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Recent Tasting Notes
I created this blend just before Christmas for a swap I was participating in … my recipient likes chai, vanilla flavored black teas, and almond flavored black teas … so I decided to have Ovation Teas put them all together in one fantastic blend for her. I decided that I had to try it too, so they were nice enough to include some for me to try.
And it is, indeed, fantastic! The chai comes through good and strong, and the vanilla and almond accent each other really nicely to provide a sweet, nutty, creamy taste that melds deliciously with the warmly spiced chai. It isn’t a strong, spicy chai, but it isn’t what I’d call mild either … it has a nice balance of spices. Warm and comforting … perfect for a chilly, grey Pacific Northwest day.
I was greatly saddened to learn that Ovation Teas is closing its doors … they are a “local” company (they’re in Washington, anyway), and that saddens me, as well as the fact that they had some pretty amazing blends and I hadn’t even scratched the surface … there were so many others I wanted to try! And really, they are such awesomely nice people, the kind of people I felt good about doing business with … I am sad to see them close their doors.
I guess I’m not going to rate this one since it is a custom blend that I created.
Water that doesn’t suck! I felt so sick to my stomach after my cup of oolong that I didn’t want to make any more hot tea there. A couple years ago I was so sick after I got back and I fully blame the water up there. Speaking of which I won’t even touch it to shower so I need to do that soon…ugh it’ll feel so nice. I hate the water so much I actually stood out in the rain the other night no problem LOL oh well.
I’m not having the best day, like to add to how it already sucks, my mom just told me my grandpa’s dog had to be put to sleep Friday night. So now once again I can be upset, yay.
So it will be a night of tea ahead, starting with a glass of this iced. I haven’t been drinking it much but I definitely enjoy it since it’s something I came up with. I wish it reminded me more of the drink but it’s good no matter what. I really love the combination of the lemon flavors and the juniper berries.
Sometime I think I have to brew it decently concentrated and try it with just a bit of gin, and see if that gives it more of what I was really, really looking for. But that would require me buying gin and I’m lazy.
So one of my favorite cocktails ever is a French 75 – gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and champagne. I always thought it would make an awesome flavored tea, so when I saw Ovation had free shipping I knew I had to make my own.
I thought maybe honeybush would be good to get the sweetness down but I decided that wasn’t important and went with green tea for a base. So it’s green tea, juniper berries, lemon verbena, lemon and orange peel, and champagne flavoring.
It of course doesn’t smell a thing like the drink because obviously I had to pick and choose parts of gin to have, and the lemon and orange peel come off strongly. Maybe I would leave out orange peel in the future but I didn’t feel like just juniper berries was enough for conveying “gin.”
It doesn’t quite taste like the drink, of course, but I love the idea of these flavor components working together in another way. The juniper berries give it a bite, but the citrus flavors reign it back in. It’s probably far too early to really get a good taste of the champagne flavoring working with everything else, but I think with a bit of time to meld, this is going to be really good. I just couldn’t help myself and had to give it a try now.
Revisiting my custom blend from Ovation Teas. Tonight, the nutmeg is very prominent. So much so that I could smell the aroma in the living room as it steeped in the kitchen. Powerful!
The apricot and vanilla are pretty evenly matched. This sip, I might taste a little more apricot, while the next, more vanilla comes through. I don’t taste a lot of almond flavor (it’s there, just not strong), the pecan is a little stronger than the almond … although neither is particularly strong… they present themselves as background notes to support the other flavors, and really enhance the natural nutty flavors of the white tea nicely.
So this is my custom blend, ordered when Ovation Teas offered the free custom blend about a month ago. I waited to try it because I wanted to allow the flavors to mingle a bit.
This is yummy. The nutmeg is the strongest flavor, but it doesn’t overpower the other tastes in this cup. The apricot and vanilla are sweet, creamy and luscious. There is a hint of sharpness from the sunflower petals. The almonds and pecans are sweet, nutty and add a nice earthy quality to the overall cup.
So I’m pretty sure this is the tea that was sent to me..
ANYWAYS thank you Alphakitty! This tea is actually pretty unique. It’s also very pretty. I have never tasted another one like it. It’s sweet but still has something I can’t put my finger on. The green tea base is nice and I feel like it adds a bit of vegetal sweetness to it. I can catch hints of the orange and lemon flavors. I’m not sure what juniper berries taste like but I’m sure they’re adding to the sweetness :] I reeaallly enjoyed this tea. Thanks again!
