A sample from Roswell Strange. This has to be one of the oddest combinations ever? I mean, mate, black, herbal…? Surely it’s hardly herbal if it’s got both mate and black tea in it, neither of which are renowned for their caffeine free-ness. I can get behind the idea of mate and black, though, and caramel works well with darker teas as a flavour, so…maybe?I have another question. What’s monk fruit? Please don’t say fruit eaten by monks. I could google, but the people at work would think I’m odd. Or odder than they already think I am, anyway. Maybe that’s one for later.
I gave the bag 3 minutes in boiling water, and it’s brewed up to a medium golden-brown, no additions. The initial taste is very heavy on the mate – quite earthy and pungent with a burnt coffee-like aftertaste. There’s also something smoky, although I can’t pinpoint exactly what. Maybe the mate? The monk fruit? Ha. I didn’t get much caramel initially, but as the cup cools I can begin to taste it. It’s a little on the artificial side, but not too badly, and there is a hint of salt. The salt actually works really well with the savoury flavour of the mate and the smoke – somehow it helps to bring everything together. Then with the underlying richness of the caramel, it actually makes for a pretty decent cup. I’m not even sure how it is that earth, coffee, smoke, salt and caramel taste good together, but they kind of do so there you go. My befuddled morning brain can’t make any more sense of things than that.