|"The liquor was a deep coppery red and now smelled like those melt-in-the-mouth Andes chocolate-mint candies, a particular favorite of mine. "|
For this tea they begin with orthodox produced Orange Pekoe-grade tea from the Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula, or Uva districts of Sri Lanka, and natural oils rather than flavoring crystals. The ingredients, in addition to the tea, are listed as "Peppermint, Blackberry leaves, and Natural flavors." As cocoa or chocolate do not appear in that list, I have to assume that it comes under the heading of "Natural flavors."
Sniffing the tea was an olfactory delight. The powerful mingled aromas of peppermint and unsweetened chocolate rose in a cloud around me as I spooned a generous teaspoonful of dry tea into a one cup pot and added 212F water. The dry, twisted black leaves were of medium length and sprinkled with what appeared to be dried mint leaves. There weren't enough of them to account for the intensity of the fragrance, though; I suspect it's more due to some good peppermint oil. I lived near mint farms in Oregon and this is what it smelled like when they harvested the plants in the fall.
After a seven minute infusion (the vendor's directions suggest 3-7 min.) the opened leaves were reddish brown and in large pieces. The liquor was a deep coppery red and now smelled like those melt-in-the-mouth Andes chocolate-mint candies, a particular favorite of mine. The chocolate fragrance was very rich, and the mint was strong and balanced. The flavor was also well balanced between the sweet, floral maltiness of the tea, dark chocolate, and peppermint. It was round and mouth filling, and had a bit of pull that made my mouth water as I drank. The finish was dry and tasted of mint and unsweetened cocoa.
Curious, I added a splash of half and half and a bit of organic sugar. Surprisingly, it muted the chocolate flavor, rather than making it pop. Perhaps sugar alone would have been a better idea.
So I brewed up a fresh cup and added about a half teaspoon of sugar. That worked much better. This is a dark, not a milk chocolate tea. However, I think it is quite dramatic and flavorful on its own, especially with the long steep. The quality ingredients pay off and add up to a very nice self drinking tea, perfect for dessert or to fend off those pesky chocolate cravings.
Really good chocolate teas are few and far between, so I say, "Highly recommended!" and "Yum!"
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