Thanks LiberTEAS for this sample!
This tea just jumped out at me tonight and after watching my boyfriend play Madden 13 online for the past few hours, it’s a very welcome distraction. Well good thing I love football anyway, but Madden doesn’t make much sense to me. It’s so complicated…I just like to watch him yell at the tv like a little kid. Boyfriends – strange creatures they are. Anyhow, it gives me some time to browse steepster and other things while he plays so I can’t complain too much.
Mmm this is a lovely cup indeed. I’m getting a very clean crisp taste (I attribute that to the white tea) and I’m really enjoying the nutmeg here. It gives this cup a whole different angle that I didn’t expect. I’m not really getting much fruit, though there is a lingering sweetness. The vanilla adds a little creamy fullness which I appreciate. A slice of warm bananna bread would really compliment this tea.
I do like it, but I just can’t find the fruit. It must be hiding in there somewhere. I did realize today that I’m getting a sore throat and there’s a cold going around work, so maybe my senses are preparing for war or something. Here’s to shutting off my alarm and hoping my body recharges enough overnight to fight this bug off!
So we need a few caffeine free teas for night time. We like to share tea pretty late into the night and I’ve been having trouble sleeping. I’m not sure its tea that’s keeping me awake, but I’d rather play it safe. We had a tea from a store that was called Strawberry Sunset and we can’t get it any more. We tried to build it with Ovation teas, minus the stevia and hibiscus. I’m not a big fan of either. What we got was a chamomile base with peppermint, figs, strawberries, strawberry flavoring and spearmint flavoring.
So the fig is lost in here. I think it may have contributed to the sweetness of the tea. Otherwise it’s pretty straight forward. There is a mild mint taste with chamomile and strawberries. I actually like the mint the best. It’s not aggressive nor too subtle. I’m pretty happy with this one, other than I think a mint base would be better than the chamomile base.
I have to recommend Ovation Tea to you all. They are great. They responded to our questions via emails in a reasonable amount of time. I feel they use quality ingredients and ship out in a timely manner.
Sipdown! Finishing off the last of this custom blend from Missy and Dylan. I’m fairly sure that it has lost some flavour since the last time I drank it, but it’s really not too bad. Chamomile and mint, along with a bit of fruity tartness is about all that I’m picking up on right now. Actually, checking the blend ingredients – I’m pretty sure that it’s the lemongrass I’m picking up on. Really not tasting much strawberry at all here, so either that flavour wasn’t particularly strong to begin with, or it has sadly dissipated.
Either way, this is tasty… although perhaps I should have let it sit until I actually was intending to go to bed. I kind of slept all day today… I’m on a terrible sleeping schedule right now…
Thanks Missy and Dylan for sending along some of their custom blend! Figured a little chamomile couldn’t hurt tonight.
The chamomile is quite apparent (as I was warned), but I no longer have such an aversion to it as I used to. I’m convinced that the flavour I thought was chamomile was actually a combination of chamomile and peppermint (which I do still dislike), and so poor chamomile suffered because I had never tried it without peppermint.
Steeped, the cup smells like a minty, sweet-ish chamomile.
The flavour is much more layered. I can taste chamomile with a bit of lemongrass combined with a slight hint of fruitiness (not clearly strawberry). The spearmint adds a lovely minty crispness to the flavour without the icky peppermint taste, which I really appreciate. I think there’s perhaps a touch of cinnamon appearing at the end of the sip, but it’s hard to pick out. I don’t think I’m tasting figs at all.
Great blend! Both to you guys for choosing the combination, and Ovation for the expert blending that made this tea a delicious flavour explosion instead of having one flavour overwhelm everything else.
Either this tea has run its course, or a travel mug was not a smart option… either way, I don’t think this was very tasty in my travel mug yesterday. Still drank it, but it was quite unremarkable. I remember liking it previously, so the last cup I’ll drink “normally”, to see if I can recapture that initial enjoyment.
Had a fairly mediocre cup of this a while back – the nutmeg was prominent and I don’t recall caring for the cup a great deal. Might be an age thing, or perhaps I didn’t brew it properly, as it was kind of astringent as well. Still have some left, so it will get another shot eventually!
So thankfully my office mate a) has T-sacs in our office and b) was willing to lend me a couple, because I took my tea balls home for the weekend (hence the marathon tea sessions), and neglected to bring them back this morning! The horror! I do have bagged tea in my drawer, but I brought this tea and another along special cuz I wanted to try them as a treat.
