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Recent Tasting Notes
T is for… Tea of Kindess!
I’ve been waiting for a good excuse to steep this tea up – it’s inspired by Ken, from the second Digimon series. He’s probably one of my favourite characters from any Digimon series, and if you were to treat the digi crests the same way that people do Hogwarts Houses then I would probably most identify with his crest – the Crest of Kindness.
I’ll save talking about whether or not that I think this blend is a good representation of his character for another time though – right now I just want to focus on the flavour of the blend. There is a lot going on, and when I was reading through the ingredients of the different blends it’s made up from I fully expected it to be a chaotic clusterfuck of either muddled or competing flavours.
So, I was pleasantly surprised to really enjoy the taste of this tea! Despite all the many things happening, the one flavour that really jumps to the top of the pile and makes itself known is the blackberry. It’s bright, it’s sweet, and it’s distinctly blackberry. I recognize it from some of the other blends I have from Adagio that are blackberry flavoured, and I’m realizing now that it’s probably one of my favourite flavourins they use.
Aside from that, I actually also tasted the cocoa a lot more than I had expected to, creating what was overall a really nice light but jammy and sweet medley of blackberry and chocolate flavours. I’ll be interested to see if that flavour can be recreated consistently, but I just thought this was delightful!
A sample from SkySamurai! Thanks so much! The book I was reading kept mentioning Earl Grey today, so thought I’d try this. It’s quite a mixture of things on a decaf black base: bergamot, lavender, strawberry, orange, lemon balm… It’s quite a muddle, much like the Mad Hatter would prefer it! For some reason the lavender seems green and raw to me, though I doubt that is even possible. I don’t think this tastes anything like Adagio’s lavender earl blend. The bergamot seems slightly different. I can notice a bit of bergamot, orange, strawberry and lavender… but not sure if I like all of these flavors together. It’s a bit floral overall, maybe a bit soapy some of you are sometimes talking about. I definitely can’t tell this is a decaf black. It has enough flavor and isn’t drying but I’m starting to suspect that decaf black tea might be the most dehydrating of any teas. The second steep is also tasty. Might be a worthy iced tea.
Steep #1 // 23 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
2021 sipdowns: 24 (This + Teavivre’s Lychee black)
This tea was just ok, orangy, creamy, with a hint of cranberry and vanilla. I do like a strong cup of tea, and when I brew this strong, it has a slightly burnt taste. As a dessert tea, it was adequate, but not so yummy that I’ll be purchasing again.
Flavors: Cranberry, Creamy, Orange, Vanilla
Finishing up a mug of this one currently…
I don’t usually drink my Buffy fandom teas unless I’ve watching Buffy, as I try to keep them as a special treat for that – but I am currently listening to the “Once More With Feeling” soundtrack so that seemed close enough!
I’m have to go through, at another point in time, what my perfect “Anya Tea” would actually taste like – she’s one of my favourite late series characters, but I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about her tea blend. That’s maybe a weird sentence to say, but considering I’ve spent lots of time thinking about some of the other characters it does feel worth pointing out.
I’m not actually sure what this is supposed to taste like!? I saw a lot of different fruit pieces and black tea when I measured out my cup but the dry leaf didn’t really have a distinct aroma other than “kind of fruity” and the taste isn’t really any better – I don’t think I’d be able to describe it to someone as anything other than mildly fruity with tartness in the finish. Is it lemon? Hibiscus? Both? Something else!? I can’t quite put my finger on it.
I mean, I don’t dislike it – but a blend for someone as in your face and quirky as Anya should be a lot more distinct IMO. I’m gonna have to try it again, and also read the ingredients list/blender’s description. Maybe then I’ll be able to better place it…
This one is thanks to SkySamurai! One of the extras used as bubblewrap packaging. :D Turns out, I LOVE THIS. Whoa. It looked like there would be too much in the sample for my mug, but it was perfect. It tastes like a mojito. Spearmint and citrus. All kinds of citrus. A great balance on a green base. It’s very refreshing. I’m glad I have a second sample. I’m saving it for summer. I wouldn’t mind stocking up on this as a mojito type of flavor. The only other one I can think of is Bird and Blend’s.
