The title of this tea, alone, sounds delicious. I am quite a fan of chai, yet mate is something with which I have not had excellent experiences in the past. Thus, the opportunity to try this tea promised an interesting experience, at the least. Conveniently, the small package, which I had, had directions on it, so, without further ado, I boiled one and a half cups of water with a cup of milk. Opening the small sample package, my nose was struck by a multitude of spicy smells, typical of chai, as well as the firm, bold notes of chocolate. The chocolate aroma was relatively rich and fairly sweet-smelling.
Once the liquid was boiling, I reduced the heat to low and added the tea mixture. After letting it simmer for five minutes (the packaging recommends three to five minutes), I strained it into a teapot. The chocolate aroma continued to billow from the pot, a bit less rich, now that it was diluted by other smells. I poured my first cup, unsweetened, as I wanted to give the tea mixture a chance to speak for itself.
The first flavor that struck me was the mate. The green-ness of it pervaded the tea, lending its semi-bitter taste to each mouthful. The chocolate, not quite so rich, was barely more than a hint in the undertones and the aftertaste. That disappointed me, as I had expected a more bold chocolate experience. Thankfully, the chai spices and the earthy pu’erh (yes, Rishi used pu’erh for the chai base) smoothed things substantially, their flavors ebbing and flowing through each sip. I took this opportunity to sweeten the remainder of the tea.
This brought forth the proper effect! While the chocolate still sat in the undertones, something about the milk enhanced the chai spices, so that one clearly tasted spicy chocolate (just not on the forefront). The milk served to subdue the green-ness of the mate and bolster the earthiness of the pu’erh. As a whole, the flavor was more earthy, more smooth, and more pleasant. The mate had not totally left, but it behaved more properly with the other flavors, now. This was certainly a blend that I would recommend for lovers of chai and of earthy teas. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea an 87/100.