161 Tasting Notes
I’m back from my Low Country vacation. I spent the last nine days eating some of the most wonderful foods and relishing in architectural and natural beauty. I even found a few tea shops. We started in Savannah, GA, then on to Charleston, SC and finally Murrells Inlet, SC. I’m very excited to try some of my new tea finds, but first I have some samples to sample.
This tea threw me for a loop. Just from judging the dry leaves and the smell, I thought this was going to be too green of an oolong for me. The dark green leaves were tightly rolled and smelled lightly vegetal with an underlying roasted note. The look and smell made me question my purchase, as I tend to stay away from green oolongs. The first steep didn’t quite unfurl all of the tea, so I knew I was in for multiple infusions for sure.
After tasting, my previous judgments went right out the window. This isn’t a dark roasted tea…more of a light roast on the verge of “almost medium”. The nutty flavor is there and I swear I taste a little sweet cinnamon-y note right before the aftertaste kicks in. This only happened on the first two infusions when the tea was screaming hot…not after it cooled. The description mentioned notes of sobacha and Houjicha (both of which I love), but I think these flavors are reserved for darker roasted teas. The tea finishes sweetly and with a slight pucker of astringency. The sweetness in the smell and taste remind me of orchid and honey although subdued. The more infusions, the sweeter and more astringent the tea becomes. The roasty toasty taste vanishes. This would be a good starter tea for those that like greener oolongs but wish to venture into darker and roasted oolongs.
This is great for tea on the run.
I thought it would be a typical black tea in a teabag…bitter, overly flavored, cloying. Not so! I’m happily surprised. The sides and string of the tea sachet look crocheted. It’s very cute. The tea itself is naturally sweet and perfume-y. The orange and vanilla yield a smooth and creamy taste. The aftertaste is very creamy! The orange flavor is very mellow, not sour at all…but kind of artificial. Other reviews note that this tea reminds them of Earl Grey and I have to agree. The tea seemed a little too light for me to add milk and sugar but it’s fine on its own. It’s won’t knock your socks off but it’s better than no tea at all.
Well, it turns out that I really needed to follow the instructions on the packaging. I’ve been playing around with this tea at my office with minimal results on the “tasty meter”. It turns out that this oolong truly needs the boiling water to make it sing. Previous efforts yielded decent yet average results in the 70-75 range. Kind of bland…not what I expect from Samovar. The tea tasted more like charcoal than “roasted”. The phrase, “Taste the meat, not the heat” comes to mind. No matter how long I steeped, I ended up with blasé charcoal water.
Boiling water made all the difference.
Everything about the tea improved. The smell, the taste, the color of the liquor…all drastically heightened. The liquor is darker, the taste more complex. Now Samovar’s description is making sense. Earthy (I’m guessing this is where the peat notes come in), nutty (especially in the aroma), light barley…but more charcoal-y in my opinion. Much more robust! Now we’re talking! Sometimes it pays to follow the instructions.
But not always. :)
I’ve been looking forward to trying this tea for quite some time.
It’s a little underwhelming to be honest. The leaves smell sugary; like catching a whiff of butterscotch candy. The flavors are light but prevalent. The oolong base is just ok. It could have used a little more oomph. I wish they would have used a slightly darker oolong. Sugar and caramel flavors on top of a light to medium roasted oolong would have been divine. I bet it would taste like a toasty crème brulee. Mmm.
This is a decent tea, but it didn’t knock my socks off. Maybe I played it up too much in my head. Big thanks to Ricky for letting me sample it! My wallet just gave a sigh of relief.
I’ve found a green tea that I like!!! Actually, I really like it! I picked this up at the Whole Foods in Winston Salem, NC. I’ve been working in NC since Monday morning and just got back today. Yay!
I was upset that Whole Foods didn’t have Ito En’s Golden Oolong (my favorite of theirs) and picked this out purely due to the “roasted” aspect. I’m not a green tea lover. I’ve tried to like it. I want to like it. But I just…don’t. I will say that I enjoy green tea blends. But frankly, the components in the “blend” usually mask most of the green tea flavor. Samovar’s Moorish Mint comes to mind. I love that blend…and it contains green tea. But do I taste it? No, not really. I’ve found that if I think of straight up green tea as a broth or veggie soup of some sort, I can usually finish most of the cup. I’m just not into the vegetal taste.
Anyway, I was brave and picked up this Green Hoji. It doesn’t taste like a typical green tea at all. Very roasted, coffee notes…no vegetal taste at all. It smells like burnt peanuts…and I mean that in the best of ways. It also smells and tasted kind of like that puffed wheat breakfast cereal. There is a bitterness, but it’s not an over-steeped type of bitterness. It works for the tea. It’s rich, dark roasted, peanutty, puffed wheat goodness. As far as bottled teas go, this one is a real winner.
I’ll be sure to seek out roasted green teas in the future.