Jennifer’s Chai – a Custom Blend from Ovation Teas

Ovation_TeasTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Ovation Teas

Tea Description:

Black tea blended with cinnamon chips, cloves, ginger, cardamom, almonds, nutmeg, black pepper, and safflowers with chai flavoring and almond & vanilla extract.

Taster’s Review:

I debated with myself whether or not I should write this review, because I recently learned that Ovation Teas is closing their business.  I am very saddened by this news for several reasons.  The first, and most obvious to many of you, I’m sure, is the fact that they’re a tea business and I don’t want tea businesses to go out of business!  They are a local company, and I love to support the local businesses.  But one of the main reasons I’m sad is that Ovation Teas had some pretty spectacular blends … and I barely scratched the surface at trying them all (and yes, I wanted to do that!)

I ordered this particular custom blend just before Christmas as a gift for a recipient in a gift swap in which I was participating.  My recipient liked chai, vanilla flavored teas and almond flavored teas, so I asked Ovation teas if they could combine all of the above in one amazing blend!  And they did … AND in addition to the full-sized portion that I ordered for my recipient, they were nice enough to send me some of the tea to try too!

It brews up dark and fragrant, smelling of alluring spices with hints of almond and vanilla with a rich backdrop of earthy black tea.  And that’s what I taste, too.  The black tea has a strong presence here, and I appreciate that because often with chai blends, the black tea tends to take a back seat and is often overwhelmed by the spices.  That didn’t happen here, and I’m glad.  The spices are very harmonious … the cloves do stand out a bit which kind of surprised me, because usually with chai blends it’s either the cinnamon or the ginger that is prominent.  Here, the other spices seem pretty evenly matched, with the cloves coming out as the prominent flavor.

And these flavors are nicely accentuated by the flavors of vanilla and almond which offers a sweet, creamy, nutty note.  I like that the nutty tones of the almond are further highlighted by the nutmeg in the chai … a really nice touch (I think that this might have been an addition that I requested, and I think I did right to request it, this blend would not be the same without the nutmeg).

This is a really delicious chai that I’m enjoying served straight with just a little bit of turbinado sugar to emphasize the spices a bit.  It doesn’t need a lot of sweetening though, because the sweetness of the vanilla and almond are very satisfying.  And because of the creaminess of these two flavors, it doesn’t need milk to make it taste creamy … although this would be very tasty with a drop or two of milk just to enhance the creamy tones.

To Ovation Teas, I lift my tea mug up and toast you, I will miss you!

Sweet & Sassy SororiTea From Uniq Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Uniq Teas

Tea Description:

Sweet caramel notes are accented with a touch of spice and hint of almond. This is LiberTEAS blend.

Learn more about creating your own blend here.

You can order this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

Not too long ago, we (the SororiTea Sisters) were contacted by Uniq Teas and invited to each create our own blend which we could then sample and review.   Well, of course we took them up on it!  It sounded like fun!

And it really is fun!  The Uniq Teas website is so easy to use!  You just create an account, then choose from their selection of 40 different Organic and Fair Trade teas to create a blend. You choose the teas, and you choose how much of each blend is used to come up with your own unique blend.  Then, you name the tea, design the label, and you write the description.  You even decide if you want the tea to be a public tea (available for everyone to purchase) or a private one.

It was a blast to put this blend together.  It is a blend of black teas:  Caramelicious, Black Chai, and Almond.  I then chose the name Sweet & Sassy SororiTea because caramel and almond is sweet, and I thought that the spices would add a certain sassy attitude to the cup without coming off as being too spicy.

And I’m really happy with this!  The black tea offers a strong background of flavor – it is rich, assertive and slightly astringent.  I’m not experiencing any bitterness, but, I also think that this is a tea that you don’t want to over-infuse, because I think it could become bitter if it’s left to brew too long.  I steeped this for 3 1/2 minutes and it came out just right.

And even though the black tea base is strong, it doesn’t overwhelm the flavors which I find to have just the balance I was looking for.  The caramel comes through as the strongest flavor, and there are hints of almond in the background.  The spices are loud and indeed sassy, but they aren’t overly spicy.  It was my intention that even though a chai blend was being used as part of my tea blend, I didn’t really want it to come off as a chai.  I wanted it to come off as a spiced caramel blend with a touch of almonds, and that’s just what I got!  This blend is great served straight … but I like it even better as a latte as it helps to bring out the creamy notes of the caramel and the sweetness of the almonds.

I am definitely going to be returning to Uniq Teas in the future to create another blend … maybe a twist on Earl Grey next time!