Custom-Adagio Teas, Cara McGee

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Recent Tasting Notes

80

First tea of the day. I’m glad this week’s finally over – it’s been a long and difficult one for sure. I tend to gravitate towards Chai or Earl Grey when I’m tired – maybe it’s a comfort thing. This one was sitting out waiting to be tried, so it finally got its turn. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

The first thing I noticed about this one was the underlying sweetness. At first I thought cherry, but it’s not quite like that. Cranberry is more like it – just a little tarter. There’s also a distinctive creaminess, which is more than the milk I added. Vanilla maybe. There’s a touch of orange in the aftertaste, but it’s kind of “orange squash” artificial. The chai spices are fairly subtle here, but there’s clove, cinnamon and caradmom for sure. It’s not an overpowering blend, so it allows the fruit flavours to shine. A really nice, distinctive chai. Just the thing for a lazy summer Saturday.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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95

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Flavors: Nutty

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 15 OZ / 443 ML

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95

This is my favorite tea right now. It’s so comforting without being weak- unlike a lot of the other comforting flavors adagio offers. I was given the 3oz bag as a christmas/graduation present and happened to discover that it is particularly perfect on rainy dull mornings when you just want to stay in bed but you can’t. (It’s uplifting without being harsh.) I would drink it every day if I weren’t worried about running out of it before I can afford to order a 6oz tin.

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68

Another from the sale – thank you MissB! Mrs. Hudson! I received four of these adorable tiny Sherlock tea tins from MissB’s sale. This one sounded like a unique blend and I know I like the Adagio Melody blend. I’ve tried the almond blend on its own – it was just okay. There is also osmanthus here as well. I’ve only tried one osmanthus flavored tea but it wasn’t Adagio… and it tasted like peach. Together, this isn’t the best Adagio blend. It’s really tough to tell any of the flavors that should be here and also wasn’t as delicious as the Melody base by itself. Really it was rather astringent. Mrs. Hudson would not approve. She loves her tea.

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90

Also at work with me today, the wonderful Ten! Ten is a chocolate blend on a base of irish breakfast, and it’s probably the most chocolatey tea I’ve tried in a good long time. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden-brown. The dry leaf looks fairly ordinary – relatively short black tea leaves, a scattering of chocolate chips and marigold petals, and a few cocoa shells. The scent is out-of-this-world chocolatey, though, and that’s what gave me hope for this one!

Fortunately, it lives up to its promise. The chocolate flavouring is smooth and rich, almost like melted dark and milk chocolate mixed together and poured into a cup, only thinner. The black tea base adds a lovely malty sweetness that really works well with the chocolate, and which helps to stop it becoming too cloying. This is a really wonderful chocolate tea, and it’s not often that I say that. It’s the goldilocks of chocolate teas for me – just right!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80

Continuing through my sampler of Dr Who fandom teas, the next from the box is Nine! Nine is one of those green/black blends that I’m always a little scared of. I never know whether to use water to suit the green, the black, or somewhere in between. I threw caution to the wind for my first couple of cups, and used boiling water, 1 tsp of leaf, and a 2.5 minute brew time. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden-brown.

As flavoured blends go, this is one of the more intriguing ones I’ve tried. It contains quite a lot of flavours I probably wouldn’t have put together – chestnut, aniseed and cinnamon, on a base of irish breakfast and gunpowder. The resulting flavour is quite complex – I get the aniseed fairly prominently, followed by the rich roastiness of the chestnut, rounded off with the mild spice of the cinnamon. It makes me think of Christmas in some small way! The base is smooth and clean-tasting – irish breakfast was a good choice here, and there’s just the slightest hint of dank, vegetal green.

I’m a bit stumped on the fandom aspect again with this one, but it’s certainly a tasty, unusual tea. The flavours work together a lot better that I ever would have expected, and this is one I’d consider repurchasing if I buy from Adagio in the future.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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70

Finally pulled out my box of Dr Who teas to try! I was looking for a fairly straightforward black tea last night, and the description on the tin fitted my mood perfectly. The eleventh doctor was probably my favourite – we graduated from the same University, after all, so I’m allowed to be biased.

Anyway, the tea. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and have it approximately 3 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. To taste, I’m picking up mostly a very smooth, sweet, malty assam. The coconut and vanilla emerge after a couple of sips, and add a delicious creaminess to an otherwise plain cup. The apple is a little more shy, but it does appear in flashes right at the end of the sip, and lingers just a little in the aftertaste. It’s not especially apple-y apple. It tastes more baked or caramelised; sweeter than I was expecting, and not as tart. A little like the apple in apple pie filling, perhaps. It’s a tasty cup, although I would have liked the flavouring to be a little stronger and more immediate. It feels like I have to search for them a little bit.

