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Tea Review: Limpë Tea

I apologize for the late review, dear readers! But as certain someone once said, to paraphrase, a wizard is neither early nor late, but always exactly on time. And so, here is another Thirsty Thursday tea review!

Today’s review focuses on the second bag of tea I purchased at Geeky Teas: Limpëimage

The description reads, “White peony leaves are fair and glorious to taste and could cure all ills to joy, merriment and creativity.” Cracking open the bag, the scent of dried grass greets  me immediately. Any guesses as to what influenced this blend yet? In Quenya, limpë means “drink of the Valar” (and sometimes also wine, but as this is a nonalcoholic beverage, I’ll stick with “drink of the Valar.” Variation includes “drink of the fairies.” In John Tolkien’s Book of Lost Tales, it is said to be very fragrant and possess healing properties. Another story states that one sip could turn a human into an elf, but there was only record of one ever having done so.

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The delicacy of the white peony dictates the entire flavor profile of this tea. I steeped a teaspoonful at approximately 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes, and the most impressive aspect of this cuppa is how mild it is. I cannot emphasize this point enough. Perhaps it has been made specifically with the sensitive Elvish nature in mind?

After steeping, the grassy aroma virtually disappears. The color of the brew is a very light maple or balsa wood – somewhat difficult to define so here, have a photo:image

 

Although even the photo cannot adequately grasp the fine wood hues with greenish undertones in the cup.

Since this tea calls for a lower brewing temperature, I can actually drink it sooner without scalding my tongue. For such a mild flavor, the tea is strangely comforting, almost otherworldly. It is very pleasant to drink, and there are no strong after tastes or particular flavors that overwhelm the blend. It is quietly fortifying and serene. Such is the nature of a drink of the Valar, I suppose.

I have had a whole cup, but I don’t feel like an elf yet. Boo. However, it is still totally worth a try. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Tea Review: Hannibal Lecter Blend

Today’s (unfortunately) late review features Cara McGee’s Hannibal Lecter blend.

The official description on Adagio reads: “blended with assam melody, pu erh dante, orange peels, rose hips, hibiscus flowers, natural orange flavor

teas: pu erh dante, assam melody, blood orange

accented with cinnamon and cloves

steep at 212° for 3 mins

this tea contains a high level of caffeine
*it does not contain people”

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Swiggity swag the nightmare stag

Upon first whiff of the freshly opened bag, the most prevalent aroma is blood orange, a heavy and vaguely citrusy scent. For a blend that features cloves as an ingredient, it surprisingly don’t overwhelm the other components.

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Look at this gorgeous blend

I steeped a heaping teaspoon of Hannibal (haha) for about 3 minutes, resulting in a deep ochre color in my cup.  The scent of blood orange almost goes away completely, leaving mellow remnants you can barely distinguish; kind of like old-school orange peel, cinnamon, and clove mixes that I simmer in a pot on low heat in the winter to serve as a sort of a natural holiday potpourri. (Truth be told, all the above-mentioned ingredients are generally the leftovers from when I make mulled wine or cider, so…)

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Dark….like Hannibal’s soul

 

At this point, the Assam melody and pu erh dante really take over. The only clue I have that there are cloves in this blend is the slightly spicy aftertaste. It is actually a bit difficult to pick apart all the different flavored of the tea, so subtly do they mix together. However, if you find Assam melody or pu erh dante too strong, this blend may not be for you.

Overall, the  Hannibal blend is darkly smooth, rich, and strangely satisfying.  I am absolutely bring another cup while I watch tonight’s episode of Hannibal.

I know I’ve been warned about the caffeine content, but so far, so good.  Then again, I am a person who drinks a lot of coffee. I may not be the best judge of what a “high level” of caffeine feels like.

I give this blend four out of five stars. You can purchase it here .

 

*PS  this entire review was written on my iPhone and mostly with voice recognition. Hopefully the formatting is OK. Wooo, technology!

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Tea Review: Groot Root Tea

So a local favorite store of mine recently shuttered its primary location as a steampunk shop and reopened as Geeky Teas, a tea shoppe and specialty grocer (primarily British goods and snacks), with room for tabletop gaming. Obviously, I went to opening night and picked up a couple of bags of teas (and maybe also some snacks because why not). Geeky Teas’ motto is “Fandom with Flavor,” which is pretty much what I like in a nutshell.

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The first tea I picked up was the Groot Root Tea. I loved Guardians of the Galaxy and no, I never once thought about how I am potentially consuming a distant Groot relative… you know, if he were real (OK maybe I did). When you open the paper bag, it smells less of the vegetal earthiness of green tea and more of a bright, vaguely ginger spice and possibly a little ginseng. The aroma is invigorating in a way not unlike scenting fresh eucalyptus in the air.

As Groot Root is a green tea, the recommended brewing temperature is under the 212 Fahrenheit boiling point. Without a thermometer, reaching 180 degrees Fahrenheit can be difficult to accomplish, I ended up boiling a kettle, and then waiting ten minutes, hoping it cooled enough to a appropriate temperature. I am pretty sure you can Google search the average rate of water’s temperature increases/decreases, but my initial search resulted in some confusion, no definite answers, and the realization that apparently a lot of people wonder about this very thing.

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Once brewed for about 3 minutes, the gingery notes disappear almost completely, leaving the much more recognizable green tea as the main scent. The color is a faded green chartreuse in the cup, though that may be because my mug is white, and I have heard that white ceramics sometimes make green teas appear yellowish. Though the ginger practically disappears in the aroma, the first sips prove that the signature ginger bite is still there. Each mouthful has a light, refreshing feel.