Steep #1 // 40 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 35 minutes after boiling // 3 min
This was my second tea of the morning.
I didn’t love my first mug of Polo with The Prince, which is lemon/strawberry, so I decided to “switch things up”, I still didn’t know what I was in the mood for, but I decided it wasn’t citrus. Unfortunately, I didn’t look up the ingredients of this tea beforehand – I just saw the tin on my desk with all the other Adagio fan blends and I hadn’t tried it yet. I thought to myself… “Horcux, that must be kind of dark tasting, right?”.
Well, you know what flavour Horcrux is? Fucking lemon.
I mean, it’s not just lemon – it’s actually probably more hibiscus than anything else, but a kind of tart and drying hibiscus combined with shrill lemon and a bit of pucker inducing orange as well. Very fruity/citrus, which was the one thing I had established I wasn’t in the mood for. I actually don’t think the flavour was bad – probably would be great chilled or with a bit of honey or agave. It’s just not what I wanted.
Took a while to finish the mug.
This was the Community tea sample for 1/1/21. I didn’t write notes as I sipped. I was out camping and away from my computer and the phone is such a trying way to post tea notes. I really liked this tea. I didn’t get any puerh flavor, but what I got was dead on for gingerbread. It was really smooth and easy to drink. This is one I could see ordering.
I got this tea sample as an add on in my advent swap with SkySamurai, thanks!
There’s a lot going on in this tea, and not surprisingly it’s a blend of three different teas. The vanilla and chocolate flavors are subtle and not artificial tasting. There is enough spice to keep things interesting. I did two steeps and the dark chocolate was more pronounced in the first, but not bitter. The vanilla is coming through more in the second steep, along with the chai spices. A nice enjoyable warming cup that I might not need in my cupboard but I’d be tempted to add to an order.
Flavors: Cardamom, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Clove, Mint, Vanilla
Didn’t realize until just now but I must have been craving strawberries this week because I had this one on the weekend and it was the sweet strawberry aroma coming off the dry leaf that attracted me to the sample. Thankfully, despite my not timing the steep, it didn’t come off as bitter – I need to be better watching for that with Adagio’s black teas. The taste was a bit artificial/fake tasting, but still a pretty nice strawberries and cream black tea. Hot the spot in terms of cravings.
Another fandom tea I picked up a while ago…
I’ve never thought about what a Ditto blend might taste like – mostly because, given Ditto’s functional use in game, it’s not the best imagery that comes to mind if I dwell on it too long. That said, this tea is good! It’s a black tea mixed with some fruits like strawberry but also fun multi coloured sprinkles. I don’t typically love sprinkles in tea but for some reason it doesn’t bug me here.
The taste is basically strawberries and cream, with a hint of malty and tannic black tea. I like the strawberry a lot; after doing more investigation of Adagio’s teas over this last year I think the strawberry flavouring that they use might have been an overlooked hidden gem. The “cream” fluctuates for me between a more fresh cream or vanilla flavour and a cake-y sort of vanilla, and so this goes back and forth between strawberries & cream and a strawberry shortcake sort of vibe – the sprinkles pushing the cake feelings ever further.
I need to double check the ingredients for hibiscus, but I feel like this would be a tasty latte if I don’t have to worry about curdling!
Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m a big fan of the Fruits Basket anime. I watched the original when I was in highschool, and have been closely following and obsessing over the reboot – some day I will get into the manga, but right now I’m holding back from diving into that rabbit hole…
Kyo is my favourite character in the series – and the most recent episodes of the second season have been some really good Kyo episodes. I love soft, tender and gentle Kyo. The Kyo underneath all the anger and resentment, and the defensive shield he puts up to hide that. I’ve wanted to sample through this Fruits Basket inspired set of teas for a long time now, and while I didn’t go all out and order the whole sampler I did toss in this Kyo blend with my last order.
