Mrteaman and I tasted the Art of Tea Chocolate Monkey dessert tea together. We each used a porcelain cupping set and 2.3 grams of tea.
This tea was part of a 4 dessert tea sampler mrteaman purchased for me. I need to be mindful of caffeine intake, and rooibos infusions usually deliver a dark infusion I enjoy with none of the caffeine of true teas.
Chocolate Monkey is an organic herbal ‘tea’ or tisane blended with a base of rooibos and honeybush (or as mrteaman describes them – pencil shavings). Art of Tea adds cacao nibs, chocolate seeds, apple bits, banana bits, pink peppercorns and natural flavors. I was able to pick out the cacao nibs and apple bits and munch on them. I did not recognize banana bits or chocolate seeds. It is an attractive blend to look at. The banana aroma is pronounced, the chocolate second.
We infused the tisane in boiling water for 5 minutes. I would not use less time.
The liquor infused to a bright copper – similar to a keemun. As is often the case with rooibos and honeybush, some smaller particles found their way into the infusion. The aroma of the liquor was a more blended combination of the banana, chocolate and peppercorns.
The taste is a much more mellow presentation of the individual flavor profiles of the separate ingredients in the blend. More sophisticated. The chocolate and peppercorns fade to the background. I had forgotten all about the apple, it disappeared altogether. Mrteaman has little patience for rooibos or honeybush tisanes. He feels the body has not depth – is flat. I agree, but I like them anyway.
This a standalone tea, perfect for what it was blended for – dessert – especially after dinner. A little bit of sweetener enhanced the natural sweetness. That was enough.
I did feel like doing a little experimentation. I added just a few drops of real cream (I know that is a no-no usually) and it did not do much either way. I would avoid adding milk or cream. Mrteaman thought a dollop of whipped cream would be fun. I think it would be too much.
Noting that the chocolate flavor profile fell behind the stronger banana, I thought why not do something to enhance the chocolate. Crème de Cacao! Oh yes. I infused an 8-10 oz mug (a lovely crystal cut clear glass mug) with fresh Chocolate Monkey (as described above) and added 1 teaspoon of Crème de Cacao. The liqueur enhanced the natural sweetness, backed up the chocolate note and deepened the color while taking nothing away from the tisane. A match made in heaven. The perfect sophisticated after dinner drink.
Art of Tea describes this tea as:
“Envelope your palette with this bewitchingly sweet blend of ripened bananas swirling in a symphony of rich, silky chocolate and spicy pink peppercorns.
Water Temperature: 206 F degrees
Caffeine Content: Chocolate may contain trace amounts of caffeine
Steep Time: 5-7 minutes
Ingredients: Organic Fair Trade South African Rooibos, Organic South African Honeybush, Organic Cacao Nibs, Organic Apple Bits, Organic Banana Bits, Organic Pink Peppercorn, Chocolate Seeds, Natural Flavors
Origin: Art of Tea Blend”