I suspect now is an opportune time to admit I may be feeling a bit under the weather, and so my olfactory senses may not be as keen as usual. Having said that, this tea seems to be clearing up my sinuses gently, and the warmth is soothing, both in my mouth and going down my esophagus. This may end up as one of my go-to brews when I catch a cold or feel a little ill. Bonus!

There is no real aftertaste, like some heavier teas can leave in the back of the throat. There is just a vague, refreshed sort of feeling, with the faintest echoes of woody green tea and spicy ginger. As the tea cools, the scent of ginger rises, so I really must recommend getting as close to the suggested 180 degrees Fahrenheit for steeping as you possibly can. Green tea is more delicate than black tea, and as such, benefits from a slightly lower temperature in order to make the individual elements of the tea really blossom. The next time I try a cup of Groot Root, I think I’ll try adding a bit of honey. I have the feeling the two will pair well.

I give this tea 5 out of 5 stars. You can get it at Geeky Teas, 707 S Main Street, Burbank, CA 91506

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Tea Review: eleven Blend

IMG_4587  IMG_4595

eleven
By Cara McGee

Official Description on Adagio:
Edging the line of quirky and dark, this tea is unfailingly sweet, and as strong as you could ask for.

Ingredients
blended with natural vanilla flavor, natural coconut flavor, dried coconut, and accented with apple pieces. Teas: assam melodyvanillacoconut

 

My Review

The coconut and vanilla mingle seamlessly to tantalize your nose every time you open the bag, the apple pieces offering the barest hint of tart sweetness.

Steeped at 212 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 minutes, the tea is a lovely, light copper out of the pot (of which I’ve to do a hardware review on the personaliTea at a later time). The longer the tea steeps, the deeper the color – you probably don’t want to let it get too past a sort of red ochre for maximum flavor. You’ll hit that around 5-7 minutes of steeping. However, if you end up over-steeping it (which happens when you forget the tea bag in the pot,) the blend doesn’t turn as bitter as some other teas can; it does lose coconut potency, however, and there’s just the beginnings of a bit of astringent tang (most likely from the assam melody) that lodges in the back of the throat.

The blend maintains its coconut fragrance in the cup with the lightest notes of vanilla and assam melody noticeable in the background. For me, the apple pieces offer negligible flavor – the coconut and assam are too strong in comparison. Still, the tea is almost milky in feel and the blend overall manages to be a warming and yet refreshing thing. Even as the tea cools, the blend maintains its creamy, comforting taste.

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

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Tea Review: Cyberman Spirits Blend

Cyberman Spirits Blend
By Aun-Juli Riddle

Official Description on Adagio:

Drink to the spirit of Cybermen, to the deletion of emotion, and to the free upgrade to the next level of humankind! This is a deep, warm tea with full-bodied taste and a hint of sweetness.

Ingredients:
Teas: assam melody, toasted mate, cream blended with black tea, assam melody, toasted mate, natural creme flavor

My Review:

This past weekend I attended the Art of the Tardis craft faire at Clockwork Couture. I did not intend to purchase many things, but that went right out the window since there were tons of great handmade and custom items at over a dozen different booths. The Fancy Narwhal was there, with comics, stickers, and a ton of tea samples and full tea bags available. When I first arrived, the booth was terribly packed, so I elected to return later; a decision to my detriment because many of the teas had sold out by the time I went back. Still, I was able to procure a few samples, as well as a bag of Cyberman Spirits.

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The initial scent is very earthy, the toasted mate evokes images of woods to mind. Steeped at approximately 195 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 minutes, the tea pours out a dark, rich brown, and the assam melody flavor is at the forefront.

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As always, my first cup was completely without additions. For the strong scent of assam melody, a mouthful is surprisingly mellow with only the tiniest bit of astringent reaction. Lightly smoky, I lose almost all trace of the mate – the assam melody is absolutely the star of this blend. The only detection of any hint of cream in this is probably the sheer smoothness of the tea. There is a barely any aftertaste.

My second cup featured a generous helping of cream and a pinch of sugar. If the first cup plain I thought was smooth, this second cup was downright silky. That tiny pinch of astringent is completely nullified with the addition of dairy (seriously, I used cream because I discovered I’d actually run out of milk).

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I must caution against oversteeping lest that assam melody and toasted mate develop bitter overtones. I am not entirely certain I would buy this blend again, but I will certainly enjoy the bag that I have for now.

I gave this blend 3 out of 5 stars. You can purchase it here.

For more teas by Aun-Juli, visit Oh Hello Tea. You can check out here for The Fancy Narwhal.

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Tea Review: Amy Pond Blend

Official Description:

amy pond
created by: Cara McGee
Fiery, a bit tart, and ready for adventure. She’s the blend that waited.

Inspired by BBC’s Doctor Who, which I am in no way affiliated with. This is created purely for my own enjoyment.

ingredients:
orange, cranberry, rooibos vanilla chai

My Review

I suppose I was expecting a bit more tartness out of the cranberry and orange? Because Amy Pond. Although, perhaps the eventual mildness exactly fits the way this spitfire of a character progressed (looking at you, Moffat). Anyway.

The cloves are most certainly the dominant feature of this tea, particular upon first sniff. I put the kettle on, and once it hit boiling, I steeped a heaping teaspoonful of tea for 4 minutes. The scent diminishes significantly though the spicy hints of clove and chai remain.

As always, the first few cups I had without any additions. For all that initial clove-and-chai olfactory punch, the blend is surprisingly light and mellow. I could not detect any cranberry, save possibly for the slightest tang left on the tongue. Be slightly cautious of over-steeping lest the tea becomes too bitter.

I tried a cup with a splash of milk in the bottom. Perhaps it is because of the chai element, but the tea became creamier and somehow more rich in flavor. More cups will be had since I can’t quite determine how I feel about this tea.

I gave this blend 3.5 out of 5 stars. You can purchase it here.

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