Anyways, thank you LiberTEAS for this sample! Fruitcake is not my most favourite thing in the world, but in a tea… who knows! The dry tea doesn’t remind me of fruitcake; mostly I smell nutmeg. The tea is filled with big nut chunks, full pretty sunflower petals, and big, whole white tea leaves – looks delicious!
Fruitcake is definitely not the first association I’m making when I take a whiff of the aroma from the freshly brewed cup. However, the aroma is incredibly familiar. It reminds me of holidays (likely nutmeg), but most of all makes me think of a tropical greenhouse! You know, where it’s all humid and hot and filled with wonderful plants and blooming flowers? That is what I’m smelling. Since I’m a plant agriculture student, and I’m at work, there’s actually a tropical greenhouse downstairs that this reminds me of. Were I not so lazy, I’d head down there now just to confirm my thoughts.
Anyways, I love tropical greenhouses (I love plants…), so this is really kind of neat, not unpleasant at all! (Oh, a note – I dumbly let my water cool down too much so I know I steeped this one at too low of a temperature. I have lots left so will correct that in the future, but wanted tea now so just put the bag in anyhow)
Sipping the tea, I can taste nutmeg… and greenhouse. Oh – late in the sip I am definitely getting apricot! I think there’s some initial nuttiness too.
Oh man, I’m kind of loving that apricot. Why can’t you be more prominent?! Perhaps had I paid more attention, it would have come out more. I can’t say I’m really tasting any white tea either, but we’ll blame an absurdly low steeping temperature (yeah, that’s right, just under 70C) for that.
I’m finding this one very different and intriguing. Tentatively rating it now, but I expect an increase upon trying again with proper conditions. I may try a hotter re-steep shortly… I am drinking this one quite quickly! A sign of enjoyment :)
ETA: I lied, getting a hint of white tea aftertaste. Looking forward to cup #2!
ETA again: Well, the re-steep, which was at 163F (yeah whoops again), and for aaaages, was pretty meh. The tasty apricot flavour was gone, and it just tasted like greenhouse. That’s ok though – I wouldn’t have expected much after such a long initial steep anyhow. (I still drank it though! It wasn’t bad, just not terribly flavourful.)
So… Strawberry Sunset (take 1) is a tisane I made using Ovation Teas custom blending, using the following options:
Tea Base – Chamomile
Herbs, Spices & Flowers – Cinnamon Chips, Lemongrass
Fruit & Nuts – Strawberries, Figs
Flavorings – Strawberry, Spearmint
Let me start off by saying THIS IS DELICIOUS, even though it isn’t as strawberry-y as I wanted. It’s very, very tasty though. The strawberry flavoring isn’t as dominant as either the mint or the chamomile flavors, but it picks up a little more as the beverage cools. The amount of lemongrass they used in this blend is perfect, just a hint of zing as a finishing note. It lingers a little bit too.
The fig flavoring is lost, which I somewhat expected, since fig is a little tame on it’s own. I think I’ll actually replace those with more strawberries the next time around (oh yes, there will be a next time, this isn’t over between us Ovation).
The brew has a very pale, almost white grape juice color. This was a little surprising to me as I was expecting the vibrant red that I had in the Strawberry Sunset that I was basing this from. It probably just means that Ovation is using a more ‘natural’ product, where the one I had before was a more artificially colored and flavored blend.
I’m finishing up the second cup, and this chamomile is totally knocking me out. So I’m going to rate this 100 and run off to bed. Yes, I’m going to give it 100 even though it can be improved slightly. I figure any lacking in flavor combination is my own darned fault, so I can really only rate the tea on the quality and flavor of the chosen ingredients, which is AMAZING.
Backlogging, and based on my memory
Experience buying from Ovation Teas: Overall, positive.
Date of Purchase: Summer 2011, in response to a promotion on Steepster.
Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: a little odd smelling, but sweet and fruity; I don’t think the flavors I chose quite go together (see Overall for the ingredients). It has these largish, dark, odd shaped nodules that I believe are the nomi fruit, bits of what I believe are dried pear, and stevia leaves (which must be hiding in there somewhere) mixed in with the green tea leaves; I like that it’s mostly comprised of green tea leaves.
