Samovar = serious master blenders. I mean that. Man.
So, I was trying to figure out what I would drink today, and I searched through takgoti’s Magic Box of Wonderful Tea that she sent me. I figured I’d drink my lucky number (#12) and came out with this little number. Blood Orange Pu-erh. Interesting.
I’m not the biggest fan of oranges. I don’t mind the flavor of them, but the texture kind of grosses me out. The pulpy membrane… eesh. And since citrus tends to upset my stomach, I tend to avoid them. But this one smells pretty interesting, and it’s a pu-erh, so I decided to give it a go.
The dry leaves are that thick, heavy-looking black leaf splotched with brown that usually sings pu-erh to me! There are chunks of orange rind and seeds (I think?) and pieces of ginger. The entire concoction smells like dark citrus. Not bright, sunny morning, Florida-weather-orange. More mysterious and exotic, with an earthy base and spiciness from the ginger. Mmmm.
So I actually rinsed this one, which was a first for me. I had no idea how to go about this, so I poured about 6 oz. of boiling water over the leaves and left it for about 15 seconds, then dumped it. Fresh boiling water over it again, and then the actual steep… almost immediately the water started turning that signature dark, pu-erh color. The bits of dried fruit began to puff up, and swirl around the pot.
Then it came time for the pour! And boy, is this dark. I just love the color of pu-erh. I can’t see the bottom of my cup, at all. It looks like a bruised-black, and the smell coming from it… the smell is complex. I’m getting mostly deep blood orange notes, accented by a bit of ginger, and then a smoke-like earth component.
I raised my spoon, and took the first sip. Let me pause for a second, for a big, “Mmmmmm!” Even though I finished my cup about 10 minutes ago, the flavors are still echoing in my mouth in big ways, and it’s great.
The blood orange is definitely the body of this flavor, and it’s almost rich and satisfying. It’s an almost brassy note, if I had to color it, very strong and full, but never overwhelming. It’s not really sweet, or tart, but wonderfully and distinctively orange. You’d never mistake it for anything else. The ginger really creeps in at points, with a spicy, warming quality, that pairs wonderfully with the citrus of the orange flavors. The pu-erh is not really the focal point here, but it really does its job of holding the tea together and grounding it in the earth. I think that’s what really makes this one special. It’s dark and rich and deep, reminded me of moss and deep forest.
Pu-erh to me, is a liquid manifestation of earth. I don’t really associate it with a dirt-like flavor, but I tend to think of it more as a mushroom, or a truffle. Rich and satisfying and delicious.
I’m really a bit surprised at how much I like this one, since I’m not one to truly love citrus, and I wasn’t sure how flavored pu-erh was going to go. But it’s an absolute, clear winner, and I was happy to share the morning with this cup! Another big victory for Samovar! And takgoti as well, for sending me some of this delicious stuff!