Tea: Polyjuice Potion Fandom Blend on Adagio part of the Magic Potions fandom set
Cost: $4 for a sample tin or $8 for 3 oz
Ingredients: black tea, cinnamon bark, ginger root, rooibos tea, cardamom, dried coconut, lemon grass, cloves, orange peels, cocoa nibs, natural coconut flavor, natural chocolate flavor, natural vanilla flavor, natural cinnamon flavor
I’ve wanted a sampler of this fandom for so long, and recently got one while at their store in Chicago. I’m absolutely ecstatic to try them, and when I asked a friend which I should drink first, she said Polyjuice. So here it is, my first fandom blend review on this blog. For anyone who does not know, Polyjuice is a potion used in the second, fourth, and seventh books of the Harry Potter series.
Based on the ingredient list, this tea is obviously going to smell very spicy and warm, but I was really surprised by how complex the smell was. I think the cinnamon and ginger are the strongest smells, but I can also detect the citrus. I think the black tea and rooibos mix is a bit risky, but hopefully with the supporting tastes it will be good. The tea itself is very pretty, all the pieces and ingredients blend well together but have different enough colors that they stand out.
After steeping for five minutes, I was surprised to note that the liquid smelled very sweet, like snickerdoodles. The taste itself was incredibly complex as well. Considering in the books the taste changes based on the subject, I like that it’s a very intense spicy chai. The chocolate isn’t really noticeable, although I think it’s the reason there’s a sweet aftertaste. Same with the coconut, where I feel it was really drowned out by everything else. The cinnamon, ginger, and lemongrass were very strong though, and conquered the flavor.
This is definitely a tea I would suggest warm. It’s not a bad chai, and the blend is definitely interesting. At the same time, it is extremely complex and nuanced, so it’s not the type of tea you’d want to drink quickly without paying attention or before fully waking up, because you’d miss a lot of the nuances. Chai is not exactly what I’d imagine for polyjuice potion, but as a standalone tea blend I enjoy it a lot.
Tea: Root Beer Float from Davids Tea
Cost: $7.50 for 50 g (1.76 oz)
Ingredients: Cinnamon, black tea, white chocolate, sarsaparilla, natural flavoring
Note: This tea is available for a limited time according to the website, so the link may not work past a certain date.
The name of this tea immediately caught my attention, and I knew I had to try it. It’s part of David’s summer collection (technically their Carnival Collection) and is among some pretty strange flavors, so this should be interesting. I also plan to review cherry snow cone soon. The package I got is meant for iced tea, so I will review this both warm and iced.
So surprise surprise, the tea actually smells like root beer. It’s definitely a result of the sarsaparilla and white chocolate. It’s a bit spicier than root beer, probably due to a bit too much cinnamon, but overall the smell is more accurate than I anticipated. The tea itself is a lovely brown, although I wish the black tea was a bit larger, because these are definitely a broken grade (even though the grade is unlabeled).
I wasn’t expecting this tea to taste good warm, because it’s advertised as an iced tea for David’s summer line. Still, I was pleasantly surprised. While not my favorite, it wasn’t intolerable. I think the cinnamon salvaged it, and made it alright warm. If I were going to make it warm again, however, I’d definitely blend it with another tea like a chai. Iced, it was actually really good. I think I would have been happier with the taste if it were slightly sweeter. I feel like it’s a bit too spicy for root beer. Definitely add sugar with this tea, if you like sweetness or want it to taste accurate. There was a slightly bitter aftertaste, but it was fairly mild.
I think this tea really requires an open mind to try. Tea purists will probably hate it, but it was an interesting experience. It needs sweetener, and probably some sparkling water. This is a tea I would not suggest to give as gifts or buy large quantities of, but it’s worth a try if you’re interested in odd teas.
This review is a bit different than usual. It is a tea chocolate bar, from Adagio’s new line, only available at their physical locations in Chicago. Because they are not let available online, I cannot link to the product. If they appear in the online store, I’ll add the link later.
Product: Earl Grey Moonlight chocolate bar from Adagio Tea
Cost: $6.50 for one chocolate bar (2.3 oz)
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, milk, whole milk powder, soy lecithin, vanilla) Earl Grey moonlight tea (black tea, natural vanilla flavor, natural earl grey flavor, natural orange flavor, natural creme flavor, blue cornflowers) Hiwa Kai Hawaiian black sea salt.
