Ingredients: Chamomile, Yerba Mate
Purveyor: My Tea Company
Preparation: One teabag steeped in about eight ounces of boiling water for 2:30 (as recommended on the box), sipped plain
"Well, that's curious."
That sounds like an appropriate response to noticing a chamomile-yerba mate blend, does it not? Well, such a reaction has the paradoxical effects of heightening expectations of a good shock, and dampening the chances that anything will actually take one by surprise.
Good news, though: the surprise is there, and indeed it is nice, but as it turns out the flavor and texture are so impressive as to make the entire issue of surprise trivial and, largely, forgotten.
The organic SereniTea, by My Tea Company, brews into one of the lightest teas that I have ever seen, much more befitting a chamomile than a mate. The nose, too, is "dominated" by the chamomile (if that word can even be used with such a tea). The primary aroma is sweetness, and the whole thing can be described as having the scent of a cup of chamomile tea with a spoonful of honey already mixed in.
When sipped, the SereniTea tastes at first just like it smells – mirroring the rich texture and flavor of chamomile with a touch of sugar on the tongue – but then, at the back of the palate, one soon begins to perceive a hint of the yerba mate. And sure enough, on subsequent sips, strains of mate become increasingly apparent throughout the mouth. Still, though, chamomile, no patsy, quite handily maintains its status as the main flavor note in the brew. The tea is brisk and malty, albeit in a unique way, not terribly akin to the briskness and maltiness found in a Camellia sinensis. Vanilla sneaks up on the occasional taste bud, and citrus is absent but still felt – decidedly missed, perhaps – as though the forces carving the flavor profile of the tea included a distinctly citrus-shaped spot in the expectation of that note forming an integral part of the mélange, but then the citrus never did show up. The flavor may be absent, but one cannot mistake the contours of the conspicuous hole. Let that not deter anyone, though; the loss belongs to citrus itself, not to the delicious concoction forced to leave it behind.
The body of the tea is light, but firm enough to give proper structure to the flavor notes. The finish is chamomile, appropriately.
The SereniTea is a wonderfully pleasant drink. It is sweet and cozy as only a chamomile can be, yet healthy and stimulating (yes, it is caffeinated) according to yerba mate's renown. It is a very keen blend, and one that works just right. Enjoy.