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93
drank Russian Blend by Samovar
911 tasting notes

I have been eagerly anticipating tasting this tea but I wanted to make sure I had time to give it my full attention so I thought I’d be waiting until the weekend to try this. But now that I am snowed in, I have nothing but time! (Which means long tasting note! YAY!)

And since I have the time, I’m going to try it ‘traditional style’ (check out the “How To Brew Video” here http://shop.samovarlife.com/Samovar_Russian_Blend_Black_Tea_p/0402rubl.htm for the official word on how to do this). Directions include strawberry jam. I’m so there.

The tea smells seriously yummy. Smoky and fruity sweet- it reminds me of the Fifth of November tea I have but better because the fruit flavor isn’t raspberry. It is a blend of lychee, lapsang and breakfast blend teas (so sayeth Samovar) and I can certainly pick out the lapsang and the lychee (well, I pick out fruit – no clue as to what lychee smells or tastes like).

Three tablespoons of tea ended up being 12g exactly, so I put that in 16oz of boiling water and waited for 10 minutes, then strained and decanted it into my tea pot. Because no way am I drinking that tea made at that strength in one go.

Now, it doesn’t say how much to dilute this. I have the desire to do half and half but I think that might be a bit too wussy of me (especially since I’m going to add strawberry jam to it – okay, a strawberry spread… I have no jam). So I’ll do 8oz of tea, 4oz of boiling water. Also, no clue how much strawberry jam to add but I ended up doing about a tablespoon. Because honestly, I love strawberries. And any excuse to put them in my tea must be fully taken advantage of. And even using a small spoon, I’m physically incapable of scooping out a small amount of strawberry preserves.

This smells insane. Smoky, thick, sweet, tarry, sweet, fruity, syrupy, OMG. Like burnt sugar and jam on toast. Times two million. And OMG at the taste. I have no idea how to comprehend this. Sweet, tart, tarry, thick, smoky, sweet, thick. Wowza. This is nuts. Let me see if I can break this down into something that makes sense…

I start to sip and it smells dark and thick and fruity, like overripe fruit (but not rotten – just soft and on the edge of too ripe – rich). Sipping it is smooth, thick, fruity, mellow but very bold and strong. It hits the middle of my tongue and there is a tartness or sourness. Not like something has gone off but like a strawberry that is just about ripe but still has that little bit pucker taste to it. Holding it in my mouth, that’s the main taste I get with a little more heavy but really sweet tarriness at the back of my tongue. Then I swallow and it’s very silky and heavily fruit but also tarry and then right at the very end there is a strong, sweet smoky that flashes through my mouth.

The crazy thing is, it isn’t bitter. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to do this less diluted or with less preserves because the two main flavors I’m getting is the sweet fruit and holy monkeys tarry smokiness. The balance is probably a little heavier on the fruit but not by a whole lot. The tarry actually pairs and mushes together with the fruity really naturally. It’s very sweet but doesn’t feel as sweet because of that strong tarry smokiness. However, it’s very thick and rich and it feels like I’m eating a crazy rich dessert that will ultimately make my eyes roll back in my head as I overdose on richness.

Half way through my 12oz, I added a bit of milk to see what that does. Wow. Sweeter and tarrier at the same time. Maybe a little less smoky at the end? It feels a little less rich but at the same time is still pretty powerful. Like a rich chai minus the spice and plus pine and strawberry.

This is pretty different. I can’t say I’m going to drink it this way often (or maybe even ever again!) because not only am I too impatient to wait for a 10 minute steep, this is a way overpowering for me because of how thick and rich it is. Just too in my face with thickness and flavor. Wowza. Anyway, because of that, I’m holding off on rating this and going to use the rating for making this tea the ‘normal’ way. But even though this is not something I’m going to do in the future except as a novelty, I would highly suggest if you have this tea to give it a go the traditional way. It’s been quite a nifty experience!

I’m going to be so wired today. Seriously. Bouncing off the walls.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
teaplz

This review. So. Cool. <333 you!

Auggy

Yay! I AM SO CAFFEINATED!!!!!!!!! Are you at work? Steepster at work? Yes? If yes then YAY!

denisend

Er, what? You put strawberry jam in your tea? Like honey?

Interesting. People are just surprising me all over the place today with weird food combinations.

