For a tea lover who is also chocolate obsessed, there is little better than a combination of the two. Normally, this would mean a few sneaky squares wolfed down between sips. Today, it means tea made out of cocoa husks!
Most chocolatiers discard the shells that wrap around cacao beans. Rather than wasting them, Hotel Chocolat re-purpose them into Teaolat! Steeped cocoa husks have beneficial proprieties, as they are high in antioxidants. Chocolate has never been so good for you!
Ingredients: Cocoa Shells, Cinnamon, Cardamon, Cloves and Chilli Flakes.
Tasting Notes: As this was steeping away, my mouth started salivating at the rich chocolaty notes protruding from the cup. The 4 minutes steep time was torture! I was so eager to try this tea, that initially, the flavour was disappointing; a quick cocoa with light chai spices. Once accustomising to the flavour, it became easier to appreciate the gentle, rich creamy chocolate flavour and detect the sweet, smoky spices on the taste buds. Is it good? Yes. Is the flavour as good as the aroma? No. :(
Ingredients:Cocoa Shells and Ginger.
Tasting Notes: As the second in the collection I tried, I was better prepared on what flavour to expect from the cocoa husks. I really love ginger, so I was excited to see the two flavours combined. Invigorate has light chocolate notes, with a slight ginger twist. Whilst, the aftertaste is the bitterness of dark chocolate. It's beautiful, but again I was left disappointed... I was expecting the flavours to jump out at me, but they're more earthy and savoury, rather than spicy and zingy. It's a tasty tea, but the flat flavour made the brew relaxing, rather than invigorating!
Ingredients: Cocoa Shells and Peppermint Leaf.
Tasting Notes: Similarly to ginger, mint is another flavour I really love. But, just like Invigorate, the herb doesn't jump out the way you would expect. The refreshing notes of mint are subtle, combining with a smooth creamy chocolate to create a cooling creme flavour. It's not what I expected, but it is delicious!
Ingredients: Cocoa Shells and Black Tea.
Tasting Notes: This is the only Teaolat of the bunch that actually contains tea! Whilst the others smelt like solid chocolate, this one surprisingly, smells like an actual hot chocolate. The cup seems to be naturally milky, creamy and rich, with the faint malt of tea behind. There's no bitterness, but there is a thick mouthfeel. Everything combined made me wonder... was I drinking a tea or hot chocolate!?
Unlike other chocolate tea on the market, most Hotel Chocolat Teaolat's don't contain any Camilla Sinesis. This technically makes them tisanes, not teas... But, that's half the intricacy of them. I find myself repeatedly disappointed with nearly all the "chocolate tea" I've tried. They tend to smell amazing but fall short on flavour. There's an emphasis on the tea, not the chocolate (understandable as a tea company exist for tea lovers). In comparison, Hotel Chocolat exists for chocolate lovers and so the focus shifts to where it needs to be to make an on-point chocolate tea.
Although the names of some of these blends were misleading for me, they still tasted amazingly chocolatey. What was most surprising though, was that each one had a different level of intensity, creaminess and depth. Each cup was like taking a bite out of a different type of chocolate. Exciting AND delicious!