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Samovar

Recent Tasting Notes

33
drank Tart Peach by Samovar
30 tasting notes

I got this on my way back to Boston from San Francisco, and frankly wasn’t impressed. It’s wayyyyyy too tart. Almost undrinkable. And no peach flavor that I could detect whatsoever.

A couple of teaspoons of sugar added to the pot helped a bit – at least made it palatable enough to swallow. :/

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drank Ocean of Wisdom by Samovar
132 tasting notes

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80

Try steeping the first infusion (1 tablespoon) for 30 seconds @ 190 degrees with the lid on. Then throw this infusion away – it can be a bit funky.

At this point the leaves should have unfurled and it should smell quite rank (I mean that in a good way!)

The next infusion go for 30 seconds more and it will taste pretty good.

The second infusion for 45 seconds gets much more complex, a hint of sweetness but very malty and smooth. If you like dark teas I think you will tend to like this more than others.

Very complex tea – you could experiment with brew times and the amount of leaves and spend a good few hours coming up with new flavor profiles. I come back to this one a lot.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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85
drank Russian Blend by Samovar
19 tasting notes

I usually order the bottomless Russian Blend at Samovar tea houses in SF. They serve it out of a large samovar and I have it with milk and sugar. Smoky, strong and sweet. Great tea.

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drank Moorish Mint by Samovar
132 tasting notes

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89
drank Moorish Mint by Samovar
62 tasting notes

I love the combination of pepper and mint.

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91
drank Bai Mu Dan by Samovar
4227 tasting notes

Backlog:

I believe Azzrian sent me this sampling. I had this one hot summer night, even though I’m only just logging about it now. Yeah, I’m still behind. I will get caught up eventually. It will just take forever.

I’m amazed at how even though I’ve tried many different Bai Mu Dan teas by many different tea companies … with each new experience, I can taste subtle differences. With this Bai Mu Dan, I noticed hints of chocolate toward the finish!

A nice, sun-roasted type of taste to this cup, sweet and nutty.

A really nice Bai Mu Dan!

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drank Ocean of Wisdom by Samovar
608 tasting notes

So it’s chai weather, but I only ever want chai at night when it’s too late for Assams. This seemed to get ok reviews so I thought I’d try it. Steepster is the best because someone on the boards (I’m sorry I don’t remember who, ack!) mentioned their “lazy chai” using this: http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/bill-waddingtons-real-chai

and I just had to try it because while it might not be the greatest thing if it was halfway decent it would solve the eternal dilemma of wanting chai late at night when the kitchen’s all cleaned up and the last thing in the universe I feel like doing is heating milk in a pan. Just stick spices you like in condensed milk, pop in the fridge, and ta da, instant chai milk all week, just add to hot tea to taste. Yay! So. I put a bit of that stuff (I add anise because I love the stuff) in with this, and now I am a satisfied, lazy gal. You can definitely still smell and slightly taste the rooibos, but given how little effort this required I can’t complain.

Also got fantastic, uplifting news this afternoon about the cat. Someone got a hold of her original owner finally—not the boyfriend but the woman getting her PhD in Ohio—and she was stunned and horrified, is coming back around Thanksgiving and making plans to resolve things. Meanwhile the neighbors who told me this also said she gave them the cat’s vet info and they’re going to take her in sometime this week. So, fingers crossed, there IS a happy ending to this whole thing. I am so, so relieved. It’d been bothering me trying to figure out what the hell to do in December when we go out of town twice and it might be bitterly cold again, and that in turn reminded me while our set-up is working fine now it’s not tenable forever. So glad it looks like things are going to be ok. Slightly bittersweet—getting to know her this week has been funny; she’s much smarter than our two cats and also hella bossy and feisty on the edge of mean (tough, you know, to survive). Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea (har) but I stupidly relate (long backstory involving my origins, feeling abandoned and trying to be tough and always feeling alone, all that). I also learned today her name is Tina. I’ve been referring to her as “OK” (orange kitty, and jokingly like, “she’s just ok”). I’m glad this is happening now before I get too stupidly attached. Crossing my fingers she can be my fond memory, a little random connection in a strange world of ups and downs.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more

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97

I had this tea at a dinner with the Samovar founder’s brother. It was brewed in a Japanese side handled pot with a high leaf to water ratio and low temp (160F?). The experience was like nothing I have ever had before. To say it was an intense and concentrated blast of savory (umami) would be an understatement.

