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Recent Tasting Notes
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.]
Been a long time since I had this tea but the caramel chunks still look appetizing.
What is less appetizing is the taste. With a normal amount of milk and sugar put in and prepping at the time and temp from my last note, this tastes burnt. Not burnt caramel, just burnt in general. I just added some more sugar in case that will help bring out the flavours I want, but I don’t have high hopes. Perhaps I added too much tea? 5 tsp per 750ml but there were a LOT of caramel chunks that take up space from tea. Aaaand I’m right, it just makes it a sweet burnt tea flavour.
2nd steep is just as dark as the first and smells very similar, perhaps a bit less burnt smell. Tastes still burnt but not nearly as bold. I don’t know what I did to this tea or if it’s just too old and gone bad at this point but I did not enjoy these 2 pots of tea today.
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! :(
I have to admit I am glad to finally be drinking the last of this one. I have been cold brewing it and finished it off today. I had to do this one carefully: half as much leaf as I would normally use, brewed for no more than 8 hours. Then it was quite tasty, although the jasmine and passion fruit never really came out strongly in the flavor. This was an old tea in my collection, and I’m happy to have finally cleared it out.
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.
Time for another tea! My scarf is almost done, but I’ve decided to make another after this. Thank you to JennyFur for this tea. I love earl grey teas, so I have high hopes.
I steeped this one at boiling for 4 minutes. I ended up using about 3 teaspoons for 16 oz. I only steep 16 oz at a time, so I just decided to use the whole sample bag thing.
Very nice! So smooth. It isn’t too harsh and isn’t overwhelmed with flavor. It is a good balance between the flavor and the actual tea. There is no bitter flavor at all.
I am very happy with this one! The flavor was so refreshing and not too heavy. Really solid tea. It knew what it was. I loved this.
Overall, I loved this tea. I won’t be buying it any time soon though because I have so many earl grey teas to finish off. I will keep it in mind if I ever end up running out of earl x).
I definitely did something wrong to this. It’s almost tasteless. I can smell and barely taste the bergamot as well as some sort of generic black tea flavour but everything else is lost. Too little tea? (It is old) or possibly too short a steeping time? Too much milk? Too little sugar? Hard to say. I have one more cup to try to get this right today then I am moving on to something else.
Tea #12 from Another TTB
The mint is strong in this one. Hmm, I didn’t intend for that to come out sounding like a Star Wars reference, but now that it does… :D
I can’t detect the raspberry or chocolate, but it has that nasty aftertaste that some chocolate (and caramel too) blends have. Why doesn’t anyone else ever notice this?
I love mint, but it’s not enough to compensate for the icky aftertaste here.
I have 2oz of this tea thanks to darby who was willing to split her Ovation Teas order and ship them to me overseas. I got 6oz of Ovation Teas for $20.43 including the shipping. Bargain :)
This lavender blend could be just what I need before bedtime tonight. I have a craving for something black based and lavender makes me sleep like a new born kitten.
The blend has a sweet orange and lavender smell but overall it’s only mild in strength. Much more subtle than expected but that’s something my husband will be happy to hear, he hates lavender.
The steeping instructions estimate a time of 5-6 minutes which in my opinion would be a bit too strong. The blend has a lot of black tea, I feel it would only harshen the flavour. So I shortened the time but will eventually try the full 6 minutes, depending on how this cup tastes.
The first few sips reveal a malty and subtly smoky black tea with an after taste of lavender with a sweet and sour orange tang.
I think I was correct to lower the steep time, I think it would have been far too thick and astringent otherwise. As it cools the black tea dominates quite heavily and it thickens. The base is so strong I’m wondering what this would be like as a night time iced tea? Will have to try that at some point.
The good – The lavender is mild and fresh
The bad – For an Earl Grey the bergamot/orange is too mild
I enjoyed this tea but wished it was a little better. It’s not quite what I imagined when I thought of a lavender early grey. But never mind, it’s still a pleasant night time tea.
