Leaf Type: Pu-erh & Yerba Maté
Where to Buy: Rishi Tea
Velvety, mellow and deep, this chai is an enticing blend of energizing pu-erh tea, shade-grown yerba maté and cacao. Made even more inviting by creamy vanilla, nutty coconut and fruity, pungent and uplifting Ayurvedic long pepper, this is a most sophisticated take on hot cocoa.
This is a tea that frightened me. I am not crazy about pu-erh tea (although I think I am acquiring a taste for them). It’s the earthy quality of pu-erh that puts me off, and in a blend with yerba maté which is also quite earthy, I was afraid this blend would be way too earthy for my palate.
But it isn’t! This is really very tasty!
The chocolate flavor is very prominent, and it tastes rich and smooth. It is a somewhat savory chocolate which pairs well with the masala spice blend. The spices are not over-the-top, I can taste a peppery note though, but it does not overwhelm the cup. It is actually quite delicate and accents the other flavors very nicely.
But the real star here is the coconut. It is the most prominent flavor that I’m detecting. It is sweet and creamy and in perfect harmony with the cocoa flavor and the spices. This really is quite a bit like a gourmet hot chocolate!
The flavor of the pu-erh tea is not really distinct – and that is just fine with me. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m not all that crazy about pu-erh. That being said, there is a pleasant depth to this blend that I attribute to the tea as well as the yerba maté. There is a hint of earthy quality but it is not off-putting, it’s really very pleasant.
I like this tea very much. I did not brew it the way that the packaging suggests – with a boiling water and milk combination – I simply used boiling water and steeped for 4 minutes – using about 1 tsp. of tea per 6 ounces of water. This created a very sumptuous cup that was alive with the flavors of coconut, chocolate, and warm spices. Delicious!