203 Tasting Notes

100

Good ol’ Adric. The saddest thing about his departure, to me, isn’t so much that he was a totally awesome dude, but that he was young enough to have so much potential to have matured into an awesome grown-up and he never got the chance to. That’s the tragedy.

I might be a touch biased about Adric because one of my very dearest friends, as a fresh-faced youngster, was the dude who wrote Adric’s introductory serial, so I think it’s fair to say my soft spot for Adric stems at least in part from the fact that he always makes me think of lovely Andrew, who’s been such a supportive presence for me since we met. And what a talented fellow he is, too. Do check out the latest audio drama he’s done for Big Finish. It’s intense.

But I digress, as this isn’t meant to be a review of the amazing friends I’m blessed with knowing (though I could gush for ages because I AM BLESSED WITH SOME OF THE MOST AMAZING FRIENDS) so I suppose I should say something about Adric blend tea and why I love it so.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: Adric is a snotty little brat, but I still kind of love him. You might think the combination of flavours seems a tad off-putting, but in reality, the blend is redolent with fragrant summer fruit, like a bumper crop of peaches and rhubarb ripening in the garden. They’re definitely not quite ripe yet, though, as the flavour that hits you immediately on first sip can be best described simply as green. It’s not terribly grassy though, or particularly vegetal either; rather, it’s reminiscent of that green, slightly dry astringency of a peach that’s quite pale and still crunchy. A decided sweetness follows closely, however, and is enhanced by a little sugar. At times, the interplay of flavours seems almost as complex as Fermat’s last theorem: it is brisk, tart, fragrant, and thoroughly engaging. This is a tea that definitely seems a bit odd at first, but very quickly grows on you.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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75

Ok, I don’t know what it is I did differently this time (I think I might have underleafed slightly?) but this is the best cup of this tea that I’ve had. It’s a lighter tea, as befits a Darjeeling, but there’s a distinct raisiny flavour that comes through just before the end, when it goes a little leafy/earthy and it’s actually really nice. Bumping the rating accordingly. I’m glad I bought this one. I still don’t trust Darjeelings that don’t stipulate whether they’re first or second flush (it makes such a difference) but I’ll happily drink this one in the meantime.

And it ought to give me enough of a boost to push through day two of this wretched headache and finish this painting of the Ninth Doctor!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Raisins

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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100

My face hurts. I think the day’s stress has aggravated my TMJ. At least I don’t have to go anywhere or see anyone until Tuesday. Unless I run out of milk and have to dash to the supermarket, which I will. Let’s pray that I can get away with wearing a sweatshirt and won’t run into anyone I know.

I need resiliency tea. This’ll do nicely. It’s one of my absolute favourite teas in the entire world ever.

Nyssa is such a wonderful combination of restraint, strength of character, complexity, and sweetness. The leaves’ fragrance is unassuming at first, but a little attention reveals layers of earthiness, maltiness, a very very delicate sweetness, a little bit of fresh hay, and just a trace of something nearly reminiscent of fresh dates. A little sugar and milk elevates the caramel flavour, but it is never cloying, and does not overpower. The balance is such that each flavour – the earthy pu erh, the malty assam, the rich, sweet caramel – is allowed to articulate itself in all its dimensions, with quiet strength. I could drink this every day and never tire of it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Sami Kelsh

I love her so much!

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100

I wasn’t sure whether to put this note under this tea, or Irish Breakfast, as I was craving something with a bit of caffeine but not full-on, as my head hurts and I’m a bit sad, and also not totally plain, so I split half Sarah Jane and half Irish Breakfast in this cuppa.

And it’s good. It’s a more gentle spice than Sarah Jane on her own, which suits my mood perfectly, but it’s still lovely and cinnamon and ginger and rich and delightful.

Turns out my phone plan ran out of credit last night, and I didn’t realize until mid-morning. Which wouldn’t be a huge deal except that Gentleman had been texting from the airport before flying from Melbourne to Tokyo, and I missed getting to be with him in the airport (at least via text). I just thought there wasn’t free wifi and that’s why I hadn’t heard from him, and it turns out he’d been texting me all kinds of updates about how much he misses me and just thought I was having a lie-in. I miss him a lot. My heart hurts.

Tea helps. Stupid emotions. I think I aggravated my sinuses with that 15 minutes of sobbing, and now my voice is shot, so so much for recording a few podcasts tonight. Yippee! Bring on the tea!

carol who

Sarah Jane… my absolutely favorite companion!

