Samovar

Recent Tasting Notes

drank Downy Sprout by Samovar
541 tasting notes

I had the pleasure today of going out to tea with some close coworkers, one of which is in high level management and has amazing advice. We decided to go to Samovar. The server was so surprised we were actually going to sit in for tea, because a few of us are known to drop in for a quick chai to go. Their chai is awesome! It was so relaxing to sit down today and enjoy the ambiance. We each ordered something different…a chai, an oolong, lapsang, and I ordered this tea. The manager with us ordered the lapsang with a little milk…interesting choice and I would say appropriate because she is quite bold, just like the tea. :)

On to this tea. They served it gaiwan-style, which is always nice, but I think they put in too much leaf because no matter how short I steeped the tea, it was always bitter. Ugh. I’ve had that problem before with an oolong of theirs served this way. If it hadn’t been bitter, I would have greatly enjoyed it. It has a very silky and thick mouthfeel and reminds me of buttery veggies. Honestly, it seemed closer to a green tea than a white tea. It was still pleasant to drink with friends but again, too much leaf.

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70
drank Rooibos Yerba Mate by Samovar
1387 tasting notes

I have no idea why rooibos would be paired with yerba mate. Rooibos: night. Yerba mate: morning. Unfortunately, this one definitely tastes like mint now that it was stored in the same pouch as some mint teas. There was only one teaspoon left anyway. The flavor wasn’t too bad, though the dry blend was mostly rooibos. I’m not sure if the mint was disguising the rooibos, but it wasn’t too overwhelmingly rooibos with the flavor. Not bad, but this is an odd one.
Steep #1 // 25 min after boiling // 2 min steep
Steep #2 // 20 min after boiling // 3-4 min steep

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drank Masala Chai by Samovar
1710 tasting notes

Drank a big, 16 ounce mug of this with some honey and milk, courtesy of a good friend. It was delicious and brought back good memories of visits to Samovar’s tea lounges.

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59

Goodness. What a morning. The high up boss came in, unexpectedly, with the desire to redo the orginization of the office. We do need it, so I’ll be interested to see what she’s done when I go back in this evening.
I’m exsausted. I need tea.
The last of these little tea blossom bits. Its a light tea, not too dense or intensly flavored, but its tasty, even though its light.
Thanks to my sister, who gave this to me. Not bad!

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59

I think this is what this is. I’m not sure. My sister gave me a pair of little rosettes, and I think that they are this.
I put one in my steeper basket and steeped for five minutes, and have been given a very pale, hay colored liquid which is nice, but very mild.
Hmm. Well, I’ve got one more of these little blooms, and I’ll give it a shot again!

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90

I’m not a regular matcha drinker. That being made clear, I do enjoy this matcha because it is sweeter and more grassy than most matchas (at least that I’ve tried). It would be an asamushi instead of a fukamushi if it were sencha.

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70

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Baked Bread, Flowers, Honey

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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10
drank Cinnamon Stonefruit by Samovar
230 tasting notes

Caffeine Free Tea Box

This tea tasted like medicine. :( I’m not exactly sure what the ingredients are since the company didn’t bother to put it on the tin, but I taste hibiscus and cinnamon and I must say they do NOT pair well at all. I literally almost threw up. Yuck.

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82
drank Sweet Yerba Mate by Samovar
1387 tasting notes

Ouch. Harsh. 47 rating for this one?!? No way…. excuse me while my rating makes this one higher than 47:
Another from Rachel’s sale a while ago – thanks again! This might be my favorite of the Samovar yerba mates I have tried. This one has some licorice in the blend and it really adds a sweet flavor that pairs really well with the yerba mate. Smooths it out. I just love the earthiness. I thought star anise was licorice though, but this isn’t star anise. Searching the Wikipedia page and it says they aren’t related. hmm. I wonder why I thought that. The color of the cup is very green – a very unique color.. I haven’t even seen other yerba mates look like this. Very good. Maybe Samovar has improved this one since the other tasting notes? Most of my Samovar yerba mates have half a teaspoon left, so it looks like I’ll be combining some of them to steep. (I guess these were supposedly one cup samples anyway.)
Steep #1 // 30 mins after boiling // 2-3 min
Steep#2 // 15 mins after boiling // 3 min

LiberTEAS

Star Anise has a very licorice-y flavor.

Tea Sipper

Well, that would confuse me then. haha.

