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Fan Film Friday Covers “Kung Fu Avengers: Civil War”

This week, we watched and reviewed Beat Down Boogie’s Kung Fu Avengers: Civil War – Iron Man VS Captain America for four very fitting reasons:

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron Hulk-smashed the box office as the second biggest opening weekend in North America ever. The movie set up some serious internal conflict and friction between our previously chummy Avengers.
  2. Marvel fans are already looking forward to the film Captain America: Civil War, which started production this month and is scheduled to come out May 6, 2016.
  3. Leaked concept art of Iron Man and Captain America battling it out circulated the interwebz recently!
  4. Beat Down Boogie is just so much fun! (Obviously the best reason on the list.)

Watch Beat Down Boogie’s Kung Fu Avengers: Civil War – Iron Man VS Captain America here!

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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Ep. 220, “Scars”

One year ago, S.H.I.E.L.D. cronies/twins Billy and Sam discuss Coulson’s impending visit. Coulson arrives shortly thereafter on one of the many trips he took and concealed from his team. Sam hands Coulson his new lanyard to take a look at Theta Protocol – which turns out to be a helicarrier under construction.

In the present, Coulson surveys the fallout from Sokovia and lays his cards on the table with Gonzalez, Weaver, Oliver, May, and Bobbi. He tells them that he and Fury wanted a backup plan in case S.H.I.E.L.D. fell, and that when everything hit the fan, he felt like he failed as Director. Coulson says his mistake was unilaterally leading S.H.I.E.L.D. with no advisers and proposes that he lead S.H.I.E.L.D. as Director with Gonzalez as an adviser.

Skye keeps a close watch on Lincoln as Fitz and Simmons keep an eye on her. Kara has just completed her brain scans but Simmons tells her that her Hydra indoctrination is clear from her mind. Kara breathes a sigh of relief that Bakshi’s dead, making Simmons shift in her shoes a little, and asks if Simmons knew Bobbi when she was at Hydra, making Simmons shift a little more. Simmons says that she didn’t realize she and Bobbi were there at the same time, but Bobbi did save her when it came to it. Just then Lincoln causes an electrical surge in the facility and wakes. Skye tells him he’s safe but he panics when he sees a S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem. He says now that they know Afterlife is an actual thing, they won’t stop trying to find it which will put their people in danger.

Raina counsels an Afterlife inhabitant about his son’s transition and is adjusting to her new life well. Gordon pays her a visit and she thanks him, saying he was right about her changes being gifts and she’s happy to be able to help her people. He asks if she’s had any other visions since her vision of Sokovia and she says last night she saw something peculiar last night. She said it was a stone but not a stone, and suddenly it was liquid like ocean waves. Gordon recognizes the description and brings Raina to Jiaying at once, who tells them that the Cree made this item to destroy their kind once the Cree had decided they were mistakes. Jiaying asks Gordon to locate it and Raina says she could be helpful in finding it, so they teleport to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters and Raina instantly knows it’s there with them. They walk the halls and Raina recalls a red door just as they duck into a room to hide from a passing May and Bobbi.

Jiaying asks Cal if Raina is dangerous and he’s like, “Um, yeah. I would say she is.” Cal says that when he met Raina, she had nothing but had convinced a cafe owner to give her day-old pastries and a tailor to give her leftover fabric to make dresses. Soon, she proved her selfishness by demanding fresh pastries and the best fabrics, and Cal says she always “wants” something. Jiaying wants to know what she wants now.

Gordon and Raina continue to search for the room with the red door and Raina describes herself as an annoyance who wasn’t chosen to be brought through the mist. Just then, Hunter spots them and when they teleport away, he trips the emergency alarms. When they reappear, they’ve discovered the red door and go inside to find the stone Raina described to Gordon and Jiaying back at Afterlife. May and Bobbi turn up so Gordon and Raina teleport away again.

Gonzalez says they should have destroyed the stone long ago. It was discovered at a dig site almost 100 years ago and its energy is unlike anything they’ve ever seen. Hunter wonders if anyone knows anything about it, and no one does. Since there’s nothing about the stone in Fury’s toolbox except that Hydra wanted it, Gonzalez wants to know why it’s of interested to those at Afterlife all of a sudden. So Coulson pays Skye a visit.

