Custom-Adagio Teas, Cara McGee

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Recent Tasting Notes

89

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

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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84

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

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 20 OZ / 600 ML
looseTman

KittyLovesTea, No apology is needed. It’s that time of year for respiratory viruses for many of us, myself included. Glad to hear your feeling better!

mrmopar

Agreed with looseTman, health and time for your self is important. Hope you are over the illness.

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50

Not sure about this one. I get a strong “soapy” taste to it. I think there is just too much going on.

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86

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.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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90

I felt like I needed a Mrs Hudson last night, but this tea was the closest I could get. Strong, comforting, sensitive. I used 1 tsp of leaf and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

This tea is straight-talking. The Assam is the main component, and it’s quite robust, with a strong edge of malty sweetness. I can imagine it being a little rough around the edges without milk, but fortunately I pre-tamed mine. The second flavour that emerges is almond. It’s not strong, by any means, but it contributes the delicious flavour of cookies, and it works perfectly with the assam base. It’s a simple tea, but a delicious one, and I can see myself returning to it fairly frequently.

As a fandom blend, I think it characterises Mrs Hudson pretty well. Warm cookies and comfort blankets, reliable and straightforward. Strong, yet sensitive. The exotic floral of the osmanthus even captures the slight hint of the unusual in her background, although I didn’t find that I could really pick it out. Still, a minor complaint. I love Mrs Hudson – character and tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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Cooking TTB

This is definitely an Adagio Earl Grey blend. A pretty tasty one at that. Not sure I’d need to have more. I don’t taste the blueberry in it. This would be a good breakfast blend. It’s got that bold wake up sort of flavor. Just have to sip it down before it cools. Adagio blends tend to get bitter then.

Flavors: Earl Grey

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90

Another weekend Sherlock blend! I said in my review of Sherlock how I love the TV series these teas are inspired by. I’m not usually an Adagio fan (the quality mostly just isn’t there, imo), but the fandom aspect makes these teas a little special. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk.

To taste, this is mostly a straight-up, bold Irish breakfast. It’s malty and substantial, and it would actually make a pretty good morning tea. The flavouring arrives mostly in the mid-sip, where there’s a decent kick of warming, spicy cinnamon that helps to give this tea an edge it wouldn’t otherwise have had. The green tea is very faint, although it’s identifiable at the end of the sip where it adds a slightly dank, vegetal tinge. There’s the tiniest sniff of bergamot, and then it’s done. Time for another sip!

This is a very easy-drinking tea, and an interesting combination of flavours. I think it encapsulates the spirit of Watson’s character pretty well. Straightforward and reliable, with a hint of the exotic and a little tradition-breaking. Definitely a sample I’ll enjoy drinking, and a tea memory I’ll cherish.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
KittyLovesTea

I missed out on these samples in tins the first time around but Adagio brought them back towards Christmas time. Luckily for me my husband missed the bill for them :D I agree with you completely on the quality (or lack of) with Adagio teas but the idea of fandom blends is so fun. The tv show was great!

Nattie

Cara’s fandom blends are what got me into tea (: I love this one.

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90

I love Sherlock. By which I mean the BBC series, although I’m also rather partial to the original books. Anyway, I had to try these teas when I saw them, and this was my first pick from the sampler! It seemed like the obvious choice.

I’m not generally partial to lapsang blends, but I’m open to being proved wrong. How will I ever know if my taste for it changes if I don’t try every so often? I gave 1 tsp of leaf three minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The dry leaf smells quite smoky; it’s like opening the tin releases a little puff of it. Once in the water, it seems less pungent.

Upon taking a sip, it’s immediately obvious that this IS a smoky tea. BUT…it’s somehow a soft smoke, and it’s actually quite palatable. I think the smoky blends I’ve tried previously have mostly been rather acrid and bitter, but this one’s not like that at all. It’s like the smoke at a barbecue, almost. I think the assam helps to tone down the LS a little, and the oriental spice adds a little bit of background flavour that distracts from some of the initial smokiness. The milk probably helps a bit, too. I’m not sure I could drink it without.

