796 Tasting Notes

74
drank Moorish Mint by Samovar
796 tasting notes

Yes! Delicious! This one reminds me a bit of Aveda’s Comfort Tea, but is still very good in its own right. I really like licorice tea! (Anyone else love the Licorice Tea demos by Jump Little Children?) Yay for another Samovar winner!

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78
drank Breakfast Blend by Samovar
796 tasting notes

I had my sample of this with breakfast today. It actually reminded me a lot of PG Tips… which means I’ll probably stick to PG Tips and Tealuxe’s Brattle Street Blend for my breakfast tea needs. It was really good; just especially when combined with shipping costs more than other options that are really good as well.

On another note, in my cleaning spree, I found an empty tea tin that was very exciting!! It was a Whittard of Chelsea Oxford Tea, brought (by my parents) to me from Oxford while I was in college. This was the very first loose leaf tea I had, and though I just prepared it using my microwave to heat water and whatever I could find to strain it, it was amazing. So amazing that it propelled me down this path that I’m still on a decade later. Now that I found the tin and know what type it was, I’m going to have to see if I can track some down to see if it holds up to my memory!!

~lauren.

Good luck with the tea hunt!

laurenpressley

Thanks! So far, from the Whittard of Chelsea, the hunt will be a hard one. They do custom blends, so I’m wondering if it’s one that they sell just at Oxford. The canister says “Pure Darjeeling and pure Assam teas.” It also says “refreshing blend for gentle punting.” :)

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100

Yesterday, with soymilk and agave. Fortunately for me, I got a lot of cleaning done that day. Unfortunately for me, that meant I didn’t remember to finish the tea!

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71
drank Four Seasons by Samovar
796 tasting notes

I somehow didn’t have one drop of tea yesterday. Tragic! So, to make up for it, I brought my Four Seasons and pot to work, and will be trying that throughout the day. I’ll post a comment to this tasting note with each resteep and we’ll see how far we can make it go!

laurenpressley

Steep 1, 3 minutes: very vegetal, almost tart. I used the same amount of leaves as last time, and I’m thinking that might be the problem….

JacquelineM

I’ll be tuning in to Four Seasons Television as you steep all day!! :) Tea Bird used 1 tsp and said that maybe next time she would use even a little less:

http://steepster.com/Tea_Bird/posts/33065#comments

I think I’m going to try a scant teaspoon when I try it – hopefully this weekend!

laurenpressley

JacquelineM: Good to know! I saw your comment on my last post, but wasn’t even sure of the answer… I’ll aim for just under 1 tsp next time. :)

Steep 2, 4 minutes: was still pretty vegetal, but much less tart. This is closer to what I think of when I think of oolong. there’s a slight bitterness, so I think I probably oversteeped. But I’m not sure, so the next steep I’ll push to about this limit again.

laurenpressley

Steep 3, 5 minutes: much less vegetal, and just what I think of when I think of oolong. It’s a bit bitter. I know it’s not from the water being too hot, so I definitely oversteeped. I’ll go with 4 minutes for the next one. And for the next pot, I’ll follow JacquelineM and Tea_Bird’s just-less-than-a-tsp leaf amount.

laurenpressley

Steep 4, 5 minutes: this is the steep I was waiting for. Floral, almost sweet, and really really good.

JacquelineM, looking back at the tin… it was 1-2 T to 16 oz… so I might have been thinking a strong steep as 1 T to 8 oz… so 1/2T to 4 oz. Next time I’m going lighter!

laurenpressley

Steep 5, 4 minutes: What a smooth cup of tea! It’s really, really good. There’s almost a honey tinted, buttery taste to the tea. Yum!

laurenpressley

Steep 6, 4 minutes: I love this tea! I wonder if I’ll like the 4+ steeps as much when I try this with less tea leaves. It’s so smooth, and almost has a soft mouthfeel. Yum!!!

JacquelineM

I’ve had a great time following your steeps today! (and I can’t wait to try this – hopefully on sunday!!)

laurenpressley

JacquelineM: thanks!! I can’t wait to see what you have to say!!