I love the idea of chocolate that is flavored with tea, so when I saw these bars I knew I had to try one. Earl Grey is one of my favorites, so I decided to pick this one out of the four flavor options available. According to the employee, these chocolate bars are only available in store to test how well they’re received before they go online.
This chocolate bar is really interesting. Unlike other tea flavored chocolate, you can actually see the tea leaves inside the bar. The bergamot stands out against the brown, and looks pretty nice. The smell of chocolate drowns out the Earl Grey unless you smell closer to the leaves, but the tea smells like Adagio’s standard Earl Grey Moonlight (obviously) and is soft and sweet.
The chocolate itself is less sweet than I expected, and the tea leaves crumble off the top easily. It’s crunchy. While I can’t really taste the black tea all that well, there’s a very light bergamot aftertaste which I really like. I think this would be really good melted over a tea infused cupcake, and if I had more of it I might try that. I think the tea taste is more prominent with smaller bites, but it is a bit weaker than I’d like.
I really like this chocolate, but at the same time I don’t know how well it will go over in the stores. Not only are they really expensive, but the pure tea topping may make people think twice about buying it. It tastes really good, but most people I’ve talked to seem surprised by the idea of eating dry tea or using it as a topping for foods. I definitely recommend this for tea lovers, if you can get to the physical location.
Tea: Mango Iced Pouch from Adagio
Cost: $2 for 2 iced pouches or $6 for 6 pouches
Ingredients: black tea, mango pieces, natural mango flavor and marigold flowers (note: not present on the iced pouch specific page, so I’m using the ingredient list for Adagio’s standard Black Mango open leaf tea and assuming they’re the same)
This tea was another sample from my trip to Adagio’s Chicago location, this time in a new form. It’s an iced pouch, which means you steep it overnight in cold water in a pitcher. I’ve never made iced tea overnight, because I’m too impatient usually, although I’ve had tea from other people that I steeped overnight. This tea intrigues me enough to wait.
Opening the package, the tea bag is actually pretty cool. It’s about twice the size as a normal bag, and half full of black tea. There’s fewer mango pieces than I’d have expected, however, and the smell is very weak. It’s more floral than fruity, and the black tea isn’t really present at all. Additionally, the bag gives off a plastic odor that taints the tea’s smell.
After a night of steeping (I put the bag in around 10 at night and fetched the bag around noon) I went to check on the tea again. It smells very citrusy, and sweet. The liquid is a pale yellow-orange, as visible in the image above (note: the pitcher was pink and the sides had condensation on them, so the color is slightly distorted in the image). The tea itself is very mild. It’s not too sweet, and the black tea is balanced out nicely by the mango.
I was surprised by how much I liked this tea. It should have probably been left steeping a bit longer (I may just leave the bag in the pitcher until it’s gone) and it could use some sweetener, but it’s good. If you like sweet iced teas definitely add sugar, but if you want an iced tea that’s not too astringent yet not too sweet, this is a good option.
Tea: Orange Blossom from David’s Tea
Price: $6.50 for 50 g (1.76 oz)
Ingredients: Rooibos, currants, orange peel, orange blossoms, vanilla pieces, marigold blossoms, safflower petals, artificial flavouring
One of many teas from Davids that I purchased this weekend while at their store. This tea caught my eye because I had never noticed the flavor before, so I figured I would try a bit of it. I don’t normally go for rooibos, but the ingredient blend sounds like it should be pretty good, so we’ll see how this goes. I’ll try this blend both hot and iced because it’s a fruity tea.
My first thought when I smelled this tea was orange creamsicle. The smell is so sweet it borders on artificial smelling (most likely due to the artificial flavor). It’s definitely strong, and is just a happy summery smell. I think it would probably make a great candle smell actually. The tea itself is nice looking. The rooibos matches well with the orange blossoms and makes for an overall aesthetically pleasing tea.
This tea brews a faint orange, obviously. It does allow some powder through, and the strainer I used is one of my better ones, so that’s slightly irritating but not horrible. After trying the tea both hot and iced, it’s definitely better iced. While warm, it tastes heavy and would definitely require sweetener if I brewed this again. Cold, while it could also use some sweetener, is a much lighter and more natural taste. The marigold and safflower are prominent, which I like, but I wish there was a stronger orange taste actually. The smell of the dried tea was very deceiving and I expected it to be much sweeter and fruitier, when it’s actually very bland. With artificial flavoring involved, I expected this tea to taste more vibrant and less like orange jello.
