This ‘herbal’ and I are sorting things out.
I have a hard time calling it an herbal, even though I know that, by way of tea terminology, it’s entirely the right word. It just seems so strange. It’s comprised entirely of shredded cacao shell — little flakes of it — and seems even more of a stretch for the term than usual, to me.
I was pretty excited to get it. For four dollars you get a pretty impressive 4oz bag! This is good, because they want 3 teaspoons of the stuff per 8oz. of water.
Opening the bag, the scent is heavily, unapologetically, mouth-wateringly chocolate. Tea isn’t the only heated beverage that I love a little bit more than I should, as it happens — I’m also quite fond of artisan hot chocolates, and there is nothing quite like that rich, real-chocolate smell.
I steeped it up with glee. Steeped, the aroma is even better — like rich drinking chocolate.
And then…I was sort of disappointed. It was quite bitter. I actually would have expected this, given the product itself and its unaltered organic authenticity, if it weren’t for the tasting note and description, which suggest it’s quite sweet. Which is not to say that I wanted Hershey or Swiss Miss sweet; as I say, I like good chocolate, and am quite fond of some bitter, fruity dark chocolates, and I can say with authority that I wasn’t looking for the over-sugared chocolate thing we’ve got going in this country.
This is not a terrible thing, though. I can work with this. I am just going to have to play with it in order to figure out how best to coax the chocolate flavor into a creamy, tasty state…because the aroma promises it, and I desperately want the flavor to come more into line with what the scent is.
In the first effort to figure out how to do that, I prepared it tonight on the stovetop, like a chai — boiled/simmered for a few minutes, topped with milk, heated again, strained. I added a bit of turbinado sugar, but not much.
I was also sort of naughty and used whole milk, just for over-the-top indulgence.
It is quite good. There’s still bitterness, but it’s pleasant, the way that chocolate bitterness can be, and the chocolate flavor is rich. A lower-cal option to actual hot-chocolate, but prepared this way, I’m not sure it’s much better, and so will be continuing to play with this one for a while.
Yeah, twist my arm, right? ;)
Leaving a rating off until I’ve played with it some more.