Smoky and fairly strong, like a Caravan blend. I felt obligated to do it at least once the prescribed way (here: https://www.samovarlife.com/5-steps-to-the-ultimate-russian-tea ) with American Spoon strawberry preserves, but I must say, Samovar’s steeping instructions are awfully vague, giving amounts of leaf and jam to use but not amounts of water nor how long to steep nor how to go about straining (the “steaming” step implies you add the tea directly to the teapot, not within an infuser basket) given you’ve added jam to the tea. So it was all a mess, and unfortunately a waste of good jam too ‘cause I didn’t like it (I shouldn’t be too surprised; I have yet to find any strawberry with black tea base blend I like). Oh well. I guess it’s good (kinda) you can only order this in big amounts so wasting some the first time isn’t the end. :/

I appreciate Samovar’s steeping directions in general for trying to stay open to people’s varying tastes and also for being gongfu-ish, but sometimes you want a decent cup of western-style tea and no more than that (brisk blacks especially are something where I’m only going to want 1 cup, usually in a hurry first thing in the morning so no resteeps, and especially don’t want to be using 1 whole Tbsp a go). That’s what I want some specific guidelines for. Oh well. Next time I’ll try 1 teaspoon for 8 oz, boiling, 3 minutes and hopefully it’ll go ok.

EDIT: Hm, looking more closely I think I can put the pieces together, but it’s easy to overlook if you skim and requires additional link-hopping to figure it all out—it appears to be around 13oz boiling water, 3 Tb tea, 2 Tb strawberry jam, 10 second dry steam condition of the leaves then 15 minute steep jam and all. Filter afterward (somehow…), and then do equal parts the steeped super strong tea and additional boiling water, add sweetener and/or dairy to taste. I might just try it one more time…maybe. It’s vaguely like southern sweet tea, ha.

Terri HarpLady

I love Caravan style teas :)

boychik

Im from Russia. We never make tea this way. You make a zavarka, then dilute with hot water to your liking. Jam, pastries are on a side;)

ifjuly

yeah, the jam added right into the tea while steeping seemed very unorthodox to me—i’m vaguely familiar with “make a crazy concentrated tea, then dilute with hot water from a samovar and lots of sugar” but not the jam thing, ha.

ifjuly

that said i don’t really care about hewing to tradition or anything. it just seemed fun. but without clearer instructions the first go-round, and first thing in the morning when my head’s still fuzzy, it was a mess waiting to happen.

boychik

Let us know the results if you decide to try again

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Terri HarpLady

I love Caravan style teas :)

boychik

Im from Russia. We never make tea this way. You make a zavarka, then dilute with hot water to your liking. Jam, pastries are on a side;)

ifjuly

yeah, the jam added right into the tea while steeping seemed very unorthodox to me—i’m vaguely familiar with “make a crazy concentrated tea, then dilute with hot water from a samovar and lots of sugar” but not the jam thing, ha.

ifjuly

that said i don’t really care about hewing to tradition or anything. it just seemed fun. but without clearer instructions the first go-round, and first thing in the morning when my head’s still fuzzy, it was a mess waiting to happen.

boychik

Let us know the results if you decide to try again

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Bio

“…you can never know everything about anything, especially something you love.”
-Julia Child on food and cooking, and I think it applies to tea as well!

note: i am currently taking a break from swapping/mail of any kind as money is rather tight. i apologize! i do love to swap but i can’t afford to right now. hopefully in a month things will change.

my cupboard includes any tea i’ve ever owned, including things i’ve sipped down, in order to facilitate swaps with people and keep a record—this way i don’t get redundant samples/order duplicates to try. if you are interested in swapping, i have a separate ever-updated list of teas i actually have on hand i can PM.

i like strong, rich blacks (including some choice old skool CTCs); juicy-fruity flavored green blends; buttery chinese greens; light floral oolongs; flavored oolongs (how sacrilegious!); earl greys; smoky blends; second flush muscatel darjeelings; verdant’s straight oolongs steeped in a gaiwan (mind altering!); anything from laoshan village it seems.

favorite notes include lavender, bergamot, violet, fennel, cardamom, melon, honey, sandalwood, smoke, nuts, roasty/toasty stuff, malt, wood, leather, creamy lemon, steamed rice, artichoke, garden-sweet snap veggies, earth/soil, forest and wet bark, and mushroom.

notes i generally can’t stand (at least in tea) include jasmine, rose (ok in small doses but i often find it overpowering and then everything just smells like musty old lady perfume), astringent apple (and general fruitiness really unless it’s with green tea), and chamomile (unless i’m congested or tired).

my current favorite tea vendors are butiki and harney and sons. i’ve also found some delicious teas and/or had good customer service experiences with the following companies: capital tea ltd., the devotea, verdant, mandala, golden moon, teavivre, lupicia, taiwan tea crafts, yezi tea, den’s tea, the tea merchant, norbu, fauchon paris, tao tea leaf, zen tea, fortnum and mason, townshend’s tea, joy’s teaspoon, new mexico tea company, persimmon tree, teajo teas, whispering pines, della terra, upton imports, mariage freres, samovar, justea, teabox, american tea room, steven smith, steap shoppe, utopia tea, and andrews and dunham damn fine tea. when i’m at the grocery store my “you could do worse” brands include stash, bigelow, tazo, taylors of harrogate, whittard of chelsea, and pg tips. and it’s a fact: you can’t make classic southern sweet tea without luzianne.

