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 or a Keemun 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]