go first. (Also, I’ve got an ice cream project I want to try first, now that we’ve got a freezer that is larger than a match box)
I’m just about to taste it now and I’m actually not even scared of it even more.
Okay, the chicory is fairly distinct in the flavour with it’s coffee-ish notes, but not directly off-putting. Just… I could have lived without the chicory, really. It also rather messes with the cocoa, making it not actually taste much like cocoa but more like an enhancement for the chicory. It doesn’t help that cocoa or chocolate in tea rarely truly works for me because my brain expects a completely different consistency which the tea can’t deliver for obvious reason.
I can vaguely pick up some earthy notes of the puerh base, but these are most prominent in the aftertaste. In the sip itself, however, I’m surprised to find that it’s the vanilla black that is actually standing out more. It’s sweet and slightly creamy, and in a strange way managing to be vanilla with being very vanilla-y in flavour. I think it’s the other flavours in this that are messing with it.
Although I mentioned that I’ve learned to drink rooibos, and lots of it, in recent years, I find I’m glad Bonnie chose the one without rooibos for me. I think rooibos would have added unnecessary confusion to the mix, and vanilla alone in rooibos never really did it for me as much as vanilla + fruit does.
I’m a little ambivalent. I’m pleased with the puerh and the vanilla black, and would have enjoyed the cocoa more if not for the chicory. But I could also really live without the chicory. Or perhaps not even entirely without it, but just less of it.
I can’t decide what I actually think of this. I suspect it could grow on me, though, if I made sure to have it another couple of times in relatively quick succesion.
Later addition: I wound up taking the rest of this one with me to drink at work, for which it proved to be eminently suitable. I could easily have continued with this sort of work tea for a while. At about the same time my colleague brought a small tin of Kusmi’s spicy chocolate blend, which I found somewhat similar to this one. Rating is large based on how this tea has helped me through many many work days.