drank Cacao by Tisano
158 tasting notes

This ‘herbal’ and I are sorting things out.

I have a hard time calling it an herbal, even though I know that, by way of tea terminology, it’s entirely the right word. It just seems so strange. It’s comprised entirely of shredded cacao shell — little flakes of it — and seems even more of a stretch for the term than usual, to me.

Oh well!

I was pretty excited to get it. For four dollars you get a pretty impressive 4oz bag! This is good, because they want 3 teaspoons of the stuff per 8oz. of water.

Opening the bag, the scent is heavily, unapologetically, mouth-wateringly chocolate. Tea isn’t the only heated beverage that I love a little bit more than I should, as it happens — I’m also quite fond of artisan hot chocolates, and there is nothing quite like that rich, real-chocolate smell.

I steeped it up with glee. Steeped, the aroma is even better — like rich drinking chocolate.

And then…I was sort of disappointed. It was quite bitter. I actually would have expected this, given the product itself and its unaltered organic authenticity, if it weren’t for the tasting note and description, which suggest it’s quite sweet. Which is not to say that I wanted Hershey or Swiss Miss sweet; as I say, I like good chocolate, and am quite fond of some bitter, fruity dark chocolates, and I can say with authority that I wasn’t looking for the over-sugared chocolate thing we’ve got going in this country.

This is not a terrible thing, though. I can work with this. I am just going to have to play with it in order to figure out how best to coax the chocolate flavor into a creamy, tasty state…because the aroma promises it, and I desperately want the flavor to come more into line with what the scent is.

In the first effort to figure out how to do that, I prepared it tonight on the stovetop, like a chai — boiled/simmered for a few minutes, topped with milk, heated again, strained. I added a bit of turbinado sugar, but not much.

I was also sort of naughty and used whole milk, just for over-the-top indulgence.

It is quite good. There’s still bitterness, but it’s pleasant, the way that chocolate bitterness can be, and the chocolate flavor is rich. A lower-cal option to actual hot-chocolate, but prepared this way, I’m not sure it’s much better, and so will be continuing to play with this one for a while.

Yeah, twist my arm, right? ;)

Leaving a rating off until I’ve played with it some more.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

Totally thinking of putting this in my coffee pot w/ the coffee!:)

sophistre

Oooh. I think that sounds like a delicious idea!

Cofftea

Or w/ espresso in an espresso machine… chocolate espresso con panna… yum!

LiberTEAS

I didn’t get bitterness to this… but from what I understand it can get bitter if you use too much “leaf” … or should I say shell?

Cofftea

RE: your comment about calling this herbal… actually it should be considered a fruit tea since cacao is a fruit, shouldn’t it? I have problems w/ naming herbals too, primarily those that have no liquor. I just can’t bring myself to call them a tea or tisane.

Cofftea

Sad… it says it can be found on Amazon but I can’t find it. Did find this though.
http://www.amazon.com/Eastbluff-Trading-Company-Ocumare-Tea4oz-Organic/dp/B0031TJ0X0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=grocery&qid=1285197197&sr=1-1 How does the price compare? I like that 2% of the profits go to a co-op.

sophistre

LiberTEAS: Thanks for the advice! Your tasting note is utterly drool-worthy, so I will have to try backing down the quantity next. I’ll report back about how it goes!

Cofftea: I suppose calling it a fruit tea would probably be pretty accurate, haha.

And that is the listing I used when I ordered mine, yup! The bag I received did not have the window in the front, but it’s definitely the right stuff, as the back of the bag has www.TISANO.com on it.

Cofftea

Oh ok cool. Yay for cacao being a fruit!:)

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

I actually had the pleasure if being able to try a bit of cacao at a coffee plantation in Hawaii and it was good. You just scrap off the creamy jelly like outside of the seed and eat it and it is sweet. You can bite it but it is an aquired taste. It is very bitter and rich. I liked it but did like the outside more. Then again I am a fan of dark chocolate.

Auggy

This made me break out the Valrhona 85%. Mmm.

Cofftea

Me too Rachel! I put unsweetened cocoa powder in my yogurt and coffee.

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

Never thought of that Cofftea. I even have cocoa powder in the house just need yogurt now. It’s on the grocery list.

Thomas Smith

Going to have to try this – I’ve had plenty of different preparations of chocolate beans/nibs but have never considered the outer husk. Wonder if it’s pre- or post-fermentation?
I’d expect bitterness from the theobromine and caffeine… probably some astringency from the catchetin loads too. Short steep times, maybe?

sophistre

Update: Cutting back the leaf really did seem to help a lot. 2 tsp. / 8oz, rather than the recommended tablespoon!

I can’t tell you whether or not there’s been any processing. I know very little about how chocolate becomes chocolate. It doesn’t look processed — it looks very much like the fine flakes of inner bark that you get from pine trees — the stuff that’s smooth, thin, and brown, broken into chips. That means very little though, probably.

