I’m thinking of doing Tea Tuesday posts perhaps once or twice a month where I talk about tea. Because I love tea. Mmm. Tea.
I was running low on herbal options in my tea stash so I decided to go buy more tea. (I have a lot of tea so this is always a bad idea but I can’t help it.) I ended up in a Teavana because, like David’s Tea, these shops are pretty much everywhere and therefore easily accessible. Before the Canadian copycat version got bought out by Teavana, I used to refer to the copycat as the Starbucks of tea and whaddaya know, Teavana is owned by Starbucks.
I don’t know why I chose CocoCaramel Sea Salt. I love chocolate but honestly, chocolate-flavoured teas are never really compelling because there’s never enough chocolate. Tiny bits of chocolate will never give you the right ratio of chocolate to tea to hot water. And yet, I bought this tea because damn, it smells so good. I mean, it’s got chocolate in it, of course it’ll smell good.
The tea still smells good once you steep it. The taste is… well, a bit weak, obviously. There’s a sweetness coming from the licorice root (gonna have to do a post on that another day) that overpowers the slight hint of chocolate. Forget the sea salt, you won’t find it.
Now, I’m a huge fan of licorice root but it’s a rather strong flavour and for this blend, I think there’s too much of it in there. The balance is off; there’s not enough substance to this tea to anchor the sweetness of the licorice. I managed to rebalance the tea by adding rooibos, which has a softer, less noticeable sweetness to it, unlike licorice root’s biting, throaty sweetness. I find that the rooibos really mellows out the licorice root and anchors the blend. To make the tea more compelling, I added a bit of cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Just a little to give the tea something more than just some sweetness (remember, the sea salt was barely present).
After adding a splash of milk for body, the tea suddenly became interesting. It’s hard to explain the final flavour: there’s the licorice root with its aftertaste of sweet, the milk that actually brings out the caramel flavouring, the hint of spice and cocoa…
But the fact that I have to add so much to this tea makes me hesitate to recommend it. When you look at it, it’s quite expensive for what you get. $7-8/50g is asking a lot for a blend you can’t re-steep and for all the effort I put into it to give it substance, I’d rather put in the extra effort to make my own spiced hot chocolate.