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98
drank Royal Garland by Samovar
158 tasting notes

Man.

Reading the lists of flavors that Samovar provided while I anxiously awaited my order’s arrival, I tried to compile some mental understanding of what those combinations would be like together and had the most difficult time. Having now had the tea, I’m still not certain that I can describe quite what it’s like, but I’m going to try.

First of all, the leaves are incredibly fuzzy. I opened my tin eager to get a whiff of the leaves and was surprised by the amount of fluff stuck to the sides of it…there’s a lot. Which makes me happy, for whatever reason. It really looks more like clippings of brown and green-silver yarn than tea leaves.

Second…

I have never had to rinse tea leaves before. I know you’re supposed to for some, and probably there’s something to be said for doing that for some oolongs no matter what, but…I never have. Needless to say, my zojirushi being set to 175 already meant that the little rinse they got was fairly low-temp, and I don’t know if that makes a difference…they recommend boiling. And such a short steep time!…but then I got to thinking…does the 3-minute steep time still hold true for the lower-temp 175 brew vs. the boiling-water brew?

And then I decided it smelled delicious while it was steeping and I didn’t care, because I could just experiment more later and find out. Hoo-ah.

I’m not sure what I expected, but I could never have expected this. To me, this is sort of like someone managed to combine together oolong and white tea, completely bypassing any of the notes I usually associate with green tea in a bizarre leap I wouldn’t have anticipated was possible. We’ve talked a little bit in TNs and comments about green oolong vs. black, but I dub this white oolong. It even has the fluffies floating around the bottom, the nutty nectary sweetness, the…mmm. Even the little bit of tang I sometimes get from whites.

Bready fruit, like plantains — easy to find. Starfruit when very hot (along with something more nutty like peach or apricot), then more bready as it cools, like plantains.

Nutty sweet floral roasted starchy tropical-fruity bliss. I cannot for the life of me find the ‘smoked chocolate’ in here unless I try very, very, very hard, and even then I’m not sure that I’m not just making it up. The cup had more strongly fruity flavors when hot, and some of the edges seem to be rounding off now that I’m at the bottom of the cup and the liquid is tepid. I haven’t tried this at a higher temperature…it sounded good this way, so this is the way I started out…but I imagine it’d be quite tart…more like the skin of a plum than the flesh of it. I’m interested in trying it to see.

I feel as though this is a cup of tea that’s going to provide a lot of flavor revelations the longer I go on drinking it, and that’s pretty exciting. In fact, I think I might have myself some more. Gonna try to resteep first. The short steep time makes me worry that it’s not able to go a second round, but here’s hoping!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 45 sec
S

Okay, your description of “white oolong” was the push I needed to finally place an order. I can’t wait to try this!

takgoti

We are of one mind today, as I found myself drinking this as well. I’ve been re-steeping for the better part of the afternoon-evening. Insert happy sigh here.

teaplz

Such a cooooool cooooool tea log. I love the white oolong stuff, and the plantains, and tak-tak sent me some of this, and I haven’t tried it yet… Man! Yay! I can’t wait to read what you think of the higher temperature!

sophistre

I only tried resteeping it once. That cup was good. A little bit less dynamic, but good. I was afraid to leave the leaves steeping for too long, but it’s good to know it’s possible to get more than that if I try (though I’m not usually that patient).

I’m looking forward to trying it at the higher temp, myself! Maybe I ought to go and set the zojirushi now…

Looking forward to seeing what you make of it, teaplz!

sophistre

Oops! Not sure how I missed Shanti’s comment…good grief. I’m having this now as my omgreward for trying pu-erh (haha) and I definitely stand by that assessment. I hope it proves worthy of the incentive, for you!

Ricky

Booo! How did I miss this tea when I was making my samovar shopping list! Sounds deliciousss! Shantea, no more tea! Haha, you and your evil twin.

teaplz

Any tea you don’t put on your Samovar shipping list is a miss, Ricky! Hehehe, takgoti is completely right – I haven’t been disappointed with a single one of their teas she’s sent me.

Ricky

Good reminder! I wrote the comment and forgot to add it to my shopping list! Ahhh! I mean there’s always next time =P

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Comments

S

Okay, your description of “white oolong” was the push I needed to finally place an order. I can’t wait to try this!

takgoti

We are of one mind today, as I found myself drinking this as well. I’ve been re-steeping for the better part of the afternoon-evening. Insert happy sigh here.

teaplz

Such a cooooool cooooool tea log. I love the white oolong stuff, and the plantains, and tak-tak sent me some of this, and I haven’t tried it yet… Man! Yay! I can’t wait to read what you think of the higher temperature!

sophistre

I only tried resteeping it once. That cup was good. A little bit less dynamic, but good. I was afraid to leave the leaves steeping for too long, but it’s good to know it’s possible to get more than that if I try (though I’m not usually that patient).

I’m looking forward to trying it at the higher temp, myself! Maybe I ought to go and set the zojirushi now…

Looking forward to seeing what you make of it, teaplz!

sophistre

Oops! Not sure how I missed Shanti’s comment…good grief. I’m having this now as my omgreward for trying pu-erh (haha) and I definitely stand by that assessment. I hope it proves worthy of the incentive, for you!

Ricky

Booo! How did I miss this tea when I was making my samovar shopping list! Sounds deliciousss! Shantea, no more tea! Haha, you and your evil twin.

teaplz

Any tea you don’t put on your Samovar shipping list is a miss, Ricky! Hehehe, takgoti is completely right – I haven’t been disappointed with a single one of their teas she’s sent me.

Ricky

Good reminder! I wrote the comment and forgot to add it to my shopping list! Ahhh! I mean there’s always next time =P

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Profile

Bio

Ohhh, I dunno. I like tea but I’m kind of a tea newbie. At this point I can say with authority that I may never be anything else, no matter how many teas I try…there is always something new out there.

I write a lot.

I also play way too many video games.


Ratings! (Bout time, wot?) This is a new arrangement, so…subject to change!

1-10: Not potable. First-sip disasters.

11-30: Intensely unpleasant…won’t catch me finishing the cup.

31-50: I really don’t like it…but maybe somebody else out there would.

51-70: Drinkable, but probably not the first thing I’m going to reach for.

71-90: Pretty good tea, and stuff that there’s a good chance I’ll have on-hand. Will do in a pinch at the low end, all the way up to regular visitors to my infuser on the high end.

91-100: Teas I really do not want to be without.

Location

Boston/Cambridge

Website

http://sophistre.tumblr.com/

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