Review of Roasted Chestnut

8 of 102 of 52 of 549 of 100

What Murchie's does well⁠, they utterly excel, and that's most of their teas. But on very uncommon occasions they spin out a head-scratching clunker that grossly defies their sterling reputation. This, friends, is the latter.

As an OU football fan, a great analogy is that one time just about every season when the otherwise conference-championship caliber squad comes out flat, plays listless outside a few scoring drives, throws interceptions, commits dumb penalties that give the opponent first downs, gives up TDs in confused coverage, loses the lead in the second half, and lets a nominally inferior team win. As with games like that, I found the totality of experience with this tea rather irritating, despite a few positive plays.

It started with the name. That's usually a poor omen, when the first thing one sees about a tea is a nuisance. It's an *almond* tea, not a chestnut tea! The name is literally false. I realize it's meant to inspire some sort of "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" sentimental holiday vibe, If Jack Frost nipped at my toes while I was struggling with this tea, I'd kick him into next week.

So...I had to accept that this is an almond tea, which is not hard given the visible almonds. Is it at least a good almond tea? Only if you like the idea of squeezing some marzipan paste into a somewhat bitter, anonymously sourced black tea, stirring, and pouring that down the hatch. Yes, that's how it tastes, and the aftertaste is very reminiscent of eating a marzipan candy, then letting the residue sit in one's mouth for 10-15 minutes without brushing. Now I actually do tolerate marzipan as a flavoring, so the drinking experience here wasn't that bad. But it wasn't that good either. Chug another mouthful, quickly, before that aftertaste starts to ferment!

The best thing about Roasted Chestnut is the aroma⁠—especially dry-leaf, but even in-cup. It's very richly almond-like, what you'd expect from blending a black tea with warm, strongly flavored almond milk. As with many Murchies' flavored loose teas, they commendably use very noticeable and identifiable pieces of whatever they're using to flavor it⁠—in this case, almonds. Given that, it's weird that this tea doesn't *taste* more nutty or purely "almondey". Perhaps these nuts aren't exactly the choice pick of the grove.

The brew also gets bitter to a cloying extent if steeped more than 4 or 5 minutes. That's also uncommon in my experience with Murchie's black teas, which generally tend to accommodate at least a couple minutes' extra steeping. Unfortunately they don't state which origin(s) of black tea are used for this blend. In totality, it's a good thing that:
1) This came in a sampler of seasonal loose teas, so I didn't order a standard load;
2) The others in the pack, so far, are good to outstanding (to be reviewed later after some more cups). I've had about all the "Roasted Chestnut" I care to try. Maybe I'll burn the rest in that open fire.

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