Sami Kelsh

I cosplayed as Sarah Jane from Planet Of The Spiders last month. It was AWESOME. I was speaking on a panel about classic female companions next to Paul Cornell, so I felt I needed to channel some of that adventurous journalista energy.

carol who

OMG!!!!!!!!

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100

Guess what I’ve been doing today? If you guessed filling out job applications, writing cover letters, and emailing my CV, you’d be correct! Spot-on! Somebody put me out of my misery!

I also registered for next year’s Gallifrey One convention in LA. It sold out in just under 2 weeks last year; this time, it sold out in 75 minutes. Glad I decided to put off picking up groceries until after tickets went on sale. What a relief! That was a stressful experience, to say the least.

I’m still holding out hope that one of these years, I’ll be invited as a guest. What are the chances you might be invited as a guest if you’ve already bought a ticket? Maybe I could use the ticket for a plus-one and bring somebody who couldn’t get one. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself because unless you’re one of a handful of people who’ve written for Big Finish, nobody knows me because of Who yet. I intend to correct this.

Oh yeah, and I’m drinking Susan Foreman blend tea.

Susan, like the early seasons of Doctor Who is definitely worth getting to know. Opening the bag, I am met with the light and perfumed sweet-tart fragrance of bergamot and red berries. As befits a green tea, the flavour is delicate and balanced, without a trace of bitterness or astringency. Whereas raspberry black tea tends to have a bit of weight and that tannic undertone, there’s none of that here. The hint of vanilla softens the tartness of the raspberry and citrus, and it’s all just rather nuanced in a very agreeable way. An understated and very pleasant blend, delightful at any temperature.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Mambo by Adagio Teas
203 tasting notes

Man, I can’t believe I’m contemplating (employment permitting) a move down south. I’ve become really attached to Manchester, and the friends I’ve made here, and baking cakes for XS Malarkey, but I think I’d like Oxford too. Plus, it’s within easier (and cheaper) distance from London, which could be useful.

I just woke up craving Mambo today. I haven’t had it in over a month, and man, it just makes me feel good. It’s got enough character to keep me interested, but it’s really smooth and I’m getting lots of the sort of stone fruit notes and minerals today. Mmmm.

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100

I wish I was as cool as Ace McShane. She gets stuff done. I accidentally took a nap this afternoon when I fell asleep by mistake in the middle of a job application form. Blerg. That would never have happene to Ace McShane. She’s fierce.

Aaaaaand, BOOOOOOOOOOOOM! The scent of Ace blend is like an explosive blast of sweet, nutty caramel, with a trace of smoky green lurking in the background, and a surprisingly buttery, lingering finish. It’s a bit of a flavour bomb when brewed, too. in spite of this, though, it still never fails to taste like tea, accented by caramel, with rich hazelnut following at the end. I think it’s the gunpowder that mainly serves to keep the sweet flavours in the tea from veering into cloying territory and lend a fascinating complexity. Seriously, I’m fascinated by this tea: it’s dark and bright, rich and sweet. It’s fierce, and absolutely delicious.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec
carol who

I have watched DW forever and I had no idea that Ace’s last name was McShane!!! I’m glad that it has an explosive taste. That certainly describes her well! Yeah for nitro9! Fav quotes …It’s just… I don’t feel properly dressed without a couple of cans of nitro 9… Do you feel like arguing with a can of deodorant that registers nine on the Richter scale?

Sami Kelsh

Heck yeah! I don’t think her last name comes up that often. Maybe once? It definitely comes up more in the audios. Aww, I love Ace.

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78

I forgot I owned this one again.

I’m glad I remembered. There are serious high winds out there, and it’s cozy and has that nice leafiness. I’m having one of those days where I’m trying really hard not to nap and I should really be doing art and finishing job applications. Blech.

Oh hey guys, which Doctor Who character should I paint first?

carol who

Unless I have missed some of your paintings… how about River Song? or Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax? It’s the first day of Spring and we woke up to snow! I am soooo tired of winter!