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drank Royal Garland by Samovar
7 tasting notes

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64

Sipdown no. 130 of the year 2014.

I don’t have anything to add to my previous notes on this, except that I’m looking forward to repurposing the wonderful black matte Samovar tin.

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64

Exciting: within three servings of sipdown on this one. I’m so close to getting rid of my last tin and my last box of bags in the work stash that I took a big step today. I brought in two big tins and a box of tea bags.

The tins: Kusmi Bourbon Vanilla and LeafSpa Organic Blink Bonnie. I expect the latter may become a commuting home tea on the days when I need a boost, otherwise it will be an earlier in the day tea.

The bags: About 10 Numi Magnolia Puerh, and the last few Numi Red Rooibos and Tazo Honeybush. I was a little conflicted about the rooibos and honeybush. I needed decaf options for later in the afternoon, but the kids like these. Then again, the last few times I’ve tried to interest them in a cup they’ve said no. It is pretty hot here lately, so I expect that’s why.

I haven’t decided whether I have enough variety for a while now or whether I need to add a couple of other alternatives, but I’m leaning toward adding a couple.

In any case, I may sip this one down tomorrow, or it may be next week. But soon.

Awesome.

Peggie Bennett

I really like the Numi Magnolia! Good choice! :-)

__Morgana__

I had it so long ago I don’t remember it! Will have to try again soon.

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64

Does anyone know whether peppermint is associated with St. Patrick’s day for any reason other than that peppermint is green (and peppermint fillings in candies are often dyed green as well)? I googled this question but didn’t find an answer and lost patience after flipping through the first four pages of search results.

I’m glad it can contribute to today’s theme, even if the only reason is it’s green. The peppermint leaves in and among the mate certainly are, in any case. The steeped mate is rather the color of butterscotch candy.

This is progressing, slowly, toward sipdown. Maybe this week, but if not, certainly next.

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64

Ah yes, much better than either of the other two yerba mates. Because tastes like peppermint, and only like peppermint for the first few sips. :-) Then the mouthful ’o dirt flavor starts to become apparent.

I thought this was the last of my yerba mates but it appears I also have a Teavana from the old tea of the month club subscription. MateVana. That one seems to have a lot of other stuff in it that may also be successful at masking the mate flavor at least for the first few sips.

Well, at least I know what not to get going forward. Mate has officially been added to my list of NO.

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64

I must be crazy to be drinking this this late in the day but my work stash is dwindling and my curiosity has gotten the better of me. My one hesitation is my fear that I’ll like this better than the Kuki and then I’ll not look forward to the Kuki as much.

And guess what, I was right. But the spread isn’t really that far.

Both the green tea of the Kuki and the peppermint of this make the mate more tolerable in different ways. The green tea takes the edge off the mate. The peppermint pretty much subdues it.

I still taste the mate, but it’s really not that different from earthy peppermint tisanes I’ve had that had no mate in them at all. The Upton, as I recall, had a sort of dirt undertone which I didn’t really care for in a single note peppermint tisane. That’s what this tastes like, but it has the excuse of the mate.

It’s a relief to know that I prefer both the Kuki and the Peppermint to the plain because that’s what I’ll be drinking down at work for the next few weeks.

Meanwhile I need to start thinking about replenishing my work stock. I don’t have access to a full kitchen at work, though I do have filtered hot water and a place to rinse out cups and filters. No easy way to gauge temperature, though. I’d like to bring in lower caffeine teas if possible, so I don’t leave the office wired, but those are usually the ones that need more temp control.

Suggestions?

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Ubacat

I usually have a plain peppermint tea, rooibos , one of my lapacho teas, or some Tulsi tea. I just use boiling water on them all.

Anna

Every single flavoured green, white and oolong tea from Lupicia I’ve tried (a lot) are steeped for 1.5 minutes in boiling water. Can’t really get quicker or simpler than that.

__Morgana__

Herbals and Lupicia. On the list. Thanks!

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56
drank Kuki Yerba Mate by Samovar
953 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 119 of the year 2014. Not sorry to see it go. Now I just have the peppermint left, and as I like it best of all I hope it won’t be too onerous of a sipdown.

Ah well, at least I gave yerba mate a try. But I feel pretty safe in saying it’s never going to be my cup of tea.

