This is a really interesting mixed-bag of ingredients, most of which I wouldn’t think of blending together in a tea. Looking at my little sample package I can’t really see much actual yerba mate so I’m not sure why it’s mentioned in the title like its the star of the show or something. The long peppers weirded me out at first until I looked up what they were – they look really similar to birch or alder catkins to me.
The directions suggest boiling up the tea with milk like a traditional-style chai, but I don’t think there’s enough tea in the package to make up the ‘2 tbsp’ mentioned in the recipe. So I’m having it plain and I’m enjoying it just fine this way. There’s no black tea in this mix to give the tea a bitter or tannic flavour, so it doesn’t particularly need milk to cut it.
There isn’t much yerba mate to be tasted either – I think the pu-ehr and the chai spices end up making up the bulk of this tea’s flavour. The pu-ehr itself is quite mild (when you consider how earthy they can get) but it’s distinct and it mixes well with the bitter-chocolate flavour of the raw cocoa nibs. The chai part is there too – I can taste the cinnamon most clearly, but cardamom and cloves are hanging around too and the long pepper gives the tea a subtle bite. And the coconut gives it all a nutty finish that manages to work for me despite the mish-mash of components this tea is made up of.