Anyway, this blends seems like a fairly fitting tribute to Sherlock to me. It’s a dark and a little mysterious with its background of almost hidden spice (shrouded in smoke, perhaps?) It tastes like I imagine Sherlock’s coat might smell. Not that I imagine that often, of course. Honestly.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Tealizzy

I didn’t like smoky teas at all until I tried some Keemun that was slightly smoky. I recently ordered a blend from Tippy’s that has a little lapsang in it. I thought it was time to see if I could palate it! You are right that tastes change and we shouldn’t necessrily write off things.

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100

I have tried this both as a cold brew ice tea and as a hot tea. Both ways were incredibly delicious and with a bit of sugar tasted exactly like those haribo cherry coke gummies.

Flavors: Almond, Cherry

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Watson’s mustache creeped me out a little, as mustaches sometimes do. Luckily this tea is no reflection of strange facial hair and is actually quite yummy. It’s like a gingerbread chai with some hazelnut mingling in there. Some sips are more chai like and others are more gingerbread like. The hazelnut usually comes out towards the end of the sip. I get more gingerbread as it cools with clove on the end. I bet this would be good with some sugar, but right now I’m enjoying it without.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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42

Mainly cinnamon. Kinda doughy too. Not really my kind of tea, to be honest. Too much cinnamon. :S
Thanks for the sample, Albertocanfly! Would write a better review, but not feeling so great atm. :(

Flavors: Cinnamon

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90

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80

Teeny Tiny TTB Round 2

And now for the other brother! (The real Hot One, lol) This tea has the same small, broken black leaves, but there are yellow flower petals and also pieces of cinnamon bark mixed in. Dry scent is sweet and dessert-y with cinnamon – like a snickerdoodle.

Mm, the steeped tea smells like a buttery pastry with cinnamon. It’s reminding me of a cinnamon roll, om nom nom. Mm, the flavor is quite nice too. The cinnamon is present but it’s not overwhelming, and the hazelnut flavor is so delicious and creamy and decadent. I can also taste some clove, but it doesn’t completely take over like it does in the Kili blend. I wish I could taste the orange or apple, but it’s still mighty tasty without those.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Creamy, Hazelnut, Pastries, Smooth

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Fjellrev

Yummeh.

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65

Teeny Tiny TTB Round 2

I’m actually quite pleased to see this (along with Fili) in the box, since there are a lot of fandom samplers on Adagio that I’m interested in, but not quite interested enough to buy. I do have to say, I find Fili to be far more attractive than Kili, and I don’t even normally go for blondes. So Fili is totally “The Hot One” imo. :P Anyway, this tea. The black leaves are in very small pieces, and there are tiny pieces of white stuff mixed in (I’m assuming ginger root). It smells chai-like.

I can definitely smell strong clove and ginger in the steeped tea. Yeah, this one is not for me. It’s mildly spiced, but in a way that’s almost savory because of the ginger. This is basically clove and ginger tea. :P Noop.

Flavors: Clove, Ginger

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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25

Not sure how old my sample is, but I really didn’t get a lot of vanilla or coconut from this tea…just a little bit of nondescript fruity flavor and a lot of bitter, astringent black base. I only steeped it for 3 minutes and I wasn’t expecting it to go bitter so fast! :( Oh, well…one more sip-down as I work my way through the pile of samples I’m trying to polish off this week!

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown! 987. Thanks Sil!

