Adagio Custom Blends, Cara McGeeEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I did some superficial cleaning and de-cluttering today and discovered long forgotten fandom blends hidden beneath the display cabinet. Six of them. Oh, lord. If I can finish all of them before the end of the month I’ll consider it part of Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge January 2022: A Tea Paired with a Favourite Hobby. Consider this sipdown: 1/6!
Although this is from 2014, I still think is pretty flavourful. It’s an elusive “chocolate chai cream” contraption and I do still get that. The predominant flavour is clove spice (cloves will never die), followed by cardamon, cinnamon, and ginger. There’s a backdrop of thin (artificial) chocolate (think stale Hershey’s Kiss that’s lived under the fridge for a decade. It’s in a wrapper so it’s edible, right? Or maybe not..), and a vague vanilla cream. The rooibos and black tea base blend isn’t super discernible at this point.
It’s not amazing but it’s serviceable, especially when taken with some kind of milk. So long, Mycroft (I’m left with a cute tin though! hurrah).
Flavors: Artificial, Cacao, Candy, Cardamom, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Ginger, Spices, Vanilla
Hey, so… hi.
Sorry the return has been less than stellar. I’ve been extremely sick lately, for about a month at this point. I started drinking tea again, then everything went to pot and I’ve been in and out of the hospital due to stomach issues.
But today, I decided I was done. if everything I eat or drink makes me sick, I might as well enjoy what I put in me. I’m sure as heck not going to enjoy it coming out.
So! Time for a new tea. Today is TARDIS tea, something I bought ages ago and never reviewed. I didn’t bother to look this up before brewing a pot, but it smells something like an earl grey? Whatever, let’s brew up a batch.
Full Brevelle Pot, 3tsp/212F/4 Min.
First cup I’m drinking iced.
Taste is… Yep, that’s definitely an earl grey variety! I can taste the bergamot! But there’s more to it than that. A vanilla, maybe? Hmm… my fractured palate is having trouble here. Maybe a touch of splenda…
Ahh, that’s delicious. Definitely an earl grey creme with a side of berry. Tastes like blueberry? It’s heavenly, whatever it is. There’s a good deal of natural sweetness to this one but I usually prefer my blends with a single splenda to them so I’ve added it here. That said, I don’t have an icemaker so I only had a tray to put in this. It wasn’t enough to fully ice the tea and it’s more chilled than iced. I think this would make a good enough iced tea if you added a bit of sugar to it.
Time to try it hot…
Odd. It isn’t nearly as sweet when hot, even with the added splenda. Actually a little bit bitter even. The flavors aren’t nearly as pronounced or strong when hot, which is a disappointment. It gets better with a second splenda, but then it’s too sweet. There’s got to be a happy medium here, but I’m not finding it. I think I like this one better iced. It’s tasty iced. When hot, it just tastes like a mediocre earl grey.
Final thoughts? I never thought I’d say this but, again, this one is much better on ice. When you ice it down, the flavors pop much better, to the point where even I didn’t need splenda to drink it. (I added it anyway, but not until I had already drank half the cup.) It’s not as tasty hot, but as with the iced cup, as it cools down, the flavors come out more.
All in all, it’s a decent enough tea. I don’t know if I’d get it again but I like the mix of blueberry, bergamot, and vanilla enough that I’d love to try other teas like this in the future.
Flavors: Bergamot, Blueberry, Vanilla
A huge thank you to MissB, who was kind enough to send me a sample of this wishlist tea that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to get my hands on. The UK Adagio site is a lot more limited than the US site in terms of stock, and the fandom blends in particular are very limited over here. It’s a shame too, because the fandom blends are what I’m most interested in with Adagio.
This tea reminds me of another fandom blend I really like, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. Sort of like the Mycroft blend, if it didn’t have the chai spices? A little of Mrs Hudson thrown into the mix? It reminds me of pancakes. The flavour of the vanilla and almond without milk is absolutely delicious, if a little artificial-leaning, but as I find common in Adagio blends, the tea is too astringent for me to handle without adding milk to temper it. Unfortunately this tones down the almond and vanilla, but brings out a hint of the chocolate more and this is when I get that ‘pancakey’ sort of impression. I could swear there’s a hint of cinnamon in there too, but it’s not listed in the ingredients.
It’s a tasty mug of tea and I’m super happy to have had the opportunity to try it, but thankfully it’s not so amazing that I’m overly upset by the fact that I can’t get my hands on any more of it. As long as I can still have Nine, I’ll be okay as far as the Adagio fandom blends are concerned. Sipdown 225/400.
This tea cold steeps very successfully! I’ve drank it hot many times, and never found it anything to write home about, but cold brewed this is making me want to order another tin! It’s mostly vanilla and coconut, and the malty Assam base comes through enough to add to the blend but not enough to make it bitter or overpower the more delicate flavours. The apple comes through more hot than it does cold, but there is still a hint of apple pie in the cold brew. Eleven might not be my favourite doctor, but he’s a winner in cold-brewed tea form.
If anyone is wondering, my favourite of the new doctors is Nine. Yes I am aware I’m the only one. I also love Ten, but who doesn’t?
