I received some of this tea in a tea swap, and I was waiting for the weather to cool off a bit before trying it, as I had a feeling it should be drunk hot. I do drink hot tea even in the summer, but usually only early in the day; the rest of the day, it’s iced tea. And since this is an herbal tea, I wanted to drink it in the evening.
Well, finally, the weather cooled off – it’s the first week of September as I write this, and absolutely wonderful, breezy and cool, and I can drink hot tea all day. And this tea was just great for a cool evening!
The cocoa is the main flavor, with an added note of almonds, even though there aren’t almonds listed in the ingredients – perhaps it’s the apple that gives it an almond-y flavor. It tasted a lot like the Mexican hot chocolate made from cakes or “bricks,” which has ground almonds and cinnamon along with cocoa.
The chili pods were not distinguishable as tasting like hot chili peppers; rather, they just added a bit of bite (much as cinnamon would), and after you finish a sip of the tea, you realize there’s a slight buzz on your palate. So you don’t have to worry about drinking something that tastes like jalapeno juice! I think the apple and strawberry dried bits are probably what helps keep the tea tasting as sweet as it does, rather than tasting overtly peppery.
Teavana says about this tea:
Everyone’s favorite blend of chocolate and strawberries with a kick. This modern take on the ancient tradition of blending chili peppers with cacao stands the test of time. A spicy refreshment any time of day.
Ingredients: Crushed cocoa, apple, strawberry, chocolate pieces, safflowers and crushed red chili pods.
I did go ahead and try icing it; the flavor was muted, bland but with the pepper sting still there – I’d say, stick to using this one as a hot tea. You can add sugar to it, add milk if you happen to like milk in your hot beverages – that softens the flavors a bit – and perhaps even add a cinnamon stick to stir it with, which makes it taste even more like Mexican hot chocolate!
An added benefit? The apple, strawberry, and chili pods contain vitamin C!