There is some mild astringency, but it’s not too bad. At some point I’ll write another tasting note, but I’m too lazy this morning. ;)

Jude

Sophistre, your post says you paid $4… where is it sold at this price? Looks to me like $14 for that amount…

sophistre

Jude: I bought mine on amazon. At the time, it was packaged in a silver bag, not a tin; it looks like they’ve significantly changed their packaging…and perhaps subsequently their pricing! I wrote this review almost half a year ago, so probably they’ve grown as a company and can charge more, what with using tins and such. Bad news for the pocketbook…but possibly good news for the company. Hopefully that means they’ll be around for a while to come! Sorry I couldn’t be more help, though. :(

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Comments

Cofftea

Totally thinking of putting this in my coffee pot w/ the coffee!:)

sophistre

Oooh. I think that sounds like a delicious idea!

Cofftea

Or w/ espresso in an espresso machine… chocolate espresso con panna… yum!

LiberTEAS

I didn’t get bitterness to this… but from what I understand it can get bitter if you use too much “leaf” … or should I say shell?

Cofftea

RE: your comment about calling this herbal… actually it should be considered a fruit tea since cacao is a fruit, shouldn’t it? I have problems w/ naming herbals too, primarily those that have no liquor. I just can’t bring myself to call them a tea or tisane.

Cofftea

Sad… it says it can be found on Amazon but I can’t find it. Did find this though.
http://www.amazon.com/Eastbluff-Trading-Company-Ocumare-Tea4oz-Organic/dp/B0031TJ0X0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=grocery&qid=1285197197&sr=1-1 How does the price compare? I like that 2% of the profits go to a co-op.

sophistre

LiberTEAS: Thanks for the advice! Your tasting note is utterly drool-worthy, so I will have to try backing down the quantity next. I’ll report back about how it goes!

Cofftea: I suppose calling it a fruit tea would probably be pretty accurate, haha.

And that is the listing I used when I ordered mine, yup! The bag I received did not have the window in the front, but it’s definitely the right stuff, as the back of the bag has www.TISANO.com on it.

Cofftea

Oh ok cool. Yay for cacao being a fruit!:)

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

I actually had the pleasure if being able to try a bit of cacao at a coffee plantation in Hawaii and it was good. You just scrap off the creamy jelly like outside of the seed and eat it and it is sweet. You can bite it but it is an aquired taste. It is very bitter and rich. I liked it but did like the outside more. Then again I am a fan of dark chocolate.

Auggy

This made me break out the Valrhona 85%. Mmm.

Cofftea

Me too Rachel! I put unsweetened cocoa powder in my yogurt and coffee.

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

Never thought of that Cofftea. I even have cocoa powder in the house just need yogurt now. It’s on the grocery list.

Thomas Smith

Going to have to try this – I’ve had plenty of different preparations of chocolate beans/nibs but have never considered the outer husk. Wonder if it’s pre- or post-fermentation?
I’d expect bitterness from the theobromine and caffeine… probably some astringency from the catchetin loads too. Short steep times, maybe?

sophistre

Update: Cutting back the leaf really did seem to help a lot. 2 tsp. / 8oz, rather than the recommended tablespoon!

I can’t tell you whether or not there’s been any processing. I know very little about how chocolate becomes chocolate. It doesn’t look processed — it looks very much like the fine flakes of inner bark that you get from pine trees — the stuff that’s smooth, thin, and brown, broken into chips. That means very little though, probably.

There is some mild astringency, but it’s not too bad. At some point I’ll write another tasting note, but I’m too lazy this morning. ;)

Jude

Sophistre, your post says you paid $4… where is it sold at this price? Looks to me like $14 for that amount…

sophistre

Jude: I bought mine on amazon. At the time, it was packaged in a silver bag, not a tin; it looks like they’ve significantly changed their packaging…and perhaps subsequently their pricing! I wrote this review almost half a year ago, so probably they’ve grown as a company and can charge more, what with using tins and such. Bad news for the pocketbook…but possibly good news for the company. Hopefully that means they’ll be around for a while to come! Sorry I couldn’t be more help, though. :(

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Bio

Ohhh, I dunno. I like tea but I’m kind of a tea newbie. At this point I can say with authority that I may never be anything else, no matter how many teas I try…there is always something new out there.

I write a lot.

I also play way too many video games.


Ratings! (Bout time, wot?) This is a new arrangement, so…subject to change!

1-10: Not potable. First-sip disasters.

11-30: Intensely unpleasant…won’t catch me finishing the cup.

31-50: I really don’t like it…but maybe somebody else out there would.

51-70: Drinkable, but probably not the first thing I’m going to reach for.

71-90: Pretty good tea, and stuff that there’s a good chance I’ll have on-hand. Will do in a pinch at the low end, all the way up to regular visitors to my infuser on the high end.

91-100: Teas I really do not want to be without.

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Boston/Cambridge

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