My first impression of this tea was that it was simply a blend, without flavourings. Which somewhat suits Donna, although I feel like there should be a bit of spice along with it. Anyhow, in the aftertaste, I’m getting a hint of something… maybe orange, maybe caramel… no, maybe cinnamon? It’s pretty weak, so difficult to pinpoint. I’ll go with caramel-cinnamon. Hahaha – wow! I’m impressed with myself. I picked out all three flavours! :D Because based on a previous tea incorporating Irish Breakfast, I seem to associate a caramel flavour with it (I kind of want to try Adagio’s Irish Breakfast now…) Anyhow, I don’t know if this tea is weak due to age/storage or whether it’s typically like that, but it’s a good flavour combo, I just wish it was stronger. (Checking out others’ notes, it seems like it has probably lost some flavour, so I’ll refrain from a numerical rating).

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec

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53

Sipdown! 988. Another from Sil, of course!

I accidentally saw the “tea type” when bringing up the review screen, so I know that this is a chai blend, but thankfully I tried it prior, and had already established that to me, it tasted like a bit of a spicy tea (very mild though), with some orange essence, and possibly some sort of “herbal” ingredient (although I couldn’t narrow that down any further). Looks like I was more or less correct (aha, raspberry leaves – that might account for “herbal”), but I can’t say I taste the vanilla, nor am I overly fond of this tea. It tastes like a very weak chai… as in, if you added even a splash of milk, the chai-ness would disappear. I like my chais strong and flavourful, so this doesn’t work for me. I do agree that a chai is fitting to Amy’s personality, but this is too weak (likely diluted by the addition of two non-chai teas to the blend).

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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78

Sipdown! 989. Another Dr. Who tea from Sil, so thanks! Today is ‘companion’ day, as I have three of those to drink.

My trainer cancelled our session this morning, and as I was starting to feel a bit under the weather last night (topped off by a very bad case of the angries), I ended up sleeping away most of the day today. Oops. On the plus side, I think I feel better, but I also think there’s still a sickness lurking. Sigh. Anyhow, I figured that drinking tea can only be a good thing (though I may need to get into some non-caffeinated teas a bit more later tonight), and I figured a few sipdowns would make me happy.

So! Onto this tea. Delicious sweet, raisiny aroma – reminds me of when you make sticky buns with raisins, and the sticky-caramelly raisins on the edge get a bit burnt to the pan, and you eat them anyways even though there’s a bit more burniness than you’d like. Yep. That’s exactly how it smells (no burniness; that only comes in the flavour with the raisins, not the aroma). Flavourwise, it’s like the raisins that do not get burnt, but just browned and caramelly and very YUM. I didn’t mention it, but I’m playing “guess the flavours!” again, if that wasn’t obvious. I find it very entertaining to do this with flavoured teas when I have no idea what the ingredients are. Anyhow. Looking at the ingredients (sesame, rooibos caramel), it looks like I was about right. I believe I’ve had Adagio’s Sesame before, and it was not good at all, but in a mix, I can see how it would provide those burny notes – I assume the assam is responsible for raisin, and the rooibos caramel, duh, the caramel. I actually forgot that there was rooibos in here, so it’s worth noting that it doesn’t really have much impact aside from the caramel, which is perfect IMO.

Overall, a pretty decent tea, but probably not quite decadent enough for me to want to grab any. I’d happily drink it again if the opportunity arose, though.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Cameron B.

It’s a shame that their sesame tea isn’t good, it sounds like such an interesting flavor.

carol who

Hurray for Martha Jones! Love this tea!

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71

The fourth and final Dr. Who-themed tea for tonight (my bladder just can’t take any more). The aroma is fairly chocolatey, which is quite present in the flavour as well. I can also taste the distinct flavour of rooibos, though it’s not the objectionable medicinal flavour, just that characteristic woody/herbal-ness, which is bearable. This tea actually tastes much like a chocolate rooibos I’ve had previously… I’m thinking the one from the Amoda box, but I could be wrong (I could probably confirm that if I was less lazy, because I know I still have that one around). It has a bit more body to it though (probably the black). What’s odd is that the chocolate comes through as almost bitter – I’m probably influenced by noticing the documented flavours before pulling up the review screen, but it’s certainly not the milk chocolate flavour that most teas seem to aim for. It’s not unpleasant, though.