top picks, fall 2013

black:
verdant zhu rong yunnan black
verdant laoshan black
thepuriTea hong jing luo (no longer available :( )
thepuriTea red dragon pearl (no longer available :( )
mandala morning sun
golden moon honey orchid
verdant golden fleece
taiwan tea crafts red jade
yezi tea zheng shan xiao zhong “scotch” tea
capital tea borsapori estate assam tgfop1 (spl)
butiki khongea golden tippy assam
butiki giddahapar darjeeling extra special
upton imports fikkal estate
golden moon sinharaja
harney and sons new vithanakande
persimmon tree vintage black
teajo teas black manas
justea kenyan black
harney and sons kangaita op

morning blends:
butiki the black lotus
harney and sons queen catherine
harney and sons eight at the fort
harney and sons big red sun
harney and sons scottish morn
golden moon irish breakfast
harney and sons irish breakfast
utopia tea english breakfast
fortnum and mason breakfast blend (needs milk!)
andrews and dunham double knit blend
steven smith no. 25 morning light
butiki irish cream cheesecake

earl greys and scented afternoon blends:
teajo teas silky earl grey
harney and sons viennese earl grey
upton imports lavender earl grey
american tea room victoria
lupicia earl grey grand classic
harney and sons tower of london
tao tea leaf cream earl grey
zen tea earl grey cream
della terra earl grey creme
upton imports season’s pick earl grey creme vanilla
upton imports baker street afternoon blend
harney and sons russian country
della terra professor grey
verdant earl of anxi

flavored black:
herbal infusions moose tracks
american tea room brioche
steap shoppe cinnamon swirl bread
della terra oatmeal raisin cookie
butiki nutmeg cream
kusmi caramel
david’s tea brazillionaire
lupicia banane chocolat
butiki hello sweetie
fauchon paris raspberry macaron
butiki blueberry purple tea
herbal infusions marshmallow snowflake earl grey
herbal infusions creme brulee chai

pu erh:
mandala loose and luscious lincang 2007 shu/ripe pu erh
mandala special dark 2006 shu/ripe pu erh

oolong:
verdant shui jin gui wuyi oolong
verdant hand-picked early spring tieguanyin
butiki 2003 reserve four season oolong
harney and sons formosa oolong
tea merchant silk dragon
golden moon coconut pouchong
zen tea coconut oolong
american tea room coconut oolong
teavivre taiwan jin xuan milk oolong
butiki flowery pineapple oolong
butiki lychee oolong
lupicia momo oolong supergrade
butiki strawberry oolong
butiki pumpkin milkshake darjeeling oolong
52teas tiramisu oolong

green:
verdant laoshan bilochun green
verdant autumn harvest laoshan green
tao tea leaf hou kui
harney and sons tencha
harney and sons gyokuro
new mexico casablanca
butiki with open eyes
american tea room nirvana
joy’s teaspoon mahalo
den’s tea pineapple sencha
harney and sons tokyo
butiki potato pancakes and applesauce
butiki holiday eggnog and pralines
den’s tea organic genmaicha with matcha
golden moon hojicha

white:
butiki cantaloupe and cream
butiki champagne and rose cream

no caf:
harney and sons soba buckwheat
butiki birthday cake
della terra lemon chiffon
52teas strawberry pie honeybush
butiki mango lassi
joy’s teaspoon italian dream
butiki coconut cream pie rooibos
butiki peppermint patty
persimmon tree mint chocolate chip rooibos
art of tea velvet tea
fusion teas chocolate cake honeybush
american tea room choco-late
steven smith no. 40 bon bon
townshend’s tea dark forest chai
utopia tea decaffeinated earl grey cream

sleep aid/medicinal/therapeutic:
new mexico extra sleepy bear
stash white christmas
verdant ginger sage winter spa blend
samovar turmeric spice
butiki the killer’s vanilla guayusa

coldsteeped wonders:
whispering pines manistee moonrise
harney and sons fruits d’alsace
utopia tea berkshire apple and fig
culinary teas peaches and cream
butiki peach hoppiTea
butiki ruby pie
whispering pines gingerade

besides tea

born in seoul, raised in new england and upstate new york, went to college in pittsburgh, currently in memphis with an eye toward philadelphia, portland, or asheville eventually.

i like cats, most beverages really (i also like good freshly roasted coffee, craft beer, wine, whiskey and gin-based cocktails, and soda/soft drinks like agua fresca), art (mainly writing but also visual and music) and critical theory, feminism/genderqueer politics, historiography, statistics, children’s literature and librarianship, travel, and food/cooking. also have recently gotten into weightlifting (mark rippetoe and stumptuous!) and sprint training (HIIT, plyometrics) and i love it.

Location

Memphis, TN

Website

http://facebook.com/ifjuly

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