This is the tea I wanted to try second most in the black tea sampler from this company. After smelling the leaves, I felt like tossing this into the samovar, but I don’t have one, so no zavarka as suggested on the Samovar website. I steeped two well-rounded teaspoons for 5 min at 205F in a 12 oz cup instead.
The dry leaves are in longish pieces and dark in color. The aroma of the tea in the pouch is smoky, reminds me of new shoes in the box, and hints at anonymous fruit.
The aroma over the dark liquor (on the red side of black coffee in color) is sweet and strongly smoky (to me, but this is my first smoked tea), but not like hickory BBQ. The smoke is like a piney wildfire smoke.
I brace myself, nose above cup, for a powerful cup of smoke. The taste is instead silky and out of proportion with the smoky aroma. The sip tastes of bitterness in the back, in balance with up front flavors that include a strong sweetness, a tongue-tickling bitterness, and some smoky sweetness or sweet smokiness. This taste reminds me more of hickory smoke than the aroma. The sip finishes with a smoky, lingering sweetness aftertaste. The sip is moderately astringent.
As the cup cooled, the flavors seemed to soften. The sweet flavor became more fruity.
The smoke breath I experienced after this cup is exciting, but I’m not sure whether I like it.
This strikes boldly and then follows up with subtlety. An intriguing cup of tea.
I want to try it with lemon and try multiple steeps.