97
drank Moorish Mint by Samovar
1169 tasting notes

I have the zorijushi on 175 tonight so thought it was a good time to try my sample of this. I almost didn’t bother to write a note because there’s not much more that can be said about this than has already been said, but I wanted to add my voice to the chorus of YES! about this one. I’m surprised to find that despite not being a tisane, it has vaulted to the number one spot in my personal mint pantheon.

Complexity. Yes, that’s what crossed my mind as well. But complexity not just for the sake of complexity. I get the feeling with some multiple ingredient blends that the people making them just throw things together because the combination sounds cool or like something they think no one else has done before, but however well-intentioned the flavors either aren’t balanced, don’t go well together, or otherwise were just a bad idea in the first place. I taste them and wonder: did the people making these blends taste them? Did they have testers? And did they and their testers really like them or were they just up against some sort of tea-making equivalent of a Black Friday shipping deadline without the time or inclination to go back and refine their blends.

The ingredients here could easily have generated such an experience. When I read them, I was skeptical, even though I thought it unlikely so many tea lovers could be wrong. Ginger? Strong flavor. Peppermint? Also a strong flavor. Cardomom? Yet another strong flavor. Fennel? Cloves? BLACK PEPPER? (and I saw something in there that looked suspiciously like anise seed, though it isn’t listed among the ingredients). Ye gods! And then there’s that green tea ingredient somewhere in the middle, and generally not a strong flavor or at least not strong enough to compete with this crowd. And yet….

Somehow, organically out of this mix of individually strong flavors, grows an amazingly gentle, subtle, mellow, smooth and harmonious blend. It’s like the best of a cappella choral groups, a true ensemble without any single one sticking out and calling attention all to itself. I think of the ingredients that have stuck out to the exclusion of other flavors and led me to give other blends less than stellar marks. Ginger. Licorice. Cloves. Black pepper. How the heck did Samovar make this work? Is it just sheer genius? (I’m going to have to try more of their stuff immediately.) I’m intrigued by how they did it, but however they did it doesn’t really matter as long as they can keep doing it for the rest of my natural life.

The most charming part of the whole experience is that through it all I can actually still taste the green tea, which must be responsible for the sweetness, and perhaps is what absorbs some of the more potentially offensive aspects of the other strong flavors. The sweetness lingers, along with the coolness of the peppermint and the tiny little kick of the pepper, ginger and cardomom combo right where the tongue presses up against the palate.

In a word, exquisite. I am placing an order for more as soon as I post this!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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