237 Tasting Notes

77
drank Ceylon Super Single by Samovar
237 tasting notes

After being wowed by Samovar’s blends, it’s time to try one of their purebreds. The company’s notes remark on a raspberry flavor in this one, which definitely sounds enticing. The leaves are very dark, and have a light but distinct malty and fruity aroma.

The liquor is also dark, and has an unusually light scent after four minutes – just some hints of bread and jam. The first sip throws me a bit because it’s also very light. Yes, it’s black tea! But what else is wrapped up in there? I am searching for the elusive raspberry but not getting very close to it. I am finding a juicy feel that brightens up the flavor, and I like that a lot. As it cools flavors in the spice/malt direction are coming to the fore. It’s a very tasty cup, even if I can’t find the raspberry bushes…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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87
drank Meng Ding Huang Ya by Canton Tea Co
237 tasting notes

Three infusions this afternoon of this gentle, sweet tea. Today’s highlighted flavor was sugar snap peas, mixed with hints of grass and just a tiny bit of astringency. I can definitely see ordering more of this when the sample runs out, as it’s a tea I consistently get a smile out of.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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91
drank Earl Grey by Samovar
237 tasting notes

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Earl Grey – it was the first non-PBTB (plain black tea bag) I ever tried, many moons ago, and I instantly fell for it. Since I started expanding my horizons far and wide on the tea map though, I haven’t often come back to this old favorite.

This one is definitely welcoming me back into the Earl Grey fold with open arms. Instead of finding something you remember from long ago be smaller and less impressive when seen again in the present, this one is actually just as vivid, if not more so. The bergamot sings, and the black tea hums. A powerful and memorable duet.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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98
drank Black Orchid by Mariage Frères
237 tasting notes

Next to the last serving of one of my all-time favorite teas from my all-time favorite tea house. It’s vanilla with an overlay of malt and at least one other flavor I have a hard time fully ID’ing – could be brandy or whisky, or even pipe tobacco. Something sweet but sharp, heady and aromatic, and truly irresistible. Excellent with cream and sugar.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec
JacquelineM

That sounds amazing.

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

Agreed this sounds great!

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89

After a light lunch, this is serving as a very nice dessert cup, with the addition of cream and sugar. I’m really tasting the cashew this time around, and also noticing more astringency than I did last time around. No new orders though until I pare down my current cupboard to a more manageable size…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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81
drank Scarlet Sable by Samovar
237 tasting notes

This one sounds really intriguing – blending lapsang and lychee again, but with bergamot and rooibos in the mix too. The dry leaf looks pretty much as one would expect, with a good proportion being rooibos and a smell that has both smoky and sweet notes.

Steeped up after four minutes, I’ve got a medium dark brown clear liquor that has a very complex scent – if I concentrate I can pick out all the elements, though the bergamot is the furthest in the background. The taste is similar to the lychee/Lapsang blend, but with the characteristic sweet/woody rooibos flavor along for the ride. Again, very little bergamot, just a shade I get now and then. I drank the whole cup without additives and think I’d probably prefer it that way than with cream and sugar. I enjoyed this one, but not as much as some of Samovar’s other varieties.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Jaime

I’m going to have to try some of these lapsang blends…they sound so interesting.

Adham

I’d gotten so used to drinking Lapsangs straight that I never considered how they might be in a blend – I’m glad Samovar opened my eyes to a whole new range of teas.

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87
drank Lemon Yunnan by Samovar
237 tasting notes

I have to give Samovar credit for coming up with blends that would never occur to me (like lychee and Lapsang) but end up being really good. This is another one – teaming up light, refreshing lemongrass with rich and spicy Yunnan. Before trying it I thought, “No way is this going to work!”, but it actually does. The high note of the herb and low note of the tea really play together well, each one highlighting the other’s strengths. It helps that the overall impression is smooth and mellow while at the same time fresh and uplifting. The scent captures both members of the team well.

It was nice watching it steep – the lemongrass floats on top of the water while the tea sinks to the bottom.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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82
drank Sommerfrische by Demmers Teehaus
237 tasting notes

An afternoon pot of this tisane as a nice way to exit the work week. Today I’m tasting more of the honeydew melon in it along with the usual flavors I get from it, lemongrass and apple. One of these days I’ll have to try it iced and sweetened.

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76
drank Egyptian Chamomile by Fairmont
237 tasting notes

Picked up during a recent hotel stay and becoming part of today’s “wind-down Friday” routine. I’ve always associated chamomile with an apple scent and taste, and while this one has that element, it also features a sweet grass/hay note which is nice. It steeps up to a bright golden color, and smells very fresh and floral.

The taste is naturally sweeter than other chamomile I’ve tried, and I like that. It’s really juicy, especially as it cools down, and between that and the meadow-like smell, I’m finding it a very relaxing cup. I don’t think I’ve tried specifically Egyptian chamomile before, so maybe that’s where this nice blend of characteristics is coming from.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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79

Working through several steeps on this cold and rainy afternoon, it is clear that this is becoming the “cup-a-soup” of my tea cupboard. It is rich and savory, to the point where it can sometimes feel like I’m drinking gravy or a hearty broth. I’m not in the mood for this style of tea very often, but when I am it really hits the spot.

Tabby

This sounds really interesting, but I think the name would intimidate me a little!

Adham

Chicago Tea Garden has a number of good teas and does sample sizes – might be worth a look!

gmathis

I just love the name!

Paul M Tracy

This is one of my favorites by CTG. I never made the broth connection, but there is a hearty briny taste. I was calling this “shark breath” instead of camel because I picked up a little algae and kelp too. Good stuff!

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Bio

Grandma introduced me to tea as a kid (lipton with milk and sugar; a bit poured into the saucer to cool it down and then sipped from there), and I’ve never looked back. Still have a slight preference for teas that go well with milk (or even better, cream) and sugar, but since Grandma’s day I’ve branched out to appreciate green and white teas, rooibos and pu erh. Absolutely love Mariage Freres!

Location

Washington, DC

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