Sunday, May 4, 2014

"The Town We Do Not Speak Of" Tea Sampler Set

I'm a big fan of Welcome to Night Vale even though I'm not completely caught up with the episodes yet. And I also really like tea. So the "The Town We Do Not Speak Of" Tea Sampler Set set at Adagio seemed relevant to my interests.

As many fans of WTNV know, Commonplace Books has a policy against selling unofficial merchandise -- eg, fan art prints, individual costumes, things like that that are in a legal gray area that larger copyright holders don't bother to prosecute or even look at. WTNV is a very small yet very popular venture and can use all the money they can get. I totally respect that.

Fortunately, Joseph Fink himself has signed off on the creation of "The Town We Do Not Speak Of" tea as long as it uses neither the WTNV logo nor the words "Night Vale" in them, which is the reason for the fancy-pants name of the sampler. So, we can enjoy this tea relatively guilt-free -- though if you want to support WTNV financially you should still either donate or buy their merch on their official site, Commonplace Books.

Anyway, the actual tea. The sampler set comes with six nice tins with pretty label stickers on the top. Adagio says that each tin contains approximately 5 servings of tea, so the whole set is about 30 cups of tea total. The set has 4 black teas (Perfect Carlos, Sheriff's Secret Police, Steve Carlsburg, and The Weather) and 2 green/white teas (Glow Cloud, Cecil [The Voice]). Because a lot of the black teas have some green in them the brewing temperatures are slightly lower than boiling, but for the most part I do not think it matters much. The teas that have no black in them do need care to not use boiling water with them, though.

As for the individual teas:

Cecil [The Voice]: I… am not sure about this tea. There's a bit of citrus in it and it smells spicy. I brewed this one twice before writing anything down because there were so many good reviews on the adagio website, because white/green teas are delicate and I thought I was brewing it wrong. While the smell in the box is interesting I found the taste of the actual tea to be pretty weak and bland.

Glow Cloud: Green, slightly fruity, satisfying without any additives. I really like this one, would definitely buy again. Probably my favorite of the samples. There's nothing else to say. All hail. ALL HAIL.

The Weather: Coconut is not my favorite thing but for some reason this tea is pleasant. I'm not sure if the sprinkles actually added anything but they were kind of cute. Anyway, while this tea tastes fine it actually looks very pretty, like confetti.

Steve Carlsburg: I'm usually not into black fruit teas but because this one is grapefruit I love it. I would not think that grapefruit, apple, and vanilla of all things go together but they really do. It's fine plain but you can't really tell there's any apple in there without any sugar. I'm usually not a fan of hibiscus either but in this tea you can't taste it. It's dominantly grapefruit and leaves a bit of a sour taste in your mouth, the jerk.

Sheriff's Secret Police: Okay, after smelling this one, I really expected to like this one more than I do. It smells amazing and spicy, but brewed it tastes kind of coffee-like, almost. It's more dominantly smoky/bitter than spicy. It's still good with cream and sugar. This tea has mate in it, so it's more heavily caffeinated than normal tea and a good number of those pieces fell through my tea strainer. If you can't deal with large amounts of caffeine or bits in your tea I wouldn't recommend it.

Perfect Carlos: "Perfect". A sweet and pleasant dessert tea that's dominantly chocolate with no surprises, really. Good with cream and sugar. I can't really think of anything bad to say about it except that compared to the others it's a bit boring.

There are teas in this set that I would definitely buy again and some that I wouldn't. However the fandom teas on Adagio are kind of pricey and I still find myself drinking mostly the assam in my cupboard rather than reaching for these. The tins are cute though, so I don't regret buying them. I just have to remember I have them and that I should not be "saving them for later" because tea does go bad.