Skye says neither she nor Lincoln know anything about the stone, which Coulson finds dubious since she doesn’t even really know Lincoln or what he knows about. Skye says that Jiaying and Co. are good people who helped her learn to channel her power so she wasn’t hurting herself, but Coulson wonders if they’re even people. (They’re people just as much as you believe Skye is a person, Coulson. Get it together.) He’s concerned at how tight-lipped Skye has been about her experiences since they parted, noting they don’t even know what to call the group she’s been living with, and she’s like, “We’re called inhumans and we just want to be left alone.” May’s like, “Well if they wanted to be left alone they shouldn’t go around breaking into secure military vessels!” Skye says they’re assuming the stone is a weapon (which it might be) and that maybe Jiaying and Co. are just concerned at what Gonzalez may be preparing to do with it. May says Gordon is clearly very dangerous and Skye’s like, “Says you, Cavalry. I heard about Bahrain. That little girl was an inhuman, so you should know why Jiaying wants to keep their location secret.” (OUCH.)

When Bobbi reports back to Gonzalez, Weaver, and Oliver, they inform her they’ve used Hydra’s tracking technology to locate Gordon – and Afterlife – and plan to pay them a visit. Gonzalez wants to make a plan of attack but Coulson doesn’t want to start a war, especially since they just finished one. Coulson wants to sit down with Jiaying and Bobbi suggests using Skye as a liason. May thinks it’s time to find out where Skye’s allegiance lies.

Gordon and Raina report to Jiaying (and Cal, to Gordon’s displeasure) about finding the stone with S.H.I.E.L.D. Cal becomes upset with Gordon and Raina tries to calm him, but Cal’s having none of that, saying he doesn’t believe her selfless act. He wonders if she’s making things up, saying her power lets Raina control them because she thrives on chaos. Gordon steps between them, taunting Cal, and Jiaying says she will not allow S.H.I.E.L.D. will not fracture their group or wreck their culture.

Coulson tells Skye the plan and she begs him not to go to Afterlife. He says at the very least she knows they have Index everyone there, that she knows how this works since she’s an agent, but Skye says she doesn’t know what she is anymore. She proposes that she and Lincoln go first to speak to Jiaying and explain why the agents are coming, saying Jiaying will understand because she is her mother.

May and Bobbi have differing views on how to deal with Kara and Bobbi joins Mack’s workout. She says she was late practicing her speech, but he says he’s not changing his mind and asks if she’s spoken to Hunter yet. Bobbi says Hunter hasn’t even looked her in the eye yet and wonders if something is wrong with her because she can’t wear her heart on her sleeve.

May tells Coulson she misses her jet and Coulson reveals that Jiaying is Skye’s mother. She moves to tell the counsel but Coulson stops her to apologize. She tries to shut him down angrily but he tells her that what happened in Bahrain doesn’t matter to him and she’s like, “Yes you do, or you wouldn’t bring it up.” (Truth.) May tells him that the little girl wasn’t killed in crossfire, that she made the call to kill the child to save everyone else and only told Andrew. She mourns the loss of the trust in their relationship, saying she should have stopped him when he began carving into the wall when he was brought back to life. Coulson says he never lost control, but May counters that Skye is living proof that he did.

Skye says her goodbyes to Fitz and Simmons and Simmons has a little gift for her: a hula dancer figurine they saved from the jet before it went down. Then Coulson, Skye and Lincoln discuss his Indexing during which Lincolns snipes that S.H.I.E.L.D., like Hydra, took his blood without his consent. Coulson asks how Gordon will find them, and Skye begins to explain before simply stating that Gordon can sense them and will retrieve her and Lincoln when he knows they’re far away from S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.

Raina runs up to Gordon saying she’s had another vision: she’s seen quinjets from S.H.I.E.L.D. raining fire down on Afterlife. He wants to tell Jiaying, but Raina says he shouldn’t because it’s because of Jiaying meeting with them that they attack. Gordon wonders who should meet with them if Jiaying doesn’t, so Raina’s like, “Why not me?”

