Sam O. Var is my new love. I’m going to elope with him. Right now. He can do no wrong, in my book.
I know what you’re going to say — it’s just so much pixie dust, that tinkling of little bells you hear in your mind, that image you see of little cartoon hearts floating up around your head like soap bubbles, that frisson of anticipation. He’s bound to disappoint you at some point. Just give it some time. It always happens.
You could be right. You could be. But not today. I am six for six today, six for six of Samovar samples that I would most definitely drink again. (Now if only Breakfast Blend would come back in stock in the large tin, I could complete an order and qualify for free shipping.)
The aroma out of this packet is deliciously orange. Not tart, not thin, not artificial-smelling. It’s a rich orange smell, almost creamy, like the orange in fine orange-flavored chocolates. It predominates over the pu erh until the leaves and those little bits of orange rind and ginger are wet, when the tea starts to share the stage. After multiple steeps, the aroma of the wet leaves and the tea itself is still deliciously orange, and the grapefruit is there as well. The ginger is pretty subtle, but that’s fine with me. I like my ginger subtle.
The orange in the flavor is mellow and deep, like a very ripe, very juicy orange — but more. The fact is I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a fresh orange that is this orangy. It must be a synergy in the blend, with the other flavors bringing more orange out of the orange. I suspect this is the primary role of the ginger, along with adding a bit of spice that stays on the tongue along with the orange in the finish, and persists, pleasantly, for quite a while.
This is not a star vehicle for the pu erh; rather it is part of a terrific ensemble cast. It balances, it interacts, it comes to the front from time to time to deliver a forest-floor-after-rain note and then retreats to a foundational presence with the rest of the flavors.
I took this through 5+ steeps. Unfortunately I was interrupted with a phone call during the third, and didn’t get off the phone until it was time for the fifth. All the more reason to add this to my next order, so I can enjoy it again in peace.