The teas picked for the blend seem perfect for the character – Tiger Eye, Blood Orange, and Cream. Kyo is possesed with the cat zodiac spirit, which ties in the Tiger Eye. Blood Orange fits because, aside from his orange colour scheme/character design, this seems appropriate for his fighting spirit as well as the bracelet he wears fashioned of blood and bone. Cream for the soft person underneath it all, who had his childhood stolen from him.
The bonus for all of that!? The blend tastes really good! I often forget that the black tea base Adagio uses for most of their main assortment is a bit more fickle/sensitive to oversteeping and as a result I usually get astringency in bitterness in my cups because I tend to not be the most attentive to steep times when I’m working. However, even with a long steep time I’m finding this blend reaalllyyy smooth and enjoyable. I’m not tasting as much of the Tiger Eye as I thought I would – but I’m not mad at that because the result is essentially a rich, deep Creamsicle type of flavour that it so scrumptious! Feels like tasty, sublime relief on a hot summer day.
Plus, it just feels righ for Kyo as a character.
It’s always so fun when a fandom blend not only makes sense for the character in the teas that were composed, but is also just really tasty to boot!
Steeped up on Friday and I think I enjoyed this more than my first go with it. I kept the steep time pretty short, and the result was that I got a little less cinnamon and no astringency. What that left was a delicate strawberry note, hints of cinnamon, and a tiny bit of a chocolate note – so more like a gentle chocolate strawberry tea with some cinnamon instead of a cinnamon blend with strawberry. Less weird, at least for my own palate.
Another Spooktober appropriate Halloween tea!
This is a really pretty looking fandom blend; the pop of bright red from the small cut strawberry and the cinnamon chips contrast so lovely against Adagio’s black tea base. It smells cinnamon forward, with undertones of ripe strawberry. The taste is a bit weird? I think I’d get used to it with more cups; I guess I just find cinnamon and juicy strawberry a little strange. A creamy or baked strawberry fits a little better in my head. There’s some nutty flavours, but not as much as I would expect from the ingredients list – the focus is definitely strawberry/cinnamon. A little drying – I think that’s just Adagio’s more finicky black tea base.
Oh Seahawk… What do you even say about Seahawk!?
He’s definitely a character that annoyed me a bit at first, but he kind of grows on you in an irritating sort of why where at the end of the series he was in my top three favourite characters. I particularly love his relationship with Mermista. It’s hard to verbalize why their relationship is so endearing to me, but I think a huge part of it is how completely supportive he is of her in everything she does and also how he is ALWAYS completely honest about how he feels about her.
So lets talk about this blend! It’s one of the most clever Adagio fan blends I’ve seen in a long time! You have a mix of tropical fruit heavy teas along with Lapsang Souchong. This confused me at first, but then I realized the tropical fruits are because he’s a pirate sailing through exotic locals and the Lapsang is because one of his reoccuring character traits is that he burns down ships. It’s genius, and hilarous!
More than that, though, it also tastes incredible! I swear something magic happens basically whenever you use Lapsang in flavoured tea blends, but the combination of really sweet and fresh pineapple notes with hints of coconut, cinnamon, lemongrass and then a really lingering finish of woody pine smoke from the Lapsang tastes fucking incredible together! It’s the perfect marriage of this very Thai inspired tasting tropical chai/pina colada vibe mixing with the savory smoke. Yum yum yum!!
I swear, this is giving my long standing favourite Adagio blend (The Woman) a real run for its money!
