Happy New Year’s Eve! Today the prompt is to drink your oldest tea!
While this isn’t my oldest tea (those are all pu’erhs that I continually put off drinking for several reasons: a) I feel they “need” gong fu preparation to shine, which I never have the time to do, b) since they age, I don’t feel an incentive to finish them off for “freshness” purposes, and c) frankly, historically that tea type is my least favorite). I’m pretty busy today (work half the day, then I need to cram in errands the second half and hope the blizzard we are having lightens by then) so I don’t think I’ll be able to fit in any gong fu today… so I made this as my take-to-work thermos tea. It is at least one of my oldest 2018 teas, which have been what I’ve primarily been working on sipping down lately.
Tea Chai Te has a couple blends that incorporate tea leaf and spices into Guittard powdered chocolate; the result is something that, at least visually, appears to look more like a hot chocolate mix, just with chunky bits in it. I really enjoy their “Rainforest Chai,” another of their Guittard chocolate blends, so I decided to prepare this tea the same way I make that one: one large perfect spoon scoop of the tea/chocolate powder dumped into the milk frother, a cup of milk, and the frother on “warm”. When it is done warming/frothing the milk, I pour through a strainer to filter out the tea and spices. I find this incorporates the chocolate powder the best, while trying to steep with water in a strainer just turns into a big mess.
Smells, unsurprisingly, like spiced hot chocolate. It’s a rich, sweet, thick chocolate (thanks to the cocoa powder), but I can taste the spices too: notably a warming of clove and ginger at the end of the sip. Mid-sip I get more of a cardamom flavor. The spices aren’t strong enough to cause any unpleasant mouth-burny sensations, but are present enough to be tasted through the chocolate.
I can’t, however, taste anything that would remind me of yerba mate. Flavor-wise, this pretty much tastes just like their “Rainforest Chai,” which is just spices in cocoa powder. I suppose though, even though I can’t taste it, is that the yerba mate has basically turned this into an energizing, caffeinated hot cocoa, while “Rainforest Chai” is a pleasant evening herbal. I’ll have to see how my energy levels feel as I sip on this throughout another cold and snowy morning.
Edit: Having tried this tea a few times now, I have found my preferred preparation is stove top preparation with a 50/50 milk to water ratio and a tablespoon of the tea/chocolate powder. This is the best marriage of rich and creamy hot chocolate notes while still tasting the distint flavor of yerba mate with sweet spices.
Flavors: Cardamom, Chocolate, Clove, Creamy, Ginger, Spices, Sweet