Thursday 13 July 2017

Hotel Chocolat Teaolat Review

   Tea is wonderful, isn't it? I never drink anything but tea or water. It's so light, pure, and the warmth is good for you. In fact, though it doesn't sound it, warm drinks are more hydrating than cold drinks because your body doesn't have to warm it up before it can absorb it. It's put to use moments after you drink it - every reaction in your body requires water, and that, of course, includes sweating, which is your body's natural temperature-regulator. Sweat evaporates on your skin, cooling you down. And if you're hydrated, you can sweat properly, and not lose out on the water your body needs for other tasks like digestion and brain function.
   Tea is also calorie-free - which means you get flavour for free! It's only when you add sugar and milk that calories start to step in, and most tea - green, herbal, fruit, white, etc - are best enjoyed straight, with neither sugar nor milk.

   But, regardless of how hydrating tea is, sometimes you just can't beat a cold drink. Iced tea, which is a marvellous thing, is generally prepared with teabags, topped up with cold water and sweetened with some sugar, syrup or fruit. This is because the flavour isn't translated so well in the cold (though, as a side note, I find that does not ring true for pizza), and as such shouldn't be consumed as copiously as a good cup of tea, but they should certainly still be enjoyed.

   I also love hot chocolate, but it's thick and full of calories so I reserve it as a winter treat. In fact I love all things chocolate - you remember the chocolate tasting and smelling stamps I have in my epic stamp collection - so when I discovered that Hotel Chocolat made chocolate tea, sampling it shot right to the top of my to-do list.

   Hotel Chocolat's Teaolat teabags contain only natural ingredients, and cacao shells top that list in all cases. Taken straight from the encased cacao bean, the shells are high in antioxidants and are usually discarded by chocolate makers. Fortunately, Hotel Chocolat have found a decidedly unique and delicious use for them, and at less than 1 calorie a cup, you get the taste of chocolate for free!

   If I'm honest, I couldn't really distinguish anything but the chocolate in these teas on the first cup. I could smell the lemon in the cacao, lemongrass & ginseng Energise tea, but the ginseng was nearly non-existent. I could also smell the lemon in the cacao, camomile & lemon Unwind tea. As for the English Breakfast, the Assam was there, but the cacao dominated all three. But, when it comes to tea, the goodness from the herbs and leaves will still be in the water. Whether or not you can taste it doesn't make a difference.
   Having said that, when I brewed a second cup from the teabag (don't judge me), the ginseng suddenly revealed itself.
   But it should be stated that this chocolate is not a sweet chocolate. It's brewed directly from the cacao shells which, if you're familiar with cacao powder, is basically pure chocolate, but not as bitter as a dark chocolate bar. But it means that the goodness of chocolate - the true physical and mental health benefits people shout about but only actually apply to the darkest bars or the purest powders -  is present in this tea, so you can reap the benefits guilt-free. It's kind of like a calorie-free, light hot chocolate.

   And this goodness can also be found in Hotel Chocolat's iced teaolat range, which is new out this summer. First of all, it's needless, but I'll point out the colours of the tea because they are gorgeous. Then the bottles, because they're adorable.
   These iced teas don't conform to the typical iced tea recipes with added sugar. Instead they use fruit juices to flavour and sweeten, with naturally-occurring sugars rather than any added, or anything artificial - just like everything else Hotel Chocolat offers, there are no artificial sweeteners, flavours, colours or preservatives. They also have added B3, B6, B7 and B12, which is a good thing for people like me who suffer from migraines, as vitamin B6 is proven to help reduce them.
   Made with a base of water and white grape, these chocolate iced teas are only 60 calories per 330ml a bottle and 2.5g sugar - all natural.

   I tasted the difference in each iced teaolat, as subtle as they were. I tasted the raspberry, and the cacao was mild but the scent was present; the sparkling lemon, with tonic water rather than carbonation, was a good pairing, and the cacao here was the most prominent, as a swift and pleasant aftertaste. And as for ginger and chai, it's simply gorgeous.
   Absolutely, 100% guilt-free iced teas with a unique chocolate twist

   If you haven't tried Hotel Chocolat's tea range - teaolat bags or iced - I urge you to! They're worth the price tag, as everything in Hotel Chocolat's walls are, but you might want to save them for when you're searching for a chocolate fix without the guilt or simply for the right moment. And certainly all for yourself!


  1. Very lovely review of the Teaolats...

    However, I'm mostly concerned with the materials used to make the teabags housing the cacao shells... Are you positive they're not the nylon ones, notorious for releasing microplastics into your iced teas?

    1. No, they were in fact bio-degradable, like teapigs' teabags.
      The range was limited edition, however, and aren't available anymore.


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