Adagio Day 13 White Chai

White tea, chai spices with lemongrass, coconut, fruit pieces and peppercorn combine for a light-bodied zesty cup. Light yellow with complex notes of lemongrass, fruit and spice that dance on the palate. A fiery kick of the peppercorn lingers in the soft sweetness of the fruit.

White Tea | Low caffeine | Steep at 195° for 3 minutes.

Ingredients & Lore: Blended With Ginger, Lemon Grass, Cinnamon, Pineapple Pieces, White Tea, Coconut, Cloves, Cardamom, Natural Spice Flavor, Apple Pieces, Red Peppercorn & Natural Cinnamon Flavor

Dark Side of the Moon is Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album and one of the most famous rock albums of all time. Its equally famous album cover features a triangular prism with white light passing through on one side and a rainbow on the other. This is because white light is actually made from all of the other colors. When it passes through certain prisms, it then disperses into its component parts. Our White Chai tea, while not as famous, uses a similar principle. Put it in your cup and you’ll find a whole new world of flavors to discover.

*squints at the lore* Do we have to play the album while watching Wizard of Oz on mute or something with this tea?  

Out of the bag the spices are strong. Reminds me of mulled cider. I’m getting mostly clove and cinnamon. Steeped it smells very cinnamony. Hey, check that out. Spell check let cinnamony happen. Awesome. 

Taste is light. The ginger and cinnamon are prominent. Clove sits on the front of the tongue. Lemongrass comes through in the aftertaste at the back of the tongue. 

This cup is light and enjoyable. I’m giving it 5 out of 5 zesty coconuts. 

Does it belong in this calendar… yes. Again Adagio gives us the spices of the season

Random… I have several of the ingredients in my herb cabinet so I laid them out to compare. My dried ginger is large because I cut and dry my own from the grocery. 

Ingredients from my cabinet on the saucer: dried ginger, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves, red peppercorns, lemon grass. Adagio’s tea in the pyrex dish.

Adagio Day 3 Golden Turmeric Chai

In this post text from the Adagio site is in red. Text from me (Viking Wife/Lady Grey) is in pink.

Blended With Turmeric Inclusion, Ginger, Cloves, Cinnamon, Fennel, Black Peppercorn & Natural Spicy Cinnamon Flavor

Prized for its golden orange color, turmeric was widely used among primitive cultures as a means for decorating ceremonial masks, baskets, and for waiting. It was also used as an offering to deities or spiritual ancestors. While some idols were bathed in it, other times it was used in ceremonial rituals related to life transitions from birth to marriage and even death. It was even applied directly to the body as a form of protection from enemies and promote longevity.

Satisfy your savory sensibilities with a touch of gold. Our Golden Turmeric Chai features earthy turmeric with the warming spiciness of ginger, and is softly sweetened by a blend of cinnamon, clove, and a hint of fennel. It finishes off with a slight fiery kick of black peppercorn. The suggested serving is one teaspoon per cup of water or milk of preference for a golden milk latte!

Herbal Tea | No caffeine | Steep at 212° for 5 minutes.

I didn’t pay attention to the ingredients before I drank it. No wonder it didn’t taste like tea. It isn’t. 

Regarding turmeric… it is an anti-inflammatory. I’ve had people suggest I drink Golden Milk, blend it straight with honey and take a spoonful daily for arthritis, and even take daily capsules. I’ve never found any personal benefit. Golden Milk is punishment. And ruining honey with turmeric is a sin against bees. 

1.  First impressions?

Looked good. Smelled nice, cinnamon was strong. That first sip hit my gag reflex. WTF was in my cup? Nonsense. Utter nonsense. I braced myself for another sip. After 3 sips I decided to abandon my initial plan of having one plain cup, then a milky cup. I ran for the fridge to get the half and half. This made it palatable, but not good. 

I am keeping a notebook so I can scribble things while I am sipping. I’m going to quote myself

“Ye gods.”

