Custom-Adagio Teas, Cara McGeeEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This is one of Cara McGee’s Sherlock fandom blends, created to represent the character Irene Adler – otherwise known as The Woman. The description is perfectly suited to the character; beautifully sweet with a fruity edge, trailing a puff of smoke. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium brown, and smells like a mild Lapsang Souchong.
Upon taking a sip, the first flavours to emerge are the cherry and vanilla. It’s a sweet beginning, maybe even a little cloying (although only momentarily). It’s saved by the smoke, which emerges in the mid-sip and takes the sweetness down a peg or two, adding a slightly acrid, sour note that isn’t at all unpleasant. I say this as someone who’s not usually a fan of smoky teas, so it’s a big compliment coming from me! It’s possible to detect the woodiness of the honeybush slightly at this point, too, and that again helps to mediate the sweetness of the cherry and vanilla. It makes the whole cup more layered and complex, too – rather like the character herself. The cherry and vanilla emerge again right at the end of the sip, once the smoke fades. This time the sweetness is more welcome, and it’s possible to appreciate how flavour-accurate the cherry is (no pseudo cough medicine here), and the light creaminess contributed by the vanilla. It’s actually a pretty delicious combination, and it reminds me a little of ice cream.
As a fandom blend, I think this tea emblematises Irene pretty well. She is beautiful and alluring, with a sweet, decadent edge. The smoke is characteristic. The combination of the two hints at something more complex, a little darker and more dangerous. Irene isn’t straightforward character, and this isn’t a straightforward tea. So far, they’re equal.
See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/04/25/woman-custom-blend-adagio-teas/
A Cara McGee Sherlock fandom blend, and the only white tea in the range. The leaf of this one is particularly pretty to look at, with the downy white Snowbud buds, the odd brown leaf, whole yellow chamomile flowers, red cherry pieces, and a scattering of burgundy hibiscus and rosehip. The dry leaf smells mildly fruity and a little herbal. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a rather unusual grey, the scent sweet and primarily chamomile.
To taste, this somehow isn’t quite the blend I expected. The white tea is most prominent in the flavour, and it’s quite floral and a little dusty-tasting. It’s also quite drying on the palate. The chamomile emerges in the mid-sip, and adds a honey-like sweetness to the cup. It’s actually not a huge improvement, because it now tastes like sweet floral dust. The cherry emerges only towards the very end of the sip, and adds another layer of sweetness. I had hoped that the fruitiness would rescue this one, but it really just tips what was already a sweet tea into the “unbearably cloying” category. Sadly, there isn’t much in the way of cherry to be discerned, and the overall cup tastes mostly like warm sugar-water to me.
Sadly, this one is a disappointment to me. It comes as a surprise, because I’m usually a fan of white tea. I also know Adagio’s Dewy Cherry blend to be a wonderfully fruity concoction – sweet, yes, but with strong, natural tasting cherry to boot. For some reason, it just doesn’t work here. Perhaps the chamomile isn’t the best partner – it’s just too sweet when added to the already-sweet white base.
Although the taste of this blend isn’t for me, there are aspects of it that do suit Molly’s character. She’s sweet, for sure. Too sweet, maybe, when it comes to Sherlock. She’s also self-effacing and a little shy, and for those reasons I think a white tea blend is the right choice for her. I even like the idea of chamomile/cherry, but perhaps not in combination. One or the other probably would have been enough, perhaps with a touch more hibiscus to cut through the sweetness just a little bit.
I’m sad about this one. It’s not undrinkable by any means, but it is ridiculously sweet and fairly one-note, and I don’t feel the flavours work very well together. In theory, a great blend to characterise Molly. In practice, not so much.
I’m trying to do too much and that means it’s Friday and I’m exhausted. I can’t perk up. I need something to slap me in the face and get me going, and lbr, Sherlock is down for that. He can be such an ass. But he’s rarely subtle.
So, you know what’s crazy? I don’t write. I haven’t written since High School, and yet, SOMEHOW, I was talked into doing Camp Nanowrimo this year and that means that in April I’ve committed to writing 10,000 words. Of story. WHAT AM I DOING?
I originally signed up for a small prompt where I promised to write 500 words where two characters meet in a bar and I go from there, but now that I’m doing Camp Nano, I’m going to see if I can expand that a bit. And then maybe write bits and pieces here and there. I am definitely not going to write one cohesive work at 10k because I’ve had… let’s see… 2 days to think about this and we start writing on Wednesday, but I’ll play with a few different tropes and see how it goes!
I chose John Watson as my main character, and the second character will be RANDOMLY ASSIGNED from Supernatural, Hannibal (tv), or Saga (comics). So I can’t really even plan that part out until I get that assignment, but basically the point is to just get me writing a little each day and get better and stay confident and see where it goes! Part of being in Camp Nano is cheerleading others on so they finish and I am GOOD AT THAT SHIT, YO.