DANG IT. I knew I should have reviewed this when I drank it. I know it was tasty, but I’m completely drawing a blank on what the flavours were. Even reading the ingredients list is not jogging my memory (green EG, irish breakfast, blueberry). I’m never a huge fan of green/black blends, but I brewed as a green and that seemed to work. Ugh. I just know that I did indeed enjoy it. Thanks… I’m not sure who :/ (Terri, I think, reading tasting notes!)
Handoff from Sil, originally from Jump62359. Thanks, both!
After brewing (and sampling), it was clear that this was a black/green blend, and I’d steeped it incorrectly. Sad. Overly hot water on the green tea didn’t do well for it, so it was astringent and unremarkable. The resteep was somewhat better, which gives me hope for round 2 with 180F water.
Unknown steep time provided with tea. Steeped 2 minutes. Tea smells like dehydrated blueberries with some cinnamon undertones. Warm water taste, not a lot of substance. Would drink but wouldn’t re-purchase. Tried 10.2018
Flavors: Blueberry, Cinnamon
I had such high hopes for this tea, especially because of its popularity on Adagio’s website. However, I was really let down by the flavors. I kept seeing reviews where people mentioned how it tasted like a chocolate chip cookie. I sadly didn’t get much of that impression. It was honestly kind of weak. Basically all I got was a cup of standard black tea, nothing special in terms of taste. I hate saying that because I really wanted to love it.
Sampler Sipdown September! It’s time for my next Harry Potter-themed tea for the House Cup… OF TEA!
This is the one tea that I had to get from Adagio (I really did want to get them all from the same source, but…) It is called “The Sacrifice” and themed around Cedric Diggory, representing House Hufflepuff, and is a blend of Adagio’s Irish Breakfast, Chamomile, and Honeybush Hazelnut teas. This tea is far more economically priced than the teas from the Malfoy Tea Emporium Etsy seller, and if you work hard for your tea, you shouldn’t have to pay ridiculous prices (cough a dollar a cup cough) for it, so while I realize I had to order this blend from a different seller out of necessity, the practical pricing makes me happy… and fits the House well. I’m going to have to give it a bonus point for that!
The dry leaf has a very sweet, hazelnut scent, that almost brings certain chocolately notes to my nostrils, reminding me a bit of Nutella. The tea steeped up a warm, chocolately brown, with just a hint of a red tone, likely from the honeybush. The tea has that malty Irish Breakfast base note on the back of the tongue, but overall the flavor comes off much lighter, with more of a light-to-medium-bodied brew than a full-bodied brew. The honeybush and hazelnut flavor give the tea a lot of natural sweetness, and the tea has a strong sweet nutty flavor. I normally can’t stand the flavor of chamomile, but blended with the malty and sweet nutty flavors here, the chamomile flavor comes off more subtle and doesn’t really bother me much, adding a slight floral note and giving the tea a relaxing, soothing feel. The tea also resteeped surprisingly well; I usually find flavored blends (especially blacks) taste really lackluster to me on resteep, but this one really showed some durability. A black tea with that much dedication and durability to its flavor? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to find such in the Hufflepuff tea! I have to give another bonus point here.
I was very happy with the flavor of this tea! I am not really a fan of Irish Breakfast and Chamomile teas in general, but the way these teas have been blended surprisingly appealed to me. I honestly thought I wasn’t going to like this at all! It’s the balance of the blend that I really seem to enjoy; the malty, astringent tones of the black tea aren’t entirely lost to too much flavor and sweetness, but there is just enough flavor and sweetness to make those black tea flavors palatable for me, and the malt and hazelnut tame down what I normally find the awful flavor of chamomile enough that I can enjoy it’s relaxing effects. It’s like finding a barista that can make you a mocha that’s not too bitter, not too sweet, just that perfect blend between the two extremes. Sipping the tea left me feeling warm and relaxed, and ready for another cup. Out of five points for flavor, I’m scoring this one a five.
As far as House virtus, Irish Breakfast is such a tried and true, common, beloved breakfast tea, with a full and hearty taste, I have a hard time not thinking of it as one of the most dedicated, loyal teas around. The fact the brew has been sweetened up with honeybush and hazelnut so the black tea doesn’t come off as so harsh or astringent, tends to make me think of Hufflepuff’s reputation for being friendly and kind. But I think what is most telling, for me, is the chamomile. Chamomile has such a soothing, calming effect on the body, and anyone who chooses a path of hard work and dedication is going to need a nice, warm, relaxing drink to unwind. It’s easier to have patience with a calm mind, and this tea has the odd effect of providing alertness and a relaxed disposition at the same time. The flavor profile of this tea is very balanced, and Hufflepuff is one of the most inclusive and balanced of the Houses. It really is a good choice, and I can easily imagine this being a drink of choice in the earthy Hufflepuff common room.
On a scale of 0-5, I’m awarding 5 points to Hufflepuff in this category.