Upon looking up the tea ingredients – I think almond might account for that flavour that’s coming off as bitterness to me, and there’s surprisingly not much chocolate in here given the number of chocolate-related ingredients. Ah well. Not overly enamoured by this blend, but it’s not bad. I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy it more sans rooibos. Thanks Sil!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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75

Another delicious yum-smelling tea, a bit like caramel and vanilla. That’s kind of what I’m tasting too – kind of a caramel vanilla black. I was expecting a bit of fruitiness from the… fruit chunks (apple?) but am not really detecting anything. I see that this is supposed to be coconut-vanilla-apple (which sounds fabulous!), so I’m wondering if spending time in a baggie zapped a bit of the flavour. Possible, though it’s still good. Nine has won out for me, when comparing these three blends though (which is funny, since I even steeped it incorrectly!) Thanks for sharing another one Sil!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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67

Another thanks to Sil for a sample! And again, I get to play the “what’s in this tea?” guessing game! This one is a lot less aromatic than “Nine”, but there’s still a little something peeking out that’s not quite straight tea. I’m tempted to say caramel, or perhaps even chestnut, again, but that’s not too likely. Other than that, though, it just tastes like black tea. A little mouth-drying (so a bit astringent), but not too bad, and that’s probably a result of again, the extra 45 seconds it got due to inattention (I try to be very strict with blacks).

Seeing that this is supposed to be a chocolate banana tea…. comes as a surprise. Maybe that caramelly flavour is actually chocolate. Or banana. It’s impossible to tell, really, because it doesn’t taste overly like either. I see that Sil also found it relatively flavourless, so maybe this was just a poorly flavoured or old batch. Or, maybe Adagio isn’t great at banana or chocolate flavouring. Either way, I’d happily try this out again, since as a plain black tea it’s certainly not objectionable, but not by means of purchasing it myself (whereas some of the other blends…. yes.)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec

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76

Sipdown! 982. Thank you Sil! (I think there were a few teas accidentally missed in the count previously. And I need to add a Verdant and Butiki order. Plus the incoming 52teas’ Christmas sets. Crap crap crap.)

I took the time to look up all the teas I was steeping to check if any of them needed different parameters…. and then proceeded to steep the only one with green, with boiling water. Sigh. It doesn’t seem to be ruined though, but there is some bitterness and astringency, which I would definitely chalk up to user error. Anyhow! This is one of a few deliciously aromatic mugs I brewed up tonight, from the Doctor Who custom blends by Cara McGee. I genuinely have no idea what any of them are, so I get to play a little guessing game!! This one smells caramelly, with a hint of cinnamon or spice, but JUST a hint. The flavour is more or less the same, being thick and somewhat sweet/caramelly, fairly malty, a little bit spicy, and kind of astringent, which definitely impacts my tasting of the base teas. I assume, though, it’s Adagio’s standard black (and some sort of rolled green; I’d maybe guess gunpowder but I’m not detecting smoke). Despite the overly hot water, and 45 seconds longer infusion time than I intended, this is pretty good. I’d guess it’s a caramel spice tea (emphasis on caramel, not spice), but it appears to be chestnut and irish breakfast (with gunpowder?) Quite an interesting combination, but it does actually work. The chestnut must account for the sweetness, and the spice is perhaps an artefact of sample contamination or my imagination (I do have a Laoshan Chai a couple teas down the line).

Anyhow, I’m pretty impressed with this blend, and it makes me quite curious to try Adagio’s chestnut tea, if they have one available, because that caramelliness is gooooood. Thanks again Sil!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec

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Thank you Cavocorax for sending me more of this tea. I must say, as much as I am enjoying this tea, I do miss the sweet potato that used to be in this blend. The use of pumpkin spice instead is making for a tea that is not as rich in taste. It is sill nice though.

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