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Recent Tasting Notes
OMG! I made this way too strong! Dumping half the cup and refilling with water in an attempt to try to save it. I added a little sugar. The orange flavor is dominating. There are a ton of orange peels in this. I’m not able to pick out the blueberry. Not wowing me.
The Ovation EGs I got were very sharp in taste when I first got them. I decided to give them a while to settle down, they made their way to the back of my cupboard only to reemerge now. Now this tea seems a little on the weak side. I added a little sugar which rounds out the raspberry. The EG flavors are pretty muted which gives the raspberry a little room to come out. Adding cream knocks out the flavors a bit and leaves it tasting more like just a black tea. Not super exciting, but better with just sugar.
This sample came from the EU Travelling Tea Box Round 2, courtesy of KittyLovesTea. This was actually Frank’s pick from the original box, I think mainly because I was badgering him to go outside of his usual straight black or earl grey comfort zone, and this was the least outside of it he had to go to get me off his back. He turned out to really love it, and I was originally going to put the samples back ater one cup but he asked to keep it. I kept enough back to have my own cup at the end of the sample to satisfy my curiosity. Honestly, I think it must have been contaminated since, because if not, I don’t understand why he loved it so much.
I have since bought him some lavender earl grey from Adagio,which I have tried myself and really enjoyed. I assumed that this would be similar, but it turns out not really. The lavender scent is very powerful, and the whole kitchen smelled like my grandma’s garden right away when steeping. The bergamot was also present I a light, citrusy way. The smell was super good, but unfortunately the earl grey just didn’t translate into the flavour. The lavender is EXTREMELY strong, and completely drowns out the other flavours. For my first few sips, I found this enjoyable, although as my cup went on I started to find it cloying and was actually quite sick of it by the end of the cup. I also started to notice a sort of stale taste part way through, which I will attribute to the fact that I haven’t kept it entirely well, and the sample has been open for quite some time now. I can’t mark it poorly, though, as I did enjoy the first quarter of the cup, and Frankie’s opinion should be taken into account, too. It’s only fair. Plus I also seem to remember sneaking a sip each time I made it for him, and enjoyed it considerably more than I did today.
Drank with milk to tone down the punch of flavour, and a sprinkling of sugar to round it off.
Thank you for the sale, Momo! Here is one I get to try from Ovation – miss them! I’ve never tried a bad tea from them and I’ve tried a handful. Always plenty of flavor. This one promises pecan, chocolate and caramel on a rooibos blend. There are plenty of actual pecan pieces. The primary note is chocolate that reminds me of milk chocolate frosting or chocolate whip in candy bars. There is a hint of woody flavor, either from the rooibos or the pecan. I’m not sure if I’m tasting caramel but there is plenty of sweetness! A really nice dessert blend, though I would have liked a honeybush base more.
Steep #1 // just boiled // 3 min
I wanted to like this tea…really, really wanted to like it. I enjoy tart fruit flavours and have a longstanding love for the Earl, but the two seemed to clash dissonantly in my cup.
Perhaps it was a mistake with brewing, but this was definitely not the tea for me.
I think my tea might have lost some of its flavoring as it is a few years old and I got it in a trade with someone who had it for who knows how long before that. So I find that while I can smell the lemon and raspberry (and it’s very nice) I’m not getting a lot in the flavour, particularly the raspberry. There is a bit of lemony tartness but mostly this blend just tastes like Ceylon tea.
The dry and steeping leaf smell so amazing! Just like a freshly unwrapped Terry’s orange, or maybe like the dark chocolate covered candied orange rind a local chocolate company does (Seriously, though. They’re so amazing. Kind of turned me into a chocolate/ornage candy snob though).
I’m finding the liquor itself has a quite strong base. Almost too much so while hot. The orange only really comes out in the aftertaste and the chocolate isn’t really present. I could believe this was unflavored if it weren’t for that sweet ornage-y aftertaste.
As the tea cools the flavors come together in the sip a lot better. The chocolate still isn’t incredibly forward, but what’s there tastes like a more natural chocolate than a lot of others I’ve tried. It also doesn’t leave an oily film or anything of that sort, so those are definitely points in its favor.
Thanks for the large sample Dustin. I look forward to trying this one as a latte.
TTB Tea 7: This is the first Ovation tea I’ve tried. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because I’ve heard lots of mixed feelings.