“Oh, this isn’t pleasant”

2. Do you think this is a good choice for an Advent Calendar? Why yes, or why no? 

It’s terrible. If I was served this again I’d kill it with fire. It does not invoke the spirit of Christmas or Yule or Hanukkah. It is legitimately terrible. 

3. Tell me how you really feel. Or any random thing that needs to be said. 

Imma take this time to be random as I’ve already said how I really feel. I think in the film Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi has a scene where the wife gives the husband a cup of golden milk. I’ve not made the time to re-watch it recently.

BTW ZERO out of 5 whatever scale we’re using. Just gross. 

Adagio Day 1 – Spiced Apple Chai

Text lifted from the Adagio site is in red. My (Viking Wife/Lady Grey Moonlight) musings are in pink

Blended With Black Tea, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamom, Orange, Cloves, Apple Pieces, Natural Apple Flavor & Natural Cinnamon Flavor

The popular Christmas carol “Here We Come a Wassailing” is based on the old English tradition of “wassailing,” a type of caroling that involved exchanging drinks for presents and visiting orchards to ensure a good harvest. The drink of choice on such occasions was, of course, wassail, a type of mulled cider made with apples that eventually grew to include popular mulling spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, with the word “wassail” even meaning “be you hale” or “be healthy.” We might skip the singing this time around, but we do wish you many a happy cup. Wassail!

Our Spiced Apple Chai features the timeless, comforting combination of apples and spice. A lively blend of black tea, classic spices from Indian Masala Chai and bright notes of crisp apple. Juicy and pleasantly sweet, like warm applesauce, with clean, refreshing texture. We suggest two heaping teaspoons per 8 oz cup. Sugar, cream or soy if desired.

Black Tea | High caffeine | Steep at 212° for 5 minutes.

*Viking Wife enters wearing white fake fur jacket holding her drinking horn* Here we come a-wassailing among the teas so green, here we come a-sipping so fair to be seeeeeen…

Wait, we AREN’T singing? 

Hipster Wife: Ummm.. was that in the script? *Looks for a script.* *Sooo much caffeine!* *Tastes color*

1.  First impressions?

Looks great! I’m so happy Adagio has given us the loose leaf option. Per their usual greatness you can see the quality of the leaves and spices. There is enough in this little foil packet for a few cups! Nearly a tablespoon of chai. Plus the little package is adorable. It smells like mulled cider.

I barely had enough for a cup and I think it brewed slightly weak. 

I had my first cup straight. (Black, right? It’s not whisky.) Cloves numb the tongue. I learned that this year. That cute guy I’ve been dating makes liqueurs and he puts whole cloves in the vodka and candy or fruit concoctions to numb the tongue. I’ve had his apple, apple-cinnamon, and butterscotch. You can’t tell it is an infused vodka. It makes the knees wobbly and the tongue numb. 

Back to the tea…I can’t taste the apple. Wait… why did they use apple flavor when they put dried apple in so many of their blends?  *taps mic*  Is this thing on? My daughter is allergic to apples and can’t drink most of Adagio’s fruity blends because they put apple in most of them. Logic flew out the window here and bounced off the windscreen of my Subaru while I was driving 80 in the passing lane. 

My second cup had a splash of half and half. The apple came through with the dairy! The spices are warming, my tongue isn’t as numb. 

I’m not a huge fan of straight up chai (and never with sugar). I am kind of addicted to Adagio’s Chocolate Chai. And perhaps this Spiced Apple Chai should make its way into my tea cabinet. 

I immediately knew I would love this by the scent. I hate to say this because I am so glad that Adagio has stepped up with single use loose leaf.. But Plum Deluxe’s calendar last year gave you enough to try more than one cup. I am sad that I only got one cup out of this. 

Why? 

Because my mini me drank my whole cuppa while I was busy doing something else. I got exactly three sips of this cup. 

