Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Ovation Teas
Black tea blended with cinnamon chips, cloves, ginger, cardamom, almonds, nutmeg, black pepper, and safflowers with chai flavoring and almond & vanilla extract.
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!