Sabriel Fandom Blend from Adagio Teas

Full disclosure, this is one of the blends I made on Adagio Teas.  Their create-a-blend tools are just too much fun, and their fandom tea community is active and engaging.  I wanted to review my Sabriel blend because I had been stewing over the idea for a long time, and it was so satisfying to have it finally come together.

Sabriel is one of the main characters from the Old Kingdom book series by Garth Nix.  I won’t go into too much detail about the books, except to say that the series essentially follows the lives of “good” necromancers who help fight dead creatures or put the dead to rest.  The stories are beautiful, imaginative, and just a little spooky.

For my Sabriel tea blend I wanted something impactful but nuanced; her work managing the magic of the dead takes steadiness and subtlety.  The body of the tea is made up of two types of green tea. The gunpowder tea is robust without being astringent, and adds a whiff of smokiness that compliments the crackling, toasted notes of the hojicha tea.

The rest of the ingredients are all fragrant and sensory-inspiring.  Peppermint brings a cooling creepiness, like fog in a graveyard, or a settling peacefulness like still water.  Rose and lavender can have the morbid interpretation of flowers at a funeral, but can also being nostalgic, like remembering a favorite bouquet or garden memory.  Cardamom adds some spirit and peppery spice, and feels a bit unexpected without its usual partners of cinnamon and ginger. The scent of cardamom always makes me think of opening the kitchen spice cabinet, and all the cooking possibilities within.

I have not come across a blend quite like this in my tea drinking experience, so I was more than happy to have the opportunity to make it myself.  It was also great fun to honor one of my favorite characters and book series in tea form.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Adagio Teas

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Cherry Latte Oolong Green from A Quarter to Tea

chocolatecherrylatteTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong/Green

Where to Buy: A Quarter To Tea

Tea Description:

Roasty enough to appease the coffee lover in you! The blend of hojicha and oolong makes a robust, coffee like base without the jitters. Mellowed out with chicory, chocolate, and cherries. What could be a better start to the morning?

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

A Quarter to Teas is a fairly new tea store selling on Etsy that feautues seasonal and limited edition blends such as the blend I’m trying now and many other unique flavours like Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa. The owner, Lauren, was kind enough to send a few samples my way. I have to say my email correspondence with Lauren was incredibly impressive – she was so prompt in replying to my messages and very pleasant overall. Without even taking a sip of tea yet, I’m already impressed with the company on the grounds of their customer service alone.

That said, getting into the tea itself this smells AMAZING. I was totally expecting more of a coffee/chocolate with a subtle cherry because most blends that attempt to do cherry blends in which the cherry isn’t the sole flavour never really nail it. Instead, the smell is indicating this will be the opposite: cherry tea with more subtle coffee and chocolate. I am SO on board with that idea!

And I am so gleeful right now because the taste of the infused tea IS very strongly cherry! And it’s not some kind of gross cough syrup cherry either! Instead it’s sweet, dark cherry. So yummy and indulgent! Of course, there’s more going on here aside from the cherry even if that is the element of the tea which I’m most excited about. The chocolate notes come through well too and the pairing is a match made in heaven. However, it’s a little thin and I think that’s probably because this blend uses chocolate chips. If I could make one suggestion it’d be to use either cocoa nibs or shells instead. I think that’d kick the chocolate factor up a lot and also make the mouthfeel a little cleaner. Finally, the “coffee”. Personally I think this is the mildest element of the blend but I’m more that ok with that. As much as I don’t hate coffee and am cool with the flavour being in my tea I still prefer the tea itself to be the most dominant flavour. On that note I definitely taste the hojicha more than the oolong. I really love the idea of pairing the hojicha with the oolong as well; it ups the roasty notes up quite a bit and adds a whole new layer of flavour into the tea.

This tea is absolutely phenomenal! I’m very impressed, and I really look forward to trying the rest of my samples from Lauren. As far as first impressions go, this was a really good one.

Houji-Genmaicha Green Tea from Den’s Tea

Houji-GenmaichaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Den’s Tea

Tea Description:

Houji-Genmaicha consists of the two harmonious yet slightly contrasting taste components. It is a good alternative to sweetened coffee. It offers a comfortable toasty aroma both from roasted leaf and brown rice. The Genmai (roasted brown rice) sweetens the roasted Bancha leaves.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Sometimes, it’s hard to get what you want in this world. Sometimes, I want genmaicha at 10 o’clock at night, but I also want a good roasty, toasty, houjicha. Thank goodness for Den’s Tea. They truly have thought of everything. Now I can have my tea and drink it too.

