90
drank Russian Blend by Samovar
1311 tasting notes

Thanks to Auggy, I can have my Samovar debut! This post is actually part backlog and part recent because I’ve got two different sessions and two different preparation methods in it.

Western Style
This is the backlogged bit. I started out making this one western style, primarily because at the time I had forgotten that this was the one to try with jam and milk in it. I didn’t realise that until afterwards.

The dry leaves smell strongly of ashes. Being a smoky tea lover, this is to me a good thing. (Ironically though, I abhor cigarette smoke…). Once brewed up, it still smelled smoky but also with a creamy sweet note to it.

The taste, however, was not as smoky as I had expected. It did have smoke, but it was still quite smooth. There was a sweet note too, which originally I thought of as ‘the absence of honey’. Once I tasted a bit more thoroughly, concentrating on it, I decided that at first it was a reminder of fruit, but then developed in the mouth and turned sort of darker. Samovar’s description mentioned apricots, but I couldn’t really find any properly apricot-y apricots, but I could agree that the initial fruityness of the sweet note could very well be apricots. It added a slight tartness to the smoke sort of.

When it cooled off a bit, I was surprised to find it turning almost flowery. I don’t really understand how you can have flowers and smoke at the same time, but evidently you can. It defies logic, but it works.

I decided that based on this session I would give it about 85-90 points, and the next time I would do it the russian way. Jam and all.

Russian Style
This is actually quite similar to the turkish brewing method that I have posted about before, in that you first brew a concentrate and then dilute and sweeten it to taste. The difference here is just the additives used. In Turkey they use only sugar. In Russia apparently jam and milk is popular.

There wasn’t any description on how exactly to make the concentrate (or ‘zavarka’) so I decided to just use my normal amount of leaves and half the amount of water with a long, about 13 minutes steep. Of course, I’m curious about such things, so I had to taste the zavarka by itself before continuing. It was indeed very smoky, but not really as super-strong and astringent as Samovar’s instructions said it should be. So it probably should have been stronger. That’s just a shame, though, because I was given this sample as a gift and therefore have limited amounts of leaves available. I didn’t want to use them all up for the sake of this one cup.

I diluted it half zavarka/half water, added a splash of milk and a large teaspoon of raspberry marmalade. Samovar said to use strawberry jam, but I didn’t have any and when I asked Auggy, she thought that raspberry marmalade should work just as well.

I can taste three things here. Milk, smoke and raspberries. It’s a bit like eating a raspberry cream cake in a smoke-filled room, actually. I can definitely see why they would call this a meal in itself because it almost is. It’s more smoky this way than when brewed western style, I assume because of the zavarka. The raspberries give a funny tart sort of flavour too that reminds me of hibiscus. I understand now why hibiscus is so often used to imitate berries. The difference here is, though, that his actually tastes nice. Whereas hibiscus is quite simply, in a word, undrinkable.

I would be hard pressed indeed to say which of these two styles I preferered. The western style gives a very good cup and it’s more than good enough for everyday use. The russian style seems more luxurious. To be reserved for special occasions, like when you want to be a little extra good to yourself or when you need a little extra comfort.

Or a celebration. It kind of tastes a little bit of birthday.

Having had both the western and the russian style, I’m ending up at a solid 90 points.

Madison Bartholemew

“It kind of tastes a little bit of birthday.” quote of the day! totally awesome!

AmazonV

russian co-worker note: what was loosely translated as jam is more like raspberry (sub any berry here) syrup

Angrboda

Madison, thanks. :)

AmazonV, okay that would be a fairly inaccurate translation then. I’m not sure I could get something really syrup-y with fruit. Except maybe dessert topping which you can get with strawberry, but it really just looks like a super-processed strawberry jam iirc… Hmmmm… Eh well, it’s good enough, I think, to give an impression of what it’s like. :)

Madison Bartholemew

Don’t they sell those syrup’s at starbucks?

Angrboda

The only Starbucks in Denmark is at the airport in Copenhagen. Don’t really fancy a three hour travel in each direction just for a coffee shop. :)

JacquelineM

I want to go to the Russian Tea Room in NYC after reading this for authentically prepared Russian tea! (goes and makes suggestion in Steepster NYC meetup discussion). Mmmmmmm!!!

Madison Bartholemew

Oh my, I always forget you are so far away! You want to tea trade for syrup?

Angrboda

That’s okay, Madison. I don’t have enough leaves to try this again, I don’t think, so I don’t really know what I would use it for anyway…

Ricky

It’s because of you that I ordered a sample of this =]

sophistre

At the Russian Tea Room in NYC, they offer cherries in some kind of syrup. Not highly-processed maraschino cherries, but still sweet in that same kinda way.