Tea #18 from Traveling Tea Box C
Ohhh… this one tastes like stocking stuffers on Christmas morning! The chocolate tastes so chocolatey, and the orange just twines with it perfectly. I like this one! Actually, I think it would fit in perfectly with my next blog project, so I hope no one minds if I hold on to the rest of the sample. Besides, I don’t think my husband would let it leave… it was hard enough to get my cup back when I let him try a sip… or three ;)
Tea #16 from Traveling Tea Box C
This one bites back! I have to admit, I love raspberry whenever I can get the flavor without those horrible seeds, so I was very curious about this blend. I followed the directions on the bag, but I think less leaves and a slightly shorter steep would have helped. This is somewhat intense, with more briskness than I anticipated. The raspberry is also not very distinct, and falls into more of a vaguely fruity category.
Thank you to Dustin who sent me this a while ago— when Ovation sadly went out of business. I’m sorry I didn’t buy ALL their teas. I was able to try quite a few of them buying an ounce or two here from many kind Steepsters!
I only had this once before, even though I thought it was my favorite chai since I had it. I skipped a tasting note that time. This lovely tea sure smells very spicy opening the bag, even though there is a fair amount of non-CTC black tea leaves here. I saw ginger, cinnamon pieces, cloves, big green things that I had to see the description to tell that it was cardamom and apparently there is also black pepper. The flavor is a nice amount of strong chai but the black base here seems to be different than many of the bases from Ovation – this doesn’t seem to have too strong of a flavor. And there is also no vanilla flavor for me. I would have said this was my favorite chai, but that was before TastyBrew sent me Necessiteas Vanilla Chai. So I guess this makes my second favorite chai that I have in stock right now.
This is why I have only had this lovely chai twice since I acquired it a while ago:
Well, I had time to update my cupboard with tea company samples, teabox scores, and generous packages from other Steepsters. The number went up to 502 (!) before I took all of the teas off that went in teaboxes and the packages I sold. Now it’s at 474. Oh no, that is still too high! They are all mostly smaller amounts, but even if there is only one cup of tea in each sample, that’s still 474 cups… not to mention resteeps. Ah well, I love my tea collection! I certainly have variety though (but it doesn’t help when I want to be drinking six different teas at any given moment!
Tea #4 from Another Traveling Tea Box
What this is: A solid Mint Black Tea with a very subtle, but good, chocolate flavor.
What this isn’t: Balanced.
The mint is very, very potent in this blend. Which is fine for me, because I really enjoy a good mint tea! The chocolate flavor is also quite good. It’s cocoa-y and doesn’t have that chemical flavor that so many chocolate flavored teas do.
I was a little disappointed that the raspberry disappeared completely after the second or third sip — it’s like it slipped out the back door while the mint kept me entertained.There is a bit of berry aftertaste after the tea cools some, though, which was welcome and rounds it out better.
This is a pretty tasty blend, I wish the mint was a little more tamed and gave some of the other components a chance, but I still really enjoyed it.
Alphakitty split some of this with be from Ovation’s closeout sale a while back. (Hope you and yours are doing well!) I’m not sure why I’m just now writing a tasting note for this one. I love the giant pineapple chunks and blueberries. My infuser had two pineapple chunks but no blueberries. I remember this one tasting fruitier last time… I hope it isn’t already aging too much! But I love the flavor anyway… it’s a nice green base. The pineapple taste is very subtle this time around… hardly any blueberry. Definitely no fake flavoring though. Unless I needed to get more pineapple and blueberries in the blend, this one lost some of its magic.
I put three fairly decent sized tea packages together for sale and added teas to TWO teaboxes and it hardly seems to have made a dent in my tea stash! Yikes! Hopefully that is just because I was parceling out most of the teas.
Tea #14 from Another Traveling Tea Box
I’m still on the hunt for the perfect chocolate tea, so I was excited to try this one. I’ve never had anything from Ovation before and always like trying out a new company. The dry leaf was impressive looking, it had nice sized chunks of raspberry in it. This gave me hope that I would be able to taste raspberry once the tea had steeped.
While the tea was hot all I could taste was the mint, but once it cooled I could taste all three flavors. I liked that I could taste the raspberry and mint, it wasn’t drowned out by chocolate flavoring like many blends I’ve had. I’m just not sold on the combination of the three together. I do wonder how this would taste when cold steeped, but there isn’t enough in the TTB to find out.