The tea is background to the brightness of orange peel and crisp/dryness of grapefruit peel. If you don’t like strong bergamot, you most likely won’t like the strong citrus flavours, but hey never say never. I think this is interesting enough to try a sample. I would pair this with a fish course, maybe even raw fish like tuna sashimi. Any ideas how to infuse tea into a sauce ( say, a mushroom sauce)?
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I bought this sample a while back as part of the experiment described here:
which I extended from rooibos to honeybush.
This sample has been following me to the point where I considered a restraining order. Every drawer I put it in, it manages to float to the top (in that uncanny way that tampons seem to float to the top of any handbag, so that when you open it up in the grocery line to get your wallet, it’s the first thing the attractive man next to you in line sees, amIright ladies?). If I put it in a cabinet, it falls out when I open the door. The only reason I didn’t dig a hole in the back yard to bury it in was because I feared a zombie version would rise from the grave and eat my brains while I slept. (Just kidding. I would never put any sort of tea in a hole in the backyard.) I decided to drink it to put an end to the madness. ;-)
The dry honeybush smells quite woody to me and in fact I can’t really make out anything but wood. Brewing, however, released a lovely honey smell that pretty much extinguished the wood. I got a cloudy, red brown liquor reminiscent of apple cider.
I was prepared to say I wouldn’t drink this again before I tried it, simply because I can think of so many other things I’d rather drink than plain honeybush, even if it is from Samovar. Now, though, I’m not so sure. As the description says, its absurdly smooth, and I can see this as a balm to a sore throat on a miserable rainy stay at home sick day, or a kind stroke to the mouth after a bad visit to the dentist. I do get cedar notes, though not in a sawdust, hamster cage way. More like the smell of a sweater after it has spent the summer in my cedar chest. And something I’m getting that isn’t even mentioned in the description is a nutty flavor, almost like a roasted chestnut aftertaste. It has a sweet little upswing to it, but not a strong taste of honey. There’s a slight earthy/metallic note which I suppose is what they mean by gravel that is evident in the aftertaste, and something that is somewhere between green and wood. It’s surprisingly complex for something I bought to better understand the flavor as a base for blends.
While at the rate I’m going I have enough tea to last me until I’m 100, I wouldn’t turn this down if offered. I can’t justify buying any, but mostly because I can’t justify buying ANY tea. I just spent the morning rearranging the tea that isn’t in cupboards in my kitchen or eight small shoe-box size plastic containers into tubs like this:
Four of them. Insanity. Just insanity.
Goes well with Hendricks but probably have to cold brew it. Use minimal ice.
I accidentally let this steep for 10 minutes because I forgot about it. I figured it would be ruined but it’s still good! It got a bit more buttery and a tad more bitter than I remember, but I still like it. yum!
This is my chosen gong fu tea of the day. I got this sample from Amy Oh… thanks! This is my first tea from Samovar, which is a tea company I’ve always wanted to try. I have enjoyed the bao zhongs I’ve had before, but I’ve never had one gong fu.
There isn’t much info about this tea online because it is not on Samovar’s websites, so I used approximate brewing parameters from Naivetea for their bao zhong. I also didn’t rinse this one. In the first steep, 30 seconds, I definitely smell buttery asparagus notes, which are really the main fragrance here. It is definitely sweet, fresh, spring asparagus like we’re getting now. The flavor, though is first sweet and fruity (one of Amy’s posts said there are supposed to be notes of mango in here, and I can see it), then followed by some spring vegetables. Really, really lovely.
Second steep (45 seconds) is much greener in color, and it smells more buttery. But the taste is kind of meh? Not exciting. Same with the third. Same thing as has been happening with most of the oolongs I try to steep gong fu. I dunno, I think maybe I am increasing my steep time too fast? Maybe I should stick with similar timed steeps for the first few at least? I mean, the third steep isn’t bad but it’s nothing to write home about. Why do I get great first steeps and then mediocre steeps for the rest of them in seemingly all the oolongs I try to steep gong fu? Especially when I’ve read so many times that people think the second steep is often the best. Not for me. Gotta figure this out.
A hotter, short fourth steep (boiling, 20 seconds) hints at the notes of the first steep, but they are weaker. An improvement over the second and third, though.
Rating this one on the delicious first steep, which was delightful. Thanks for sharing this with me, Amy!