Auggy

Whee! I think the Samovar video or something I saw somewhere said 3 tablespoons for 16oz (before being diluted). Anyway, I wasn’t brave enough to try the concentrate before the additives but now I want to! And I agree – it hits me as a very special occasion cup, too. Glad you are enjoying the teas!

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Comments

Madison Bartholemew

“It kind of tastes a little bit of birthday.” quote of the day! totally awesome!

AmazonV

russian co-worker note: what was loosely translated as jam is more like raspberry (sub any berry here) syrup

Angrboda

Madison, thanks. :)

AmazonV, okay that would be a fairly inaccurate translation then. I’m not sure I could get something really syrup-y with fruit. Except maybe dessert topping which you can get with strawberry, but it really just looks like a super-processed strawberry jam iirc… Hmmmm… Eh well, it’s good enough, I think, to give an impression of what it’s like. :)

Madison Bartholemew

Don’t they sell those syrup’s at starbucks?

Angrboda

The only Starbucks in Denmark is at the airport in Copenhagen. Don’t really fancy a three hour travel in each direction just for a coffee shop. :)

JacquelineM

I want to go to the Russian Tea Room in NYC after reading this for authentically prepared Russian tea! (goes and makes suggestion in Steepster NYC meetup discussion). Mmmmmmm!!!

Madison Bartholemew

Oh my, I always forget you are so far away! You want to tea trade for syrup?

Angrboda

That’s okay, Madison. I don’t have enough leaves to try this again, I don’t think, so I don’t really know what I would use it for anyway…

Ricky

It’s because of you that I ordered a sample of this =]

sophistre

At the Russian Tea Room in NYC, they offer cherries in some kind of syrup. Not highly-processed maraschino cherries, but still sweet in that same kinda way.

Auggy

Whee! I think the Samovar video or something I saw somewhere said 3 tablespoons for 16oz (before being diluted). Anyway, I wasn’t brave enough to try the concentrate before the additives but now I want to! And I agree – it hits me as a very special occasion cup, too. Glad you are enjoying the teas!

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Bio

Ang lives with Husband and two kitties, Charm and Luna, in a house not too far from Århus. Apart from drinking tea, she enjoys baking, especially biscuits, reading and jigsaw puzzles. She has recently acquired an interest in cross-stitch and started a rather large project. It remains to be seen whether she has actually bitten off more than she can chew…

Ang prefers black teas and the darker sorts of oolongs. She has to be in the mood for green and white, and she enjoys, but knows little to nothing about, pu-erh.

Her preferences with black teas are the Chinese ones, particularly from Fujian, but also Keemun and just about anything smoky. She occasionally enjoys Yunnans but they’re not favourites. She has taken some time to research Ceylon teas, complete with reference map, and has recently developed some interest in teas from Africa.

She is sceptical about Indian blacks as she generally finds them too astringent and too easy to get wrong. She doesn’t really care for Darjeelings at all. Very high-grown teas are often not favoured.

She likes flavoured teas as well, particularly fruit flavoured ones, but also had an obsession with finding the Perfect Vanilla Flavoured Black and can happily report that this reclusive beast has been spotted in a local teashop near where she works. Any and all vanilla flavoured teas are still highly attractive to her, though. Also nuts and caramel or toffee. Not so much chocolate. It’s a texture thing.

However, she thinks Earl Grey is generally kind of boring. Cinnamon and ginger are also not really a hit, and she’s not very fond of chais. Evil hibiscus is evil. Even in small amounts, and yes, Ang can usually detect hibiscus, mostly by way of the metallic flavour of blood it has.

Ang is not super impressed with rooibos or honeybush on their own. She doesn’t care for either, really, but when they are flavoured, they go usually go down a treat.

Ang used to have a Standard Panel of teas that she tried to always have on hand. She put a lot of thought into defining it and decided what should go on it. It was a great idea on paper, but in practise has been discovered to not really work as well.

Ang tries her best to make a post on Steepster several times a week. She tends to write her posts in advance in a word doc (The Queue) and posting from there. This, she feels, helps her to maintain regularity and stops her from making five posts in three days and then going three weeks without posting anything at all.

Angrboda is almost always open to swapping. Just ask her. Due to the nature of the queue, however, and the fact that it’s some 24 pages long at the moment, it may take a good while from she receives your parcel and until she actually posts about it.

The Formalities

Contact Angrboda by email: [email protected]
Contact Ang on IM on Google chat

Find Ang on…
Steam: Iarnvidia (Or Angrboda. She changed her display name and now is not certain which one to search for. She uses the same picture though, so she is easily recognised)
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Bio last updated February 2014

Location

Denmark

Website

http://angrboda.livejournal.com

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