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97
drank Moorish Mint by Samovar
937 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’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and 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’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to 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. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

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

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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