I’m of Italian descent, although I’ve never been to Italy. I don’t belong on Jersey Shore – I’m pale as a ghost, actually. I didn’t buy a sample of this one because it was labeled Florence. Random fact: Firenze is my favorite Italian word. Rather, I bought it for the flavor profile, which sounded delicious and sort of like a Nutella tea.
As soon as I ripped the tabs off the sampler, I could smell the goodness within. And sure enough, this one smells absolutely delicious. Like chocolate and hazelnut, with the tiniest bit of black tea smell underneath. It’s really strong and potent and wonderful. Everyone came in the kitchen after they caught a whiff of it to smell the dry leaves.
The leaves look like a fairly standard black. I steeped this up and watched as the tea darkened to a beautiful cocoa-brown. And it smells awesome. The chocolate and hazelnut combine together, and both aromas are really authentic and true to their real-life, non-tea-related counterparts. But it also smells strongly of black tea, which is always a huge plus for me! If I wanted an all-cocoa drink, I’d drink drinking chocolate.
The taste at first actually shocked me! I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. I’m actually pleasantly surprised! What first hits you is the real nuttiness of the hazelnut. And if anyone has tasted hazelnut before, it’s really that signature, kind of bitter, kind of sweet nut-like taste that manifests in the flavor profile of this tea. This gives was to a rich chocolate taste. The tea isn’t creamy, but it almost fools you into thinking it is, the way these two interweave. The black tea base isn’t assertive, but it’s definitely there, supporting the dueling, wonderful flavors.
This is probably the best chocolate-flavored tea I’ve had. I could see this one being really good with milk, but I’ll probably never do that. My mom keeps stealing sips, even though she’s allergic to caffeine. She says it’s her favorite tea that she’s tasted from my batch. But then again, she’s a chocolate addict, and loves Ferraro Rocher chocolates, so… this was a match made in heaven for her!
I’m not the hugest fan of chocolate + tea in general, I’m finding, but Harney has real success with the flavors that are at play here. It tastes true and real and nowhere near artificial, and it’s really lovely to sip. Especially on a cold and snow(?!) filled day like today!