This is an ancient sample that I got from Fleurdelily, who doesn’t seem to be around anymore, back in October. It’s been sitting in my Untried Teas Box since then, because there were several things about it that I found a little intimidating.
I’m not super-keen on mate, to be honest. But I don’t hate it either. Also, I’ve never had roasted mate before, and maybe that appeals to me more.
I’m not super-keen on chocolate flavoured things where the chocolate isn’t a naturally occuring note of cocoa. It’s a texture thing. Or rather a lack of texture thing. But I’m willing to give them a go.
I have also had a blend previously which contained chicory, I think it was, and there was something in it that I didn’t like where people told me it was likely the chicory. I think. Or was I dreaming that? I can’t remember which blend it was or when I drank it.
So that is why it has taken me so long. Quite honestly, I’m rather afraid of this.
But I’ve pulled myself together and made a cup, expertly spilling a good slosh of it into the tray. The table at Tea Corner is wooden and was beginning to show the evidence of a lot of spilling, so I bought a small melanine tray from Roy Kirkham, with butterflies on it matching one of the small pots, to have the pot and cups and such on while brewing. It looks great (I think) and it works.
Well, it certainly smells like cocoa. Sweet and deep and very much like hot chocolate. So far so good. There’s something else underneath as well, which smells rather like coffee, so since chicory has a history of being used as a coffee substitute during the Occupation, I’m going to assume that it’s chicory I can smell.
My father doesn’t like tea at all. He doesn’t like real tea and he doesn’t like herbal tea. He thinks it stinks to high heaven and tastes even worse.
(And don’t come and tell me nonsense like ’it’s just because he’s only had bad tea’ or ’it’s just because he hasn’t tried this or that tea’ or ‘everybody likes tea, just not all types’ because it’s rubbish and it annoys me. We all have things we just. Don’t. Like. For me it’s beer and most sorts of alcohol. Yuckity yuck yuck yuck. For him it’s tea. It greatly annoys me when people seem to take offence at the fact that there are people in the world who strongly dislikes things that others like. Nobody likes everything, and we are allowed to not like some things. So there. Rant over.)
But anyway, I think he might find the aroma of this one tolerable. Yes, frankly, because it smells like coffee, but even so. The funny thing about me father, by the way, is that he’s really into whisky and goes to tastings and what not when he can with Husband and a friend of his. So while he finds my tea disgusting and I find his whisky repulsive, we get each other on this. :)
Right, enough stalling. What does this stuff taste like?
Peculiar. It doesn’t actually have a very strong flavour. At first it was just a sip of hot liquid, and then all the notes show up in the aftertaste. A coffee-y hint, a blooming of cocoa and at the very back of the throat a tiny point of something prickly, as if there was a smidge of chili in it. Well, I’ve heard of chili chocolate…
Now, it is a very old sample by now and apparently I also used water that was too hot, so that may account for the funny backwards nature of the sip. I’m far more used to things having no aftertaste than things having only aftertaste.
I’ve touched on how cocoa flavoured teas and chocolate flavoured teas usually disappoint me because they lack the thick texture of real hot cocoa. This blend, however, has managed to find a way to actually taste strongly of cocoa without bringing with it this lack of texture disappointment, in spite of how the actual texture is still as thin as water. If you get what I mean. I’m highly pleased with this. No other chocolate flavoured tea that I can think of has managed to do this.
As the cup cools a bit, the flavour becomes less shy and actually shows up on the sip as well. The cocoa remains largely on the aftertaste, and I’m catching hints of something wooden (the rooibos, I think) and nuts on the sip. That chicory that I was so afraid of doesn’t appear to be around at all. Or it wasn’t actually chicory that caused aforementioned unpleasant notes previously. See, this would be a lot easier if I could actually remember it. Now I don’t even know why I mentioned it in the first place.
All in all, this is quite a hearty and pleasant blend. What was I so afraid of for all this time? That said, I’m still not super-keen on mate, but I’ve learned that I like it better when it’s roasted.