I recently binged the entire She-Ra and The Princesses of Power series on Netflix, but about halfway through my binge I placed an Adagio order for Halloween teas and I decided to add some She-Ra blends into the mix too…
It was tempting to buy a tea for each character I loved (which is A LOT of the characters), but I was smart and only bought blends for characters I loved that also sounded like teas I might enjoy. That ended up being two characters; Scorpia and Seahawk. Scorpia is actually my favourite character in the entire series so I was excited to get this blend! I also love Catra/Mermista/Entrapta, but their blends didn’t speak to me the same way. I ended up drinking this tea, and the Seahawk tea which I’ll write a note for after this, while binging the final season – and it made that last season feel SO SPECIAL. I could gush about She-Ra for hours, but I wont. Instead lets talk about the tea…
This is essentially a chocolate and cherry blend, which is a tricky combo but always nice if done well! In particular, it uses Dewy Cherry which is a blend from Adagio that I actually really enjoy. My all time favourite Adagio fandom tea (The Woman) uses this blend so I had high hopes. Maybe too high, honestly. The flavour of dewy cherry comes through and, as expected, it is the best part. However I don’t like it with the milk chocolate notes and very tannic black tea; it just doesn’t mesh well. The idea for this blend, I think, was to combine to sweet and bright/cheerful things – which is perfect for Scorpia as a character. She’s drawn as the most masculine/tough and intimidating of the princesses and covered in sharp armor, but in reality is the gentlest and kindest and most cheerful of the characters. So either a sweet and soft milk chocolate or a bright and cheerful cherry would have been perfect for her! But creamy milk chocolate and vibrant cherry just don’t couple well, sadly.
But it’s a Scorpia tea – so I was happy either way!
Candy Corn is a Halloween classic so how could I resist picking up a Candy Corn tea for this October!? Let me tell you a secret though; when it comes to actual candy corn it’s not a flavour that I enjoy…
It’s a testament to the power/influence of it as a Halloween icon though because I see basically any Candy Corn inspired thing other than real Candy Corn and I immediately want to buy it because motherfucking Halloween! Shockingly, there are probably a DOZEN different Candy Corn inspired tea blends on Adagio so I had a lot of range to pick from. I chose then one that had the most appealing to me flavour composition and not the one I thought was most accurate to actual Candy Corn, which is basically just a mix of fondant/icing that tastes like pure sugar. No thanks…
So this is essentially caramel/orange/cream with black tea and honeybush. I guess I have seen cream and caramel flavour candy corn so it’s not totally off base in the interpretation of the flavour – but orange seems more out there and I would guess is only included because of the actual colour of candy corn. I’m okay with that, though!
The taste is straight forward – literally all of the flavours I just mentioned are represented, including a malty backbone from the black tea and that sweet and nutty flavour of honeybush that is so distinct. I would say the strongest flavours are orange, cream, and honeybush. It loosely reminds me of Candy Corn, but whether it’s accurate or not isn’t really the goal that I wanted from this cup – the important thing is that it tastes good, and it does. I find it a little thin, and the caramel could be better but I enjoy the orange and cream combo a lot – and I get the FUN of Candy Corn for Halloween which is exactly what I wanted.
I also drank this while watching Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror episodes which was a massively fun and nostalgic Halloween evening activity that only made the tea that much better!
Couldn’t resist stocking up on a bunch of Halloween inspired tea blends to sip throughout Spooky Season this year, and I do love a good caramel apple so this was the first one that I tapped into when I got the order earlier in the week!
I had this one at my office, but the idea is to drink these blends while doing fun Spooky Season activities throughout the month – like watching TV shows/movie and pumpkin carving. I did over steep this by a hearty ten minutes because I got caught up in responding to emails, and my inattention to steeping was punished with a hefty dose of astringency. However, the flavour of the blend itself was good and I could see from the taste that with proper steeping I would have enjoyed this a lot. Very sweet, bordering on caramel with hints of apple, cream, and cinnamon. Caramel is an infamously hard flavour to capture in tea – this felt a bit more like the thin and sort of artificial/generically sweet caramel like might see used as a Sundae syrup? On the cusp of nailing it, but just a bit off.
I look forward to brewing it properly later this monthl.
