|"The usual bitter foretaste of the guayusa was undermined by the chocolaty aspect, which held true until the Ecuadorian holly's sweet finish kicked in."|
This marks the fourth guayusa offering I've tried. To date, I have sipped more guayusa blends than I have mate. I'm quite okay with that. Not a fan of yerba mate, even if it is a close cousin. The difference between the two hollies resembles the rooibos/honeybush dichotomy. One will always be a shy sweeter than the other - literally. Stash was obviously counting on some of the natural sweetness to work well with the cocoa nibs. And - indeed - there is some chocolaty presence that rides along with the dry, leafy, holly scent. The color of the nibs also seemed to work well in tandem with the guayusa flakes.
Brewing instructions were lacking on the Stash Tea site. Past guayusa cups brewed quite well at four minutes in boiling water. I debated whether or not I should stick to that status-quo or dare a deeper brew. My desire for more won out. Since nibs could be considered an extra botanical - and guayusa a tisane - I chanced an extra minute; 1 tsp in 8oz worth of water.
With the extra time, I thought the liquor would end up a murky, pondwater brown. Guayusa by itself, infused for four minutes, yielded that color. This darkened no greater than a roasted oolong - foggy gold at most. The aroma was two-thirds leafy bitterness and one-third cocoa. The creamy presence could not mask the grassy, loud prominence of the guayusa. However, the nibs did contribute greatly to the taste. The usual bitter foretaste of the guayusa was undermined by the chocolaty aspect, which held true until the Ecuadorian holly's sweet finish kicked in.
I can safely say I liked it quite a bit. Stash has been the king for guayusa blends. While this doesn't top their green tea/guayusa fusion, it almost come close to straight guayusa in terms of taste. I would happily wake up to this mix again.
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