Auggy

Denisend, seriously, go check out the Samover link in the log. The video is really short but kinda crazy because that’s how they say to do the traditional method. I thought it was pretty intriguing!

denisend

I looked at it, but it’s a video and I can’t listen to it right now. I’ll have to look at it when I get home.

Angrboda

I have to admit the jam sounds odd to me too, but on the other hand I’m also strangely intrigued. I wonder if it would work in my black powder blend…
This sounds all kinds of yummy! I do wish I could get to try out Samovar.

LENA

YES! I WANT THIS! I’m placing my Samovar order tomorrow (pay day). This was already on my list to buy, but OMG…adding the jam? I might have missed the video if not for your review. Thank you for this wonderful post!!!

wombatgirl

I had known about the jam in tea from some of my random fiction reading, but I’ve never talked to an actual person who has done it. I’m so want to try it sometime.

Auggy

@denisend – it’s basically saying the ‘normal’ brewing and then it gives the traditional method as 3 tablespoons of tea in 16oz of boiling water, steeped 10 minutes, then diluted with more boiling water and then adding some strawberry jam.
@Angrboda – I think we talked about the weirdness of adding fruit to the 5th of November, right? I mean, this already has lychee in it but the sweet fruity of the strawberry actually blends surprisingly well with the pine tarry in the tea. The idea is still weird to me but it works!
@Lena – they only had this in the larger tin when I made my order last week but it smells so awesome that I think I’m going to be very happy I got the big tin! I probably would have gotten this anyway (love the smoky teas!) but that jam thing? Totally made it a must have!

Angrboda

Auggy, yes now that you mention it, that does ring a bell. I can definitely imagine strawberry and lychee being a good combination too. You really ought to try them in their natural fruit-shape. We get them here but they can be fairly pricey. So worth it though. They’re sweet and yummy.

Auggy

Wombatgirl – I hadn’t ever heard of it before so I think that it is pretty neat that you have. Is it always strawberry? Do you know?
Angrboda – After having lychee tea and now this one, I’m quite curious to taste real lychee! I’m hoping it will show up in my grocery store sometime. Enough weird stuff shows up, lychee should too!

sophistre

This is really exciting to see. I just put this on my order yesterday. The flavors you describe are totally intriguing. This was a fantastic tasting note.

S

This is such a cool review! :) Strawberry jam and smokiness sounds so interesting..

Harfatum

What a great post! This one’s going on my shopping list. They ought to pay you.

Jillian

Mmm this sounds so delish. I actually did know that Russians sweeten their tea with jam (my mother is Ukrainian) although I’ve never tried it that way myself.

takgoti

1. This log rocked my world.

2. I’m excited to give this a try. I’ll need to pick up some strawberry jam when I’m at the store next.

3. If there’s an Asian mart near you they may have lychee, though you have that specialty grocery store so I guess they’re just as likely. If I stumble across some the next time I find myself in the Korean grocery store I’ll send some your way.

Auggy

Aw, yay! So happy people enjoyed this log. It was fun to do!
Jillian – Any clue if it is typically strawberry or just any jam?
takgoti – The closest Asian grocery is about an hour and a half away I think. A little too far to go for fruit but I hold out hope that my regular grocery store will have them. And I can’t wait to hear how this goes for you!

Jillian

I think that it’s most often strawberry jam (because that was the most common type made, perhaps) but any type of jam/fruit perserves can be used. So I think it’s really up to your tastes – though I don’t think they’d use say mango-guava jam traditionally. ;)

Auggy

Ha! I wasn’t sure which was most common… all I could think of is if it were here, it’d probably be grape jelly. Which actually might not be too bad either!

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Comments

teaplz

This review. So. Cool. <333 you!

Auggy

Yay! I AM SO CAFFEINATED!!!!!!!!! Are you at work? Steepster at work? Yes? If yes then YAY!

denisend

Er, what? You put strawberry jam in your tea? Like honey?

Interesting. People are just surprising me all over the place today with weird food combinations.

Auggy

Denisend, seriously, go check out the Samover link in the log. The video is really short but kinda crazy because that’s how they say to do the traditional method. I thought it was pretty intriguing!

denisend

I looked at it, but it’s a video and I can’t listen to it right now. I’ll have to look at it when I get home.