Jiaying checks in with a scientist who’s holding a blue and blackcrystal, asking how the packing is going. She tells the scientist that the packing is just a precaution and just then, Gordon, Skye, and Lincoln return. Skye tells Jiaying that doctors at S.H.I.E.L.D. patched up Lincoln, causing her to take Skye to her office to talk. Skye asks Jiaying to please speak with Coulson and drops the “mom” bomb, so it seems like Jiaying’ll agree.

Coulson finalizes plans to go to Afterlife and Gonzalez doesn’t think Couson should be the one to be their envoy given how close he is to Skye. May agrees with him, as does Weaver, and they all vote to send Gonzalez instead.

Fitz is worried about Simmons going back into the field after almost dying last time and tells her that she shouldn’t feel bad about Ward. He says he wanted to kill him, too, and she’s like, “Well, I did try to kill him and failed, so if he goes around wrecking stuff again, it’s my fault.”

May tells Bobbi that Coulson wants them to scout ahead and has locked in coordinates, so the two take off in a jet.

Mack visits Coulson to tell him that he’s resigning from S.H.I.E.L.D. He doesn’t care that Theta Protocol just turned out to be a helijet but he won’t work for a S.H.I.E.L.D. that has a director who was brought back to life by alien blood. He knows what it’s like to be under alien control and can’t trust the actions of a man who has experienced the same. Coulson doesn’t fight his decision so Mack hands over his badge and leaves.

Cal is pissed that S.H.I.E.L.D. is coming to Afterlife and Jiaying asks him if they can trust S.H.I.E.L.D. He says Coulson is his least favorite but he does care about Skye, so that’s something. She mentions the Index and he’s vehemently against that, saying they’ll brand them. Cal says she has power to attack first and Jiaying says Skye wouldn’t like that and her people wouldn’t blindly follow her into a war, anyway. Cal’s like, “I would.” She wonders what she can do to make S.H.I.E.L.D. believe the inhumans mean them no harm and keep Skye safe from them, so Cal offers himself up for a trade.

Bobbi tells May that Mack quit and asks her if she’s ever wondered who she’d be without S.H.I.E.L.D., which May says she’s been contemplating recently. Bobbi says Hunter asked her to leave with him to be together once, and though she was tempted, she stayed.

Coulson meets with Hunter and Fitz about the operation. Hunter and Fitz are both dubious about the decision to send Gonzalez in to meet with Jiaying and Coulson expresses doubts in his decision making, saying that following their lead might avert another downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D. Hunter points out that S.H.I.E.L.D. will also fall if a bunch of angry enhanced people decide to attack them, so there’s that.

Gordon walks into Jiaying’s office looking really angry, and she wants to know what’s wrong with him.

Gonzalez asks Weaver if she located their “insurance policy” and she hands him a brown box which he stows in his jacket pocket. Then May gives him a ten-minute landing warning. (UH OH!)

Bobbi asks May about the autopilot landing coordinates and May pulls her gun. She says Bobbi couldn’t care less about what Bobbi did to her and Bobbi realizes it’s Kara wearing May’s face again. Kara’s remembered what happened between them with Hydra and all of a sudden arms and legs are flying. They punch and kick each other in an impressive fight but ultimately Bobbi wins with a kick to Kara’s head. The jet lands in an open field and Bobbi disembarks – only to be iced by Ward.

Simmons reports to Gonzalez that there are a lot more unknowns than they anticipated and he says as long as Skye has set up the meeting, he’ll handle it.

Gordon comes to see Raina who is looking at herself in the mirror. She says she always knew she had a purpose and it’s nice to finally know what that is. Then, when she inquires about where Gordon has taken Jiaying, Jiaying herself arrives, along with Skye and another red-haired inhuman. Jiaying says Raina has taken advantage of her power by manipulating people with it, and taken advantage of her own good faith. Raina says she’s trying to save everyone, but Jiaying orders the red-haired inhuman to keep Raina there until S.H.I.E.L.D. is gone and then they’ll decide her fate. Raina insists that something bad will happen and they’ll regret this.

S.H.I.E.L.D. touches down and Gonzalez is led to Jiaying by Gordon. Skye asks where Coulson is, and Gonzalez says he is acting in his stead, but Gonzalez wants to know what Cal’s doing there. Jiaying says that though it pains her, she will trade Cal as an act of good faith.