So how much does The Sacrifice blend remind me of inspiration Cedric Diggory? Cara McGee who created this tea blend says, “Simple, strong and solid, a tea worth supporting.” And I can certainly understand those sentiments. This tea does have a very solid and sturdy Irish Breakfast base, and the flavor of the tea makes it warm and inviting and easy and tongue, without coming off as too harsh and astringent to the most casual of black tea drinkers. It is a tea that is easy to stand behind. The balanced flavor profile of the tea is also easy to see in Cedric’s very fair-minded nature.
Where I think it falls a little flat is it might be just a bit too balanced, as Cedric is such a strong character. Looking at the reviews for this tea, I’m not the only one that gets the impression of it being “soothing”, with many folks describing it as a “hug in a cup,” and while I found that chamomile effect a great strength for representing Hufflepuff as a whole, I feel it perhaps isn’t the best representation of a character with such a strong inner character and so many achievements. Never unfair or unkind, but soothing? I think the chamomile is more a way for the tea drinker to be soothed with the loss of this “good, and kind, and brave” character.
So I can certainly see aspects of the blend in the character, but it doesn’t quite mesh up for me, and certainly doesn’t as well as the Weasley tea. Out of five points, I’m scoring Hufflepuff a 3 in this category.
So, the blind taste test results! My librarian test subjects rated The Sacrifice tea with scores of 3, 5, 3, and 3, for a total of 14 House points! (That person who ended up loving the flavor of this tea and giving it a full five points? As coincidence would have it, he is a Hufflepuff!)
If any participants rated their teas with the same score (for example, gave multiple teas a rating of "3") I asked them to rank the teas from least to greatest preference. The tea ranked as their greatest preference would then score a bonus point. This was the case for one participant (who rated three teas with a "3") but ranked the Hufflepuff tea the highest, so it scores a bonus point!
Participants were also asked to guess which tea belonged to which House, after sampling all four teas. If any participants managed to guess a House correctly, it would score bonus points! One participant guessed the Hufflepuff tea correctly, so that’s 5 bonus points to Hufflepuff!
Here is the score:
Flavor Profile Score: 5
Representation of House Virtues: 5
Representation of Character Personality Traits: 3
Blind Taste Test Scores: 14
Bonus Points: 8
Great job, House Hufflepuff!
Flavors: Floral, Malt, Nutty, Smooth, Sweet
Yeah, I dislike smokey teas. I’ll still drink up te remainder of my sample, but I don’t like the savoury smoked pine flavour. It just reminds me of smoked salmon and those smoking chips I use to smoke things. It is drinkable with milk, but I wouldn’t ever buy this.
Flavors: Campfire, Oats, Smoke, Smoked, Thick
I tried this with the blender’s recommended recipe for “sick tea” once. It involve steeping the tea in hot milk and stirring in a little bit of butter. This is just a really comforting cup of tea for cold, rainy or snowy mornings or if you need something really mellow.
Flavors: Bergamot, Caramel
Bears a striking resemblance to Reichenbach Recovery because they have the same base but this one does smell or taste as subdued. Not one to normally reach for earl gray but recently it has become more my cup. I think it’s the bergamot that I’ve had in other teas that made me willing to try this blend. Although this is advertised as having berries as a main note, I don’t taste them. It does come off as a floral, creamy earl gray which is nice with a dash of milk and sweetner. Maybe the berry taste is found in this steeped black. Something to try in the future.
Flavors: Bergamot, Creamy, Sweet
A robust blend of green and black tea, this tea will keep your kicking while warming you up. Although I expected more chestnut and anise, the first taste as a bit astringent without modification. It’s bold, like a stout. With a dash of milk and sweetener though, this loud and strong tea becomes a full-bodied, thick, and caramel consistency that lingers pleasantly on the tongue.
Flavors: Chestnut, Malt, Smoke, Spices
I love this tea! It’s basically a combination of an earl grey and a blueberry muffin. This tea is lovely with a bit of milk and sugar. This is one of my favorite morning teas, because it is a great way to wake up in the morning. I’m planning on trying this one as a latte soon because I think it would be great as a latte!
Flavors: Bergamot, Blueberry
I was doubtful that I would like this blend because I am not a big Chai person, but I tried some that my friend had and I was pleasantly surprised.
The best way that I can describe this tea is ‘apple cider tea.’ It’s got a nice apple taste and just enough cinnamon that it didn’t distract from the whole thing.
It is good without sugar, but I find that adding a little bit of sugar really cuts the minor sharpness that the tea can have if you brew it a bit too long. Which I have a bad habit of doing.
Flavors: Apple, Honey
When I bought this I was hoping that the apricot wasn’t going to get overwhelmed by the other teas in the blend, but the worrying was for not.
This tea is simply divine and the amount of apricot in it is perfect. It goes really well with the dark flavors of the mambo and toasted mate teas and I will be ordering this again.
Sipdown! And… disappointed. I drank this last Friday, but have literally zero memory of it, since I was at work. I have to assume that it was generally unremarkable because of that – I don’t really know what I was expecting (heat?)
Thanks (indirectly) to Jump62359 for the sample!
ETA: Wait!! Now I see it had lapsang, and I definitely remember at least steeping it – it was quite potent. The lapsang mustn’t have been too potent, as I drank it straight – so probably a decent tea. Wish I could time travel and think a bit more while sipping.