Tea: Chai Town from Adagio’s Chicago Series
Cost: $9 for a 4 oz tin
Ingredients: black tea, cardamom, cloves, ginger, red peppercorn, cinnamon bark, cornflowers, cinnamon flavor
I reviewed another tea from this series awhile back, and meant to review this one but never did. It’s been sitting on my shelf as a gorgeous tin for awhile now, and I haven’t had it in awhile because chais aren’t really my thing in the summer. But with fall approaching, and piles of homework already looming in my foreseeable future, chai tea is going to become a necessity. So, I figured I would review it in advance, that way it’s already there when chai season arrives.
I love a tea where you can see all the components in it. All the bits and pieces are visible in this chai, and it’s great. The colors are nice too, and overall this tea looks like your standard chai. The smell is similar to a potpourri, and the cinnamon and cardamom reign dominant. The cornflowers aren’t really present in the smell, and I suspect they’re more there for looks because the blue is pretty in the blend. I wish the black tea was a slightly larger leaf and less broken, but given the strength of the additives, hopefully it won’t matter.
The smell coming from the steeped tea is insanely strong. The ginger and cloves are most prominent, and the whole smell is very spicy. The color is nothing special, just a very deep brown. So when I first took a sip, I expected it to be insanely strong just based off the smell, but it wasn’t. The tea was soft. While the taste is intricate, the flavors fit each other and are nicely balanced. I’d almost like it a bit stronger, and if I were mixing it with milk I would have steeped it much longer, but it’s still a full flavor and fairly good. The tea itself is harder to taste because the spices are so strong, but with a chai it’s excusable. Overall not bad.
For the price, I think this tea is worth trying. Four ounces may be a lot to get before trying the tea in a smaller quantity, but even if you don’t like it, there will be someone who will who you can give the tea to. At a bit more than $2 an oz, it’s worth a shot. This may not be my favorite chai, but it’s a good balanced one. I think it’s a bit too strong to drink every day, but every once in awhile it’s a good change. This tea would go well with milk, but I think sugar or honey would detract from the spices. A bit of vanilla wouldn’t go amiss, though, if the tea were steeped in milk over a stove.
Tea: Rooibush Cream-Caramel from Tea Gschwendner
Price: $12.50 for 25 tea bags
Ingredients: Rooibos tea, natural and artificial flavor
Due to travel, once again, I’m reviewing another bagged tea. This one is also from Tea Gschwendner (gasp two from the same company in a row), and is a rooibos (although they call it rooibush on the packaging). The photograph was taken immediately after putting the bag inside the water, which is why the characteristic red is not present yet. I’m just happy I managed to get tea during this trip, even though it was usually not the type of tea I could review. Granted, the only reason I did was because I brought my own, but that’s beside the point.
Starting off with the smell again, this reminded me of caramel covered dessert popcorn, oddly enough. It had a slight papery smell, from the bag, but that was acceptable. It was very sweet, and the rooibos was mild and light. There were also some grape notes, which I thought were a bit odd, but intriguing. The leaves were characteristic of a rooibos, and there was nothing else to note about their appearance.
Again, the color was characteristic, and there’s nothing special to note about it. The taste is heavily vanilla. It was a bit too flat, although there was a nice amount of sweetness. I enjoyed the lightness of it. However, there was far more cream than caramel, and other than the smell, the caramel was almost nonexistent. This tea was definitely a cream tea, with an underlying rooibos.
I recommend this, if you’re looking for a bagged rooibos tea, but there are certainly better rooibos teas out there. It’s a bit flat, and could use more caramel, but those don’t necessarily make it a bad tea. I will note that this tea has artificial flavors, and I think I would have liked it more if it did not, because there was a bit of fake-ness in the taste that I think led to its flatness. Overall, it’s just merely okay.
Remember: Behind every cup of tea, there is a person.
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Tea: Darjeeling Pussimbing from TeaGshwendner
Cost: $12.50 for 25 bags
Ingredients: Darjeeling tea
I absolutely adore darjeeling, it’s one of my favorite teas. So, when I was in Chicago and able to pick up some sample tea bags from the TeaGshwendner store (my first time inside after many times I meant to go inside and didn’t have a chance to), I had to get Darjeeling. I’m traveling again, this time to California, so I’m reviewing bagged teas again for a bit.
Sweet, nutty, light, fruity, greener than other darjeelings i’ve tried in the past
It’s very fruity, but the smell is a richer fruit smell, and also fairly nutty. I’d say it’s muscatel, like many darjeelings, or like dates, but not quite enough. There’s also a sweet edge to it. The overall smell is very light as well. The tea itself, visible through the bag, is very green colored, more than I expected for a darjeeling. There are black pieces as well, but not nearly as many as I thought there should be.
This tea tastes slightly flat, but it’s an edge characteristic to bagged teas from what I’ve noticed. It’s still slightly nutty, though far less fruity. The overall flavor is a tad weak, though that could just be due to the very short recommended steeping time. It’s not too bitter, but it’s also not sweet, it’s almost a bit bland compared to other darjeelings I’ve had. The liquid is a soft yellow, and neither heavy not light. I do like how smooth it is.