Overall, I think this tea is not a bad iced tea but the smell is definitely better than the taste. I would not recommend it warm, and recommend that you sweeten it before brewing. I will probably experiment cold brewing this tea in orange juice or using a dash of it in my iced teas, but otherwise, I probably won’t drink it very often.
Tea: Golden Monkey from Adagio
Cost: $6 for a sample or $17 for 2 oz
Ingredients: black tea
This weekend I went to a physical location of Adagio for the first time, and got a free sample of this tea when I bought another sampler set (which I plan to review later). I’ve had Golden Monkey from a few other locations before, the most notable in my memory being Teavana, but wasn’t a fan compared to other black teas, so I’m interested to see how this goes.
This teas smells very nutty and dry. It’s slightly woody, and after a few smells I began to detect sweetness as well that was more subtle. This smell reminds me of a tea flavored mochi (Japanese rice cake) in a few ways, although it’s not identical of course. The leaves are a deep brown, and very thin and stringy. Some of the leaves reach a coppery-gold color,
While the smell is fainter than it is dry, the taste is very smooth and defined. There’s a faint nuttiness, and it’s a sweeter tea, with slight fruitiness. There’s no bitterness, even though I steeped it on the higher edge of the recommended time (3-5 minutes). The tea is almost velvety. The aftertaste is a bit too earthy, but it’s tolerable, and the liquid is a lovely copper color, and very bright.
Overall, I suggest this tea. It’s one of the better golden monkeys I’ve tasted, and a strong black tea. I would probably buy this again if I were looking for a morning tea, but don’t plan to drink it late at night any time soon. It would probably be good with cream, and maybe honey or sugar, if you enjoy either.
Tea: Jasmine Bi Luo Chun from TeaVivre
Price: $12.90 for 100 g (3.5 oz)
Ingredients: Bi Lo Chun green tea, Jasmine
I decided to brew this tea using a new Gaiwan-esque teapot I bought recently. It is similar to the shape and size of a Gaiwan, but has a spout for easier pouring. So, I used the steeping information for a Gaiwan set, which may affect the review slightly. I may also make another cup later the western way to check that it didn’t affect the taste or review too much. I’ll also note the way each steep tastes.
Smelling this tea, it’s undeniably floral. There’s a faint sweet bi luo chun edge to it, but the jasmine is very prominent and definitely the main focus here. It’s also very light, but not to the point that I have to work to smell it. The leaves are curled fairly tightly, and have a nice white-yellow tip. They also expanded beautifully, which leads us into our next portion: the steeped tea.
The jasmine is a bit overbearing, consuming the green tea’s taste. It’s very fragrant and flowery, and while strong, does taste good. Although slightly dry in my mouth, there is a nice aftertaste. In later steeps, the Jasmine mellowed out, and I was able to taste more of the Bi Lo Chun. It was also slightly sweeter and more vegetal. The color was standard for a jasmine tea.
Overall, I’d say that this is a standard jasmine tea that I’m neither disappointed nor excited for. I think for the price it isn’t bad, and it might be good blended with other teas such as lavender or something else floral. This tea isn’t very sweet, so if I were going to ice it, I would probably add a hint of sugar, but warm it doesn’t need anything added.
Tea: Mission Hill DJ 2 FTGFOP1 from Palais Des Thes
Cost: $35 for 3.5 oz (I bought this tea in store for $10 an oz minimum of 2 oz)
Ingredients: First flush Spring 2014 Darjeeling tea from Mission Hill estate
Letters mean: Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (note: letters are on my package from the store but not the website)
I recently visited New York, and while I was there had the opportunity to buy a lot of new teas to review and taste. I came across this shop while heading into Soho and immediately their darjeelings caught my attention. The shop attendant suggested a few for me to smell, and this was my favorite. I’m really excited to try this.
This tea smells extremely nutty and woody. The smell is light, and hovers slightly while not being too overbearing. I like that it’s present, but not too strong. This is a very earthy tea, both in appearance and smell. The leaves are a mix of very dark and very light greens, with a few hints of brown and yellow.