I got this yesterday at Samovar with lunch, if you want to read about my experience, I did a blog post about it over here:
This is a truly beautiful green tea, very vivid in color and well balanced in terms of umami. It had a definite seaweedy note, with a bit of grassiness, sweetness and some bitterness in the finish. I already had a lot of tea before I drank it, the bitterness made me a tad bit nauseated, unfortunately but I do have a sensitive stomach. Not sure if that was due to this tea in particular or a tea overdose of sorts…
I’m not sure exactly how this was prepared so I’m leaving the steeping parameters off. It was a delicious tea and a lovely experience.
We had this today at the Samovar tea lounge in San Francisco, where my honey actually got to drink it out of a Samovar, which was how it was served. I am a bit of a smoky tea fan but this was too much for me. When asked, I got the deets on this tea which is a blend of Lapsang, Earl Grey and Lychee black teas. It was ok but I was not wild about it. Will be blogging about the whole experience soon. =)
Had a sample of this. Very lovely! Nothing like any pu-erh I have ever tried.
Chocolate, Sandalwood, Orange, Deep, Complex flavors!
I absolutely want to add this to my perm stash!
I didn’t have as much left of this as I thought :‘( In fact, I only had about 1 teaspoon left, and I brew with 12 oz, so I made sure to use EXACTLY boiling water and I steeped for 5 minutes instead of the recommended 2-4 so I could be sure to get as much flavor as possible out of this. On the plus side, I’m all caught up with the backlogs I wanted to do! So that’s good. I don’t know what you guys do, but I have my separate tea cupboard and then whatever tea I want to drink and review, I put it out on top of my counter (separated by variety) and then when I drink something, I either review it or if I don’t have time to review it at the time, I set it aside and that’s my backlog pile (for those who were interested).
Alright, SO. Now that I’ve successfully rambled on, onto this tea. There was a brief period where a lot of people were raving about the Hawaii-Grown Oolong tea from Samovar, and I sadly don’t have that one. But, I’m in a straight-black mood today and I went looking for a Ceylon to drink (which sadly, I don’t have :( I’m going to order from Upton soon and they have a bunch I’ve been wanting to dry!), when I saw this one and wanted to try it! I think the concept is really interesting plus it sounds yummy, so I brewed it up.
This one smells really good. Like sweet with an almost caramel-y note in it. Maybe a bit of rye? I’m not so good at describing scents…. Something to work on! Oh. My. Goodness. This one is so good! I can’t even! This is so deliciously sweet and mild. Someone described this as sugared and grilled fruits and that’s so true! It’s a nice, dark fruit taste. I also get a kind of creamy note on the finish. There’s a little astringency, but it’s not unbearable.
Oh yes, this one is super tasty! This one is going on the shopping list (which is waaaaaay too long)!
Someone gave my bf one of the Teavana glass tea makers so I’ve been trying it out, I cold brewed this in the refrigerator for 48 hours and it works well, I think I prefer this tea hot, since it became lightly vegetal and slightly astringent instead of sweeter like I was hoping it would.
This is a really REALLY good Oolong. The flavor is truly unique. I can indeed taste the tropical notes here. It is sweet and fruity (but not overly fruity), with a nice buttery smoothness to it. I’m on my third/fourth infusion now (the third and fourth infusion combined into one cup), and the mouthfeel is lighter than it was at first. It was very silky at the start. The woodsy tones are delightful the way they mingle with the floral and fruit notes.
A lovely Oolong experience.
A very nice tea with a lot of depth to its flavors and fragrances. I like that it brews up very dark. It has a sweet honey taste to go with its dark cocoa and subtle earthy undertones. No bitterness, no astringency. It leaves a very pleasant dark chocolate aftertaste.
Thanks to Ian for sending me this one. Sometimes you need put all formality aside and just say DUDE! I have to be honest I’ve been giddy about getting to try this one. I have had pure Hawaiian kona and it is one of my favorite treats to have in the coffee world. I love my coffee just as much as I love my tea. So my expectations are high knowing the quality that comes from the Island state. Not to mention an American tea that can stack up to teas that have been produced for thousands of years in other countries. The dry leaf is intriguing. There is a sweet aroma emanates almost like caramelized sugar. The tea reminds me a lot of of Dawn(Arunachal Pradesh) from The Simple Leaf. This is a fabulous tea. Second steep with dinner of Salmon and Boxty(Irish potato pancakes). Great
Smokey, sweet, and slight fruit taste. Goes well with some pierogi.