As Skye escorts Cal to S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, he tells her that he’s grateful for having the chance to get to know her, and she returns the sentiment.

Gonzalez tells Jiaying that he knows what Hydra did to her and that they share scars because Hydra took from him, too. He offers her the brown box to prove that S.H.I.E.L.D. is not like Hydra.

Skye asks May why Coulson didn’t come to meet with Jiaying and May says it’s because the council thought it would be better to have someone more objective conduct the meeting. Skye reminds May that Gonzalez sent people to kill her a few weeks ago, and May defends him. Skye asks why May couldn’t be in the meeting and she says she’s not objective.

Jiaying opens the brown box and it’s a traditional Chinese gift to ward off evil spirits that S.H.I.E.L.D. acquired from Whitehall’s office after Coulson killed him that Jiaying had planned to give to Skye. She’s touched by the gift, having given it up for lost.

May tells Skye she hopes her mother is to be everything she wanted her to be and heads back to the jets.

Gonzalez says S.H.I.E.L.D. has a rocky history with people with powers but they need to protect the public from the people who get powers and are bad apples. He says he wants to Index everyone at Afterlife so that if anyone ever tries to do someone harm, S.H.I.E.L.D. will fulfill its purpose and stop the threat. Jiaying says she’s got her own gift to give, noting that she’s seen countless generations fall into the trap of trying to catalog people by their differences. She says it’s due to fear that they feel they have the right to do that, and Gonzalez says they’re just trying to protect people.

May reports to Coulson that they’ve turned over Cal, and they discover vials with yellow liquid on his person which he declines to identify.

Jiaying tells Gonzalez that fear caused her to begin experimenting with terragen crystals, knowing that if their diviners were destroyed their whole race would cease to exist. So they melted one of the diviners down and grew new crystals but couldn’t separate the diviner metal from it. It’s harmless to inhumans, she says, but for humans it’s not so safe, and she slams it on her desk, releasing a grey cloud that causes Gonzalez to begin choking. He pulls his gun as she officially makes a villainous turn, saying that he should be ashamed for trying to equate their scars and that she’ll never let S.H.I.E.L.D. hurt any of her people as Gonzalez turns to stone. She takes his gun and shoots herself twice in the shoulder, then stumbles out of her office to meet Skye and the rest, proclaiming that S.H.I.E.L.D. tried to kill her and this is war before collapsing on the ground.

Ward and Kara have bound and unconscious Bobbi who is being hailed repeatedly by headquarters. Ward says Kara did a great job fooling everyone and she wonders why they can’t just kill Bobbi now. He says closure’s about “digging in and doing the work,” and then they’ll kill Bobbi. Kara notices Bobbi’s regaining consciousness, so Ward ices her three more times for good measure.

The Questions: Why, exactly, have Ward and Kara kidnapped Bobbi? Will Gordon realize Raina was right and try to usurp Jiaying or will they all blindly follow her to war? What was the stone that Gordon and Raina found? What will Mack do without S.H.I.E.L.D.? And what side will Skye choose in the inevitable battle between S.H.I.E.L.D. and Inhumans?

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Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer #3

Marvel just released the third official trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron!

In other news, Marvel fans everywhere are lamenting the fact that they cannot create a time machine to travel to May 1st. Who needs March and April, anyways?

Check out the trailer below:

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Captain America & Iron Man return for “Heroes United”

The new concept art for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” was one of the buzziest reveals during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. The monster film isn’t hitting theaters until May of 2015, leaving many fans shifting in their seats with anticipation. And unless you want to pull a Steve Rogers and freeze yourself in some ice until May, you’re going to have to tough it up and wait.

But fear not, Marvel fans! You can satisfy your Avengers cravings with “Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United”.

The occasionally volatile team of Captain America and Iron Man have united in this animated adventure to take down the Red Skull and his trigger man, Taskmaster. Together Captain America and Iron Man attempt to stop them from unleashing a Hydra army, essentially doing what these heroes know best: saving the world.

Voice actors Adrian Pasdar and Roger Craig reprise their roles as Iron Man and Captain America, and Clancy Brown enters the Marvel universe as Taskmaster.

“Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United” is available today through Digital HD, On-Demand and Disney Movies.

Will you be catching the film? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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Tea Review: Loki Blend

loki_tea1loki_tea2loki_tea3

 

loki blend

created by: Cara McGee

‘So I am no more than another scorned idea, locked in your mental tea cabinet until you might have use of me? You could have told me it wouldn’t happen from the beginning! Why didn’t you? What, because I— I— I am the caffeinated blend parents won’t let their children try at night? You know, it all makes sense now, why you favoured Holmes all these years, because no matter how often you claim to make tea, you could never have a Frost Giant featured in your signature blends!’ [Thank you to the anonymous writer that left me this note, and prompted me to make a blend for Loki. Cool, refreshing, but just a bit dark, with a hint of floral undertones. This blend truly shines when iced.]
Inspired by the Marvel Comics character Loki. I have no affiliation with Marvel or Disney or any of those related companies. This blend is made for my own enjoyment.

My Review

I was terribly excited when the UPS guy delivered my package of teastuffs today (and then I was a little annoyed because dude threw it over the fence. Seriously?! He didn’t even wait for me to get to the door and I RAN to answer the doorbell. It took me maybe 5 seconds to race to the front of the house? I mean, I saw him as he was walking back to his truck so it’s not like it took me a long time. Anyway.)

To start: I love mint teas. I love how they’re so crisp and yet relaxing and for some reason they make me exceedingly happy, I can’t explain it.

The spearmint is obviously the most noticeable fragrance when you first open the bag, with the jasmine subtly coming through. I let mine steep about 3 minutes – I probably could have let it go another minute or two since I don’t mind strong teas, but 3 was quite all right with its lightness of flavor. I used the lovely ingenuitea: 1 heaping teaspoon for approximately 16 ounces of water. I’m sorry, I was trying to avoid my mother giving me grief over using a kettle, so I ended up microwaving my water to about 190 degrees Fahrenheit. I might (read: probably will) mess around with these figures the next time around.

Surprisingly, the spearmint doesn’t overpower the gunpowder or rooibos jasmine, which both lend a smooth, almost smoky flavor to balance the brightness of the mint. I think the flavors complement each other quite well. The slightly minty aftertaste it leaves in your mouth is also quite pleasant (for me, anyway.) It’s like a minty jasmine flavor, and since I like both, it works out well, leaving me with a fresh feeling.

I’m curious to try this tea iced. I mean, Loki’s a Frost Giant, after all, so it ought to turn out well…? Also – does that mean I should get the iced ingenuitea?

I gave this tea 5 out of 5 stars. You can purchase it here.

 

Review Update:

It’s been a year, and Loki has proven to be my favorite. I have tried this tea iced and it is fantastic.

loki_tea4

This is a glass of iced Loki, with sliced strawberries and a basil simple syrup. Would recommend (though it does not have to be a basil simple syrup, I just had extra.)

 

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Tea Review: Natasha Romanoff Blend

 

romanoff1

All right, first off: I do not really recommend brewing this in the Bodum Assam Tea Press. There are some finer bits in the blend, which rise up and easily fit through the filter and sit in the bottom of the pot, which was fine until I poured it into my cup and then had bits of tea in my cup. That doesn’t really bother me, but it might bother some. Or I suppose you could run it through an extra filter as you pour? I don’t know.

Anyway, tea blend: Natasha Romanoff. Here is the official description on Adagio:

Natasha Romanoff

CREATED BY: CARA MCGEE

A worldly blend, based off of Russian tea culture. A strong, smokey tea perfect for a busy spy.
Based on characters owned by Marvel/Disney. This tea blend is created purely for my own enjoyment.

romanoff2

My Review

The scent is almost insidious. With the lapsang souchong and assam melody, I thought it would hit me harder, be more in my face proclaiming its strength like the Sherlock or Tony Stark blends, but it does not. Instead, while strong, it sort of infiltrates the olfactory senses, the slight astringency belying the depth of its smokiness. Is it the currant blend that does it? I am not sure.romanoff3

Amusingly, there are raspberry leaves in the currant mix, and I can only hope not too many. Amusing, I say, because I am actually allergic to raspberries. We’ll see how it goes.

