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100
drank Ocean of Wisdom by Samovar
117 tasting notes

By the gods, I love this stuff1. Yesterday, I had to collect Mum from JFK at around 7:30 in the morning. That’s around the time I usually go to sleep, so I ended up staying up the night before, afraid I’d sleep through. So there I am, 4:30 in the morning, slightly bleary-eyed and more than slightly frazzled, packing a bottle of water and a fuzzy throw for Mum. All that remained was the tea.

Once upon a time, I had only one loose tea—Ocean of Wisdom—and that’s the tea I would’ve made and taken with me. Now I have so many loose teas to consider, so many yummy (and untried) options, and the very thought of having to guess (at that hour) what Mum might like and what I should try was doing my head in, so I ended up selecting the same one: Ocean of Wisdom. It’s just so good. And the fragrance is just so heavenly.

This note, though, is about the second infusion I prepared when I got home. I have to admit that I rarely bother with second steeps, never mind multiple ones. I’d be a horrible oolong taster, given that many times, the best flavour of an oolong emerges in the third steep (and beyond). That said, I gave the second steep a try because this tea can get really expensive, compared to the others in my cupboard: my 4.4oz packet was USD$19, and Samovar recommend using 2-3 tbsp per 16oz/473mL. That’s only about 8 servings! Since it’s rooibos (and therefore naturally caffeine-free) and my favourite blend, I could go through that in a couple of days. Eep! So I was thinking I’d try and stretch it out a bit by steeping again or using less tea next time.

Anyway. The interesting thing about this is that the second steep is a completely different tea. Gone was the warm, sweet, woodsy rooibos flavour I love, and I couldn’t detect most of the other ingredients, either. Really, it just tasted like cloves and ginger. And it was awesome. It was this potent, spicy brew that felt so great hitting my throat, which is a bit vexed with me for taking it to the petri dish we call an airport. I was really surprised by the level of gingery spice, a level that I hope for in my ginger tea blends but rarely get. (To be clear, it’s surprising because the first steep isn’t at all piquant.) The second steep is also slightly astringent, but only on occasion, not throughout the cup.

From now on, this will be a two-steep tea for me.

Tea amount: 2.5 tbsp
Water amount: 16oz/~475mL
Additives: 2 tsp demerara sugar
Dry mouth factor: 4/10 (second steep only, first steep is 1/10)

1 http://steepster.com/bleepnik/posts/57991

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Sil

hmmmmm I might need to try this one. That sounds really interesting :)

Nik

I have a feeling that I’ll be lowering my rating as I find new favourites and try all the tea samples I’ve accumulated, but I can’t imagine it’d ever dip below 95.

Terri HarpLady

What a great name for a tea!

Nik

Agreed! I love the story behind it, too: blended especially for the Dalai Lama. I think that gives it extra superpowers to spread peace and calm. :D

Terri HarpLady

well, yeah! :)

Bonnie

Enjoyed the story and the ‘airport petri dish’! Goes to show you though, further steepings can turn up wonders that you had no idea were contained in our delightful friend ‘tea’!

Nik

True dat, Bonnie. Thanks for the kind words! =)

TeaBrat

Since I live in San Francisco, I will need to try this one again soon!

JasonCT

Namaste Nik – man this looks like an interesting blend. I’ll be honest, I’ve never had rooibos so this might be a fun one to try.

My girlfriend is north Indian, and we make our chai with a healthy amount of fresh ginger so I was excited to hear about the ginger punch.

Good review!

Nik

Amy, you live in San Francisco, too? Now I’m jealous of both you and Claire. I love the city, but have only been there for conferences, which means I’ve never had enough time to just hang out and explore and enjoy it! Ah well, one day… =)

Namaste, Jason! In my limited experience, the rooibos flavour is very present in most rooibos blends. If you don’t like that flavour, it could ruin the experience for you. For a very inexpensive taste test, I’d look for Numi’s bushmen’s brew in your local supermarket (http://steepster.com/teas/numi-organic-tea/2458-bushmens-brew-honeybush). They’re tea bags, and it’s just plain old honeybush, which has a flavour very similar to rooibos’s (http://tinroofteas.com/news/rooibos-the-red-powerhouse/). If you see a plain rooibos on the shelf, you can grab that, instead. That way, you can see if you like the base flavour before trying a (pretty costly!) blend, and if you don’t, you’re just out a few bucks. If you do, and since you like chai masala, it’s a good bet you’d enjoy this blend. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the tasting note. =)

Claire

I do have to say that Samovar is pretty awesome! I’ve been to the one by MOMA and while it was pricey, both the tea and the food were great.