The liquid is a soft pinkish yellow, slightly lighter than the darjeelings I normally drink. The website says it should be orange, so it could just be I need to steep it a bit longer, though I followed the steeping time on the bag. The smell is very faint, and slightly nutty, like almonds. The first sip is weak, and slightly more bitter than I would like, but the second sip was much more flavorful. It was slightly fruity, with a mildly bitter and slightly flowery aftertaste.
I definitely think if you’re willing to splurge, this is a good tea, and not a horrible price for darjeeling. Sadly I’m allergic to the other tea my sister and I got from this store (strawberries) so I won’t review that one, but I think I might check out what other teas are available. This probably isn’t the tea to take with milk, though honey would probably compliment it well. Overall, pretty good.
Tea: Tuo Cha + Grape Seed from Purple Cane teas
Cost: $7.39 (RM23.90) for 30 tea bags
Ingredients: Tea (assumed pu’erh based on shape, but does not specify), Grape Seed
I got this tea as a free sample from a local tea shop last time I visited. I’m really curious to try tea blended with grape seed, which is why I’m reviewing it fairly quickly after getting it, even though I had others I was planning on reviewing. Tuo Cha is the term for a type of compressed tea cakes (more information here or here) These cakes are usually made of pu’erh tea, so I’m assuming that this tea is a pu’erh, although the website and packaging do not specify.
Because of the name, I assumed this tea would be in a cake form, although now I’m reconsidering that. I think, although I’m not sure, that this tea is only called tuo cha because it uses tea that was compressed into that shape at one point, before it was mixed with the grape leaves. This would make sense, because the shape of the bag and transport from the company’s location in Malaysia both make a cake itself impractical, and the company doesn’t offer this blend in cake form. It smells slightly papery, and very sweet. I can definitely detect more grape seed than pu’erh, though there is a bit of the tea’s characteristic fishiness. I’d rather it be earthy, but with a pu’erh, I know that it can go either way.
To those who don’t know, when brewing pu’erh one normally discards the first few steeps, to rinse the tea before steeping the actual cup. I did this twice, before drinking the third steeping. The liquid is a pale chocolate brown, with a slight purple hue. The tea was interesting. The beginning of the sip, the grape seeds were strongly prominent, and dominated the taste. However, the tea also left a strong, slightly fishy aftertaste. The liquid itself was slightly weak and dull, while the aftertaste was bitter.
Overall, I think this tea was an experience. I wouldn’t drink it again, but at the same time I’m glad I tried it, because it was something new. I did like the color, but the aftertaste left me cringing too much for the original taste to be worth it. I don’t suggest this tea, and honestly probably won’t finish the whole cup of it. I have one more similar tea to try, that one with Lotus seeds by the same company, so hopefully that tasting goes a bit better.
Tea: Raspberry Nectar from Tea Forte
Cost: $7.95 for 6 infusers
Ingredients: hibiscus, rosehip, apple pieces, blackberry leaves, raspberries, orange peels, natural flavoring (berry), citric acid
I got this little bagged tea sample from my grandma, and while reorganizing my tea cabinet decided to try it. I’m not very familiar with tea forte, because they seem to be better for bagged teas and sachets, but I’ve enjoyed teas from there in the past, so I’m interested in trying this tisane.
I love the packaging, it’s adorable. The sachet is also really sturdy which I like. The tea itself smells a bit like plastic, and I can only really detect hibiscus and rose hips. Overall, I’m not really happy with the smell. I can see the other ingredients though, especially the apple bits which stand out in the bag. The other herbs are slightly powdery, though not terrible for a bagged tea. My only real complaint here is that I can smell the bag more than I can smell the tea.
Although this tea is labeled as a raspberry tisane, it’s almost pure hibiscus. It’s not particularly sweet, and could definitely use some sugar. The orange and blackberry are almost nonexistent, though the natural flavoring (which I assume is raspberry based on the tea name) does help make it slightly more fruity. This tisane would probably be very good iced, because it’s so fruity, but if I do try it iced, I’ll be sure to sweeten it. The flavor isn’t bad, it’s just very one dimensional. The color is bright red, and reminds me of a cherry tea I used to own. It’s fairly pretty.
This tisane fell flat. The smell was very artificial, and the taste was average. It’s not bad, it’s just not good either. If you’re looking for a bagged tisane, this might be good to add to a pitcher of sun tea, but for the price (over a dollar a sachet) I don’t think it’s worth it.