The Good: Intriguing aroma, Caffeinated, Does not taste bad. . .
The Bad: Does not taste like chocolate or caramel, Blah. Overall blah, with a minor aftertaste.
The Basics: With its bland taste that is not even reminiscent of chocolate or caramel, Celestial Seasonings strikes out with its caffeinated Chocolate Caramel Enchantment.
Some time back, I found myself spending a great deal of time in front of my computer writing reviews and drinking a lot of tea. That allowed me to break into new boxes of tea and write reviews of them as I experience pot after pot, cup after cup. Fortunately, Celestial Seasonings has an incredible selection of teas for me to write about!
Given my love of chai tea drinks at such places as Panera Bread, I was enthusiastic about picking up and trying the Celestial Seasonings Teahouse Chai Natural Chai Teas. Thus far, I had only tried one and based on enjoying the Sweet Coconut Thai as much as I did, I was eager to try the Chocolate Caramel Enchantment.
Unfortunately, it tastes like none of those three things.
Chocolate Caramel Enchantment is a 100% Natural Chai Tea from Celestial Seasonings in their Teahouse Chai line. This Chai tea is 100% natural and therefore has caffeine, though not a lot. Like the others in the Teahouse Chai line, this tea seems to be capitalizing on the current trend in popular culture toward Chai tea.
Chocolate Caramel Enchantment comes in Celestial Seasonings's standard stringless tea bags, which are paired together with easy to separate perforations that allow one to separate the tea bags. When I make pots of tea, I tend to use two bags and leave them connected. A box of Chocolate Caramel Enchantment comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.
Ease Of Preparation
Chocolate Caramel Enchantment is your standard black tea as far as the preparation goes. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea. The tea bag could be reused and make a second cup of Chocolate Caramel Enchantment with no significant change loss in flavor. It certainly does not taste either more like chocolate or caramel with the second brewing, but it doesn't taste less like those things, either. The second cup, naturally, does not come out as strong as the first, but provided the first steeping was not more than the recommended upper recommended steeping time of six minutes, a second use can come out with about 3/4 strength. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well for both a first and second steeping.
To prepare Chocolate Caramel Enchantment tea, bring a pot of water to a boil and pour it over the tea bags. The directions recommend that the cup be only 3/4 full so that milk may be added later, but that's only necessary if one wishes to make this beverage into a drink like one gets in restaurants. I brew mine at full strength in the pot and decide about alterations when I pour into my mug! This tea takes four to six minutes to steep and when the water is actually boiling, it comes out strong at the four minute point without needing any additional time. After six minutes, though, the flavor does not concentrate any more so there is no benefit to letting it steep longer than that.
After loving the Sweet Coconut Thai Chai tea in the Teahouse Chai line, the Chocolate Caramel Enchantment Natural Chai Tea is a tremendous disappointment. It is such a grave disappointment on the taste front that I knew from my first sip that I would never recommend this tea to anyone (much less a friend). It simply became a degree of how poorly the tea would rate in my review. Fortunately, it is extraordinarily easy to describe why this tea fails utterly on taste; it tastes neither like chocolate nor like caramel.
And whatever it does taste like, it's not enchanting.
Chocolate Caramel Enchantment is a straightforward black tea with a fine aroma that smells like generic tea with an undertone of cinnamon. The scent is difficult to define because it does not smell so much like anything except tea. I know, however, that it does not smell like chocolate or caramel.
As for the taste, this has a taste of black tea with the potency and body - but not the bitterness - of a cup of coffee. This is yet another tea that tries to appeal to the taste buds of coffee drinkers. It is not a weak taste, but rather it is a full-bodied tea taste and because it accents the taste of tea, whatever alleged taste of chocolate or caramel exists with it, it is most assuredly not a dominant flavor. I love chocolate and I haven't been able to find a scent or taste of chocolate in this tea, save by adding a chocolate flavored coffee creamer to it!
As for the rumor of caramel, Chocolate Caramel Enchantment has the disadvantage of competing in the same marketplace as teas that have actual chunks of caramel in them. One of Celestial Seasonings competitors (yes, I jumped ship once upon a time to try a new tea!) had a foul tea that had a lone redeeming quality; in the tea bag were chunks of caramel that would melt into the tea to infuse it with caramel flavor. This tea does not even have that and it does not taste even remotely like caramel.
What it tastes like is straightforward tea, with a slightly more complete (less watery) flavor than generic flat out teas. Adding sugar does not make it taste more like chocolate or caramel. Adding milk - which is highly recommended in the recipe and by me - does not make it taste more like chocolate, though it does bring out a cinnamon flavor and makes it taste like something one might drink at Panera or Starbucks.
Cold, without sugar or milk, the Chocolate Caramel Enchantment has a flat, bitter, dry taste to it and it did not surprise me to find there was nutmeg in the tea after trying it cool. It tasted like nutmeg. With milk, the tea is fine cold, but tastes more like tea and a slight hint of cinnamon as opposed to chocolate, caramel or something remotely enchanting.
This tea is gutted by its inability to carry the flavor it claims to possess.
This tea has more ingredients than most of Celestial Seasonings's teas and people who simply must know all of the ingredients before purchasing something are encouraged to check out the manufacturer's website. The top three ingredients, though, are black tea, roasted carob and cinnamon, which accounts for much of this tea's flavor, both as a generic tea flavor and a mildly cinnamon taste. There is nothing unpronouncable in this tea and it is 100% natural. It is noted that this tea is gluten free, so that might make it appealing to the anti-glutenites.
In terms of nutrition, like most teas, Chocolate Caramel Enchantment is not something you want to try to live on. An 8 oz. mug of this tea provides nothing of nutritional value to the drinker; there are no calories (save what one adds from sugar or milk), no fat, sodium, nor protein. All it has to redeem itself is caffeine, though it is weak on that front as well. On the caffeine meter, it rates a 36, which is still quite a bit less than a cola!
Chocolate Caramel Enchantment tea is very easy to clean up after - the tea bags may be disposed in the garbage, or composted if you have a good garden and/or compost pile. The tea itself is a very dark tea and will stain most fabrics, so I tend to recommend not drinking it . . . well, at all. It's an inoffensive taste, but not very tasty; if you're going to risk spilling tea on clothes and staining them, the least one ought to do it have a good tea to stain their clothes. After all, then you get the benefit of - when people ask - recommending a tea to someone when they comment on your stain.
Meh. This was a decision that became easier to make the more I wrote. The litmus test for a tea must be "does it taste like what it claims?" If the answer is "no," it does not get a recommendation from me. In this case, though, it is not that the tea is all that bad and I've been drinking it and being more indifferent to it than disliking it.
What I am noticing, though, is an aftertaste, slightly acidic, that develops over several minutes after I finish drinking Chocolate Caramel Enchantment. That is unpleasant. That's enough to force my razor decision into the two-star tier. It's fine, but unremarkable, it's bland, but the aftertaste is annoying.
Fortunately, there are more choices in the teahouse!
For other teas by Celestial Seasonings, please check out my reviews of:
India Spice Chai Decaf
Chocolate Raspberry Bliss
For other beverage reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2010, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.