It’s funny how different people perceive different things in the same tea. Bonnie felt that this is pretty much a strawberry tea1. Meanwhile, I’m having trouble detecting any strawberry at all, and am smelling and tasting only chocolate. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The fragrance of the dry leaf is that of baking chocolate. Like if you went to the baking aisle, grabbed a bag of chocolate chips, opened it, and stuck your nose in. I don’t smell any tea or any strawberry, just baking chocolate. I thought okay, it kind of makes sense, I guess. If there are dried strawberry bits in here, I should steep it so they can plumpify and release their luscious fragrance and flavour. I am half right: steeping the tea does make the brew smell like chocolate and strawberries (I still don’t smell any tea).
Unsweetened, the tea tastes chocolatey, but not in a Lindt way, more like in a dolla store chocolate way, y’know? So I sweeten it. This has improved the quality of the chocolate flavour, but only slightly. I still taste nothing else, so it tastes like watery hot cocoa made with baking chocolate. It’s possible that it’s too hot to really get the full flavour. I slurp it, experimentally, and I get a tiny, tiny bit of the sourness Bonnie mentioned. Normally I’d disapprove, but at this point I’m happy to taste any strawberry at all, sour or otherwise. There’s also a very tiny bit of bitterness, although I’m unsure whether it’s from the black tea or the type you might get from dark chocolate. If I were blindfolded, I still wouldn’t guess that there’s any tea in here at all.
As I continue to slurp, the aftertaste is a little bit fruity. At this point, I may after all guess that this flavour is “chocolate-covered something,” but I still wouldn’t be able to commit to strawberry. And this brings me back to the beginning of this note, in which I wonder about how we perceive things differently. Is this because of our different experiences and palates and expectations, or because the blend wasn’t well distributed in the teaspoon I used, so I just ended up getting basically a scoop of chocolate chips? While the former is interesting conjecture, currently I’m inclined to think it’s the latter. I’m going to hold off on my rating until I’ve tried another cup or two, paying better attention to leaf/berry/chocolate distribution next time.
Tea amount: 1 tsp/~4.75g
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: ¾ tsp/~3.5g Demerara sugar
[Edit, the next day] The caffeine was causing trouble last night, so before I reached the point of no return (a Bad Place), I put my mug aside and finished it this morning. I was hoping that being cold would bring about some improvement in the flavour, specifically the strawberry bit. It did, but only a very little: I felt that strawberry tartness at the back of my throat, but I can’t say that I actually tasted strawberry. I hope my next infusion is better; otherwise, into the swap bin it goes.