82
drank Samovar by Kusmi Tea
951 tasting notes

It’s more than slightly smoky. But that’s a good thing.

The leaves have a lapsangy smell to them, but the aroma is milder. It isn’t tarry or resiny. It’s smoky but on the gentler side of smoky.

It’s a surprisingly chewy feeling tea. Pretty thick on the mouthfeel. A nice smokiness in the flavor, but also has a shining tea note coming through. Like a light at the bottom of a dark well. And some degree of sweetness, though not as much as some other smokies.

I’m liking the aftertaste. I was a little worried after reading Angrboda’s note that I’d taste ashtray, but fortunately I’m not experiencing ashtray here. The thickness of the mouthfeel translates into a coated feeling in the mouth, but not in a clingy way. It’s kind of interesting and not unpleasant. The aftertaste is surprising. I wouldn’t expect anything fresh about it, but somehow that’s what I get. Like the taste of cool air on an autumn night when fires are going in neighborhood fireplaces. And a little sweet burst at the end.

Smoky teas, like black teas in general, are another area I’m having a hard time narrowing down to a stable of staples. I haven’t yet met one I detested, which makes it hard. I think in general I tend to prefer the softer smokies rather than the straight lapsangs, though there are times when I can go for the resiny, tarry, pineyness as well.

I can’t rightly remember how this compares to other Russians, though I know it isn’t up there with the A&D Caravan. It’s probably about on a par with the H&S. I must try that again to see.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Angrboda

I’ve changed my mind about the ashes, actually. Or maybe I’ve learned to brew it better. Or maybe I’ve got used to it. Acquired taste and what not. At any rate, I don’t find the aftertaste as annoying as I did at first, although it’s still enough to make me not sure I’d get a replacement tin.

ashmanra

I’m getting ready to try H&S Russian Caravan, don’t know what to expect in terms of smokiness. For light smoky flavor I do like their Queen Catherine and Supreme Breakfast. If you want, I could send you some. I also like Wuyi Shan Lapsang, which is only lightly smoky.

__Morgana__

Aww, thanks for the offer. I already have some QC and SB though!

ashmanra

No problem!

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Comments

Angrboda

I’ve changed my mind about the ashes, actually. Or maybe I’ve learned to brew it better. Or maybe I’ve got used to it. Acquired taste and what not. At any rate, I don’t find the aftertaste as annoying as I did at first, although it’s still enough to make me not sure I’d get a replacement tin.

ashmanra

I’m getting ready to try H&S Russian Caravan, don’t know what to expect in terms of smokiness. For light smoky flavor I do like their Queen Catherine and Supreme Breakfast. If you want, I could send you some. I also like Wuyi Shan Lapsang, which is only lightly smoky.

__Morgana__

Aww, thanks for the offer. I already have some QC and SB though!

ashmanra

No problem!

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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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