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Four Seasons

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Ingredients
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Flavors
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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54 Tasting Notes View all

  • “The scene in Shawshank Redemption where Andy Dufresne comes crawling out of the tunnel into the rain. That is me today. Crawling through foot after foot, yard after yard, of metaphorical sewage...” Read full tasting note
    100
    takgoti 260 tasting notes
  • “So, I got a notice that someone contacted my old agents to have a showing for my house (we're trying to sell our home so we can get a larger one), and so to celebrate, I'm drinking some Four...” Read full tasting note
    79
    wombatgirl 411 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...” Read full tasting note
    71
    laurenpressley 796 tasting notes
  • “Four Seasons pisses me off. Don't get me wrong--this isn't a bad tea. It's actually quite tasty. But it's just not that _special_. It tastes, to me, like an average Tie Guan Yin, but missing the...” Read full tasting note
    67
    ragashanti 92 tasting notes

From Samovar

Origin: Nantou, Taiwan

Flavor Profile: The initial infusions of this oolong have a distinctive, fresh, buttery flavor with a heady floral aroma. From the third or fourth infusion on, our Four Seasons exhibits a creamy, flowery finish of morning gardenias and warm milk. Think gardenias, sweet fresh-baked bread, warm milk, and dew-dipped clover.

Tea Story: This lightly oxidized tea hails from the oolong-gurus of the mountains of Nantou, Taiwan. Meditate on the clarity of its smooth, golden-green infusion.

Four Seasons gets its name for the tea leaf varietal whose name translates as “Four Seasons Like Spring” because it produces four flushes (or harvests) each year that have a flavor and quality of that of a spring flush. This varietal was cultivated in Taiwan form a strain of Tie Quan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy), in the 1980’s.This delightful oolong varietal has been cultivated for its sweet, floral flavors and expertly processed by hand. Bless your mouth with its fresh buttery forward flavors and its lingering flowery finish of morning gardenias and warm milk.

This two ounce package will make 40 servings with several infusions each.

Samovarian Poetry: From the oolong-gurus in Taiwan, this profound brew has tiers of aroma and flavor: Gardenias, fresh-baked bread, warm milk, and dew-dipped clover.

Food Pairing: The delightful, delicate flavors of Four Seasons pair wonderfully with the light and sweet flavors of honey comb served with fruit and cheese.

About Samovar View company

Samovar's is dedicated to preserving the simplicity and integrity of the tea traditions and inspiring people to practice peace through drinking tea.

54 Tasting Notes

100
260 tasting notes

The scene in Shawshank Redemption where Andy Dufresne comes crawling out of the tunnel into the rain.

That is me today. Crawling through foot after foot, yard after yard, of metaphorical sewage to reach the cleansing downpour of sweet, sweet FREEDOM.

Yes, Steepsterites. I am free. I. Am. FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

At least until mid-January, when the whole process starts anew. But for now, I am going to savor this unadulterated sense of not needing to do…anything. I have big, big plans for winter break, part of which include trying to catch up with what I’ve been missing on this site [I can’t even fathom how long that’s going to take] and inundating you with tea logs [FUN FOR YOU]. Because yes, in true tea dork fashion, I TOOK NOTES when I knew I wasn’t going to be able to write logs on here. If you would have told me a few years ago that I would be jotting down things to remember about a tea in a moleskine so that I could semi-accurately log it later, I would have laughed at you. Just laughed and laughed and laughed. And then apologized, and then probably laughed some more.

So, after being released from my last final of the semester, I turned the kettle on and began an impromptu dance party. Some Ting Tings, a little Modeselektor, a bit of La Roux, a slice of Roisin Murphy and an Under the Influence of Giants track later, I was drinking this tea and laughing madly. Partially because I was so giddy with being finished with school, and partially because of the enormous lack of sleep I have had these past few weeks.

There are very few teas that I would reach for in lieu of this in such a moment of intense celebration. I luckily got my Samovar package in the mail right before studying for finals commenced in earnest, so I replenished my stash of Four Seasons and I drank a fair amount of it while trying to cram every bit of information I could into my already bursting at the seams brain.

It is, far and away, beyond a shadow of a doubt, four monkeys on top of a giraffe, my favorite oolong. It is buttery, and washes into a lightly floral finish as it progresses through the steeps. I will admit that is more expensive than other oolongs I have chanced upon, but considering that I get about 5 cups on the regular [more if I’m feeling patient] from it, it ends up being not that bad.

It is a tea that just makes my inner being sigh and melt into a daze of pleasant complacency. Delicious, intricate, complex, and balanced. Coupled with the unshackling of my SOUL, it made for a singularly fantastic afternoon. [It also motivated me to spend a couple of hours cleaning my car.] I cannot think of anything that would have been more appropriate.

So, brace yourself Steepster. Hide your children and iron your pants, because I’M BACK!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Auggy

YAY!!!!!