Angrboda

I have to admit the jam sounds odd to me too, but on the other hand I’m also strangely intrigued. I wonder if it would work in my black powder blend…
This sounds all kinds of yummy! I do wish I could get to try out Samovar.

LENA

YES! I WANT THIS! I’m placing my Samovar order tomorrow (pay day). This was already on my list to buy, but OMG…adding the jam? I might have missed the video if not for your review. Thank you for this wonderful post!!!

wombatgirl

I had known about the jam in tea from some of my random fiction reading, but I’ve never talked to an actual person who has done it. I’m so want to try it sometime.

Auggy

@denisend – it’s basically saying the ‘normal’ brewing and then it gives the traditional method as 3 tablespoons of tea in 16oz of boiling water, steeped 10 minutes, then diluted with more boiling water and then adding some strawberry jam.
@Angrboda – I think we talked about the weirdness of adding fruit to the 5th of November, right? I mean, this already has lychee in it but the sweet fruity of the strawberry actually blends surprisingly well with the pine tarry in the tea. The idea is still weird to me but it works!
@Lena – they only had this in the larger tin when I made my order last week but it smells so awesome that I think I’m going to be very happy I got the big tin! I probably would have gotten this anyway (love the smoky teas!) but that jam thing? Totally made it a must have!

Angrboda

Auggy, yes now that you mention it, that does ring a bell. I can definitely imagine strawberry and lychee being a good combination too. You really ought to try them in their natural fruit-shape. We get them here but they can be fairly pricey. So worth it though. They’re sweet and yummy.

Auggy

Wombatgirl – I hadn’t ever heard of it before so I think that it is pretty neat that you have. Is it always strawberry? Do you know?
Angrboda – After having lychee tea and now this one, I’m quite curious to taste real lychee! I’m hoping it will show up in my grocery store sometime. Enough weird stuff shows up, lychee should too!

sophistre

This is really exciting to see. I just put this on my order yesterday. The flavors you describe are totally intriguing. This was a fantastic tasting note.

S

This is such a cool review! :) Strawberry jam and smokiness sounds so interesting..

Harfatum

What a great post! This one’s going on my shopping list. They ought to pay you.

Jillian

Mmm this sounds so delish. I actually did know that Russians sweeten their tea with jam (my mother is Ukrainian) although I’ve never tried it that way myself.

takgoti

1. This log rocked my world.

2. I’m excited to give this a try. I’ll need to pick up some strawberry jam when I’m at the store next.

3. If there’s an Asian mart near you they may have lychee, though you have that specialty grocery store so I guess they’re just as likely. If I stumble across some the next time I find myself in the Korean grocery store I’ll send some your way.

Auggy

Aw, yay! So happy people enjoyed this log. It was fun to do!
Jillian – Any clue if it is typically strawberry or just any jam?
takgoti – The closest Asian grocery is about an hour and a half away I think. A little too far to go for fruit but I hold out hope that my regular grocery store will have them. And I can’t wait to hear how this goes for you!

Jillian

I think that it’s most often strawberry jam (because that was the most common type made, perhaps) but any type of jam/fruit perserves can be used. So I think it’s really up to your tastes – though I don’t think they’d use say mango-guava jam traditionally. ;)

Auggy

Ha! I wasn’t sure which was most common… all I could think of is if it were here, it’d probably be grape jelly. Which actually might not be too bad either!

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Bio

I’m trying to be a better tea logger and actually post semi-regularly again! I’ve let my tea tasting senses become too complacent – it’s time for some focused and attentive tea drinking!

Sometimes my notices for PMs and such have been questionable. Email me at your own risk at aug3zimm at gmail dot com.


1 – 10 – Bleck. Didn’t finish the cup.
11 – 25 – Drinkable. But don’t punish me by making me have it again.
26 – 40 – Meh. Most likely will see if the husband likes it iced.
41 – 60 – Okayish. Maybe one day I’ll kill off what I have in my pantry.
61 – 75 – Decent. I might pick some up if I needed tea.
76 – 85 – Nice. I’d probably buy but wouldn’t hunt it down.
86 – 100 – Yum! I will hunt down the vendor to get this tea!

Not that anyone but me particularly cares, but there it is.

Location

Texas

Website

http://pinkness.danzimmermann...

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