Painted Desert

Tea type
Black Tea
Ingredients
Ceylon Black Tea, Chili, Cinnamon, Cocoa Bean Shells, Flavor, Safflower Petals
Flavors
Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Smooth, Spicy, Bitter, Cocoa, Pepper, Tobacco, Wood, Cacao, Chocolate, Saffron
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Caffeine
High
Certification
Vegan
Edit tea info Last updated by Cameron B.
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 11 oz / 325 ml

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19 Tasting Notes View all

  • “ Advent Calendar Day 23 I can’t believe it’s the second-to-last day of advent already! The month has flown by and trying a new tea every morning has made the days feel special. I was excited to...” Read full tasting note
    75
  • “Sample sipdown! While I can recognize that this is a high-quality tea and it smells deliciously chocolaty, it’s just not for me. I do get the promised cocoa, which is not at all sweet and in fact...” Read full tasting note
  • “Several years ago, I ran across something here on Steepster that brought August Uncommon to my attention. Browsing their web site, Painted Desert stood out to me. I thought it looked good. I...” Read full tasting note
    90
  • “I remember really liking this one the last time I had it, and my rating seems to support that. What I don’t remember is the heat/spice of the chili pepper being so strong! I drank this one pretty...” Read full tasting note
    87

From August Uncommon Tea

Crisp black tea with chili and chocolate

Chai lovers and spice lovers will flip for this spicy black tea with New Mexican flavor. Tart tannins jump across the tongue in the first sip. Sweet cinnamon, smoky chili, and salty chocolate notes rise and fall with the steadiness of a piano scale. We recommend milk for a rich and spicy morning tea. If Mexican hot chocolate was a tea, this would be it.

INGREDIENTS: ceylon black tea, cocoa husk, cinnamon, chili, safflower petals, flavoring

TASTES LIKE: dried pasilla chili, mexican cinnamon, cacao
FEELS LIKE: a sedona sunset

VEGANGLUTEN FREENON GMO

About August Uncommon Tea View company

Company description not available.

19 Tasting Notes

75
781 tasting notes

Advent Calendar Day 23

I can’t believe it’s the second-to-last day of advent already! The month has flown by and trying a new tea every morning has made the days feel special. I was excited to see one from August Uncommon today, as nearly everything I’ve tried from this company has been outstanding! This wasn’t a flavor profile I would have chosen on my own, as chocolate and cinnamon can both be hit and miss for me in tea and I’m a bit of wimp when it comes to spice. But this one is so beautifully balanced, I’m actually enjoying it quite a bit! The rich dark chocolate comes to life with the brightness of the cinnamon and the hint of chili keeps things exciting without burning my throat on the way down. Never would have bought this, but glad I got to try it!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Smooth, Spicy

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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2033 tasting notes

Sample sipdown!

While I can recognize that this is a high-quality tea and it smells deliciously chocolaty, it’s just not for me.

I do get the promised cocoa, which is not at all sweet and in fact quite bitter, along with cinnamon and some chile heat. The base tea is somewhat tobacco-y with some woody notes as well.

I’m never a huge fan of chile and chocolate together, so I’m just not enjoying the combination here. But I’m sure others who do like this flavor profile would really love this tea.

Flavors: Bitter, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Pepper, Spicy, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Courtney

I feel like I love chocolate and chili, but as a hot chocolate instead.

Cameron B.

Yeah, this is definitely a more savory version of the pairing.

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90
75 tasting notes

Several years ago, I ran across something here on Steepster that brought August Uncommon to my attention. Browsing their web site, Painted Desert stood out to me. I thought it looked good. I mentioned it to my mother. She promptly spent a significant amount of effort convincing me it would be horrible and bitter and, yadda, yadda, yadda. (Seriously, how do you know if you don’t ever try.) I let her convince me and so I didn’t order it. Then I lost interest in flavored teas (or even tea blends for that matter) and the subject was dropped.

Recently something brought my attention back to August Uncommon. And I was regaining interest in flavored teas again, especially with the onset of fall and colder weather. So I went back to their web site, poked around, and made my first order. Of that order, Painted Desert is the last one for me to try. I’m one of those people who likes to save the (what I hope to be) best for last.

Opening the packet, the very first thing that jumped out at me was cacao, REAL cacao, not some chocolate flavoring kind of thing. I know that smell. As mentioned in another review, I adore brewing cacao. And right on its tail was cinnamon. And again, this smells like a cinnamon stick, not some overpowering cinnamon oil that never tastes like actual cinnamon to me. Can we say I am excited?

I can’t help but get diverted here. Have you ever actually tatsted ground cinnamon all by itself or licked/sucked on a cinnamon stick? Serious, it ain’t sweet. I don’t understand how people think cinnamon is sweet. Its actually slightly bitter. It does go excellently with sweet, but is not sweet in its own right. And neither is this tea. Yippie!

Once steeped, the cinnamon takes center stage and the cacao steps back a little. I can’t really detect the chili, which I am disappointed about. I was really looking forward to the chili.

Second steep and I feel the cacao is standing out a bit more this time. There might be a tad little bit of astringency in there, but I’m not sure if its the tea or the cinnamon. I also steeped it for longer, so that might be a factor in both cases.

