Honest Tea's New CocoaNova Infusions


[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Sometimes you feel like tea, other times you want to slurp up chocolate milk. Is there room for something in between? Honest Tea's new CocoaNova line includes three flavors: Mint Cacao, Mocha Cacao, and Cherry Cacoa. The infusions, which resemble watered-down Yoo-Hoos, are dairy-free, gluten-free, and 50 calories per glass bottle. (Note: a slightly stumpier 10.1-ounce bottle size compared to the normal 16.9-ounce Honest Tea.)

They just launched last month at the Natural Products Expo West trade, so you may not see them in stores quite yet, but should retail around $1.99.

The Mint Cacao starts with a very crisp minty tea rush and finishes with a darker cacoa muddiness. If York peppermints were steeping in water all day, the byproduct would be something like this. It has a curious juiciness that feels a little out of place—are you a tea, juice, or chocolate liquid dessert?

Cherry Cacao reminded us of the chocolate-covered cherry balls in a See's Candies box. Here, the juiciness was a bit more integrated given the cherry flavor. This one was sippable, but might just make us reach for a more caloric, actually chocolate-covered nibble. It's hard to say if it curbs the sweet tooth craving, or just reminds you that you're not eating it.

The Mocha Cacao might be good for indecisive folks who can't choose between tea and coffee. It's like a watered-down iced coffee after a few cubes have melted, with an aroma of roasted cacoa beans. There's dark sediment sitting at the bottom of the glass bottle, so be sure to give it a hearty maracas shake (that goes for all of them).

It's hard to compare these to anything else out there. Because, well, there isn't anything on the market like this. Ever find yourself in a somewhere-between-tea-and-chocolate-mood?

Full disclosure: I was an Honest Tea intern at the Bethesda headquarters the summer of 2005. My favorite flavors that year were Green Dragon and Black Forest Berry.