The apple was very present for me as were the chai spices. I love chai tea, especially if the spices are very up front and if it’s backed by a solid strong black tea it’s perfect. I am in love with tea and will be ordering some more as soon as I finish this review. Hopefully my kid will let me have some. 

2. Do you think this is a good choice for an Advent Calendar? Why yes, or why no? 

Yes. Obviously apples, cider, warming spices (mulling spices, pumpkin pie spices, etc) are seasonal. I’m really pleased with this Day 1.

Kinda- especially since we review these in November. It is a very autumnal blend to me. More October-November in my opinion. I would’ve loved this around Halloween. I love it now, but for Christmas the spiced apple tends to remind me more of autumn. Probably, because in my family we would always go to Oak Glen California and enjoy their apple festival. 

It is a good start to the calendar since it’s day one. 

3. Tell me how you really feel. Or any random thing that needs to be said. 

I randomly feel the need to suggest that we have kissing balls made out of camellia sinensis. It is an evergreen. I presume it might smell nice before all the toasting and drying for our drinking pleasure. To heck with mistletoe and fir and pine. I want to be snogged by Santa under an Earl Grey kissing ball. 

Umm sure. You and your Santa Kink… 

Look, you have cannibals, I have Santa. 

So how many Wassail!! Out of 5 does this get? 

5 out of 5 Wassails

I gave the 3 sips I had 5 out of 5 Wassails. Now off to order more! 

*Viking Wife slips back into her fake fur* LOVE AND JOY COME TO YOU AND TO YOU A WASSAIL TOO, FRIGG BLESS YOU AND SEND YOU A WHOLE BUNCH OF TEA, FRIGG SEND YOU A WHOLE BUNCH OF TEA

Day 1- Full Moon Chai

Ingredients: Black tea, Cardamom, Ginger, Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Vanilla Butternut Extract, Love, Gratitude.

Preparation: steep 1 tsp in boiling water for 4-6 minutes

From the website:

Full Moon Chai was one of our original blends, now back with even more creative energy.  We’ve taken our classic, signature masala vanilla chai tea and added a splash of vanilla butternut extract. This simple twist adds a depth, warmth, and vibrancy to your traditional chai, and also gives the flavor a hint of sweetness and creaminess without having to add lots of sugar or milk (though we do like this blend prepared as a traditional masala chai or chai latte).

It makes a great pairing for those indoor days where you need something warm and comforting.  It’s also a lovely companion for those moments when you need a high-caffeine blend to give you focus and momentum, and it’s even good for a delicious chai cocktail or three!

courtesy of Farmers Almanac

So, before I even open this I have to know – what is vanilla butternut extract?  To the interwebs! *cue 60’s superhero theme music*

A combination of vanilla, butter and nuts (but it’s nut free?). McCormick had Imitation Vanilla Butternut Extract, but changed the name to Cake Batter Flavor. Other sites that offer their own version say it’s often used in pound cake. Some have images of vanilla, butter and hazelnuts. Others have pecans instead of hazelnuts. One candy making supply site says their extract is more intense than regular vanilla extract, so use half to not overpower whatever you’re making. Amazon has the following   https://www.amazon.com/slp/vanilla-butter-nut/4oy6vaq64f2o6cq
Enough of that potential rabbit hole of wtf.  Let’s drink. 

The dry tea is chunky. Whole cloves, chopped up bits of cinnamon bark, cardamom, ginger, and the black tea is actual leaves. Quality looking product.  I smell the clove and cardamom above everything else. 

Thankfully the cardamom isn’t strong once it’s steeped.  If you followed Hipster Wife’s blog last year, you know I am not a fan. My first cup of this I am drinking black. The ginger and cinnamon are obvious, but not obnoxious. 

The face behind the cup.

Cup 1, black:The tea isn’t as dark as I thought it would be for a black tea. But I also don’t normally drink out of my tiny china tea cup. It isn’t in my face spicy like some chais. It is warm and mellow and very pleasant. I look forward to finishing off this day’s little bag. 

At my desk in my studio.

