How to Create a Fandom Blend
What goes into a Signature or Fandom Blend?
Let me tell you: it’s like asking Mom, “How are babies made?” all over again—only this time you’re old enough to know how all the necessary parts work together.
A blend starts with a concept. I’m going to use Rarity and her corresponding tea, simply because she’s sold the best out of everyone, which means that something must have gone right. (And if anyone knows Rarity, that pony would love having an article all about her. Go figure.)
When rendering the flavor version of a character, you have to think on multiple levels:
The first two make sense. The more you envision a character’s appearance and personality, the better you can connect it with sensory experiences that you believe embody these traits.
The last one, however, is crucial. In order for the tea to be successful, it has to be understandable and therefore appealing to others. This will not only boost your sales, but make the tea itself tastier as well. (Remember this part. Please.)
So, let’s plug this into Rarity’s case study. Or cup study, if you prefer.
Start with what does the character look like? Rarity is a white unicorn a purple mane, blue eyes, and a set of diamonds on her rear end, otherwise known as a “cutie mark.” If you’re still curious, Google it up, watch an episode, or go to your local toy store.
For blending purposes, this gives us a color palette to work with. When a tea possesses similar colors to its inspiration, this presents a lovely visual cue for the sipper: there is an instant connection to the intended character, and the sipper already knows what they’re in for, before they even smell or taste the blend itself.
I kept this in mind when I picked out the Earl Grey Bravo for Rarity, specifically because the cornflowers brought out the shade of her eyes and mane. Cornflowers have little to no flavor—they add mostly breadth and body to a cup—so it worked out perfectly. As for the other components—vanilla and peppermint—these were considered visually as well. Vanilla flowers are white, after all, and peppermint is known for leaving a clean, “white” type of aftertaste.
However, perfect tea-character color relationships are not always possible with all characters and all teas.
For example, if you’re doing a blend for a character whose personality reminds you of gunpowder green tea, and their color palette is all greys and browns, then go with your gut and stick the green in there, because your priority is the next question: what does the character act like?
Rarity is classy, sassy, and clean to a fault. Simply by the name alone, Earl Grey is associated with elegance and fine taste—if you’re the kind of person who enjoys a good cup of Earl, then you already mark yourself as a connoisseur. As a result, it lends itself to the feeling of aristocracy and high fashion, which is exactly what our fancy Rarity is all about.
The Vanilla, meanwhile, is there to bring out her softness and decidedly girly characteristics—hence the delightful sass. (Don’t blame me, but vanilla is traditionally associated with feminine qualities) Since the base tea for Adagio’s flavored vanilla is a similar black to the base tea used for Earl Grey Bravo, these can meld seamlessly in the cup without interruption.
Peppermint now, being a very sharp, clean flavor, is perfect for picking up Rarity’s penchant for personal hygiene. Just the scent of mint can put you in mind of a spa, which just so happens to be that pony’s favorite place to hit for a daycation. Since peppermint is a standalone herb, it blends into anything and therefore goes ever so smoothly with this blend.
Speaking of smoothness and taste, the blend-bender must be mindful: is this thing going to taste good?
That’s where ratios come in. The wrong ratios can ruin even the most carefully curated teas—just imagine opening up a bag of Rarity and having it be mostly cornflowers, with no flavor to be had in the cup!
You want to choose the intensity of the flavors according to the intensity of the characteristics that you want to bring out in that fandom creation. This goes back to your priority question; keep it in mind, and use it as a guide for how much to put in of each component.
Because I know that Rarity’s really defining traits are her classiness and sassiness, I made those teas—Earl Grey Bravo and Vanilla—the majority of the blend. Peppermint is an accent, meant to peek through and give depth to the larger flavors. I didn’t want to overwhelm the sipper with minty magic, because there’s a lot more to Rarity than that. (Plus, too much mint can create the unwanted effect of tasting like an office Christmas party. Does anyone want that?)
It’s a hefty challenge, replicating a character or concept with only tea as your medium. But trust your instincts and your senses—Rarity isn’t the only one out there with good taste.
For Adagio fans, what inspires you for a tea? How do you create your fandom or signature blends? Please share your thoughts in the comments, I’m looking forward to hearing your experiences and tips for first-time blend-benders.
Now that you have an understanding of how custom blends can be created, and are brimming with new ideas, click here to create your own blend!