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