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Chocolate tea blends: flavor highlights
A cup of tea that simultaneously satisfies your chocolate cravings may sound too good to be true. Yet, chocolate tea exists, has countless delicious variants, and is widely sampled by tea lovers from around the world. From spicy cocoa edged pu-erh teas, to earthy blends of black tea, cacao beans and rose petals, to rich mocha blends with chocolate chips and hazelnuts, to crisp China teas laced with peppermint chocolate, to light caffeine-free rooibos blends with cocoa shells and vanilla beans – the possibilities are endless. The only constant is a cup (or tall glass) full of lush chocolaty goodness, without the calories that usually keep you off it!
Like hot chocolate, but not quite
The commercial process of making chocolate out of cacao beans results in a by-product: cacao shells, or cacao mulch. Herbal cacao teas (other than those that use chocolate chips or roasted beans) utilize these shells. The shells retain the aroma and flavor of chocolate, along with a host of antioxidants and minerals. When consumed as cacao ‘tea’, they let you enjoy your favorite chocolate fix, without worrying about unwanted calories.
Chocolate teas vary in aroma, taste and texture, depending on their tea base, form of chocolate used, and additional spices and ingredients in the blend. For instance, chocolate and orange peel can make an earthy pu-erh “taste like dessert”. Similarly, peppermint and chocolate can make a strong black tea “mellow and enjoyable”, with “not a trace of bitterness to be found”. Green teas and matcha teas can also be “made even smoother” by the addition of some chocolate flavoring. Caffeine-free rooibos, when paired with cacao husks and a little vanilla, becomes “balanced” and “perfect for a tea latte”.
The steeping process for your chocolate tea depends on its tea base. High caffeine black teas with chocolate flavors can be steeped for as little as 2 minutes, at about 170 degrees. Lighter rooibos based variants can be infused in water at 200 degrees, and for over 5 minutes. The world of chocolate teas is vast, and the best way to explore it is to try out flavor pairings that you prefer in your desserts. All-time favorites like hazelnut, rose, cherry and mint work great with cacao tea blends, and a splash of milk adds that perfect hot chocolate feel to your tea. Needless to say, most chocolate teas can be consumed iced as well.
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