Ingredients: Assam black tea, lapsang souchong, cocoa bits, flavoring
Texture: Black, small leaves, chipped bits of cocoa
Scent: Sweet, chocolatey, subtle smokiness
Steeped: At least 5 min, 210°F, Perfectea Maker
Appearance: Medium brown
Taste: Rich black tea with smoke and chocolate undertones
Additions: sweetener (sucralose), almond milk

Complementing LTC’s excellent year-round selections are their varying seasonal blends. Smoky Mountain Brew is one of the winter seasonal teas. It combines one of my favorite teas (lapsang souchong — smoky tea) with something almost everyone likes, right? Chocolate! I’ve experimented with adding chocolate to tea in the past, but my experiments, alas weren’t very successful. I think the trick is to use the right sort of chocolate or cocoa, and to not overpower the tea. In other words, it’s not hot chocolate with tea added, but hot tea with hints of cocoa in the background.

Well, no doubt about it, this is a good strong tea for those cold winter days in the mountains. Or the unseasonably warm days in the valley that 2017 has offered up so far. I think it would be acceptable even for those who find lapsang souchong alone too overpowering. Here, it’s blended with the commonly used Assam tea, which mellows the flavor a bit. I prefer to add milk to many black teas, and this is no exception, that will also have the effect of smoothing out the flavor. Obviously chocolate lovers should investigate this blend, as well. With sweetener, it’s a delicious sort of dessert tea.