Cup 2, with ½ & ½: Holy Nutty Cardamom, Batman! This is literally a different tea. I smell cinnamon and clove. But I taste the vanilla butternut (still don’t know exactly wtf this is) and cardamom.

I think I prefer this one black. 

If it was called Pumpkin Spice, would we still drink it?

The spices in chai are similar to those we find in pumpkin pie spice blends. Pumpkin pie spices include cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg (instead of cardamom). Some blends use allspice as well. When we ponder if this is a winter holiday inspired blend, I have to say yes. These spices invoke autumnal and winter desserts – puddings, apple and pumpkin pies, spiced cakes and gingerbread. Excellent choice for day one. 

Hipster Wife here. So I had my cuppa after a long day. It was a very long day. I had to deal with Black Friday scooping out snowbirds at Sam’s Club. I was raised to be respectful as fuck. I’m a fucking Lady and shit. But when you nail me in the small of my back with your cart because you’re cutting in line. Fuck that. 

Well. I might be living in the south, but I am from California and as the child of Reva. I take zero shit. 

yes… none of that passive aggressive ‘bless your heart’ nonsense.

Actually, I just glared, tried not to cry because my back was already hurting, and I didn’t let the old lady go ahead of me. Small tiny victory. 

Anyhoo about this tea. 

I went in not really expecting a whole lot. I gotta be honest, dear readers. The Adagio Advent was such a disappointment, and I wanted to love it so much. So I don’t have daddy issues, but I might have shitty advent tea calendar issues. Thankfully, it only visits me once a year.

Tiny little side story… I have been a tea drinker my whole life. My mother drank basically unsweetened sun tea for like her entire life. I drank it as I grew up. My Auntie liked to sweeten hers, and so I would request it sweetened when I thought I could get away with it. Usually at restaurants. The stories of me asking for Auntie’s Tea at Spires (Think fancy Denny’s in Southern California.) are numerous (My mom was a waitress there, and I felt I could risk not getting shut down with witnesses aka tippers.) 

So I can’t say that chai is my gateway tea. But it is how I learned to appreciate tea. Excellent quality tea. 

Picture it. Claremont, California, 2003. I had been drinking the Tazo Chai Latte from Starbucks for a while. I don’t know long. Probably not that long. My BFF and I were in Claremont for lunch. He worked at Rhino Records, and around the corner was a little Eastern Indian restaurant. (I just found out that it is no longer there. I have a sad.) Kris and I visited all the time. The owner was a severe man, often he would serve the food sort of like a school lunch line. You just pointed and be filled your little plate. I loved the place because he always made sure nothing touched. One day I was telling Kris about how I had discovered the Republic of Tea. (This is a whole other blog post. Let’s just say that 41-year-old Hipster Wife is not a fan. But 27-year-old Hipster Wife was.) The owner overheard, and after saying something rapidly, a cig hanging on his lip, he handed me a mug that I thought was milk.

 I smiled. It was hot. 

He motioned with his hand like.. “Get on with it.” 

I took a drink. 

It was like running into Laurence Fishburn and being like, gimme that Nyquil Day Pill, motherfucker because my life will never be the same after this. 

photo wired.com

He saw it on my face, and he finally smiled at me. He then gave me a bag of tea and just patted my head as if I was a small child. I was just a baby taking her first steps into the world of tea. I didn’t even know that loose leaf was a thing. I was positive the tea in the bag I held had sticks in it. I didn’t care because it was magical. He briefly explained how I could make it at home. I have never ever been able to recreate it. But I did have it again each time I went back there for lunch. 

The few days my mom died, I went and just had a cup of it and said nothing. He said nothing. But he kept my cup filled, and he didn’t charge me. 

That is when I learned that tea can bridge a lot of stuff. You can make friends, welcome people into your life, or in my case, say goodbye. 

Okay, so maybe it’s not a small story. 