Steep 7, 4 minutes: It’s looking a bit lighter now, but still tastes very very good! I think I’m settling in around 4 minutes at a lower temperature to get the taste I’m looking for. I’m thinking I’ll just keep this up for a while and see how far I can take it!

laurenpressley

Steep 8, 4 minutes: this is the turning point, I think, where the tea seems a bit weaker. It’s still clearly oolong, but it’s resteeped oolong. Perhaps I should have gone for 5 minutes to boost it up a notch. Maybe shorter steeps for the earlier ones, and start getting longer at this point?

Jillian

What temperature are you steeping it at?

laurenpressley

Jillian, I wish I knew! I was at work, so the best I could do is guess. I started with boiling water from my automatic kettle (I figured that had to be pretty close to the recommended “boiling”) and then used the left over warm but not boiling water for subsequent resteeps. When I had meetings that kept me out of the office for a few hours, I just reboiled the water and let it sit for a little bit before using it.

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71
drank Ryokucha by Samovar
796 tasting notes

Last night I didn’t really fall asleep until around 12:30. This was as much because I was reading something interesting than anything else. And it really wouldn’t have been a big deal. But then, The Pregnancy woke me around 4:15, and it kept me up for the rest of the morning. I finally threw in the towel a little before six, and went to read until it was a reasonable time to get ready to go into work.

So, I felt totally justified in making a big cup of ryokucha to take into work this morning. That, and Spoon’s The Underdog, has made this morning less overwhelming.

So the tasting note? It’s really good tea. My favorite genmaicha at this point, is Den’s, and though this is really, Really good, I’m not sure it beats out Den’s. I think I prefer the extra roastiness of Den’s, though now I really want to make a small cup of each and try them side by side.

However, if I were in the mood for a genmaicha, but wanted something on more of the tea side of the spectrum than the toasty side, I’d definitely go with this. And I’m super pleased to have gotten a tin of this to keep coming back to it over the next few weeks/months. Good stuff!

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Those last few weeks are a bear! (Just conditioning you for early a.m. wake-up calls :o) Hang in there.

laurenpressley

I figure he’s already conditioning me! Thanks for the kind words. :)

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71
drank Four Seasons by Samovar
796 tasting notes

Today was the day. I got my Samovar package in the mail. I’d already had my caffeine dose for the day, but it was a rough one, and I couldn’t resist breaking out the adorably tiny teapot (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lauren_pressley/4438902539/ ). When I opened it, I said “this is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.” My husband questioned if that was really true. It’s probably not, but it’s definitely the cutest thing I’ve seen in the past few days.

Four Seasons has been fantastic, too. I’m on steep five, and it has been getting better with each one. The first was quite vegetal, and the second was as well. Things started getting really interesting around the third: more floral and at one point I almost got a mint like quality.

I’m certain I’m not steeping this as well as I could, but it’s working for me at this point. I put 1.5 teaspoons of tea in the tiny teapot, rinsed with boiling water for about 20-30 seconds, then took the set up to the living room so we could watch the pilot episode of The Pacific. So, the first steep wasn’t quite boiling, but it was really close to it, for 3 minutes. I let that cup cool enough to drink, then steeped from the same pot of water for 4. This last steep was 7 minutes, but the water wasn’t really all that hot either.

I am looking forward to lots of experimentation with this one…. but I’m also looking forward to the rest of the Samovar teas… and I still have the Golden Moon sampler to go through… so many teas, so little time!

Jillian

That’s a cute teapot!

BTW what did you think of The Pacific?

Erin

that teapot is ridiculously cute!

JacquelineM

Wow, wow, wow!!!! It IS adorable!!!!!! I’m supposed to take delivery on thurs – can’t wait!!!!!

laurenpressley

@Erin: I know, right?!?

@JacquelineM: It really is… even more than I expected. I’m excited you’re getting yours tomorrow!

@Jillian: it’s good! Have you seen it? I’m not sure how it will hold up to Band of Brothers, but I’m willing to give it a try when it all comes out on DVD.

Jillian

No I haven’t seen it though the previews looked pretty cool.

