Argh! My review got eaten. x.x Take two!
I really enjoyed this, and I definitely did not expect to.
The dry leaf smell was very strong. Heavily nutty and very strong. I tend to be easily off-put by the idea that something will be overdone when it’s flavored, or that the flavor will be in some way artificial. I tend toward wanting a certain purity in the tea that I drink…or perhaps the word I want is ‘cleanliness’. I want a flavor that’s a clear note; I want flavor that knows where it’s going and feels pulled-together. Rich is fine, but over-assertive — especially with anything that runs the risk of seeming artificial — makes me wary.
My first sip surprised me, though, and I was delighted. Keep in mind that this may be due to any number of factors, such as
a) not having had much tea in the last week,
b) my mouth still healing after having my wisdom teeth out, and
c) the probability that most things taste good as a latte,
but with that said, I’m able to say that I plan on having another cup of this after I finish writing this note, so there you go.
I made it the same way that I make my chai. 1:1 water to milk, simmering the water in a pot on the stove, adding rock sugar, adding the tea, simmering a few minutes, adding the milk, heating, removing from heat to sit, strain and serve. I did add a little dash of light cream when it looked as though the nearly-no-fat milk I was using wasn’t quite creamy enough for my tastes.
As it was simmering, I was giving the pot funny looks. ‘You smell like black tea,’ I thought. ‘You say that you are a mate. Are you both? I bet you’re both. If you’re both I can’t simmer you for as long. How long have you been on the stove? Crap. I’m adding the milk before you get bitter. …now you DEFINITELY smell like black tea. I bet you’re going to be bitter, ugh.’
The flavor was warm chocolate milk with hazelnut, black tea, and an exhaled aftertaste of the aroma of coffee beans. When it was hot I had a vague sense of something like rosewater, but right now I don’t really trust my palate.
Without a doubt the aftertaste is my least favorite part of this concoction, and I’m not certain to what I should be attributing it. It’s a very slight tang of something. Fruity? Sour? Floral? The source of my rosewater impression? Not quite any of those things, but definitely there. I’m not sure if the yunnan in there was angry at me for subjecting it to so much heat, or if mate has a tangy aftertaste. I suppose I should pick up some plain mate sometime to find out, eh?
In all, this tea seems to fill the niche that my Chocolate Delight from Tea Guys filled, only it fills it in a much more satisfying way. Sad to say, I think the aforementioned blend may have seen its last days in my cupboard (which is extra-sad because I have basically a new batch of that at home. If anybody wants some, let me know…but be advised I’m dispensing it not because it’s tremendously good but because otherwise it will probably wind up wasted!).