Chai tea, all kinds of it, and Thanksgiving/Christmas are all tied to me in emotions. The warmth of that tea, my mom’s last Thanksgiving, and Christmas. 

When I opened this bag, it was almost enough to take me right back to that. I think it’s because of the quality of this blend. Immediately I brewed it up, and the first few sips were spicy and comforting. The scent of it was intense. Quite enjoyable. I decided to mix in some coconut cream. I think it was pretty close to that memory. 

Hipster Wife’s cup

Memories are fragile things sometimes. I felt comfortable with this cup of tea. It made me happy to remember these memories even if they were bittersweet. It pleased me much to see how far I’ve come. Grateful that I can sit here and write about it and share it. 

Viking Wife already went over all the details of the tea, so I’m gonna skip it this time. Would I recommend this? YES. Will I be ordering more? Absolutely. Day 1 is everything I wanted from it and more. I am pretty excited to see what adventure Day 2 is going to take me. 

Tea for Travelers – The Prince – An Adagio Fandom Blend

Cara McGee trained as a comic book artist.

One of my most favourite things about Adagio is the fandom blends. You can make your own blend(s), upload your art work, and fellow nerds who drink tea can buy sample tins of your blends. It’s quite brilliant. I’m a nerd. I love nerds. I love tea. I love nerds who love tea.

We’re kicking Fandom reviews off with The Prince from the Tea for Travelers collection by Cara McGee. I don’t know who she is, but I don’t think I’ve had any of her blends that I outright hated. Not only are our first names similar (not sure how she pronounces it), but she seems like all the same fandoms that I do, and she knows how to blend teas. Ms. McGee, I’m a fan.

Her description on the Adagio site is “Deep, warm, golden notes and a rich, dark base. Decidedly decadent, but reliably strong.” Steep at 212 for 3 minutes.

The blend is noted as: Hazelnut, Irish Breakfast, Spiced Apple Chai, Marigold, Cinnamon.

He hates being without his little brother.

Ingredients:Black Tea, Assam Melody Tea, Ceylon Sonata Tea, Cinnamon, Ginger, Natural Hazelnut Flavor, Cardamom, Orange, Cloves, Apple Pieces, Natural Apple Flavor & Natural Cinnamon Flavor. Accented with Marigold Flowers and Cinnamon.

I’m a 4 minute steeper for black teas.

The Prince in question is Fili, brother of Kili, nephew of Thorin Oakenshield. In the Peter Jackson films he is portrayed by Dean O’Gorman (who was also in a strange but entertaining little show from New Zealand called The Almighty Johnsons. If you like Norse myths, modern interpretations, comedy, drama, and cute guys, check it out).

When you first open the tin, you get a rich, nutty aroma. It’s a bit like fresh baked apple crisp made with a nut flour and cinnamon. Delightful!

Pro tip when you get the fandom sample tins – dump out the tea onto a paper towel or tissue. Then carefully put it back. The blends never quite taste right unless you mix them up. As the tin’s contents diminish, just shake vigorously before measuring. Also, the steeping directions are not on the tins. So keep your browser turned to the Adagio site so you know how to make your perfect cuppa! (but not their app because they don’t have the fandom blends on the app. whatever. I actually stopped using the app because of this.)

How does it taste? My first cup I had black. It smelled nutty and apple spiced. The initial flavours were of black tea, then of hazelnut and cinnamon apples. It was a very nice post lunch cuppa. Being a chai, and having hazelnut, I was drawn to make a second cup at home and add a splash of half & half. (I’m American, I don’t keep milk in the house, just half & half for my coffee.)

Futhark runes spell out Strong women go to Folkvang – Freya’s Coffee. Which is funny because I never drink coffee from this mug. Only tea.

Something about that splash of dairy brings the whole cup together like a dessert! The hazelnut is toned down, the apple and cinnamon come through.

If you are new to Adagio fandom blends, check out Cara McGee’s blends. I feel you can’t go wrong with what she puts together. Plus adorable artwork on her tins!