I was beginning to feel in a bit of a rut with the folks I buy my tea from, so I decided to branch out a bit. I saw The Tea Smith advertised, so I thought I would check him out, as I had also seen some good reviews of his teas. I found some I really wanted to try, so here we go! The first is South of the Border Chocolate Tea. It has chili pepper in it! And it is so good. When I opened the package, all I could smell was deep rich chocolate, with a whiff of cherry – a bit like those chocolate covered cherries we always got Mother for Christmas. The small leaves were black and there were small bits of red pepper. The scent continued through the 3.5 minute brew with boiling water.
My husband loved it! I tasted some of his with the milk and sweetener and it was fine. Far too sweet for me, so I had mine plain. For some strange reason I kept wanting to put a bit of salt in it, so I did – just the tiniest shake and it really brought out the flavor even more. It is very chocolatey, with the tiniest of bites – really more a bit of warmth. It certainly doesn't taste like chili, nor do you need to be afraid of it being spicy. There was not much taste or smell of tea. As it cooled, it seemed to get sweeter, more sweet than I am happy with, so I would be one to drink it quickly. However, I did think about making an ice cream soda with it. Definitely a keeper.
Tea must be becoming more mainstream I think, if the ads and articles I see for it are any indication. A fairly new magazine, Mary Jane's Farm had not 1 but 2 full pages ads for tea companies. Family Circle in July of this year [I just read it] headed its “Health” section with a very brief mini-article on the healthy aspects of daily tea drinking, which can reduce the threat of having a stroke. I am really hoping that more and more people will grow to love tea, either for health or just because it tastes great and opens a whole multifaceted world for us. It is a constant source of wonder to me that one species of plant can produce so much variety.
By the way, that misty mountain in the photo is Vesuvius.