Angrboda

irons pants s great to see you back. :D

Angrboda

And half my comment disappeared. Again. Apparently Steepster doesn’t like it when I draw arrows like this <—-

teaplz

WHEEE! YUMMY TEA AND HAPPINESS. re finished and back among the living and sane and drinking tea! :D Missed having you around, tak-tak. Srsly.

Jillian

Whooo! The Return of Takgoti!!!!! XD

Jason

Sheeee’s Baaaaaaccck (ominous tone). UTIOG FTW

TeaEqualsBliss

YAY! Go to see you again!

gmathis

Congratulations. I have always said the best days are full of get-to’s, not have-to’s. Hope you have many over your holidays.

sophistre

Welcome back! Can’t wait to see what you’ve been sipping on. Already this review has me ready to buy more tea! Technically I guess I should be dreading the slew of tasting notes that are incoming, but…who am I kidding?

teaplz

P.S. I LOVE SHAWSHANK. Just thought I needed to get that out there. But I think we’ve discussed this before. :P

Laura

welcome back! always glad to read your notes. ps: i <3 utiog.

Mike

Welcome back!! Great re-introduction. Officially shop’listed. Prepping an epic Samovar order for the new year…

Bethany

@Mike, I’m doing the same. They’ve been on my list for some time!

takgoti

@Auggy BOOKOOYASHA! [Sorry, they were saying that on Top Chef and I’ve been itching to say it all day.]

@Angrboda Haha, that’s happened to me as well. Anyhow, thank you! De-wrinkling FTW!

@teaplz Aw, I missed being around, teepee! [Blerg, I cannot think of anything as cute as tak-tak. I really love that. I’ll work on it and get back to you.] Oh, and Brooks was here. So was Red.

@Jillian Coming to a theatre near you in 2072.

@Jason Heeeeere’s takgoti! UTIOG FTW INDEED.

@TeaEqualsBliss Thank you! Good to see you too!

@gmathis That’s fantastic. I see myself using that phrase a bunch in the future. I hope you have a lot of them as well!

@sophistre Thank you so much! And hehehehehe I drank a LOT of tea, so dread away!

@Laura That gives me warm fuzzies! I absolutely love your avatar, by the way. [And utiog is one of those bands that can make me happy in almost any given situation, so when I’m ALREADY elated it just gets ridiculous.]

@Mike Danke! EXCELLENT. Samovar just came out with a BUNCH OF NEW TEAS, too, so I expect my next order is going to be epic as well.

@Bethany WOOHOO! I love domino-ing Samovar love! It gives me much pleasure.

You all rock. Thank you for making a girl feel loved! I’m about to dash to try to finish my shopping but I foresee much Steepster activity in my future.

Mike

@Bethany, cool! I was partially persuaded by ms. takgoti’s constant raving but also this video: http://money.cnn.com/video/smallbusiness/2009/08/25/sbiz_tips_samovar_tea.smb/

OK…it was mostly Takgoti’s fault…

Auggy

That’s it! Anyone else wanna take a field trip to SF????

chana

@Auggy Would love to, but that’s waaaay outta my budget….would make it the most expensive tea around for me. :D

East Side Rob

And to think that my wife and I were getting nostalgic about our college days. Thanks for slapping us back to reality. Kinda like a good Assam in the morning.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Yay! You’re back! I’ve missed your tealogs (and you).

takgoti

@Mike I only do it because I love them so. You will understand soon.

@Auggy YES PLS.

@East Side Rob It’s what I do.

@chrine Aw, hugs! Prepare yourself for the onslaught, I’m about to start diving into what people have been up to. Your dashboard shall be stormed. To quote one of my favorite movies, “At my signal, UNLEASH HELL.”

sophistre

RE: Samovar

They have the ryokucha, finally. I have been waiting and checking. If you are out, or you have also been waiting, then…probably now is the time to storm the gates. ;)

Also? Reading the blurb for a specific tea on their site, I found myself totally in love with the flavor profile described, only to discover as I was about to click that it would cost me $250.00 for 1.41oz of tea. I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t help but feel that my lifelong love of spicy foods has resulted in a palate that will never, ever be able to properly appreciate the value of quality to quantity that price tag is describing. ;)

takgoti

Ah, yes. I like to bug Samovar’s owner via email every now and then and he mentioned that their out of stock issue with teas should be more or less cleared up by 2010. Not necessarily that they’ll have everything available all the time, but that they should have either the small can or the large can in stock for teas pretty consistently.

And haha yeah, the Inoka Hill? It’s more affordable in the lounge because you can just get it by the “cup” [though still not inexpensive]. My understanding is that if you don’t really like gyokuros or aren’t very accustomed to Japanese greens, you’ll want to stay away until you are. It’s very strong. I guess it’s similar to trying a super aged pu-erh before getting your palate used to pu-erhs. It’s kind of a waste and unlikely that you’ll enjoy it.

