92
drank Maiden's Ecstasy by Samovar
1168 tasting notes

In my book, anything with the name ecstasy in it can either be discounted immediately as puffery or has a very high level of living up to do. Ecstasy is, after all, not just a run of the mill, mild feeling. It’s sheer rapture.

The fact that I have had a four for four success rate with my Samovar samples thus far (I am intending to order more of all of the ones I’ve tried, something unsurpassed in my admittedly limited experience) left me doubtful this name could be discounted fully, so I had very high hopes for this one. And I haven’t been disappointed. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to state that drinking this left me ecstatic (wouldn’t that be cool, though? maybe one day I’ll find a tea that really does leave me ecstatic and then I’ll know all the secrets of the universe and more), I can say that I’m now five for five.

My only pu erh experience before this has been the Numi bags. They’ve all been varying degrees of enjoyable with the chocolate out in front. But because they’re bags, there’s a visual component to the experience that is missing. I’m finding more and more that I really enjoy examining the dry leaves of the tea I’m about to drink, and watching how they change after they’ve had their steep.

The Maiden’s Ecstasy leaves are brownish green, dark and pretty. A little on the small side, and not overly curly. Dry, they smelled to me as they smelled to Auggy after rinsing — like sweet tobacco, right from the pouch, with notes of leather and earth.

After rinsing, the leather aroma came to the fore. This, I think, is what I smell where others might smell fish. There is something slightly fishy, but not in an unpleasant way, about the smell of certain kinds of warm, pliant leather. I’ve had belts and shoes that have had a fishy note to them that body heat brings out and I know I’ve smelled this in horse saddles. It’s not always the case, but common enough. The smell of this steep makes me think of a new, buttery smooth, black leather English saddle.

My first steep at 2 minutes delivered a beautiful mahogany colored liquor.

The taste. It has that Samovar thing going on for me, an almost preternatural smoothness that makes their teas taste like velvet feels. I love that. To me, it is the difference between something that is nice and well made, like a shoe or a car, that you wouldn’t mind having, and the same thing delivered by a luxury brand. There’s a little luxury in every sip.

Within the smoothness, there is also a flavor that verges on leather — but is kept from being a stark leather flavor by its sweetness. I’m not getting raisin here, but perhaps a pre-raisin (i.e., grape) fermented sweetness, as though the tiniest drop of a fine port has been dropped into the tea.

The second steep at 2:30 yielded a similar flavor. The nose became more sugary, more carmelized.

OK. I’m about ready for my third steep and I am going to stop now and just go enjoy this for a while. I want to sit with it and see how it changes. I have all kinds of time for this tea.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Ricky

If you liked this one you’ll probably love Palace Pu-erh!

__Morgana__

I am looking forward to trying that one. Maybe Friday, next work at home day.

As I drink more of these I expect I will end up recalibrating my ratings on them…

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Comments

Ricky

If you liked this one you’ll probably love Palace Pu-erh!

__Morgana__

I am looking forward to trying that one. Maybe Friday, next work at home day.

As I drink more of these I expect I will end up recalibrating my ratings on them…

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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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