I guess I can tell which of the samplers I’ll be reordering by noting how nervous I feel when the pack starts to get empty… This is one of those. It’s got such a nice and sweet dried fruit quality to it, and with the holidays coming round it feels like the right tea for the moment. Really happy to have discovered this one!
237 Tasting Notes
A strong yet sensitive type, this tea is! It came out malty and a little astringent, with a rich and doughy smell and thick texture. I second the sentiments of those who are looking for an alternative supplier to The Simple Leaf – this is a fantastic example of the bready, malty black tea style.
I cooled off the water a bit from last time and found that helped eliminate the burnt notes I had encountered. Instead I got a full-bodied, rather raisiny tea with just a touch of astringency and no bitterness. I was reading a little yesterday about the differences found in first flush vs. second flush teas, so now I’m interested to try two side-by-side to see if I can taste the same things. The descriptions made me think that I’d probably enjoy second flush more, as it’s said to exhibit more of the muscatel flavors that I enjoy in Darjeelings – we’ll just have to see about that!
Had two infusions of this yesterday afternoon, but no time to log it until now. It’s probably just the fall season getting to me, but I swear they tasted roastier and more “fall-like” than previous tastings have. I am still getting some vegetal, spice, and fruit notes, but coated in a warm and slightly smoky cloak. This is definitely a tea that rewards deeper investigation!
I had several steeps of this today and really enjoyed it. It gave me just enough of a caffeine hit to be noticeable, without getting wired, and the taste stayed interesting the whole time, evolving over the course of the steepings. It always maintained a pleasant level of natural sweetness underlying the earthiness, and was not as heavy as some pu-erhs I’ve had that can leave a bitter taste behind.
I’m officially spoiling myself today – spending the morning with Hawaii-Grown Black, and the afternoon with Tie Guan Yin. After a tired start to the day, these two helpers got me through in fine spirits. As usual, the Tie Guan Yin felt healthy and clearing to my senses, and it didn’t hurt that it was absolutely delicious through each steep!
My mind is playing tricks on me – I could have sworm that I’d ordered 50g of this tea, but taking a closer look at the packaging today, it turns out it was only 25g. Wishful thinking at work!
In any case, with Thanksgiving coming up this week (in the USA anyway), it seemed like a starchy, sweet potato-like tea would be a good choice. Yes, this one is always a good choice. It is very much the tea equivalent of comfort food for me with its sweet, starchy warmth and complete lack of bitterness.
Today’s steeps of this favorite revealed a lot of buttery goodness – I kept the temperature fairly low and steeped for a little bit more time than I have before, and not surprisingly got a richer brew that didn’t get unpleasantly bitter or astringent. Still getting a combo of vegetables with the occasional piney aroma and flavor.
It’s no longer summer by a long shot, but I was in the mood for this summery taste today. The apple flavor really came through this time, both in the aroma and in the flavor, with little hints of mint in the background. It tastes natural and not overly sweet, and this time I chose to put in some cream and sugar. That managed to mask the remaining mint flavor, but brought out the apple quite nicely. It didn’t exactly end up tasting like liquid apple pie, as it didn’t have any yeasty/bready notes, but it was sweet and dessert-like none the less.
Had a couple really nice infusions of this today – still fragrant, floral, naturally sweet, and delicate. I went with water a little cooler than I normally use, and found that this brought out the sweetness more and toned down the intense floral scent and flavor. I like it when a tea can really change character like that when the parameters are even slightly varied.
Decupboarding…sniff sniff! I steeped it up extra strong today in an attempt to have it leave a lasting mark on my memory, which is all I’m going to have until I have a chance to get more in a few months. So it’s not really goodbye old friend, simply au revoir -
I decided to add more leaf to the pot this time – about 50% more than I usually do – and really liked the outcome! It was much more buttery, and had something approaching a starchy flavor which was very satisfying. This was sitting on top of the sweet grassy notes I’d gotten in previous tastings, which made for a very nice combination. I’ll bump it up a few points based on that.
Went through a bunch of steepings on this, my last sample tuo cha. After a quick rinse with boiling water, the first infusion was strong enough to put hair on my chest – following ones were mellower and by infusion four and five, it was really sweet, woody, and earthy. A very enjoyable pu erh.
This time I think I made the water a bit too hot – still a good cup of tea, but it was more roasty in character, stronger on the astringency, and the fruity flavors were a little washed out. That’ll teach me! I’ll have to tread more lightly with first flush Darjeelings in the future.