Overall, it’s an okay bagged tea but it isn’t spectacular. I don’t think it’s worth the price, even for a darjeeling. Unlike other darjeelings I have tried, I think a bit of sweetener wouldn’t go amiss, but not too much. This tea is just neither spectacular nor awful, and while I’ll happily drink it, it’s not anything I’d buy more of without looking at other options first.
Tea: Guava Cadabra from David’s Tea
Cost: $8.50 for 50 g (1.76 oz)
Ingredients: Mango, apple, hibiscus blossoms, elderberries, guava crunchy, beetroot, rosehips, artificial flavoring.
Well, for starters, I’m not exactly sure what guava crunchy is, and I’m not a big fan of artificial flavoring, but I got this tea in a sample set for Christmas and have been waiting for summer to bring it out because I don’t particularly like fruit teas in the winter. I think the name is supposed to be a pun on “Abracadabra” but it took a bit to notice and I don’t really think it’s very funny. Once again, this is going to be tasted iced and warm, because it’s a tisane.
There’s lots of large chunks in this tea, dried fruits and the like. I can definitely see all the different components of this tea which is really nice. I could do without the artificial flavor, as per usual, but the fruit itself looks nice. This tea smells extremely fruity, and a bit like a berry lemonade. There’s slight acidity in the smell, although it’s also surprisingly light. It’s obviously a very fruity smell, but it does have an artificial twinge to it. It’s a very busy smell, and I’m not sure I like it.
This tea is a beautiful pink steeped. I was really surprised by the color, it’s very nice. The fruit pieces also expanded well. Warm, this tea is too sweet. It’s very heavy, and a bit like cough syrup. Cold, however, this tea lightens up and is much better. Again, this is a tea that really needs to be accompanied by ice. The taste also weakens a bit, but the fruity notes are still present. I think the beetroot adds an interesting flavor, and I really like the blend of mango and hibiscus.
Would I recommend this tea? Overall I think it’s well balanced and one of the better iced tisanes I’ve tried this summer. If you’re going for something light and decaffeinated this is definitely a great tea for it. I may try testing various sweeteners with it, or a rooibos blended in, but it also stands on its own well, and I really like it.
Tea: Magic Dragon from David’s Tea
Price: $8.50 for 50 grams (1.76 oz)
Ingredients: Apple, rosehips, hibiscus, sweet blackberry leaves, dragonfruit, cornflower petals, natural dragonfruit flavouring
When I stopped at David’s Tea, I decided to get Magic Dragon because it was the tea of the month in July and honestly largely because of the interesting name and because dragonfruit is delicious and there are far too few fruit blends that include it. I didn’t have a chance to smell the tea before buying it in one of the sealed packages because we were in a rush, so I’m hoping this was a good purchase. The ingredient blend certainly sounds delicious.
The pieces are very nice looking, and you can see the individual dried fruits and blackberry leaves in the mixture. It definitely smells strong. So strong, that the individual aspects all drown each other out and become a single smell. It’s immensely fruity, and although slightly artificial, a pleasant smell. The entire smell is almost sickly sweet.
There are a lot of pieces floating in my tea, and I really don’t like that. Definitely use a very fine strainer with this tea. It’s a pinkish-purple liquid. Warm, this tea tastes flat and sticky. The dragonfruit is really the only part I can taste, which is sort of good because it’s the name of the tea, but I’d like to be able to detect other flavors as well. Cold, this tea is much better. It tastes as though it already has sugar in it, so more is definitely not necessary unless you like your teas very sweet. The taste is very homogenous, like the smell, but not nearly as overpowering.
I recommend this as an iced tea, although not as a warm tea. It does not need extra sweeteners, and would probably be good accompanying watermelon or some other light fruit.
Tea: Malabar Estate Java OP Clonal from Upton Tea
Cost: $2 for a 12 gram sample, or $11.20/100 grams (3.5 oz)
Ingredients: Black tea
Another tea from Upton, and from a sampler set I got awhile ago. This one is an Indonesian tea, which I’m excited to try because I’ve never bought tea from Indonesia. It’s an estate tea as well, which I like. One of my favorite teas is an estate tea from Sri Lanka, which I may review but I buy in person and I don’t know where I would get it online to link it. So, this is the first estate tea on this review blog, but by no means the first I’ve ever tried.
This tea has an absolutely gorgeous mahogany smell, though it’s very faint. I would like it more if it were a stronger smell, because it’s very fragrant and flowery. Based on the smell, this tea might compliment a darjeeling in a blend. It’s a dark brown, almost black, with very small leaves. Overall, appearance wise this tea is very unassuming and the smell could be stronger.
The tea didn’t steep very evenly, so I steeped it for longer than the recommended amount. Hopefully that doesn’t affect much. It turned out not to matter because the tea was very weak. It was woody, but slightly bland. There was a faint grape note, but I feel like it wasn’t as full as I’d have liked. The tea disappointed, especially after how much I liked the smell. It was nothing special.
I think for the price if you’re looking for a standard black tea it’s worth getting a sample and making your own judgements, but I probably won’t get this tea again. It was just mediocre, and I’ve had much better, similar, teas. I expected more flavor out of an orange pekoe, and this left me wanting.
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.