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.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

Sam O. Var = most clever!!!


I was getting jealous of the relationship with Thomas, so I had to invent my own pretend beau. Lol.

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Sam O. Var = most clever!!!


I was getting jealous of the relationship with Thomas, so I had to invent my own pretend beau. Lol.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



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.


Bay Area, California



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