It’ll be fun. Also, I’m using Scrivener to help organize my thoughts etc, and I can totally see how this software would be amazing if I were writing a proper story because it’d keep everything straight for me, and so if I spend all month using the trial and getting good, AND I reach my 10k limit, I can buy it for $20 instead of $40. I’m a total dork for fancy software.
Hey – I think it’s working! This tea is waking me up! WOO!
I’m told this is connected with Dr Who. I’m working my way slowly through the series and haven’t gotten to the relevant part of it, so I’ll just review the tea.
It’s listed as a blueberry Earl Grey. It smells lovely but isn’t overly assertive as either. The scent of blueberries is noticeable in the dry herbs but fades once the tea is brewed. It becomes a homogenous blend and I don’t notice the blueberry or the bergamot.
Still, this is a pleasant enough brew with which to wake myself in the morning. It has become very familiar and comfortable (like a regular character on a TV show, I suppose), and is a go- to among my loose teas, many of which I haven’t sampled yet and really don’t feel like reviewing due to my backlog. Some days the unfamiliar is a bit angst provoking and it’s easier to go with a known factor.
It is not a tea I would go out of my way to order, yet it is pleasant enough, particularly on rainy days. I’m enjoying it slowly as the icy days of Winter give way to the rains of Spring and am considering making my final sip-down a cold brew.
The last of Friday’s teas. After two cups of chai, something light and refreshing was just the ticket! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions.
I have to say that the flavour here is mainly ceylon. I’ve actually drank Adagio’s Ceylon Sonata plain a good few times before, so I know the taste pretty well. It’s quite a citrussy tea to begin with, but with this blend it’s hard to know where that ends and the grapefruit/blood orange begins. They’re fairly mild in any case, although it’s fair to say that I can taste the grapefruit more than the orange. It adds just a slightly sharp, bitter note to the overall cup.
If boring and bitter sum up Anderson, then this is a great fandom blend. I suppose he can be a little bitter, at times, although who wouldn’t be after what he’s experienced? Maybe sour is a better word, and that works too.
This one’s a good palate refresher, purely because it lacks a strong flavour punch. For the same reason, though, this isn’t a stand out blend to me. I’m going to follow the recommendation to try this one cold, and see if that improves matters any. I can only hope that it does!
The second Sherlock chai of Friday. This one is more suited to my personal tastes, so I felt more confident brewing up a cup of Donovan. As ever, I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk, because that’s how I roll when it comes to chai.
The initial flavour here is chocolate, with an undertone of chai spices (clove, cardamon, and a hint of cinnamon?) The spices are by no means strong, but they provide a nice background flavour; the combination reminds me of spiced hot chocolate! The black tea base provides a nice sweet maltiness, which combines well with the mild, creamy vanilla and almond notes that come out towards the end of the sip. It’s just like the description says, really – this one starts off with a spicy kick, and then slowly mellows out.
As blends go, I think this one is pretty suited to Donovan’s character. She seems to attack first and ask questions later, in the same way that this blend starts off spicy and then mellows out. I’d rate this blend equally with Mycroft in terms of flavour, and it’s definitely one I’d consider repurchasing in the future.
This was another Friday try, but due to a busy weekend I never did get chance to write a note. Quite a few of the Sherlock blends are chai-based, it seems, which is okay with me because I rather like chai. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.
This is probably my favourite of them so far – a relatively normal masala chai blend (good notes of pepper, clove and cardamon), with a strong overtone of ginger spiciness. It wasn’t too hot, or mouth-burningly spicy, although I expect that could be ramped up with a longer brew time or a bit more leaf, or by leaving out the milk. I like it as-is, though. I think it strikes a good balance for my tastes personally.
The fandom aspect is pretty apparent here – Moriarty says he will burn Sherlock, after all, so a spicy blend is more than fitting. It’s not as devilish as it could be (clearly something could be learned from 52Teas Mayan Chocolate Chai), but it’s drinkable, which is definitely more important. And I reckon the spiciness could be increased as I’ve already said, so that’s fair enough. A great cup for a cold evening.
This was a pleasant surprise in the SHERLOCK sampler set I got from Adagio – I was expecting a very fruity blend when I saw the cherry in there, but it was much more of a floral flavor, with slight cherry taste and was my favorite blend to drink before bed (until it ran out).
Flavors: Cherry, Floral
Cream in a tea? Unexpected and delightful, just like how I think of this character. Now, it does have some strong characteristics with the gunpowder and black tea, but the unexpected addition of the cream in the mix was successful and really blended well with the vanilla. I got more of the chocolate BEFORE brewing but that was just fine with me!!
Flavors: Cream, Vanilla
Cecil, love of my life, why are you so perfect? You’re more perfect than Perfect Carlos.
