I’m not going to make a recommendation on this one, as it’s my own blend and that would be cheating. I merely want to set out a bit more detail in the creation process than Adagio’s fields have room for. My whole Chrono Trigger fandom came about in early 2014 when I tried Amy Zen’s Firefly fandom and found nearly all blends to be overpowering and almost undifferentiable chocolate-chai variants. I wanted to try a set of my own, based on characters I knew and loved, and embracing the range of leaves and subtler accents available to create blends which were truly differentiated without heavy flavorants.
Lucca came together remarkably cleanly and has become my absolute favorite of the set, despite having ingredients I normally don’t love, and notwithstanding the fact that I had no idea where to even begin when I set out. How does one even define Lucca? I wanted something maybe “sciencey” and a bit obscure. I toyed with notions of a chai, but Lavos and Magus were already headed in that direction and the whole point of the Chrono fandom was to not be a chai pit. So. I. Got. Creative. Pu ehr was just obscure and dense enough to be a candidate base, even though I’d recently tried Adagio’s then-new pu ehr blends and decided it didn’t blend well with anything strong enough to stand up to it. I’d only ever tried pu ehr poe, but the helpful store staff (hi, Karla) pointed me at dante, which was a bit smoother and less… fishy. I wanted to cut the pu ehr with something of quality, and ali shan jumped to my memory as a good, distinctive oolong favorite. I only realized later how much of a crime I was committing using it in a blend, but experiments to swap it out late in development all ended with a distinctly less satisfying cup. Lucca needed some odd accents, so I went raiding the store’s blending spice tins for things that were not sweet (which would have clashed) and not spicy (might have fit with the fire thing, but again, ixnay on the aichay) but were still ingredients I’d tasted before and could envision. I came up with cardamom (an instant fit), licorice (which I usually hate, but somehow had a weirdly good feeling about) and lavender (which was a total craps shoot, but just the sort of complexifying unknown mask I like to throw in). I completely cooked the ratios on my first go, with the lavender dominating everything. Inverting the order yielded the current blend, which I have never been able to deviate from. This one joins me pretty much every other weekend of indie game coding, challenged only by Frog and Magus in my overall satisfaction.
Edit: for a sweetener, try 1/4-1/2tsp per cup Seva Berry / VG Commerce Pine-Elixir (http://www.seva-berry.com/products_en.php#eliksir). The pine notes are a strangely good compliment to the cardamom and lavender.