A few nights ago we were at the mall getting my mother-in-law’s iPod checked out (silly buttons that don’t want to work) and I decided to stop by and have a sniff of the “new” fall flavors. I went in expecting to walk out with at least some tea (needed to stock up on pumpkin chai at the very least!) but not this one. I remember reading its description when it first came out and thinking that’s waaaay to many ingredients, but when I had a chance to really smell it I was intrigued enough to get a small amount to sample. (Had a great chat with the assistant while she measured out my order; there’s no way I could work at a tea shop… I’d have no money left!! :D)
Dry this tea is very visually interesting; filled with coffee beans and berries, more so than I had originally expected compared to the amount of mate. The strong aroma is an interesting mix of the fresh, sweetness of the fruits and the dark rich notes that come from the coffee and the roasted mate. But there is a definite artificial note that kind of hangs throughout this tea, one of the previous reviewers likened it to cherry cough drops, which for me wasn’t far off the mark. But it wasn’t off putting enough to stop me from trying it.
When brewed the liquor comes out a murky brown, filled with particulates from the various powders that are part of the ingredient list. The scent changed every breath I took: first sniff… “Wow coffee!”; second sniff “Lots of berries”; third? “Oh there’s the mate… and more berries.” There was still that artificial cherry tang as well but it’s less potent steeped then it was dry.
My first sip though was quite disappointing; after the strong showy aroma of both the dry and steeped versions I was expecting an explosion of flavor in my mouth… but alas I was out of luck (I even tried a longer steeping time, doubling what was recommended, it still didn’t help. In the end the flavor was still quite weak and just didn’t match the scent profile.) The light mouth-feel lead into berries, berries and more berries; but they’re so mixed it’s hard to really pick out one distinct flavor. And sadly I found the artificial cherry flavor to be predominant, almost entirely overwhelming the coffee and mate notes underneath it. Plus, it left a very off aftertaste in my mouth which is not a great way to finish a new tea experience.
I think this might be a case of too many ingredients leading to an overall muddled tea that just, for me, lacked balance. Which is too bad, I think the idea of a fruity coffee flavored tea to be a wonderful idea, but unfortunately DT’s execution came up short.