My review of tea samples from American Tea Room, a chic and trendy tea shop located in Beverly Hills that caters to the rich and famous…
Description: This sumptuous, caffeine-free, fat-free blend of organic cacao husks, organic vanilla beans and organic rooibos is sure to be an instant American Tea Room classic. If the color and aroma of our Choco-Laté blend doesn’t evoke chocolate, then nothing does. Rich brown cacao husks, dark flecks of vanilla bean and umber-colored rooibos present a beguilingly sweet dark chocolate aroma that’s backed with the naturally sweet, woody scent of antioxidant-rich rooibos. The deep garnet brew has a seductive aroma akin to European sipping chocolate. Its smooth flavor is a perfect balance of chocolate, vanilla and rooibos that appeals to chocolate lovers and rooibos lovers alike. The lingering, cacao-rich aftertaste is enough to satiate even the most ardent chocoholic. Drink Choco-Laté on its own as a naturally sweet, fat-free snack or dessert, or dress it up with agave nectar and rice milk for a healthy tea latte. It’s a natural pairing for chocolate, but if you’re trying to be good, sip it alongside fresh fruit instead. Delicious!
My Review: Opening the sample packet was like opening a box of gourmet chocolate truffle liqueurs. The smell of boozy bittersweet chocolate permeated the air. The aroma of the brew smells exactly like hot chocolate. One sip and O.M.G.! Chocolate bliss! The chocolate flavor is not overwhelming. It is smooth and well rounded by a woody aftertaste. The chocolate lingers on your palate long after the sip. This doesn’t need additives it is enjoyable on its own. But with sweetener and milk, it is mind-blowing! If I didn’t know this were a tea, I would think this was hot chocolate.
Final Verdict: Choco*Late is the most authentic chocolate flavored tea I’ve ever experienced and dare I say the best I’ve tasted so far. It is a perfect decadent dessert without the guilt. It tastes so good that you forget it has zero calories and caffeine! I think I may have found my holy grail chocolate tea. 2oz. retails for $9.75
Description: In need of a fifteen-minute tropical escape? Try So Coconut — our organic blend of Chinese black teas and real coconut slivers. The dry leaves are incredibly fragrant, and the burnt umber brew proffers aromas of both seductive coconut and earthy, bold black tea. So Coconut’s flavor balances base notes of deep, chocolaty black tea with abundant top notes of coconut. In the finish, sweet coconut lingers on the palate, transporting you to warmer climes. In short, So Coconut’s satiating, rich, tropical taste is our version of a vacation in a teacup.
For an added indulgence, pair So Coconut with vanilla sweets of any kind, milk or dark chocolate, or fresh tropical fruits (especially pineapple or mango). It’s fantastic hot, iced or prepared as an iced, blended tea latte or tea mocktail.
My Review: They weren’t kidding when they called this So Coconut. While I was steeping, people could smell this miles away and were asking me why it smells like coconut! The aroma of the dry leaf alone was in-your-face fresh roasted coconut. Coconut dominates this flavor profile, forget about the tea. This is all about the coconut, coconut, coconut! You can even see a slick of coconut oil formed over the surface. The taste was more like infused roasted coconut water than tea.
The aftertaste was soapy probably due to the oil extracted out of the coconut shreds. After every sip, I imagined I was drinking suntan lotion and it was grossing me out. I tried to mask the soapiness with milk and stevia but the suntan lotion just got creamier.
Final Verdict: This would be heaven for coconut lovers which I am not. Maybe they didn’t give me enough tea in my sample. But dang, it’s coconut def con five level! Too much coconut and not enough tea for me. It’s not a terrible tea. You can tell ATR does not skimp on ingredients, they are high quality and all natural. The coconut flavor is authentic…as if you cracked open a coconut. I’ve read reviews that this is amazing iced, maybe I will try this way. $7.80 for 2oz.
Brioche Organic Tea
Description: Brioche’s astoundingly decadent aroma and flavor make it one of our best sellers. Even the dry leaves perfectly capture the spicy-sweet aroma of a Parisian patisserie with intoxicating, beguiling, tempting aromas of nuts, spices and an unrivaled baked sweet note. Visually speaking, well-oxidized ebony leaves are contrasted with pale, sliced almonds, bits of cinnamon and vermillion-colored safflower blossoms. The brew is a shimmering rust color. The aroma and flavor of Brioche are rich, nuanced and reminiscent of hot cinnamon buns, almond croissants, fine black tea and warm brioche with a touch of marmalade. It has an equally enchanting aftertaste that lasts and lasts… This superbly balanced blend stands on its own as an indulgence, or pairs beautifully with breakfast pastries and fruity after-dinner desserts (such as Linzer tarts).
My Review: Reading about this tea is what turned me on to ATR in the first place. And reviews have touted its ability to conjure images of French Patisseries. I don’t get the pastry smell everyone has been raving about in the dry leaf. All I get is plain ole black tea. I see the sliver of almonds and the safflower. Where’s the aroma and flavor? This is a fussy high maintenance tea. Steep too long you get bitter. Steep not enough you get watery. I just don’t get any flavor out of this brew. 2 teaspoons, 1.5, 1? I still don’t see myself on the streets of Paris eating croissants.
Final Verdict: I am so bummed about Brioche because it sounded so mouthwateringly enticing. Sad to say it just reminded me of Lipton. The flavor in here is very subtle, it’s like squinting to read the fine print. Milk and sweetener brings out any semblance of flavor but it’s barely there. Maybe its just my sample, maybe not, maybe I’m not doing something right. I’m on the fence giving this tea a second chance considering its price. $9.75 for 2oz.
Brioche & Choco*Late
I am determined to make Brioche work for me since I had such high hopes for this tea. My last review of Brioche was less than stellar. I didn’t get the French pastry flavor everyone was raving about. I only got the taste of Lipton. A lightbulb in my head went off, “What if I mix Brioche and Choco*Late together?”. I mix Equal part Brioche and equal part Choco*Late like a mad scientist. The aroma of the dry leaf was bitter all around, bitter chocolate and bitter black tea. This could be disaster, I thought.
Brewed I got the most decadent smell. This is it! The French pastry smell. Not only did the aroma conjure images of croissants but a chocolate croissant! I can pick up ever so slight notes from the nuttiness of almond, buttery flakiness of pastry underneath a dominant bittersweet chocolate note. And the flavor, the notes seamlessly blend together into a chocolate croissant. This is chocolate croissant in a cup I tell ya! The aftertaste does have a bitter astringency, although it is tolerable. I found that adding sweetner and a drop of milk takes the bitterness away. The creaminess of the milk lifts the buttery notes of the pastry more and brings out the cinnamon, the sweetner enhances the flavor of chocolate. I’m quite proud of my ingenuity. I created a masterpiece.
Ingredients: black tea, sliced almonds, cinnamon, safflower blossoms, cacao husk, vanilla, rooibos.
American Tea Room has hundreds of gourmet flavors to choose from as well as beautiful tea accessories. I plan to sample other flavors. If I ever visit Los Angeles, I will definitely stop by for a cuppa.