To be honest I’m a bit wary of Amercian-made WW2 stuff because it tends to be all “We saved the day and destroyed the Nazi’s single-handedly and the Brits, Canadians, Russians, and everyone else was just chopped liver.”

JacquelineM

laurenpressley – what a surprise! My Samovar order came today! The tea pot is SO SMALL and SO CUTE!

Did you feel 1.5 tsp of leaves was good for 4 oz of water a shot or do you think a little more or a little less next time. I’m having trouble deciding how much leaf to use for that little pot because the samovar video says 1 teaspoon of leaves for 10 -14 oz of water (after the initial rinse which you throw out). I’m so confused!

Jillian – did you ever watch Foyle’s War? It’s my favorite WWII era show :)

Jillian

My cable package doesn’t include the BBC unfortunately, which is a shame since there are so many good programs being aired in the UK (Top Gear, whoot!) :(

JacquelineM

Jillian – I see them on DVD. Def worth a viewing if you are interested in WWII. I haven’t seen the latest season since it isn’t available on DVD in the US yet.

Jillian

I’ll have to have a look the next time I’m in Future Shop, thanks for the rec. :)

laurenpressley

JacquelineM: I know! It’s hard to know how many leaves are good for it without specific instructions. I forget (already!) where I came up with the amount, but it might have been that I read somewhere to use a tablespoon per cup of water?

Jillian, I totally know what you mean about the US centric views in most of those movies/shows. It’s interesting, but you do get a sense you’re not getting the whole story. The Band of Brothers was nice because it was so character driven. I have the same hope for The Pacific.

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And I found the way to enjoy this!! Now that it’s starting to feel a bit like spring, I figured I’d give this tea another go. And it’s really good!! I think that the fruit qualities stand on their own in this tea, yet the drink still maintains the tea-quality we all love. This is good when sitting in my office, just knowing it’s spring outside, and I imagine it’ll be really nice when sitting on the porch this summer.

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58

After having this yesterday, I made a pitcher of it iced and sweetened (I’m from the south, afterall). However, it’s too sweet! I think next time I’ll make a pitcher of it plain and see how that does…

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66
drank Monks Blend by Tealuxe
796 tasting notes

So, I made a cup of this earlier today, and based on the recommendation of AmyB I added milk and sweetener (of the soy and agave variety). It was better than plain, and struck me as a tea that might be good for a younger person curious about tea. Yum!

gmathis

That’s funny…at least once during the spring I try to serve tea to my fifth grade girls at church (provides a nice atmosphere for just some talking time, and it’s fun to watch them experiment) and I was thinking Monks Blend might be a good choice.

laurenpressley

That sounds perfect! Nearly exactly the scenario I was imagining. :)

Marie

Hi Lauren. So happy you had a good experience with the added soy and agave. Some of those black teas need a little nurturing to tamper the bitter and bring out the flavor that’s hidden underneath. I have to drink pretty much all of my black teas this way to enjoy more fully (but it is a personal preference). Monks blend is a fun tea though! :)

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Profile

Bio

a tea drinking librarian
& a reading, yoga practicing, mommy

I’ve been into tea, at some level, since college with a first tin of loose tea brought back by my parents from Oxford. My love of tea increased with a visit to Boston and a chance cup at Tealuxe. Since then I’ve only gotten more interested in tea and have developed more of an appreciation for it.

tea rating guide
(updated 12/2010)

100: a perfect cuppa. these are the teas I’ll keep in my cupboard and tend to be one per type of tea.

90-99: will definitely get more of this tea

80-89: likely to get more and perhaps it will become a favorite with time

70-79: very good, depending on my mood or the season

60-69: wouldn’t actively try to get this tea, but also wouldn’t avoid it in a tea shop or restaurant

50-59: run-of-the-mill tea for me

40-49: decent, would hit the spot in some moods, but probably wouldn’t purchase it for my cupboard

30-39: okay, will try again, maybe

20-29: meh. I’d try this tea again if no other were available

10-19: drinkable, but a forced cup

0-9: didn’t even finish the cup

Location

Blacksburg, VA

Website

http://laurenpressley.com

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