This was a pleasant tea, but not amazing. I didn’t really taste much mint with this, but I got some tart berry flavors. I ended up eating a piece of dark chocolate half way through the cup, and the two worked really well together!
Flavors: Berries, Chocolate
Husband loves lemon flavoured things, so this one was a combination of something he loves (lemons) and something I love (berries). His lemon fixation has sort of rubbed off on me and I frequently find myself going for a lemon-y option if one is presented to me. So I nabbed this one out of the EU travelling teabox.
Unfortunately, though, he only found the combination pleasant but not awesome. Oh well. I tried, though.
Personally I found it really nice. I used to have a lemon tea and black currant tea, both from AC Perchs that I would mix half and half. I thought it was pretty awesome, but I tended to be the only person to think so. This blend is rather in the same sort of vein, so I’m feeling a little bit vindicated right now. It’s not just me!
As mentioned, I’ve enjoyed this cup. I find the berry and the lemon in a pleasant balance with the base, and it leaves a sort of veeeery slightly astringent feeling on the tongue, just like when one has been eating something with lemon juice on it. Considering that this is a lemon-y tea, I consider that a really great touch.
Apart from this, I’m afraid I haven’t been paying too much attention to it, as it got caught up in writing the moving notice for our current landlord, trying to work out what we could expect to have to pay for a painter to whack a fresh coat of paint on the walls after we’ve moved (the alternative is doing it ourselves, and as I’ve never painted a wall in my life… I’d rather start my painting career on something that is mine you know) and general house-excitement.
Lavender Earl Greys are yet another of those tea categories I’m not quite comfortable with (I’ll probably need a good rest at a spa or something after this swap box sampling round.) but want to make some kind of final decision on. I decided to go with the steeping suggestion from KittyLovesTea’s review of this, as the full six-minute steep seemed too steep (Hue hueee. I guess we are doing puns this month. ) for me and my black tea issues.
The dry tea is all about the lavender to me. It efficiently drowns out any other scent notes, except possibly some small hint of the tea base. Steeped, the tea base acquires significantly more potency, and it’s roughly a 50/50 lavender/tea base (I don’t love) balance.
This is a really, really difficult one for me. It tastes so much like a fish dish I made once – it was oven-baked cod with rosemary and some kind of creamy topping. It was the strangest blend of really disgusting and really good – I still get freaky little cravings for it on the rare occasion. What made it problematic was the perfumey quality of the rosemary combined with the fish, and this strikes me as similar. The black tea base is pretty savoury, and to me that really collides with the perfume notes of the lavender. I think for a lavender EG to work for me, it needs to be far more delicately blended, and with a more complex taste structure.
Let me emphasize that the rating in no way reflects the quality of the tea, but my own severe hangups in terms of lavender EGs.
Thanks for sharing, KittyLovesTea!
[Sample from the second round of the EU Travelling Box, spring 2014.]
Very good dessert tea that funtions great as breakfast tea as well. The base seemed to be very pronounced, too, which is important because I’ve noticed that dessert teas sometimes have really mediocre bases. There’s something immortally delicious (sic!) about the chocolate + orange combination, it seems. This paired perfectly with my cranberry English muffin breakfast, too. Yum!
EDIT: I just found out that Ovation Teas have been gone for a while… That’s too bad! :(
A sample from KittyLovesTea. On first sip, this one reminded me a little of 52 Teas Rainbow Sherbet. I’m guessing it’s the fruit flavours and almost-acidity, but there’s something of the same “fizziness” about them, paired with the black tea base. The lemon comes over most clearly here, perhaps understandably, but is followed by a slightly bittersweet, tart raspberry flavour. Both come across very naturally — nothing artificial or fake tasting here! I’ve enjoyed three cups of this from my sample over the past few days, and like it equally well with or without milk. It’s a fruity, slightly acidic tasting black tea, clearly flavoured and very enjoyable. Thanks to KittyLovesTea for sharing this with me!
The pearls seem like such a novel way to form tea. It smells nice and jasmine like when dry and the smell once brewed is the same, but the taste is a little lighter than I expected. It is a nice clean jasmine taste with the leaves tasting a little buttery at the end and no bite like some jasmine, but it lacks the strength that I prefer in my jasmine teas. Still, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at it. I might try a heavier leafing next time and see how that goes. I’m a little unsure of how many pearls to use for a cup.