Chocolate Rocket is another of the teas I picked up while in Edmonton from David’s Tea. Dry, it smells delicious – I can first smell the chicory smell, then almond, and then chocolate and just a tiny bit of the raspberry that you can see as it sits on top. Visually it’s really bold as well, with big slivers of almond. Yeah, because I’ve started to photograph the teas I drink for this blog, I’ve also started paying more attention to what they look like, and I’m a sucker for a pretty-looking teas. (Who am I kidding? Pretty looking anything!) The maté in the tea also really stands out – and I found really JUMPS out when I drink it too!
So, what is maté? Basically it’s a coffee alternative, known to provide mental energy/stimulation (without the jitters that come from caffeine in coffee). It’s also very high in antioxidants, and is reported to help with lessening the tendency towards obesity and lower cholesterol. *shrugs* Most of the time I don’t really care about all of that, I just want to drink what tastes good! It’s not officially “tea” since it comes from the Yerba Mate plant and not actually the Camellia Sinensis. Traditionally, the dried leaves are steeped right in the cup (traditionally a hollowed gourd) and you drink it through a (traditionally silver or cane) straw with small holes – acting as a sieve so you don’t sip up the leaves as well. Of course, tradition can’t stand in the way of enterprise, and it’s also available in bagged form. Traditionally the drink comes from South America – according to Wikipedia – Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil to be specific.
“Yerba Mate or Mate (MAH-tay) as it is often called is a wonderful stimulant, which can act as an all natural and cost effective substitute to energy drinks and coffee. The stimulant in Mate is called mateine, which is like caffeine but less disruptive to your metabolism and doesn’t leave you with the side effects and toxicity of coffee. With 52 more active compounds and a higher antioxidant count than Green Tea, Mate fights free radicals, detoxifies the body and helps protect against diseases such as cancer and heart disease.” http://www.teaopia.ca/category.cfm/tea/Loose-Leaf-Mate
Ok.. so on to THIS tea…
David’s Tea describes this tea as: “Need a boost? Try this tea. First you’ll experience a pure, sweet hit of chocolate. Then you’ll find yourself awash in the freshness of raspberries. Followed by the richness of almonds and chicory. And then, bang, you’ll realize you’ve been infused with roasted Brazilian maté. How will you know? It’s what’s giving you all that crazy energy. Just fly with it.”
Steeped, it tastes very similar to how it smells dry. I first notice the chicory, then the almond, and then a bit of sweetness. I added milk and sugar substitute, which made it a bit more creamy. The package from David’s Tea suggested steeping it for 4-5 minutes, but on the first infusion I probably only let it sit for a minute before I took the leaves out. No, I didn’t use a gourd and a special straw – just my regular strainer…
Insofar as the effects of the maté, I definitely thought that I could feel a little bit ‘buzzed’ really quickly after drinking the first cup. In fact, a co-worker even commented that I was talking a lot. Hmm perhaps this is also an alternative for another social lubricant? 😉
On a second infusion, I poured just a small amount of water over the leaves, and let it sit for 5 minutes – it was almost ‘thick’, and very strong, with a slight bitterness. It reminded me of the difference between coffee and espresso!
On the third infusion, the potency remained – both in flavour, scent, and colour, but I found that I could pick up more of the raspberry flavour. I steeped it much like the first infusion, and was curious how many infusions I could possibly get out of my little bit of tea..
So – would I buy this again… although it’s nice, it doesn’t really jump out of the cup at me. There’s nothing wrong with it, and if I really wanted the stimulation of coffee without some of the negative effects, I might pick it up – it certainly is better than the other maté I tried (Mateccino from Teaopia) for my tastes, but there isn’t anything extremely special about it either. I suppose part of the problem is that I really can’t taste the chocolate, which I had been really expecting in a tea called Chocolate Rocket.
So, I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about Chocolate Rocket.. but apparently I’m alone in that, because I did a quick blog search, and ALL of the bloggers who I could find, LOVED it. Want proof? Check out the Baked Foodies blog, where the author enjoyed it despite the fact that the tea infused not just the water but also the cup it came in… or Tea Time Toronto who could definitely taste more of the chocolate and raspberry than I could!
Have you tried any other really good maté teas? Any recommendations? Let us know in the comments below!