Is this blog post really just an excuse to post aesthetic tea photos and Uncle Iroh quotes? …Probably? Also, I like tea.
For someone who isn’t supposed to be consuming caffeine, I own an absolutely insane amount of tea, as shown here. This is just what I have on this shelf right now. There are also some boxes of tea bags in a drawer, but they don’t match the whole “chinese tea tin” aesthetic I try to have here. I have even more tea in my office (including more #aesthetic chinese tea tins), but since I’ve been working full time from home since March, I haven’t been able to get any of it 😔
So, if I’m not supposed to be drinking tea tea, what about herbal tea (tisanes)? Well I don’t have very many of those. I have a decently sized box of barley tea and roasted corn tea from a local Korean grocery store, and barley tea is probably one of my favorite beverages in the world. I love it.
I also have this box of American Wisconsin Ginseng tea from my dad because, fun fact, apparently that is a thing that exists??? I really don’t like it though. Maybe I’m just not used to the flavor but I can’t really drink it. Ginseng is Iroh’s favorite tea though, so that has to count for something, right? (also my dad really likes it)
That’s about it for herbal teas. I have a couple more, but they are also at my office.
I learned of these Adagio “Fandom Teas” via a picture of a friend’s collection on Facebook. The tea blends are all fan-made/fan-submitted and interesting to say the least. I browsed through the list and I wasn’t really interested in them, until I found a Fire Emblem: Three Houses set and I decided I absolutely needed this in my life. So I bought four different herbal tea sample tins.
I love these so much. The overall design is very obviously inspired by the game’s UI and it looks very clean and aesthetically pleasing. They even added in the star rating, cost in gold, and description from the game itself. To be honest, that’s easily my favorite part of the whole thing. Up top it lists the real life teas involved in the blend and the steeping instructions, which is nice to have.
The tins are really small, but they were packed to the point where it was difficult to open without spilling anything. According to Adagio’s website, the sample tin makes about 5 cups, but I feel like it makes more than that.
This Lavender Blend was the first one I tried. It didn’t look like there was a lot of lavender in it, but there’s a fairly strong lavender smell and taste to it, and I learned that day that I don’t like lavender.😅 It sort of tastes like soap to me.
The Chamomile tea was really simple – it was just a blend of chamomile and spearmint, and pretty much tasted exactly how I thought it would taste like, though I wish there was more spearmint in it. It also tastes mildly medicinal. I tried putting honey in it but that made it taste even more medicinal, but it’s not bad.
Fun fact! Three characters have Chamomile as a favorite tea: Dimitri, Claude, and Rhea. At first I was amused that three of the very important characters favor one of the most boring teas in the game. I can find many boxes of Chamomile at most grocery stores (currently in the Midwest US). Then I thought about it for a while, and I realized that I’ve never seen Chamomile tea in an East Asian setting. I even checked the shelf at the Chinese grocery while I was there out of curiosity and couldn’t find any. I wonder, if I were a Japanese player, would Chamomile and Crescent Moon tea sound equally exotic and fantastical? I have no idea.
I haven’t been to a Korean or Japanese grocery store recently, so my “data” is extremely flawed. Also, I can’t read Chinese.
The Sweet Apple Blend is the tea that a lot of the sweet-tooth characters like, e.g. Annette and Lysithia. It smelled really nice and definitely looked sort of like apple juice, but darker. I think I actually like the smell more than the taste. This one definitely tasted better with a bit of honey because that really put the Sweet in Sweet Apple Blend. I enjoyed this one a lot.
Last but not least is the Southern Fruit Blend and this one is by far my favorite. It has an insanely huge laundry list of stuff in it. It’s absurd.
But this blend of stuff results in a really nice and refreshing tropical cup of tea. It’s also super aesthetic because it’s a really cute shade of pink. The flavor also allows for a really nice and crisp iced tea, but I think I still prefer it hot (despite it being summer here).
Because I liked it a lot, I was curious and decided to see how it would taste if I re-steeped it. Another fun fact! Chinese teas can usually be steeped multiple times without losing its flavor, which is why they just keep pouring water into the teapot at dim sum restaurants. The result was not great, and I wouldn’t recommend it. A lot of the fruitiness and color come from the flavor additives, so you’re left with a bland brown cup of tea. Weirdly enough, it tasted like a worse version of the Bigelow Orange and Spice teabags they have at work, which realistically is pretty bad, but I actually really like them for some reason.
All in all, I still very much prefer a simple cup of plain green/black/barley tea rather than these crazy herbal blends, but I definitely appreciate the increase in variety and also the fact that I can drink these at night without worrying about the whole caffeine nonsense. It was fun! The tins though were definitely 100% worth it.
As a final addendum, for any Avatar: The Last Airbender fans, I also got this from a Avatar Nations set and yes, it has jasmine in it.