As I reflect on my time at Candy Industry, I can classify my days based on the type of teas I’ve had.
Mondays and Tuesdays were green tea days, gentle warm brews that eased me back into a “work” mindset as I checked the emails I’d received over the weekend. Wednesdays, which were the days we published our weekly Sweet ‘n Healthy e-newsletter, required something headier -- a strong chai to keep me pumped and motivated to post stories as quickly as possible. Thursdays were good for a fruity herbal blend, sweet and caffeinated to keep my mind clear, especially when a magazine story’s deadline was coming up. And Fridays? Fridays were when I decided to indulge.
Teas are one of the vices I choose to treat myself to, especially since they wind up being cheaper than buying a venti-sized anything at Starbucks (another vice I thoroughly enjoy). Because of my long commute getting to and from work, Fridays were always draining for me, so stopping for anything on the way home was usually the last thing on my mind. After my first week, I decided to find myself an enjoyable tea, similar to my coveted White Chocolate Mocha Americano, which I could drink at work. And then a thought came to me: what if I could combine the job with my love for tea?
It took a weekend trip to Old Orchard Mall, but I found the perfect solution: chocolate teas. Sweet, creamy, rich and decadent, chocolate teas are an easy way to get all the taste of a chocolate bar, without having to worry about calories, health benefits, or in my case — fatigue.
A chocolate flavor can be found in a number of different teas — black, oolong, herbal, rooibos, maté — since all of them have some sort of chocolate undertone. Personally I like having the chocolate flavor at the forefront, and through my sampling, have found that blacks, oolongs and herbals really let the chocolate shine.
In my first batch of chocolate teas, I had Teavana’s Wonderberry Chocolate Truffle tea and Aztec Fire tea. The Wonderberry is truly like eating a truffle, with the chocolate taste enhanced after each brew. On the other hand, the Aztec Fire tea gives you chocolate, strawberry and a punch of spice all in one go.
Like all good things, I ran out of my chocolate teas, and was stranded without motivation in week six. And while I was definitely craving a sweet, guilt-free fix, I didn’t want to spend too much money on the next batch. Back to the mall I went, but this time to the Adagio Teas, where I found a liquid equivalent of a chocolate chip cookie.
Aptly named Chocolate Chip, this black tea contains both chocolate chips and cocoa nibs, making it one of the sweetest teas I’ve ever come across. Although it tastes perfectly fine as is, the tea tastes even better with milk — exactly like a chocolate chip cookie.
As I write this column, I’m finishing the last of my Chocolate Chip blend; a somewhat fitting end on my last week. My time at this magazine has taught me not only about the confectionery industry — from the major players to what goes into making licorice — but also about perseverance and patience.
Like a good cup of tea, the relationships I’ve built here were created by time — slowly forming over the heat of deadlines and good writing. And also like a good cup of tea, it’s sad when all that time is gone. As I go back to the land of two-question tests, 50-page readings and endless group projects, also known as college, I will take the lessons I’ve learned at Candy Industry and apply them. Most of all, however, I’ll remember that it’s important to set aside some time to indulge in life’s sweetness.