Sami Kelsh

Cool! I basically need to paint all of the people from 2005 onwards because my focus has always been Classic (if that’s not, like, dead obvious) but MAN does Classic not sell. And I know that as an artist it’s probably really gauche for me to think in crass commercial terms, but loads more people care more about new stuff, which I kind of always left to other people, because Classic is kind of proportionally underrepresented. But dammit, a girl’s gotta eat, and so long as the working world doesn’t love me…

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100

Remember that job I interviewed for last week? Got it! Aww yeahhhhh. Alternate weekends at the IWM, here I come!

(Here’s hoping something with an actually sustainable number of hours actually pops up soon though, I can’t live on alternate weekends. I’m scarily poor.)

Tea, though. Tea is good. And while I’m not big on most white teas on their own, I do enjoy a good white tea with the right kind of stuff. Yay, white tea and stuff! First of all, they’re really not kidding when they say the TARDIS pouch is dimensionally transcendental – there’s definitely an extra ounce in there. Well played, Adagio! Secondly, once I’d opened the pouch, the first thing that hit me was a wave of clean and bright peppermint. On closer inspection, I found the fragrance to be underscored by the presence of subtle, soft blueberry. The taste is light and clean: there’s a sort of floral delicacy that sits behind the mint, and a quiet blueberry sweetness that follows. Because it’s so delicate, this is the kind of blend that even an unstoppable sweet tooth like me can enjoy with or without sugar, though I do find that a little sweetening teases out the blueberry flavour just a little bit more. It’s beautiful warm, but also an excellent candidate for drinking on ice. Clean and comforting, and just makes me feel all happy inside, like the familiar hum of the TARDIS console room itself, the hatstand by the door, the incomprehensible collection of buttons and lights and levers, and that bit that goes ‘vworp vworp’ and moves up and down to tell you you’re currently travelling through time and/or space. Tastes like home.

I am a big dork.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
carol who

Sami you do such a great job describing the tea that I feel as if I am there with you drinking the tea. I did finally get some of the DW teas from the Adagio sale, so I won’t harass you anymore about your huge varieties of DW. I haven’t tried any of them yet. I’m waiting for the perfect time when I can really sit and enjoy them. I don’t want to just throw them in a tumbler and go. :D Oh BTW, congratulations on the job!

K S

Congrats – hoping it turns into more hours and less poor!

Cavocorax

I love that the tardis teas have bonus tea!
Also congrats on the job! Fingers crossed that something else turns up, but maybe it’ll lead to something steadier?

Sami Kelsh

Thanks guys! :3

(Doctor Who tea is the best kind of tea)

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80

I made this to go with my early evening meal of strawberries (impulse clearance purchase at Tesco, and they are GORGEOUS) and rhubarb yoghurt (which I overbought because it was on multibuy special and I don’t mind at all because it’s my favourite, and turns out it’s Gentleman’s too – good Gosh, we’re nauseatingly cute) and it seemed fitting that my tea should be strawberry lemonade with such a meal.

This is also the last of my new Bluebird teas, so it’ll be a while before I get to try another Bluebird flavour for the first time.

And I have to say that this is probably my least favourite of the teas I’ve had from them. That’s not to say it isn’t good by any means, but just a bit less exciting, I suppose. There’s something in the flavour that almost reminds me of tart apples, and the more I think of it in that way and the less I look for full-on fresh strawberry flavour, the more I like it, actually. I’m bumping the rating up a bit before I post this because of that, come to think of it.

It’s got a bit of a jammyness and a tart finish that befits a tea with lemonade in the name; indeed, it’s tart enough that I feel the need to offset it with a bit of sugar, though that’s not unusual for me and my ravenous sweet tooth anyway. There’s definitely a presence of hibiscus, which is something I dig. I’m like 2/3 of the way through this cup of tea and I’ve decided I like it. Yep.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
yyz

Mmmm strawberries…I had the pleasure of living within walking distance of the strawberry fields the summer I lived outside of Dublin. They are still the best commercially produced strawberries I remember having.. It’s neat how teas change as you drink down the cup and cool. Sound like a nice meal.

Sami Kelsh

Oh man. There used to be a pick-your-own strawberry farm between my old house and my grandmother’s. I miss that. Beautiful, isn’t it? :)

yyz

The best :-)

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Bio

My Time Lord name is the Brewmaster. Currently working on People Of Who, an exhibition of portraits of the people who made Doctor Who happen. Professional dilettante. Literary enthusiast, frustrated sometime writer. Knitter of things.

Location

The Mancunian Wilderness

Website

http://samikelsh.com

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