Nik

Claire, I’ve frequented the Yerba Buena location by Moscone and love it. The service has deteriorated a bit over the years, but the tea and food remain lovely. I introduced many fellow conference attendees to loose tea and the brand, there, and in the process created lots of lovely memories.

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Comments

Sil

hmmmmm I might need to try this one. That sounds really interesting :)

Nik

I have a feeling that I’ll be lowering my rating as I find new favourites and try all the tea samples I’ve accumulated, but I can’t imagine it’d ever dip below 95.

Terri HarpLady

What a great name for a tea!

Nik

Agreed! I love the story behind it, too: blended especially for the Dalai Lama. I think that gives it extra superpowers to spread peace and calm. :D

Terri HarpLady

well, yeah! :)

Bonnie

Enjoyed the story and the ‘airport petri dish’! Goes to show you though, further steepings can turn up wonders that you had no idea were contained in our delightful friend ‘tea’!

Nik

True dat, Bonnie. Thanks for the kind words! =)

TeaBrat

Since I live in San Francisco, I will need to try this one again soon!

JasonCT

Namaste Nik – man this looks like an interesting blend. I’ll be honest, I’ve never had rooibos so this might be a fun one to try.

My girlfriend is north Indian, and we make our chai with a healthy amount of fresh ginger so I was excited to hear about the ginger punch.

Good review!

Nik

Amy, you live in San Francisco, too? Now I’m jealous of both you and Claire. I love the city, but have only been there for conferences, which means I’ve never had enough time to just hang out and explore and enjoy it! Ah well, one day… =)

Namaste, Jason! In my limited experience, the rooibos flavour is very present in most rooibos blends. If you don’t like that flavour, it could ruin the experience for you. For a very inexpensive taste test, I’d look for Numi’s bushmen’s brew in your local supermarket (http://steepster.com/teas/numi-organic-tea/2458-bushmens-brew-honeybush). They’re tea bags, and it’s just plain old honeybush, which has a flavour very similar to rooibos’s (http://tinroofteas.com/news/rooibos-the-red-powerhouse/). If you see a plain rooibos on the shelf, you can grab that, instead. That way, you can see if you like the base flavour before trying a (pretty costly!) blend, and if you don’t, you’re just out a few bucks. If you do, and since you like chai masala, it’s a good bet you’d enjoy this blend. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the tasting note. =)

Claire

I do have to say that Samovar is pretty awesome! I’ve been to the one by MOMA and while it was pricey, both the tea and the food were great.

Nik

Claire, I’ve frequented the Yerba Buena location by Moscone and love it. The service has deteriorated a bit over the years, but the tea and food remain lovely. I introduced many fellow conference attendees to loose tea and the brand, there, and in the process created lots of lovely memories.

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Bio

2012.10.07: I hear people like to understand other people’s ratings, so here’s a loose guide:

01-29: Dear God, why.
30-49: I’ll finish this cup, I guess, but no more.
50-59: Meh.
60-69: Decent. Maybe I can blend it with something else and make it better.
70-79: Heeey, this is quite good!
80-89: I love it, but I’m not in love with it.
90-100: Permanently resident in my Happy Place.


Update: I have steeped, and it was good. =] Still a tea-ophyte, though.


This is a tea site, so I feel like “well, I’m Indian” should be enough of an introduction. Because, I mean, it’s kind of in my genes, right? But the fact of the matter is that I’m an absolute tea-ophyte.

I’ve just discovered a world beyond Celestial Seasonings. I’ve just discovered “sachets” instead of “normal” tea bags and bought my first loose tea sampler. I don’t get the whole water temperature and steep time thing yet, nor that if I want to get a yixiang tea pot, I’d need one for each type of tea. I have this infuser ball thing, but I haven’t used it yet.

Don’t cringe, but right now I’m still just boiling water and pouring it over a teabag, adding some sugar, and drinking a nice, hot cuppa. I’d like to learn more, I think, and I’d like to train my palate. I figure participating in this community is the best way to do that.

So ya. Hi!

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http://about.me/bleepnik

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