That unique and concentrated umami flavor was mouth puckering without being bitter (thanks to the low water temp and short steep time). It gave me a new appreciation for green tea and a flavor to chase in every other green since. It was not a cup of tea to sip serenely, it was an intense and deeply gratifying experience. Nothing I have had since compares.

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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37
drank Blood Orange Pu-erh by Samovar
122 tasting notes

When I ordered, I ordered just off of the name. Blood Orange Pu-Erh. Was not expecting the ginger at all, which might be why I am quite so critical.

This tea ended up tasting like a Chai. Maybe I got the end of the can where all of the ginger had settled, but I could not taste any of the other ingredients.

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

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87
drank Lemon Yunnan by Samovar
53 tasting notes

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78
drank Breakfast Blend by Samovar
796 tasting notes

Solid cup of black tea. I expect a bit more than “solid” from Samovar, so I think I’ll stick to my regular sources for breakfast blends, but it’s a quality cup.

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78
drank Breakfast Blend by Samovar
796 tasting notes

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drank Masala Chai by Samovar
431 tasting notes

Had another one of our chai outings with my coworkers today. This chai is so different than any other chai I’ve had. It’s really sweet. Makes me wonder how much sweetener they add, but it’s delicious! And peppery too! I was wondering today if anyone has bought this tea to make at home, and whether or not it tasted the same. Anyone?

One more awesome thing was that they are having a promotion, where a cup of tea to go is cheaper than usual! Nice!

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94
drank Ryokucha by Samovar
1 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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97
drank Hand Picked Bao Zhong by Samovar
2168 tasting notes

Sipdown!
I’ve had this oolong for 2 years now according to my Steepster notes. I finally decided to finish off the bit I had today and this still seems really good to me, very buttery with sweet vegetal notes. I shall miss it, but I think I have a good excuse to purchase some more green oolongs soon since I don’t have too many more left. ;)

This is equally good prepared gong fu or western style.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Ruby Woo Scarlett

I didn’t know one could keep tea that long without its losing some of its punch!

TeaBrat

yeah, I was amazed as well

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69
drank Kuki Yerba Mate by Samovar
1090 tasting notes

I bought this in Rachel’s awesome sale — thanks again! I don’t really understand the dislike that others have for yerba mate… I happen to love it. I think it’s all in how it’s brewed though. I waited a while for the water to cool and steeped 2-3 minutes. The flavor is sweet and earthy and for some reason has a silky consistency. I also noticed pine before I read that in the description. I couldn’t tell ya what kukicha is (apparently twigs) but this is nice. There was a peppermint yerba mate sample in with the other Samovar samples (there are a few in one pouch), so this one has a peppermint flavor. Now the second steep was another story. I brewed it too hot and too long (just boiled, a few minutes) and the flavor was a little too tangy, bitter, astringent. The first cup was deliciousness. The second cup needed a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. I kind of already supposed that yerba mate should not be boiled, but I started thinking of what a caffeine kick black/yerba mate blends would be.
Future self, future reference: low temp, low time

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97
drank Hawaii-Grown Black by Samovar
345 tasting notes

Le Sigh finishing the last of this sample from Ian. So good. Unfortunately so expensive too. I’ve been rationing this on like crazy. Ah maybe one day I can replenish the supply but for now I’m enjoying the moment of this great tea.

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90
drank Ryokucha by Samovar
2168 tasting notes

Backlog…
I had this tea last night along with Samovar’s Japanese tea service. That included brown rice, tempeh, beets, seaweed salad and kale with a cup of butternut squash soup. This is a bit reminiscent of Den’s Super Green genmaicha because the color is just such a bright vivid green. Definitely has a kelpy/savory flavor with the warm flavor of toasted rice. That seaweedy flavor does not bother me, but I love japanese green teas. It went great with my food too. I could see wanting to have some of this around to make tea soup with or just to have I thought about buying some of this but I have a few genmaichas already that I should focus on drinking first. So much tea, so little time.