This is such a nice little chai. It’s not astringent at all, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a green-based chai before. It’s nice. I was a little put off by the sprinkles, but I don’t think they make much difference, and the more I think about it, the more I think they belong in every WTNV blend. Except for Steve Carlsberg. He doesn’t deserve nice things. Steve and his stupid, tan Toyota Corolla. Ugh.
Flavors: Spices, Vanilla
A little in your face like Donovan, but deep down you know she’s just a little bit sweet on the boys….ok maybe not! Lovely chocolate chai flavor in this tea. I also love that the chocolate isn’t lost to the chai spices in the tea. I like this one as a mid-morning pick me up.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cloves, Nutmeg
Firstly – I want to apologise for not being active on Steepster recently. Unfortunately I caught a bad cold and chest infection which left me without a sense of taste for over a week, including through my birthday too. That left me a little numb and disheartened with tasting (or at least trying to taste) tea and so I took a back seat, finished some tea samples I had already reviewed and did my very best to recover. I believe that now is good time to come back, though my taste may not be perfect to my usual standard it should be good enough, as with my sense of smell also. At least the illness caught me well before my holiday as I leave for Fuerteventura, Spain at the start of next month.
While I was ill I ended up playing through some of my games of which I have accumulated 859 of via Steam. They recently had a sale and I noticed they were offering The Testament of Sherlock Holmes at a reasonable price so I scooped that up and began playing last night. It reminded me of the teas from Adagio that I got around Christmas time, I waited so long for the tins to come back into UK stock. It’s time I tried them.
Starting with Sherlock Holmes, the musky, dark and pipe tobacco smoke scented tea. It’s strongly smoky yet I get a mature and rather debonair feeling about it.
Flavour is rather smooth yet smoky throughout with malt, tobacco and sweet under tones. It’s not too strong, nor smoky nor dry but rather a perfect balance of all so that you can taste each flavour equally. Considering it’s Lapsang Souchong part base it’s milder than I was expecting. There is also a mild spicy after taste mixed in with the smoke.
I rather like this blend overall and admire it greatly. Assam and Lapsang Souching, who would have expected a pleasant union? Well played Cara McGee.
Flavors: Malt, Smoke, Spices, Sweet, Tobacco
This was supposed to be a sipdown, but I did a silly thing. I was brewing up the last of my sample of this tea from MissB to share with a visiting friend, who asked me to pick out his tea for him. I had roughly 2.5 teaspoons left, so the plan was to brew 2 of that in my IngenuiTEA to make us a cup each, and then make a small cup with the remaining half a spoon to fill my travel mug up. I have to go into university as I have a lot of work to do which involves many late-night library sessions, and I thought one final big mug of this would be nice company.
BUT then I did the silly thing. When I’m making 2 cups worth in my IngenuiTEA, I often find that the first cup pours out really strong and the second pretty weak, due to the settling of the leaves in the pot. To counteract this, I’ll pour the cups back in so that they mix and then refill the cups right away. I usually do this over the sink, to avoid messy spillage, but today I was in a hurry so I thought what the heck, what harm can it do to pour it over the bench? There’ll maybe be a few drips to wipe up, so what. Only I wasn’t paying enough attention to what I was doing, and I ended up pouring the first cup back in while the IngenuiTEA was still sitting on top of the second cup. Of course, this meant that the mechanism which releases the tea was open, and the tea I poured in just came flooding straight back out, and ended up all over the bench and floor, including under the microwave D: so I ended up having a really tiny cup and saving the also tiny remaining leaf to make a final cup which I can properly concentrate on for my sipdown. Sigh.
Briefly, though, I am still loving Cara’s fandom blends. They are seriously inspired. This one is just like Moriarty – seemingly sweet and delicious at first, with a kick that isn’t discovered until he’s already got you hooked. I prefer this to the ‘Moriarty’ tea by Cara, as there’s a lot less ginger, but it’s definitely still present. I am very glad MissB was kind enough to include in in my mystery box, as it was a wishlist tea I didn’t have too much hope of trying, seeing as the UK Adagio store doesn’t stock it. (I seriously hate how limited it is compared to the US one). This tea actually reminds me a lot of the ‘Mycroft’ blend, which I love. Despite not containing any of the same teas, when combined their ingredients are very similar. Both start off with a chocolatey, sweet chai flavour which translates as spiced cake (I believe it’s meant to in the Mycroft blend). Only where Mycroft finishes with vanilla and cream notes which evoke frosting, Science of Destruction lures you in and then hits you at the end of the sip with a spicy ginger kick. Super yummy, and great for these cold winter nights. I wish I hadn’t wasted nearly a whole cup. ):
tl;dr – I temporarily disengaged my brain and poured tea everywhere, and I wish I hadn’t because this is tasty.
Sipdown! Also finished this one off last night – another of my favourite Adagio Sherlock fandom blends. I like the almond cookie flavour and the strong Assam base. No surprises there, if you know my preferences! Another that could be a repurchase, at some point in the future. It will be missed!