Finally got a chance to try this and this is the best Pu-Erh I’ve tried yet.
No gross fishy smell or taste like I got from the Numi Emporer’s Pu-Erh tea bags and a fun and enjoyable brewing method too. Had the iron tea pot with boiled water and poured that into a small yixing clay pot which was a fun brewing method. The server suggested 30 sec brewing time so I followed that generally, or brewed up to 1 min or so. Did about 12 steepings.
At first the flavour was stronger, not quite in-your-face which was very encouraging. This does remind me a bit of Lapsang in the way that it’s more like you’re drinking a fancy hard liquor (like Islay Scotch, or something) than a tea. So a very interesting and fun experience out, and definitely nice vibe to have this outdoors at the fancy Samovar Tea Shop downtown in Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Don’t know if I’d make this one for myself at home if I got some, but it’s a fun tea to have out.
The flavour was rich and inviting but not overpowering which was really surprising. I found myself really enjoying the taste and making comparisons to Samovar’s (very strong) Yerba Mate as well – in the way that it’s sort of a “unique” tea, not an every day one, but it’s fun to have once in a while as you suspect it’s so strange that it’s epically good for your health.
I had a LOT of this tea, 2 full teapots full. I hadn’t had a ton of lunch beforehand so I started to notice the caffeine hitting me pretty hard – also it was a bit harsh on the stomach too – I suspect this might be better if not on an empty stomach. It was very nice while drinking it but perhaps I had too much, this might be a better one to share with someone, or perhaps have only 1 teapot instead of 2. In any case I still liked it and despite the very present flavours and strong reaction I would have it again, prob just with food next time.
Best Pu-Erh yet, but this is making me wonder if you’re not supposed to drink Pu-Erh like you drink Black Tea – I could have 3 mugs of black tea and never feel blech afterwards. Perhaps this is a bit more acidic or something and warrants a little more caution. But in any case it was fun, and I’d try it again.
No notes yet.
Thank you ssooo much Amy for this delicious Oolong! I wasn’t aware that this was a Thai Oolong until I read your notes, so it is my first as well. :))
When I warmed my glass tea press and poured the dry leaves into it the aroma was very creamy to me. I was surprised because this tea was greener than I expected, but IMO somewhere in the middle of the Oolong spectrum. The wet leaves smelled wonderful, with a creamy fruit aroma I love so much. The cup color was a lighter yellow, with a light fruity & creamy aroma.
Initially this Oolong reminded me of the milk Oolong I had a while back, but slightly greener, with no artificial powdery aftertaste left on my palate. This was so creamy and I loved the smoothness of the cup. I did notice a mild peach aspect to this one, and I agree with Amy, this Bao Zhong is mild in flavor. This is probably due to the hand rolling of the leaves. Not whimpy in taste, but a more gentle, calming, reflective brew.
My second steep was much the same as above, but more creamy, smooth, and fruity. I did seem to pick up more of the greenish character in the second cup. I wouldn’t call it flowery, but slightly vegetal in nature. I did get peach notes. Now I think I understand what people mean when they say an Oolong is buttery. I guess I just feel that “buttey” is what I call creamy (it is part of the creaminess) in describing the tea.
This Bao Zhong Oolong is one of those teas I could really get addicted to! Thanks again Amy. :)) I’m gonna go take a leap, and steep another cup of this tasty Oolong. :))
Cupped & Reviewed: Wednesday, February 29, 2012.
Excellent tea. High quality, gorgeous leaves. Delicate, and sweet. Tastes fruity and slightly grassy. Mouth feel of a white but clear fruit flavors. Delicious over and over again. Steep as many times as possible.
Absolutely fantastic. Great color, great flavor. The flavor is very heavy, thick, and smoky. It’s one of the best roasted teas I’ve ever had. Definitely worth ordering. I tend to steep this one a bit longer than usual, I feel it really gets better and rarely over-steeps.
Having the last of my sample of this. Still love this blend. Although Samovar is a little on the expensive side I have never had a tea from them that I did not love.
No notes yet.