Brewing guidelines: Glass Bodum pot with metal infuser/plunger; sometimes I forget there are stevia leaves in the tea and still add my stevia extract (doooooh-a! how exactly do you spell the sound Bart Simpson’s dad makes when he goofs up, anyway?), my standard Chinese-green tea steeping times and temperatures.
Flavor of tea liquor: Unusual, but good! It’s sweet and strangely fruity. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this particular mixture to anyone else, but I am glad I tried it (I am certainly no expert when it comes to blending tea).
Blends well with: I have used this successfully to help flavor a number of my unflavored greens.
Value: Through a promotion Ovation Teas was running, I got four ounces of this for only the cost of shipping. Thank you Ovation teas! It was worth it!! Otherwise, I think a custom blended tea is about $13 for 4 ounces (depending on the base tea you choose).
Overall: My custom green tea blend included nomi fruit, diced pears, and stevia leaves with strawberry flavoring (in an attempt to keep it simple I choose only four ingredients, but Ovation allows you to choose up to six). I normally use my flavored greens to enhance the flavor of the later steepings of my unflavored greens, but I like this tea enough that I sometimes brew this one up in the evenings by itself. It certainly is fun getting to choose what you put to help flavor the base tea. I don’t know if I would pay full price for a different blended tea of my choice, but I will keep it in mind (I don’t have much confidence in my ability to pick the best combination). It certainly is a great idea of those of us who want something different and don’t have access to all of those wonderful and different flavoring ingredients!
Okay folks, so thank thank thank you to Erin Hurley for sending me some of her precious Pecan Pie blend! I knew it had to be the first one I tried. yummeh in my tummeh.
Sadly, when I went to put brown sugar in, a few bread crumbs got in there :/ I keep bread in my brown sug to keep it soft, but something it flakes away. Bad bread! Oh well, I picked them out haha.
Second steep – steamed milk and vanilla syrup. It’s pecan pie goodness – I love the slight ..bitterness? of the pecans? haha it’s not bitter, but you know, the nut part! It’s very nice. mm paired with the caramel, you are a doll Erin :D
Okay I’ve found out the only sad part about tea swaps- only enough tea for one or two cups! Sometimes it makes you sad because it’s soooo good. But then, that’s what payday is for :D
ERIN! Guess what I did with this. I added a splash of rum, a dab of butter, a bit of brown sugar and a squeeze of maple syrup!
My version of a hot buttered rum.
AND OMG. IT IS TOO GOOD.
buttery maple pecan pie with rum goodness. ahhhhhh.
OH by the way – free shipping from Harney until August 30th. Use code “MASTER” at checkout.
Tea of the morning……
I spent part of the weekend making a spreadsheet of my teas in more than sample amounts (over 1 ounce). What a rude awakening. I do seriously have a tea shopping problem. This was one I found buried in the recesses. Now, with the spreadsheet, I have a better idea of what I am replacing and what needs to be consumed to make more space. Such a handy tool.
This is good, but sweet. It was very fun blending my own tea as I got to put in all of the things I thought I would like together. I may blend my own again someday, but for now it is on the exit list.
Usual teapot method with a three minute steep.
Tea of the afternoon……
LiberTEAs was right….it does get better after it has had a little time to meld for a few weeks. Still love this, and am looking forward to blending a few more. This is, after all, my dessert replacement plan… ;) Right now I have an order in for a few of Ovation’s regular offerings to try before I blend another of my own. Reviews as soon as they come in….
My blend arrived today! Yippeeeeee! Of course, I had to try it immediatley, even though our own LiberTEAS suggests waiting three weeks for full potency. I will just have to review it again later! I did not get my order into the website on time for a free custom blend, but I was able to find a free shipping code by liking their facebook page.
I definitely get the honey and vanilla. The black base is smooth and pleasing, which is usually where I sometimes have issue with flavored teas. The presentation is lovely with large coconut pieces, the jasmine flowers and the orange safflower petals. The caramel looks slightly sticky as it is hot outside in my mailbox! It did not at all affect the blend. In three weeks, I expect the flavors to slightly intensify, but if not, this is a winner in my cupboard. I am quite pleased, overall, and am planning my next order as I type this. Truly a fun experiment, and I will definitley drink all of this. I like the options Ovation has to enhance the teas beyond just flavoring. I also feel the amount of tea in the pouch is a good amount for the price I paid. I did also get a few coupons in my order for my next purchase. Thank you, Ovation Teas!