I brewed it at 212 degrees Fahrenheit for four minutes. I joke in the photo below about the tea being the same color as Natasha’s hair – trick of the light coming in from the back of the pot. Don’t wait for the tea to become that color; it will not happen. It’ll turn more like a nice, deep shade of russet. Plain, the blend is smooth and strong. The intensity of the flavor mellows with time in the cup. The smokiness is not harsh at all, as it can sometimes be a bit overpowering in other lapsang blends (Sherlock, I’m looking at you, though I will admit it could also be my fault in over-steeping – I am bad about that.)

romanoff4

I don’t even mind when the tea gets cold in my cup, as it invariably does when I get distracted working. The flavors blend even more, cool and distinctive. Just like its namesake, for the strength of this blend, the fact that it leaves hardly any trace (in terms of aftertaste) is impressive.

I gave this blend 4 out of 5 stars. You can purchase it here.

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Tea Review: Tony Stark Blend

stark_tea1

Tony Stark

CREATED BY: CARA MCGEE

Brash, Aggressive, and Rich. A blend at once frustrating and charming.

Based on characters owned by Marvel/Disney. This tea blend is created purely for my own enjoyment.

 

My Review

The scent of this tea comes out swinging. The lapsang souchong almost punches you in the face at first, but sweet strains of caramel and a heady undercurrent of chocolate float up if you continue inhaling the scent (while possibly looking like a crazy person standing round breathing tea tins, but if you are home alone, no problem.) In this particular batch, the barest hint of ginger comes through in the aroma – probably overpowered by the lapsang.

I steeped a heaping teaspoon at 212 degrees for four minutes, until it was a nice, dark amber color. In the cup, the ginger finally comes through, offering a mellowed sharpness even as the smokiness of the lapsang decreases. As before, I tried this tea without any frills added; a nice, bare-bones introduction to the flavors. Honestly, lapsang can be a little too aggressive at times, particularly if one is not in the mood for a strong tea. However, this blend benefits from the richness of the chocolate and caramel; they supply a smoothness to the smoky intensity of the lapsang and open the door to the subtlest after-bite of ginger, a near-tingling vibrancy left in the mouth after a cup. stark_tea2

The cooler the cup becomes, the more the scent of caramel rises. Fortunately, this blend does not suffer from becoming bitter when cold (I have had problems lately with finishing a cup while it is still hot when I am working and/or writing.) In fact, the additional time in the cup seems to give the blend greater opportunity for the flavors to mesh, and they really complement each other while proclaiming their individuality; a pleasant heaviness threading through and tying all the flavors together long after the cup is drained.

I give this tea 4 out of 5 stars. At first, I was hovering around a 3/3.5 score, but knew part of the low initial impression was because I was unsure how to interpret the subtly deeper complexity of this blend. I tried additional cups and knew it deserved a higher score.

You can purchase it here.

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Tea Review: Son of Coul Blend

coulson_tea2

son of coul

created by: Cara McGee

Strong, Reliable, motivating, and loyal to the end. A cup of tea worth Avenging.
Inspired by the Marvel Comics/Disney character Phil Coulson. I have no affiliation with Marvel or Disney or any of those related companies. This blend is made for my own enjoyment.

 

My Review

All the Pheels….
Well, as with the Thor tea (snerk) the toasted mate is kind of the prevalent scent, though the tiger eye – particularly the caramel – rises up and sticks with you. The chestnut adds its roasty goodness to the overall scent of toastiness. Someone else mentioned that it kind of smells like raisins? Yeah, it kinda does. And another person noted that it smelled like trail mix. I can certainly agree with that; the aroma is definitely evocative of trail mix with the roasty-toasty goodness and sweet notes. I wasn’t entirely sure how it was going to taste, given this blend of smells.

I used one heaping teaspoon for about 12 oz of water. I stirred it up in the tin a bit to get a nice mix of tea leaves and mate (note picture above!) and let it steep about 4 minutes (I seriously love the ingenuitea.)

coulson_tea1

This hearty, nutty tea is so comforting to me. It’s got a nice, full body that rolls around smoothly in your mouth (releasing more caramel and nutty notes) but doesn’t leave a weird aftertaste. Though it smells sweet, that doesn’t transfer to the flavor at all like how a fruit tea can be very sweet. It’s really just a nice, soothing cup.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars. You can get it here.