I have no idea how they prepared this so I’m just guessing… Their nishi sencha 1st flush is definitely worth checking out too.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 15 sec
Tealizzy

That sounds like a delicious meal! I need to get over there again soon. :)

TeaBrat

Let me know if you’d like some company! :)

Tealizzy

Ooh! Maybe we could meet up for lunch sometime. I work near there. PM me if you’re interested. :)

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99
drank Maiden's Ecstasy by Samovar
807 tasting notes

Full review tomorrow on http://sororiteasisters.com/ but here are my snippets:

With a creamy, heavy mouthfeel, this tea has notes of german rock sugar, brown sugar, raisins, tree bark, oak moss, and so much more. Sometimes you will taste a more woodsy note, while other times you get a taste of chocolate, and other times a savory note of mushroom!

There is something otherworldly about this tea. It is the kind of tea I like to drink while watching a movie such as Avatar, or The Never Ending Story. I would take this and drink it at the Renaissance Festival every year if I could find a way to keep steeping it! It makes me feel like jumping from toadstool to tree trunk and swinging from branches of friendly tress and cavorting with gnomes but beware of the trolls because this tea does have a sparky, spicy kick to it at times as well! Its not dangerous though, it won’t burn your tongue at all, its just a little spark of playful now and then in the middle of an otherwise dreamy cup.

It does evoke thoughts of sipping on a very luxurious espresso, a good one though, one you could probably only find at one of those quaint cafes in Italy, as you sit writing in your dairy at a white linen clothed table, dreaming of a romantic interlude. Flavors of molasses peek through resembling the sweet desires playing out in your mind as you gaze into nothingness, while someone, sitting at a table not too far away can see everything emoting through your eyes.

Sil

mmmmmmmmm

TeaBrat

sounds like I need to try this!

Chelle

I can almost taste it!

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84

I had some of this earlier today! It’s a might fine Yunnan. It’s slightly bakey but sweet. It has hints of grainy notes that fit in nicely. It’s reminiscent of creme brulee or a comparable dessert – on the end sip!

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100
drank Ocean of Wisdom by Samovar
3 tasting notes

Although i’ve tried a LOT of teas, i’m still very much a newbie at this. i can vary the temp a bit, but i don’t have a newfangled machine to do it for me..not yet, anyway. i’ve gotten way from bags and now use real loose tea. I can thank my buddy, Nik, for that. Also, thanks to him giving me one of the best gifts ever with Steepster’s Tea of the Month club, I have greatly expanded my knowledge of teas, and, hopefully my palate as well.

I’ve found that most folks tend to fuss about cinnamon. Like fuss and cuss. Now, thankfully, I’m in the minority there. i LOVE cinnamon. Bring it on! The more, the merrier, for the most part. Ginger, on the other hand, is slightly opposite…not so much because i don’t like the flavor, because i do. Mostly, it’s because it tends to initiate a migraine, which doesn’t make me very happy. However, and very thankfully, I have no neurological issues with this tea. This one is so good that I think I would just have to accept the migraine and take medication. Yep, it’s THAT good.

Its goodness shouldn’t be a great surprise. I mean, honestly, it was custom blended for His Holiness The Dalai Lama. To me, that just says, “Wow”. It also says the dude knows good tea ;) Seriously, though, I first had this tea just after I’d started drinking loose teas, when I was in San Francisco for Macworld. A group of us went to Samovar’s for tea, and I was hooked after my first sip. I simply could not get enough. I kept discovering something new with each successive sip, with just layer upon layer expressing itself. Maybe it was just the first time I’d had a truly excellent cup of tea.

Regarding the tea itself, it has almost a subdued heat to it that builds to a strong finish, almost the way Mexican food has a way to sneak up on you before you realize what has happened. It is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, so it’s actually really good for you. This rooibos blend contains cinnamon, cloves, ginger, licorice root, and black pepper. Normally, I run from licorice, because I don’t typically like it, not even a hint; but (you knew there was a but, right?) I don’t really taste it here, which is a good thing, because I would hate to run from this tea. These tea leaves are a dark reddish brown that leaves you with a gorgeous clear red tea after steeping that just beckons you to, “Come. Drink.”

There are many levels to this one. Just when you think you’re done, another layer pops to the surface—or does it come up kicking and screaming and gasping for air—the way I was when I made it a bit strong, it took my breath away and my throat burned long after the last drop.

Still, this one sets the bar against which all others are judged. This is the closest to the perfect cup of tea that I have had. I can’t imagine anything else even coming close to this one, but it will be fun trying to find a successor. Let the games begin.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 30 sec
Macpug

[Edit] I actually wrote this about 2 years ago, but I’m just getting around to posting it.

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