PRODUCT REVIEW: Rooibos Vanilla Virgin Chocolate Bar from Raaka Chocolate

chocolateAbout This Product:

Raaka Virgin Chocolate bars, hand made in Brooklyn, New York. The Vanilla Rooibos bar combines unroasted cocoa beans with vanilla rooibos tea, stone ground to perfection in small batches. Tasting notes: Cherry and toasted marshmallow.

To Learn more about Raaka Chocolate, click here.

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Taster’s Review:

I received this chocolate bar in my April Knoshbox (yes, it has been a while, I tend to horde my gourmet chocolates for times when I really need chocolate.  Like now!) and because this Virgin Chocolate Bar from Raaka Chocolate is also made with vanilla rooibos, I thought that I’d offer a product review on this confection right here on SororiTea Sisters, rather than my foodie blog.

The first thing I noticed about this is the packaging … I love the zentangle-ish wrapper!  Very cool!  The chocolate itself is a dark chocolate and it has a crisp “snap” to it when I break the bar.

Now, I’ve got to say that I’m not as fond of raw chocolate as I am of the “roasted” chocolate.  The roasting of the cacao beans seems to add a depth to the chocolate that I just don’t experience in the raw chocolate.  But that’s not to say I dislike the raw chocolate, I just prefer it to be made from roasted cacao.  Here the chocolate is dark (67%) and it has a bold, rich flavor that is both bitter and sweet.

I can taste the rooibos, and the rooibos offers a slightly fruity tone to the chocolate.  The tasting notes on the Raaka website suggest a “cherry” flavor, and I don’t know if I’m getting cherry, exactly.  I definitely taste the vanilla, and it enhances the overall “creaminess” to the bar, which I really like.  I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, but, there is something to that creaminess of a milk chocolate bar that I do enjoy, and the vanilla notes here add that element without the milk.

When I allow the chocolate to melt over my palate, I notice more of the aforementioned cherry notes, as well as the toasted marshmallow notes as described on the website, so, I highly recommend savoring this bar like this:  breaking the bar into small, bite-size bits, and then putting the small piece on your tongue and allowing the warmth of your mouth to soften the chocolate.  That’s when you’ll really enjoy the fullness of flavor from this chocolate bar.

Overall, a really delightful chocolate experience.  Then again, when is chocolate NOT a delightful experience?  If you’re looking for a good raw chocolate bar … I think that this one from Raaka is my favorite of the raw chocolate bars that I’ve tasted thus far.

PRODUCT REVIEW: Green Tea & Lemon Sparkling Fermented Tea from Kombucha Wonder Drink

KombuchaProduct Information:

A refreshing hint of organic natural lemon in harmony with green tea.

Learn more about this product here.

Taster’s Review:

I am probably the last person to ever try Kombucha.  Yeah … imagine that … a tea reviewer has been hesitant to try a tea product.  About as inconceivable as the thought that I would be hesitant to try something new (especially when it pertains to tea.)  But there it is … I love my tea, but, the idea of fermented tea … and what little I have read about Kombucha, the making of it sounds a little bit like how they make vinegar.

Now, I like vinegar when I drizzle it on my salad or my green beans, but, it’s not something that I will chill in the refrigerator and then pour myself a glass to drink.  You know what I mean?  Yeah, I know that they make sipping vinegars, but I haven’t tried those either.  And to be perfectly honest, if I hadn’t received this can of Green Tea & Lemon Sparkling Fermented Tea from Kombucha Wonder Drink in my April Knoshbox, I probably wouldn’t be about to try it now, because, I doubt I would have actually paid for a drink that has filled me so much unease.

So, I sit here, with this innocent enough looking can of chilled tea drink, still sealed … wondering if I will actually open it and drink it.  And after looking at it for some time … I finally popped the top and took a sip.

First impression:  weird.

Second impression:  tart and lemony.

Third impression:  I’m not getting a whole lot of tea flavor here.

I get the lemony tingle on my tongue … and I don’t know how much of that is actually lemon and how much is the fermentation.  It’s very bubbly like a soda pop would be.  I’m not big on soda.  This is also quite sweet despite the tarty taste of it … which I guess I’m glad for the sweetness otherwise it might end up being too sour.

It’s different.  It’s not bad.  It reminds me a bit of a sparkling lemonade with a little bit of something else to it.  I find myself wishing I could taste more green tea, and as I continue to sip, that wish is granted – but only barely! – because the green tea notes do develop as I sip.  It’s never a strong green tea taste.  I don’t get a lot of grassy or vegetative notes or anything else that strongly resembles a green tea.  Just a hint of it.

And I do taste a slight ‘vinegary’ note to this as well, and this taste develops by about “mid-can” … it’s like someone added maybe a teaspoon of vinegar to my sparkling lemonade, along with a teaspoon of green tea.  I taste more lemon than green tea here though, and I feel that is important to mention since the description suggests that there is a “hint” of lemon, and to these taste buds, it is more lemon than anything else with the exception of sugar.

Overall, I’d say that my first impression is the best one:  it’s weird.  Very unusual, but I don’t dislike it.  But, I like other things better, and because of that, I doubt I’ll be buying another can of this in the near future.  That said, I do find myself sort of intrigued by the Asian Pear and Ginger flavor, so I might … MIGHT try this flavor at some point.