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Drink Me: Adagio Teas, Cri-Tea-Cal Role

My husband knows me so well. He wanted to buy me some tea for Christmas so he checked out Adagio Teas where he found a whole sampler set of 12-teas for fans of Critical Roll.   I photographed them all for fun, and I’ll be sampling a few over the next few weeks on the blog.

Adagio Critical Roll collection

Critical Roll is a Dungeons and Dragons series on the Geek & Sundry Twitch Channel.  It airs weekly, and features lots of fun, imaginative characters and zany storylines.

Each of the teas in Cri-Tea-Cal Role is named for something from the game, and tea creator Stephanie Traylor chose from all the Adagio ingredients to create her own signature blends.

Today I’m reviewing Inspiration which is a blend of black and oolong teas, apple pieces, passionfruit flavor, vanilla, marigold flowers, ginger root and flavor, and finally rainbow sprinkles.

I received the sampler tin as part of the set, but the tea is also available singly as a sample for $5.00, 3oz pouch for $12.00 or 5oz tin for $24.00.

Adagio Critical Roll collection

Adagio Critical Roll collection

When I first opened the package, aside from being delighted by the sprinkles, I loved the tropical smell of the tea.  As it brewed I mostly got the passionfruit aroma. Sipping it I get more of the vanilla, passionfruit and apple. I don’t taste much ginger, but it probably keeps the tea balanced, especially with the sweet sprinkles.  I picked this one for today because I like both black and oolong teas quite a bit, and I’m always up for a little tropical tea on a Friday afternoon.  I enjoyed this blend and look forward to sampling the others!

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Drink Me: Adagio, Ginger Peach

I know I posted about visiting the Tea Market, but I’m also still working through my box of samples from Adagio.

Another of the teas I received in my initial order was Ginger Peach which is available in a sample size for $2, 3 oz for $6 and 6 oz for $19.

From the website, the Ginger Peach tea includes black tea, ginger root, natural ginger flavor, natural peach flavor, natural apricot flavor and marigold flowers.

When I first opened the bag I definitely smelled the tangy ginger above everything else. Under that there was a hint of peach and apricot.  This particular tea smelled very strongly of ginger and I wasn’t sure I would like it.  But again, it was deceiving because when it was brewed it was much milder. I could definitely still taste the ginger, but the black tea and the peach and apricot flavors mellowed it out quite a bit.  I won’t say this is a favorite of the ones I have gotten, but I did enjoy it.

Teacessories: Knitted Mug Cozies

I thought I’d stick with the Welcome to Nightvale theme for one more post and tie knitting into tea time today.  When I brew tea at work, I often want to drink the tea and to hold the warm mug in my hands. However, mugs cool quickly. How often have you drunk half a cup of tea to find the rest of it cold? Why not try and add a little extra warmth with the great insulator: wool.

Mug cozies have been around for a while now. For those of us who are crafty there are any number of patterns to be used. The great thing about mug cozies is that they are simple quick projects and can use leftover yarns. When you’re done, you’ve prettied up your mug and added some knitting to your tea time.

Remember that swap I talked about on Ravelry in the last post? Well my assigned swap partner identified that she really liked tea. So I purchased a sample of tea from Adagio in flavors I thought she would like. Then I went and bought an inexpensive ceramic mug at Target. Then I set about knitting a mug cozy for her.

For the knitters in the crowd, I used the Mug Sock pattern by Debbie Haymark and modified it using a chart I found of the Welcome to Nightvale logo.  I used Knitpicks Palette and a combination of stranded knitting and duplicate stitch. Further details about the project can be found on my project page on Ravelry.

For those who would love a mug cozy but don’t knit, you’re in luck.  A brief search on Etsy yields some gorgeous handmade items available for purchase (just click on the photos to go directly to the shops)!

Cup Cozy in Red, ValKnittingShop, $17.90

Cup Cosy Apple Green, The Wooly Knitter, $9.31

Coffee Mug Cozy, Heart Paris, Knotwork Shop, $16.00

Getting started.

The first thing I needed when I decided to begin this journey was a good way to brew tea. Since I mostly drink my tea at work, I was looking for something that was convenient, easy to use and easy to clean up.  I was also looking for something that wouldn’t break the bank.

One quick way to get started with loose leaf tea is with paper tea filters. They’re not my preferred way to brew because you have to make sure that the bag itself doesn’t come open and fill your cup with leaves (unless of course you’re going to try reading your tea leaves when you’re done), but they work in a pinch.  If you want to have some on hand in an emergency you can find them in some grocery stores or at online tea shops relatively inexpensively. It looks like you can purchase a box of 100 from Adagio for $3.

Paper Filters, Adagio Teas, $3

I opted instead to look for an infuser mug.  My parents had told me about all the neat mugs they had discovered at Teavana, so I started there. I ended up ordering the Green Essential Infuser Tumbler for $19.99.

Green Essential Infuser Tumbler, Teavana.com, $19.99

When it arrived I was really impressed with how it was constructed.  The little mesh tea pod is connected to the lid.  You fill it with tea and fill the bottom mug portion with hot water to the fill line.  Then screw on the top.  Flick the lever down to lower the mesh pod into the water and let it sit there for as long as you want to brew your tea. Then flick it back up and the pod retracts into the lid.  Then you can sip your tea.  After the you’ve finished your tea, you can open the lid and dump the contents of the little pod into the trash. A quick wash and you’re ready to go again.  I also think it would work great for multiple steepings, although I haven’t tried that yet.

Now there was one big negative – the ordering. I ordered the tumbler on January 16 and it was delivered on January 27. During that time there was no communication from Teavana regarding shipping. Because I had checked out as a guest, there was no way to track my order online. And when I called to try and find out the status, I lingered on hold for 60 minutes and had to give up before talking to a representative.  Honestly, the other experience I had at the same time (see below) was SO MUCH BETTER that I’m not sure I’ll purchase from Teavana again.

Once I had the tumbler on the way it was time to select some delicious tea!

I chose to start at Adagio Teas. I know that there are many local and online sources for tea and I plan to shop at many of them over the course of this blog. However, I had ordered from Adagio once before and I find their website easy to navigate, and I enjoy how they organize their selection of teas. I also found that their sample sizes, most of which they say brew 5-10 cups of tea, were very economical at $3-5 a pop. Since I don’t know exactly what I’m going to like, and I certainly don’t want to be stuck with a large container of tea that I don’t care for, I found this a super easy way to select a bunch of different kinds of things to try. All told I spent about $20 at Adagio.  The package shipped within 24 hours of my order, and within a few days the box had arrived at my door (and as soon as the tracking information showed delivery, Adagio sent me an email telling me that my order was at my door).

Now the only thing to do is to get brewing!