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56
drank Kuki Yerba Mate by Samovar
953 tasting notes

It’s a lot more mate than kuki today, and that makes me want to bump it down (so I dropped it a few points). Also a lot of dusty residue in the bottom of the cup, which I’d had more with the plain mate and less with the kuki until today. Maybe I just hit a few scoops that had more mate in them. Who knows.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, though, as I’ve passed the halfway point on this tin.

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56
drank Kuki Yerba Mate by Samovar
953 tasting notes

Second time having this, and it remains an improvement, at least in the view of my palate, over the plain yerba mate.

It also remains not enough to push me into mate fandom.

But it’s a nice greenish tea flavor for the after lunch caffeine boost (though matcha or a black tea would probably do a better job).

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56
drank Kuki Yerba Mate by Samovar
953 tasting notes

I still have one serving of the plain Yerba Mate before sipdown, but I thought I’d crack this open today anyway and see what’s what.

It was definitely the right choice to try to plain first. This is much easier to drink than the plain version. It is much mellower—tastes more grassy and less dirty-grassy. Steeping a shorter time may make the difference, but it could also be the addition of the kukicha. In general it is less bitter and closer to sweet, though I wouldn’t go far enough to call it sweet as the description does. Interestingly, I’m not really getting a mineral or metallic note, but then I didn’t get a passion fruit aroma from the leaves, either.

Definitely more to my liking than the plain version. I’m not going to rush out and buy mate blends, though. Mate remains not really my thing.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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50
drank Yerba Mate by Samovar
953 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 104 of the year 2014.

Not a lot to add to previous notes, other than it is now gone and I’ve recycled the lovely black tin for another tea.

I am glad I like the Kuki version better, since I have a lot of it left. Something tells me I’m going to like the peppermint even better though I haven’t tried it yet.

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50
drank Yerba Mate by Samovar
953 tasting notes

File under stupid tea tricks.

I had two Finum baskets on my desk at work, both with measured portions of this in it. The first was to consume, the second was to attempt to ascertain how many servings were left in the tin. (My guess is there were about 3-4.)

I say were because after I steeped the first basket, I grabbed a basket to toss out what I thought was the spent yerba mate and dumped the dry mix into the garbage.

There are now about 2-3 servings left and I feel like an utter dolt. If this had been something I love, I would have been heartbroken, too.

Fortunately, I’m sure it is more than apparent from my previous notes on this how I feel about yerba mate. On the bright side, I’m one serving more away from being able to recycle the awesome black matte Samovar tin. I already know what I want to put in it.

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50
drank Yerba Mate by Samovar
953 tasting notes

Not quite so bitter as the last time and a little less like grassy dirt but still not my favorite.

I have two other types of Samovar Yerba Mate that came in the gift box—Peppermint and Kuki. I wanted to get a feel for the plain version before I branched out into those, though. It will be interesting to see how they compare.

Still have a few servings of this one left. Stay tuned.

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50
drank Yerba Mate by Samovar
953 tasting notes

This is my third try of straight yerba mate, the try by which I’m supposed to become used to the taste.

However, today, I am drinking this on the heels of eating a turkey wrap for lunch and perhaps because of the influence of the food, I’m getting a much more of a bitterness in the initial sip than I got the first couple of times. This quickly smooths out into the usual grassy, earthy, sweet dirt flavor, which is what I was expecting.

I do see that one could get used to this flavor, however, I don’t think it’s something I’m ever going to find appealing. I’ve seen mate described as having a flavor similar to green tea. I haven’t tasted a green tea with a flavor like this. I’ve also seen that this one is described as having a licorice flavor (in the product description). I really don’t taste licorice, though I’m not sure it would improve the flavor to my tastebuds. Perhaps it is what is keeping this from being overly bitter though.

On the upside, I’m now about halfway through the tin…

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50
drank Yerba Mate by Samovar
953 tasting notes

I read somewhere that it takes three separate occasions of drinking yerba mate to get used to the taste. I’m counting this as my second occasion, because it’s my second time trying it straight.

I think I’m going to need a third. Even if I do get used to the flavor, I’m thinking I’ll never really like it.

Today I think I used more leaf and less water, or perhaps the yerba mate absorbed a ridiculous amount of water so it just looked less? It came out looking like an opaque liquid about the color of caramel hard candies, with maybe a bit more of a greenish tinge than the candies.

I’ll keep trying but it’s really not my thing. Lowering the rating some. Note that the rating isn’t a commentary on whether this is good mate. I don’t know what the objective standards are for measuring whether a mate is good.

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