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Tea Review: Thor Blend

Thor Tea (sounds really funny to me)
Thor Tea (sounds really funny to me)

thor blend

created by: Cara McGee

A deep, strong flavor, incredibly masculine, with bright notes of apricot.
Inspired by the Marvel Comics character Thor. I have no affiliation with Marvel or Disney or any of those related companies. This blend is made for my own enjoyment.

My Review

So, right off the bat, I know I’m going to have to brew this a couple more times to really get a feel for the blend. Like the description says, it has a deep flavor. You can certainly smell the sweetness of the apricot, but the taste of it is much more subdued. The toasted mate (as with the Coulson blend) really, really comes through.

The deeper tones of the ceylon and mate are kind of defying my description at the moment – I’m just not sure how to describe it. I think it must be the slight tang of the ceylon sonata I’m noticing? It is pleasant, though.

However, I think I messed up on my first cup and didn’t steep it for long enough and that is probably why I couldn’t quite get a handle on the flavors.

I’ve brewed a second cup: 200 degrees Fahrenheit, 1 heaping teaspoon, around 12 oz of water, steeped for 5 minutes. Opening the tin (as with the original bag) the first thing you smell is the sweetness of the apricot. It’s really quite fruity.

Once brewed, the apricot scent diminishes significantly, though you can still detect it (of course, this could be because I steeped mine for 5 minutes. I got distracted by a game.) It’s not as strong in flavor as I thought it would be; at least, I don’t find it quite as hearty as the Son of Coul blend. Thor is (surprisingly) kind of mellow. Having said that, it still maintains the toasted mate flavor very well, with hints of the sweet taste of apricot that lingers on the tongue.

I enjoy teas that I don’t have to add anything to, and Thor is one of those.

After the second cup, which was about a million times better than the first time round, I give this 4 of 5 stars. You can buy it here.

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Tea Review: Clint Barton Blend

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Clint Barton

CREATED BY: CARA MCGEE

A slightly playful blend that may be hard to take very seriously, but will prove to be strictly business when under fire.

Based on characters owned by Marvel/Disney. This tea blend is created purely for my own enjoyment.

My Review

It is difficult to define the initial aromatic impressions of this tea upon first opening the bag (and even upon the second time, when I opened the tin.) The freshness of the lemongrass is the most immediately dominant feature of this tea, with some traces of ginger. The assam melody and gunpowder lend a subtle depth to the scent, but it is the lemongrass that impresses the most heavily.

I have had two cups of this tea now, trying to formulate my thoughts on it. I steeped a heaping teaspoonful of the blend at 212 degrees for four minutes the first time, five the second. I did not notice a difference in intensity, so perhaps I should try longer and shorter times to see if that affects anything. barton_tea1

The flavors are clean and crisp and somewhat invigorating, the bite of ginger tempered to a fractional sharpness. I know the Thai Chai descriptions states that there are two different coconut elements in the mix, but I fear they may be eluding me. Of course, on the second cup I had the brilliant idea of aerating mouthfuls of tea to see if I could better differentiate the flavors, but that resulted in a burnt tongue which undoubtedly impeding my tasting abilities. Still, as I sit and take deep inhales of the steaming cup, I can just perceive the coconut notes, which add an almost milky smoothness when drinking. Though there is no aftertaste to speak of, the potency of the ginger and cardamom builds over time, leaving a rather refreshing sense on the palate.

Overall, I cannot escape the impression of crispness. It smells like it should be much more herbal, which I think is the lemongrass’ influence. As the tea cools, it does not get bitter, and the ginger notes really come to the forefront. It makes me wonder how this blend will fare iced. I have the feeling that the lemongrass, ginger, and coconut flavors will really shine through.

Even with the inclusion of assam melody and gunpowder (which can honestly overpower other flavors if the balance isn’t right, such is its flavorful strength,) this is a surprisingly light, refreshing tea, great for a summer afternoon.

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I give it 4 out of 5 stars. You can purchase it here.

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