A friend gave me this deliberately because it was probably bad. And so, with some trepidation, I opened this bag. The scent that spilled out was the familiar, bitter, woody odor of rooibos, but an undercurrent of something else ran below it, like a snake in the grass. Something unpleasant; my nose wrinkled involuntarily. Upon getting a better whiff of the bag, I placed the scent: that of a yogurt covered raisin, one that has spent a week mummifying between two couch cushions. Upon first pour I peered apprehensively into the cup and discovered the initial release of color produced a shade known only to man as dishwater. Fortunately, swishing it around turned the contents the usual red of rooibos. I sniffed it again. It then smelled like cooked raspberries. I didn’t recall then if there were raspberries in this. Thankfully, there are, and this was supposed to happen.
Penance was the name of the game, so I gave it a full five minute steep.
A long steep deepened the color, and the chocolate came through in the aroma. It smells like cheap Valentine’s day chocolate, the kind that smells like the reality of Valentine’s day, which is to say, capitalism and February. I gave it a minute to cool, and had a sip.
I tasted nothing but a distant walnut. After a moment, this strengthened on the tongue to a much less offensive chocolate than the smell suggested. Despite the strong, cloying raspberry that overwhelms most of the other notes in the steam, it scarcely comes through in the drink, except when it does because somehow separate sips of this tea taste slightly different. This is fine in say, a stir fry, where what lands on your fork may vary. It is not how liquids are supposed to work. It is how this liquid works. Faint walnut, chocolate, maybe berry. Some degree of berry. No guarantees.
It isn’t killing me. Perplexing, but ultimately drinkable and inoffensive. Unless inhaled; at one point I coughed while having a drink and managed to breathe some in, and spent a solid five minutes thereafter sputtering.
Flavors: Chocolate, Raspberry, Walnut