As much as some days I wish things were different, I have never developed a taste for coffee.  I’m a tea sort of girl, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon, even though some mornings I curse my stupidity and lack of foresight in not developing a caffeine addiction in university like everyone else.  The embarrassing truth, though, is that I don’t have any sort of predilection for expensive high-brow British tea, which is something one really ought to have if one is going to profess to be a Serious Tea Drinker (one should also speak in the third person whenever possible).

My taste in tea (much like my taste in music and reality t.v.) is a little questionable at best.  I’ve tried to get on board with the whole organic loose leaf freshly-brewed-in-exactly-98-degree-water sort of thing but if I had my druthers, I’d choose a big paper cup of Tim Horton’s finest orange pekoe with two milks and two sugars every time.  I also like dessert, and I seem to be determined (against all evidence to the contrary) to find a tasty hybrid of the two.  Thus far, I have had very little luck. 

A few years ago, I had a coworker who was one of those strange hybrid connoisseurs, the kind that loves the finer things of life but who is also willing to indulge in a little junk from time to time.  She loved Tim Hortons tea but also refused to eat anything other than plain vanilla ice cream because she didn’t want the flavours to get too diluted.  Sometime during this era, I wandered through the tea section at the grocery store and decided (for reasons I still can’t really defend) to buy some sort of tea that inexplicably contained caramel and chocolate.  My coworker agreed to test it with me – I figured if anyone could enjoy it with me, it would be she – but snidely predicted it would be the worst thing either of us had ever drank.  She was only half right, because we never did get around to the actual drinking part – it just smelled too bad to consume.

About 6 months ago, I bought caramel green tea at the fancy tea shop in town, and a brief review of this product would be that it tasted of neither caramel nor green tea, and kind of smelled like feet.

Apparently enough time has passed between the first two attempts that I was ready for another go, new and improved and with more hopelessly clinging to the possibility of less disgusting results.  I was at the grocery store this afternoon to pick up a few things, and happened to walk down the Hot Beverage Aisle (which I will henceforth expect to have a sign at its entrance entreating who enter to abandon hope), at which point I serendipitously stumbled across something called Chocolately Chai Tea, which somehow made it into my basket, into my bag, and into the Hershey mug I bought in Times Square.  It did not make it into my mouth (very much of it anyway) and it certainly did not make it into my heart.

It’s currently sitting beside me, happily stinking away.  The good news is that at least this time I managed a sip.  The bad news is that it tastes like … licorice, maybe?  And something that is reminiscent of nutmeg but still somehow is definitely not nutmeg.  And carob, I guess, which I suppose explains the tea’s slightly ambiguous name.  I keep taking tentative little sips, hoping it just needed some time to let the flavours mellow.  Nope, still just swamp water with a hint of hippie chocolate and regret (which are, incidentally, two great tastes that DO NOT TASTE GREAT TOGETHER).