96
drank Earl Lavender by Samovar
952 tasting notes

I have been starting my day with Tazo Earl Grey since I have a lot of bags of it left (not the full leaf sachets, which I plowed through already, but the other kind). The taste isn’t all bad, though it’s strong on the bergamot. But something about it can give me a tummy ache at times. I’m guessing it is the acidity of the citrus, mixed with the black tea. My other Earl Grey experiences are limited to bagged tea by Numi, Twinings and Bigelow, all of which were satisfactory enough to make me want to try loose Earl Grey. This is my first foray into that, though I have some other sample sets on order.

Let me just say that the difference between any of those I have tried and Samovar’s Earl Lavender is, to put it mildly, astonishing. In fact, I was tempted to start this entire note out with “so this is what a really really GOOD Earl Grey tastes like?” but I didn’t because I don’t have other loose leaf experience for comparison.

First, there’s the way it smells. I’m getting a brown sugary smell, which is delicious, mixed with a gentle lavender, and just a tiny bit of citrus. Then there’s the way it feels. Thick and silky, and it coats your mouth in a pleasing way. Then there’s the way it tastes. Here’s where the resemblance to other Earl Greys comes in most directly. It definitely has a flavor in the same ballpark as those; you’d recognize it if you drank it blindfolded. But there is so much more to it. A smooth black tea base that isn’t distracting and doesn’t overpower, nor is it overpowered by, the other flavors. A lavender floral scent/taste that takes the edge off the citrus, and a citrus that is present but not perfumy or oily.

This is my second Samovar sample, and I am rapidly reaching the conclusion that theirs are exceptionally well-blended teas. But that isn’t news to most of you here. :-)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 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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