During a recent visit to LA, I checked out Chado Tea Room in Pasadena. It was cute and fun, but what I'm here to talk about today is the TEA (more specifically, the "wine inspired" Assam Cabernet).
International Tea Importers (ITI) carry six new "wine inspired" teas. I avoid many "trend teas," but I bought Assam Cabernet and Golden Monkey Marsala on the recommendation of a staff person, and I'm glad that I did.
The leaves of Assam Cabernet are small and mostly black, with dark, cinnamon-colored pellets (which I can only assume are the wine flavor EDIT -- THESE ARE CINNAMON BITS.). They have an intense bouquet with notes of dark cherry compote, a big, round California Cabernet, tannins and lots of vanilla.
The brew is a bright, coppery color. Its aroma is very full, with notes of stewed cherries, orange rind, malt and ground mace.
Given the bold aroma of this tea, the flavor is very mellow. It's less fruity and sweet than the smell, and is dominated by flavors characteristic of a malty, somewhat tannic second-flush Assam.
If the flavor description leaves you saying, "Meh," read on my friend. The lingering aftertaste gets exciting again with floral, fruity, vanilla and tannin flavors.
Had the aftertaste been mediocre, I would not have recommended this tea, but it pulled through and left me a fan. It's not my new favorite, but it's definitely worth checking out if you're interested in both tea and wine. Have you tried it? What do you think?