I used my 12oz tokoname kyusu for this one. Probably overleafing it, I intitally used my typical green tea temperature at 175, but at 3 minutes, the flavor was a bit muted. I punched up the temperature to about 190, taking care to not scorch the leaves by leaving the lid uncovered. Three minutes later – I was in tea bliss. The usual clover honey sweetness and toasted barley notes of the houjicha blended so well with the rice, I couldn’t tell where it ends and I begin. There was a touch of cinnamon spice warmth to round out the cup. I should have known that a little hotter water could coax out the houji from the cha.

This tea is really the best or both worlds. It’s got the fresh-toasted rice flavor from the genmai, and it’s got the roasty flavor of houjicha. To be honest, the bancha used is not the best houjicha base I have ever tasted, but paired with the toasted rice, it makes for an amazing pairing to almost any meal, and as a great bedtime sipper.

Milk Caramel from Lupicia

MilkCaramelTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Lupicia

Tea Description:

Sweet aroma of milk caramel brings out the comforting aroma of houjicha.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The scent of this tea is reminds me of roasted grass topped with something sweet. A part of me dislikes just how roasted this tea smells, but when I sip this blend, I’m reminded of why I like it so much.

I enjoy how balanced this tea is. The caramel is soft, but adds the nicest whisper of sweetness to the roasty Hojicha. It reminds me a bit of those chewy caramel squares that come in individual wrappers.  What’s lovely about this tea is that I don’t detect anything artificial about the flavoring. The caramel blends so well with the tea itself. As for the hojicha base, it’s quite roasty as I mentioned before, but also has a nutty flavor to keep it from becoming too bland. The cup as a whole reminds me of caramel covered nuts that have been baked in an oven.. a bit like toffee, perhaps?

If you’re looking for something different, I recommend this tea as there aren’t too many sweet hojicha blends out there. It makes a delicious and comforting treat for the end of the day. This tea will satisfy your sweet tooth without being too rich.

Pandan Chiffon Green Tea from Ette Tea

PandanChiffonTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Ette Tea

Tea Description:

Inspired and named after a local favourite dessert cake, Pandan Chiffon is a blend of roasted green tea, pandan leaves, osmanthus blossoms and cinnamon. 

It is reduced in caffeine and we recommend to drink Pandan Chiffon on its own and without sugar.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Recently I had the opportunity to take part in a group order from Ette Tea, a relatively new company based in Singapore. They only have six blends currently, but they all appear to be very well thought out and the range of diverse flavours is impressive. Being able to take advantage of buying smaller sample sizes was the nail in the coffin on what probably would’ve been an inevitable order anyway.

This isn’t one of the blends I was initially more excited about; but it smells very good! Quite sweet with cake like elements and a playful touch of spice. I’m definitely getting notes from the dry smell that remind me of caramel or lightly burnt sugar. Mmm! And, because this is one of the lighter blends I ended up with a lot more of it than any of the other samples so I’m taking advantage of trying this one in a different way than a lot of the people from our group order appear to have done; cold brewing! That is my go to, after all.

I’m surprised by how sweet this is; though I don’t necessarily know why. Every other run in I’ve had with ‘chiffon’, be it tea or in real life, is sweet so I should have expected as much from this even though it doesn’t have ingredients that necessarily go hand in hand with more dessert-like teas.

There’s a lot going on but it’s harmonious; I’m picking up sweeter top notes like caramel and vanilla and a pastry-like cinnamon (like cinnamon sugar, sort of) which together are reminding me of Stroopwafel! That’s definitely not what I was expecting to get from this blend but it’s wonderful. I’m also getting some light roasty notes from the hojicha, though not as dominant as I anticipated. They’re great support though and keep this tea from tasting too sweet. There’s also a sweet, starchy taste present: in part I think that’s what making me think of the “waffle” part of the stroopwafel flavour going on, but it also reminds me loosely of sweet potato.

The osmanthus is somewhere in the middle; not as strong as the sweeter notes but not as light as the roasty/potato notes either. It doesn’t tie in the the Stroopwafel thing I’ve got going on, but what it DOES do is really, really round this tea out and give it a lot of depth. My only complaint is that this left quite a bit of sediment/fannings in the bottom of my brewing vessel. But even then it’s not a huge deal with cold brews anyway.

For my first tea from Ette Tea I’m very impressed! If all the others are half as good and interesting as this one it’ll be one of the most successful tea orders I’ve ever made. Yeah, this definitely set the bar high for the others. I don’t know if that’s for better or worse. I really want to try actual Pandan Chiffon now! I don’t know if there’s anywhere in town to get it…

I need a hookup ASAP!