Verdict, while my chili hopes were dashed, the result is still really enjoyable and perfect for a cold gray Seattle October day. And true to form, as soon as I typed that previous sentence, the sun came out from behind the clouds blazing in its brightness. grumble

Flavors: Cacao, Cinnamon

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

I’m a save-the-best-for-last person, too! Whether it’s tea or Skittles. ;)

This sounds lovely, I’ll have to pick some up if I order from August Uncommon again.

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87
10804 tasting notes

I remember really liking this one the last time I had it, and my rating seems to support that. What I don’t remember is the heat/spice of the chili pepper being so strong! I drank this one pretty late at night while rewatching Thumeblina on Disney+ (the soundtrack was so much better than I remember it being)! and I found myself almost panting at points because the heat of the chili was so intense with each sip. It works really well with the more dark cocoa like notes and black tea and if the goal was a Mexican Hot Chocolate sort of vibe then I think it was totally achieved!

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33
8 tasting notes

I’ve decided this tea just isn’t for me. AU tea’s can be very polarizing. I want to like this tea. The idea of these flavors is amazing and traditionally these are flavors that I like but I just don’t like them combined in this tea. The cinnamon seems artificial to me. The cocoa is very mild. The overwhelming flavor is really more of a sensation. The chili comes across mostly after you swallow and for me, gets caught in my throat. I like spicy foods so its not overwhelming or unpleasant exactly but it doesn’t add anything to the tea in my opinion. I don’t see myself drinking this again. It has quite a following based on the reviews on their website so perhaps I’m missing something but this one just isn’t for me.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cocoa, Spicy

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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1010 tasting notes

I love the combination of chocolate/chili/cinnamon, so was very excited to try this offering from August Uncommon. It had a nice balance of the three flavors, with none of them competing over the others.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon

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1425 tasting notes

First sip was chocolate, second was cinnamon. After several more sips there is a hint of chili and a sweetness mid sip. It has a hearty quality. As I sip further the chili creeps in a bit, but stays lingering in the background. It’s nice, but there is room for it to grow on me.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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69
871 tasting notes

I tried this tea already a few times as a morning wake-up brew but it lacks the satisfying body that I want in my 4am breakfast teas. And the caffeine buzz leaves me feeling jittery instead of invigorated, so I relegated Painted Desert back to the black tea drawer for a time more appropriate, which is today!

I really like the idea of this flavor profile — Ceylon black tea, cocoa shells, cinnamon, chili. I’m not often the mood for Mexican-style hot chocolate but when I am, I crave it hard. In stark contrast to the weather of a few days ago (100+F), last night was cold for us of California thin blood. Despite it warming up to 70F currently, the chill of last night left me craving the flavor profile of Painted Desert.

All of that for a short review. August Uncommon calls this a “crisp black tea” that tastes like “dried pasilla chili, Mexican cinnamon, cacao” and feels like “soft warm mahogany.” Yep. Though the cacao note is cocoa for me and is more present in the aroma and finish than in the actual taste. The base tea is crisp, fairly light and woody, lacking the astringency I find typical of Ceylon blacks. The chili and softly sweet cinnamon give only a bit of warmth, melding smoothly with the cocoa shells and tea. The safflower petals really add to the ‘painted desert’ visual element of the dry leaf, like a striking sunset.

While I enjoy this tea, there’s something about it that makes me not interested in purchasing it again. Maybe it’s because I have in mind Mexican hot chocolate and the comforting thickness associated with it. As with most chocolate-flavored tea blends, I feel like a base of a good Yunnan red would be more complementary in terms of mouthfeel and flavor. The Ceylon base is kinda leaving me hanging but maybe their blender has good reason for choosing it. Still decent stuff.

Also, I’m wondering what the added flavor is.

[Western, 3.5g, 10oz, 205F]

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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3294 tasting notes

I’m finally digging into the most recent box from my Tea Sister Sil, reaching in and grabbing something randomly, and this was the sample of the day.

It’s terrible, LOL. I tried not to have an opinion up front, but I’ve tried similar things, and I knew I probably wouldn’t like it. I even tried adding a little sweetening to see if that helped, but it didn’t, at least not for me.

I should also mention that a year ago I added Nightshades to my long list of foods that I have reactions to, and so I haven’t been eating anything with potatoes, tomatoes, peppers or chili’s since then, resulting in a major improvement in my health, and although I thought I probably wouldn’t have a problem with a little tea, I was wrong. Within a few sips my cheeks started flushing, so I tried to pawn the rest of the tea off on one of my sons, and he didn’t like it either. I always hate dumping tea out, but gone are the days of me forcing myself to drink something I don’t care for! There are so many better tasting teas to drink!

Still, thanks for the opportunity Sister!

Sil

haha sorrry it was so terrible. But at least you know. And i have no issues with things going down the drain :)

Terri HarpLady

LOL, not your fault! :)

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2274 tasting notes

Thank you to Dexter and Sil for sharing this.

It was… bad. So astringent. The chili barely made itself known, and the chocolate did not blend well with the astringent Ceylon base. “Brisk” is what they call it…

Even milk didn’t rescue it for me.

So disappointed. The flavours sounded like such a great combination after I tried Passage du Desir.

:(

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Dexter

:(( I guess they can’t all be winners…..

mrmopar

Dex you get an A for effort! Sharing is caring.

OMGsrsly

Normally Sil and my taste isn’t so far off. I think that if the base was different, I’d like it a lot more.

Sil

Weird. I enjoy this one, though it’s not stupid spicy

OMGsrsly

It’s not even a hint of spicy. :P

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