Despite that, I still got a nice set of tastes to enjoy. Stone fruit, touches of floral and spice there too along with the aforementioned roastiness – which wasn’t a bad thing, just not what I usually go to Darjeelings for.
A sweet and tasty way to start off the week – I noticed the cashew flavors more than usual in the batch I made up this morning, while still keeping track of the white chocolate notes. Even after close to five minutes, I did not get any trace of bitterness. The cream and sugar helped it remain smooth, but I think the black tea base is also high enough quality to avoid any problems with the taste.
Had the day off yesterday, and therefore the opportunity to take this final Samovar sample pack home and cook it up according to the directions on the label. I used regular white sugar as the sweetener and a Tbsp of Mariage Freres cinnamon-orange black tea as the extra as I thought those flavors would probably blend well.
As it was boiling on the stovetop it smelled really good – spicy and warm, perfect for a crisp fall day. The flavor was quite pungent – the sweetness was right on the mark but there was one element of the spice flavor that was really strong, and I have a feeling it was the cardamom. I did note several pods in the packet and find for me that this flavor, though I like it a lot, can easily go over the edge if overdone. If I were to try this again in the future I’d probably make sure there were no more than one or two cardamom pods in there. That’s just a matter of personal taste though; in general I found this to be very tasty and well balanced in the other spices – cinnamon, clove, pepper, ginger all found a home.
Trying this one for a second time, and I’ll be switching up the parameters a little, decreasing the steep time to see what flavors that brings out. I still find the tuo cha to have a very mild and slightly nutty aroma, and the liquor to be not as reddish as many other pu erhs.
An initial rinse, and then a one minute steeping time. Now rather than savory, the liquor is sweet, with a definite earthy flavor and something akin to chocolate in the background. Very different from the inital long steep I did last time. The second steep is at two minutes, and is still quite sweet. I’m also getting more of the savory at this stage, plus continuing earthiness. I think this would be a good tea to continue experimenting with – it seems to yield interestingly different results with varying parameters.
I promised myself I’d try this again with cream and sugar, so here we are. I steeped it up pretty strong, until I could really smell the yeasty baked goods aroma of the black tea, then added a good dollop of cream and some sugar to boot. How nice! It’s very comforting this way, and doesn’t lose track of the characteristics I like most about this tea. I really think it’s only my imagination, but I keep thinking there may be a hint of cinnamon in there – probably only because I really want to have a gooey sticky bun to go with this and don’t!
My last bit of this sample was a little more than I needed, but I liked the slightly stronger taste it yielded. I went three steeps, and really did find very different characteristics in each one. The first was sweet and floral, juicy and just a little vegetal. The second was more strongly vegetal, moving closer to a sencha style in buttered vegetable goodness. The third was grassy, still sweet, and had just a hint of roastiness. A very nice trio of tastes from one spoonful of leaf!
Cleaning out the last little bit of yet another Mariage Freres favorite. Although I’ve had this batch for a while and it’s no longer the freshest, I still got a good dose of warm spiciness, with orange, clove and vanilla all still doing their best to make an appearance. With cream and sugar it’s a real treat and makes me feel like I’ve already had my dessert for the day!
A couple steeps of this today, and for some reason I’m finding it toastier and fruitier than usual. The toastiness is so present in fact that it’s reminding me a little of genmaicha, with the sweet fruitiness bringing it into the realm of Tie Guan Yin. Kind of surprising given my previous tastings which emphasized more the vegetal and seaweed notes of this tea. Still, I like a tea that keeps me guessing!
My last serve of this until I get a chance to restock sometime in the next few months. It’s warm and spicy, heavy on the clove and ginger and with a strong black tea base that avoids bitterness. It’s got quite a caffeine kick to it as well, which is just right for an otherwise slow Monday morning. Even though I didn’t prepare in the traditional chai manner, with cream and sugar this makes a nice substitute.
Had the time to do a couple of steeps of this (2 minutes the first time and 3 the second)and enjoyed it very much both times. I’m still getting the general sweetness I experienced last time, plus a very nice balance between the vegetal and slightly roasty or malty flavors. As it cooled I picked out more of the sweet tones, and really appreciated the rich feel this tea has. Good one!
A nice little creamy and sweet pot of this is just what is called for on this grey and rainy day. Almond scent and flavor without moving too far in the direction of sickly-sweet marzipan, and decently strong black tea base assures that I get a reasonable caffeine kick and some taste to back up the almond.