The title of this post sounds enticing, doesn’t it? Well, don’t judge a blog by its title.
CocoCaramel Sea Salt is one of the four teas (and I use the term loosely) included in my Holiday Tea Collection Gift Box (not currently being sold on their website) from TeaVana. You may recall the first tea I reviewed from it, White Chocolate Peppermint, was a bit lackluster. It’ll probably come as no great shock then, that CocoCaramel Sea Salt fails to inspire the kind of decadent experience its title suggests.
Once again, according to TeaVana, nothing says December/January holiday time than chocolate in your tea. You may be as unsurprised as I was to learn the first ingredient in CocoCaramel Sea Salt isn’t tea. Neither is the second… or third… or last ingredient. In point of fact, almost nothing in this “tea” resembles actual tea, or even Rooibos for that matter. To quote the irrepressible Weird Al Yankovic, “So in that case, in that case what DO you have?” Well Al, I’m glad you asked. CocoCaramel Sea Salt is made up of exactly what the title suggests: Cocoa kernels, carob pieces, chocolate flakes (itself made from sugar, cocoa mass and cocoa powder), coconut chips, liquorice root, anise seeds (TeaVana’s idea of an Herbal tea base), artificial flavoring (woot!), marigold petals (>.>), red bell pepper (because hell, why not) and finally sea salt. That’s it. According to the warning label, somewhere in there milk is also miraculously present.
All right. So we get that it’s not all that great for you and in reality is probably worse than a lot of coffees out there in terms of calories and fats (i’m glad they don’t have to list their nutrient information because i frankly wouldn’t want to know), but how does it taste? Unmistakably like a rich watery truffle.
I was curious, so i did a little experimentation: It turns out, if you combine 3 parts cocoa mix : 1 part CocoCaramel Sea Salt and stir vigorously, the result is quite heavenly (and possibly even decadent) and all kinds of bad for you. You don’t even have to separate the tea once it’s brewed (…should be the first indicator that something’s wrong), though I wouldn’t recommend just chewing on the raw tea unless you really like licorice and anise. By itself, brewed as a tea, it’s a lot like someone separated all the chocolate sweetness out of a Chocolate Pu-erh. Which lead me to my second experiment: combined 2 parts pu-erh : 1 part CocoCaramal Sea Salt in a desperate attempt to justify the cost of this tea purchase. Specifically, I used Numi’s Emperor’s Pu-erh (a magnificent tea) in the hopes it probably wouldn’t suck. While it certainly smells enticing, the added gob of cocoa yielded a taste I’m thinking is even too bitter for me to enjoy.
In other words, it’s anti-tea. Which is to say, it’s horrid. If i were to put it up against all the other teas I’ve ever drank, CocoCaramel Sea Salt wouldn’t advance past the first bracket. I’d rate it like 907th best?
I’ve categorized this post as “Pu-erh” rather than Herbal (which is how it’s marketed) since that’s the only way i can possibly see it as a tea.