Post by Lydia Zuraw, The Salt at NPR Food (04/29/13)
Apparently, fan fiction and fan art aren’t the only options for expressing your love of Sherlock, Doctor Who and The Hunger Games. There’s also tea.
If you visit the online tea store of Adagio Teas, you’ll find a collection of “Fandom Blends.” They’re the teas that customers have mixed and named after characters in favorite TV shows, books, movies and comics.
The company started allowing customers to create their own blends on the website in 2008. But the service really didn’t take off until about a year ago, when comic artist Cara McGee decided to blend some Sherlock teas on a whim. She was initially inspired by a Moriar Tea graphic that played on the name of the detective’s archnemesis, Moriarty.
These days, Adagio’s site offers more than a thousand user-created “fandom teas” that anyone can purchase. McGee herself has made about 150 blends, and she’s designed her own label art for them. So why express your fandom in teas?
“It’s not just something that another person can look at on their screen,” McGee says, “but they can actually order it and have it in their hands. And unlike a shirt or other merchandise, you can really experience it.”
ThinkGeek is another company selling geeky beverages (specifically, Star Wars-themed), but the flavors aren’t crowdsourced, and there are only three currently for sale: Star: Vader’s Dark Side Roast Coffee, Dagobah Green Tea and Hoth Cocoa.
Ilya Kreymerman, Adagio’s chief technology officer, says he doesn’t know of other food or beverage companies out there that let the consumer design their own flavor — especially not ones based on TV and book characters. “Tea lends itself well to that,” he says. “Historically, people tended to create their own blends and share them.”
We haven’t come across other crowdsourced fan foods like Adagio’s, but if you have, let us know.
Copyright 2013 NPR.