Samurai Travelling Tea Box – Tea #47
Finished off the cute little tin of this one yesterday, actually steeped up as a big old teapot of tea! It has been a looonnggg time since I last made a Western pot of tea but, as I mentioned in a tasting note I posted during the freeze, a good friend of mine here in MTL and I are starting a podcast all about tea and different kinds of geeky fandoms and our instagram account for the podcast “went live” earlier this week so I was feeling especially inspired to pull out some of my nerdier teaware and brew this Star Wars tea in a Star Wars themed teapot!
I think I’ve probably tried the teas from Adagio that compose this blend in at least a dozen, if not more, variants through other fandom blends – they don’t taste bad but the flavour is so distinctly “sweet, nutty and brown” (ie. chocolate/caramel and generic) that no matter what combination they seem to be used in with other teas they all sort of taste the same. In particular, this combo really reminds me of another fandom tea that I like a lot – Apache Tracker, from the Welcome to Nightvale sampler.
As for our podcast, I’m really excited about it! When we get closer to releasing episodes, I’m going to make a discussion post for it with more details and a longer overview of what it’ll be about – but the tldr is that it’s a podcast exploring different types of fandoms and the teas we (my friend Marika and I) think that they go well with! Each week, we’ll look at a new fandom and a specific “piece of content” pertaining to it and the discussion will be about our experiences with this fandom, first impressions, anything relating to the content we reviewed that really stuck out to us as meaningful and the tea we paired with it and why! It’ll be a mix of things that we know inside and out, than one of us is sharing with the other, and that we’re both experiencing for the fist time!
I hope people will enjoy it, but regardless it’s just going to be great to geek out with one another and learn about some new things!
Samurai Travelling Tea Box – Tea #4
This is one of several samples that I asked Shae to include in the box – simply could not resist trying a tea with the name Clotted Cream, that sounds devine!
Visually this is just black tea without added ingredients, aside from the flavouring that has been layered over it. Steeped up, the colour is quite deep and red tinged and the flavour smooth. It’s certainly creamy, and reminds me a little bit of the Birthday tea from Adagio that they included as a sample during your birth month, but it’s also a little bit flat (age?) and lacking in body or depth of flavour.
It was easy to finish the mug, but it wasn’t exciting or memorable. I imagine, however, that this would be a very good “canvas” tea for anyone looking for a simple tea to add milk and/or sugar and other sweeteners to. Would be quite adaptable.
March Madness Sipdown
This was paired off against T2’s Matcha Jaffa Swirl.
I usually reserve my Buffy teas for when I’m watching BTVS, but this one came up in the randomly selected teas for this bracket so I just went with it. It’s still just an alright tea; loving the chocolate mint flavours still but the chamomile flavour continues to be too aggressive in the cup for my tastes.
There were things I didn’t like about Matcha Jaffa Swirl as well, so it was still a fairly close decision between the too – but ultimately this tea was not the one to move on.
Earlier in the week I sipped on Capricious Princess, which is another of the BTVS fandom blends from Adagio that I’ve been exclusively drinking during my French dubbed rewatch. This is the Cordelia Chase blend, a mix of green tea and chamomile w/ mint and chocolate. While I found the chamomile a little too strong for my tastes, I did really love the balance of cooling mint and sweet chocolate notes. Even the green tea, while present, didn’t ruin the flavour combination for me. It’s not a favourite, but drinkable – and I was very worried about whether I’d enjoy this blend or not so I’m glad it’s an alright one…
I think, like so many people, Cordy was never one of my favourite characters but I really appreciated her character growth over the course of the series (and on Angel), and she’s grown on me with each rewatch. I also really like the voice actress for the French dubs; her voice is less jarring to me than, as an example, Angel or Xander…
If I were to design my own tea blend for Cordelia, I think it would be quite different. I would want a lot of visual accents to the tea such as marigold, cornflower, safflower, etc – things that superficially make the tea look very pretty but that do little to nothing to contribute to the actual flavour. The base would be a greener oolong; something that would reveal more nuance and layers with subsequent resteeps. Finally, I think maybe just a touch of raspberry? Raspberries can be sweet, but also sharp and sour – but I’m not sold on that as the flavour I would choose…