As for the fandom aspect of this blend, I’m not entirely sold. Sweet, fruity? Hmm. I’m struggling a little. It’s a pleasant cup, though, and a sample I’ll have no trouble finishing off!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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95

I was super excited to read this tea’s ingredients — earl grey bravo, blackberry, vanilla. At the time, I was looking for “creamy” or mild earl greys, but I stopped dead at the blackberry. I don’t even know if I like blackberries, but I was definitely lured in by its inclusion.

Bought myself the $4 sample tin in my big Happy Birthday to Me order back in February, since it runs slightly on the pricy side. The next size up was a 4oz bag, and did I want to drop $10 on that much tea, if I didn’t know that I might like it? Well, that’ll teach me to play it safe. I ADORED this tea. Super comforting, so creamy, and the blackberry is super sweet like a pastry — not tart, like most berries are (to me). I almost feel like this is a perfectly English tea, absolutely suitable for its namesake. I am really picky about Adagio’s flavored teas because they taste rather fake to me a lot, but this combination tastes so good that I can’t even tell if it tastes artificial, I’m just lost in how yummy this tea is.

Flavors: Blackberry, Creamy, Jam, Pastries, Vanilla

Preparation
5 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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87

My favorite of the Teas for Travelers sample! I’d never tried hojicha before, and I tend to prefer steamed greens to roasted greens, but the smokiness of the tea blends so well with the apricot and citrus. Just awesome! The rest of the sample set was dwarves (and Bilbo!) which are largely black teas, and while they’re pretty great, I think I should branch out into her elvish blends if this is an indication…

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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100

I don’t think of myself as having very refined tastes or anything, and I’m not much of a reviewer, but I had to leave a review here because this is honestly the best tea I’ve ever had. I really hope it becomes available again sometime. I’ve been trying to make my remaining bag last as long as possible!

Flavors: Floral

Preparation
3 min, 45 sec

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80

This one is at work with me again. I figured the best way to finish up the last 4 Sherlock teas would be to leave them on my desk, and so far I’ve been right. I’m really enjoying this one today – the cherry is really prominent, and there’s a wonderful sweet creaminess from the vanilla honeybush. The smoke is very muted, which is how I prefer it. I’m not sure why I waited so long to try this one – there was nothing to be scared of after all. Much like a meeting with The Woman herself, perhaps? Or maybe not. Either way, I’ll miss this one when it’s gone! It would be a potential repurchase, if only I had less tea. Ah, one day…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
teataku

“She’s a killer queen, Gunpowder, gelatine, Dynamite with a laser beam, Guaranteed to blow your mind… Anytime!”

Just what your review made me think of, lol.

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80

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/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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30

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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Shae

I’ve heard so many good things about this show. I really need to start watching it!

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Not bad, very mate. Not really tasting the clove.

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82

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!

Flavors: Smoke

Cavocorax

I’m crazy, right?
Doing this, then doing gishwhes in August. Looks, I don’t have free time, let’s just pile all these challenges on!!!! :P (But I ordered a green wig and a flower crown for the scavenger hunt!)

Sil

a what now? lol what did i agree to get myself in to?

Cavocorax

Hahaha. Well, those are optional! I figured that I’ll probably get some challenges for gishwhes where I’ll have to go outside and interact with people – maybe at the subway – or WHO KNOWS. So, if I’m going to be doing that, why not dress up a bit? I get shy and have trouble initiating conversations with ppl, but if I have bright green hair, they can notice me? :P

And so…. are you thinking about it? :D I’m in, but I haven’t started/joined a team at all yet. Just poking at people to see who might bite.

Sil

only thing i’m waiting for is to make sure work doensn’t have weird things scheduled going on at that time

Cavocorax

Sweet! :D #fingerscrossed

Indigobloom

aw I wish I had the guts to do Nano! Have fun with it :)

Cavocorax

Camp Nano seem more relaxed than full Nano! It’s not too late to sign up! :P

I like that we’re put into cabins and can cheer each other on! Also, being able to commit to 10k instead of 50k is such a RELIEF. (And literally the only reason I said, sure… why not. 10k is 333 words/daily and that doesn’t sound nearly as frightening…)

But thanks! We’ll see if it works out!

Indigobloom

hmmm. It does sound tempting. Maybe if I can come up with a good story idea

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67

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.

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85

ALL HAIL. ALL HAIL. ALL HAIL.

Flavors: Floral, Peach

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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55

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!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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