Anyhow, it tickles me so to see more people looking into Samovar! They truly are my favorite tea company. The Ryokucha should be in stock for a while. [Watch it sell out tomorrow.] Fingers crossed, it won’t disappear again anytime soon if at all!

Ricky

You have me looking into Samovar as well now! All those tealogs / reviews about it, argh. I took a look at it and the ryokucha caught my eye even before I saw you guys posting about it. Samovar doesn’t offer samplers =(, oh if only…

takgoti

Shh… You may be getting your wish soon.

Ricky

Haha, have you become their number one customer? ;D

takgoti

HAH, no, I just like to poke at Jesse with questions from time to time and he is kind enough to answer me.

Jillian

Maybe I should get you to harass them about better International shipping fees more often. ;D

takgoti

@Jillian Haha, all I can tell you is that they’re aware of how they rate against other companies and are doing what they can to lower costs. Not much else I can do on my end, unfortunately!

Micah

First. Love La Roux! I discovered her at some point in September and listened to her all semester. Go team!

And I desperately need to get more tea…. I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on some of this oolong.

takgoti

@Micah She’s pretty amazing. I am in love with her eponymous album. And if you get nothing else from Samovar, you should get Four Seasons. I am that dead serious in love with it.

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79
411 tasting notes

So, I got a notice that someone contacted my old agents to have a showing for my house (we’re trying to sell our home so we can get a larger one), and so to celebrate, I’m drinking some Four Seasons. It’s really creamy, and a little extra floral today. Very aromatic and yummy.

Cross your fingers for me and hope it goes well tomorrow. If I get a new place – I’ll have more room for tea! And I can get all my yixing teapots out of storage.

Ricky

Wohooo, good luck!

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71
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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67
92 tasting notes

Four Seasons pisses me off.

Don’t get me wrong—this isn’t a bad tea. It’s actually quite tasty. But it’s just not that special. It tastes, to me, like an average Tie Guan Yin, but missing the delicious heaviness I associate with TGY. It’s delicious, but no more delicious than some of the other TGYs I’ve tried.

But here’s the biggest kicker for me—you have to use a lot of leaf, and it does not produce that many infusions—certainly not 10-15, unless you’re thinking 2 ounce cups in 2 tablespoons of leaf. This is kind of infuriating, since the whole selling point on the Samovar website is that it lasts forever, so you’re getting a good value even if it’s $25 for a small, half-filled tin. I don’t like being lied to or misled. And there sure as hell aren’t 40 servings in the tin I received. Hell, there aren’t more than 15 teaspoons in there. And this tea requires, at the very least, 1.5 teaspoons for 6 ounces of water.

The tasting note descriptions intrigue me…I’ve done a little research, and I’ve never heard of Four Seasons/Si Jie Chun being described as bread and milk. The description I’ve come upon most is flowers, fruit, honey and pineapple. Hm. I’m tasting less milk or lactose or bakey-bready-ness, and more gardenias and sweet floral perfumes. [And yes, I have tried this at a number of different temperatures, and have gotten mostly the same results. No increase in dairy/lactose/bread at a lower temperature, for me.] I wonder how much of the (omg milk! bread!) love for this can be attributed to the power of suggestion…makes me want to experiment by writing up a tasting note for a random tea that’s like “OMG THIS TASTES LIKE CHERRIES!” and then see if anyone else says the same thing :)

So what do I taste? Gardenias, mostly; honey, certainly; and butter from my cooled down second infusion. The proportions of the flavors changes slightly from infusion to infusion, but the leaves don’t last very long either. Something I’m noticing this time around—it’s pretty bitter. I’m not sure if it’s because my water is too hot, or if I’m oversteeping it. A warning: do not try to brew this with 8 ounces and 1 teaspoon. I’ve brewed other TGYs this way and it’s been fine, but Four Seasons is not like other TGYs :) I ended up with one okay-but-light first infusion, and then almost tasteless 2nd and 3rd infusions. It’s so difficult to rate this one…on the one hand, it’s yummy when you do everything right. On the other hand, it’s extremely expensive and you have to use a lot of it to make a decent cup of tea, plus all the reservations I mentioned above.

I know I’m blaspheming, writing a negative review for a Samovar creation…please don’t hurt me!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Dan

You have to call em as you see em.

teabird

I appreciate honestly negative reviews (and discussions of price and value), even though I feel guilty when I write them myself! Constant gushing isn’t really… informative.

__Morgana__

I only had it from the sample so far, but I notice they tend to have pretty big samples compared to those of other companies.

I find personal tastes fascinating — you and I both love the Life In Teacup modern oolong and yet we diverge on the Samovar Four Seasons.

One thing I have noticed is that certain companies just seem to strike a chord with my tastes. I’ve liked everything I’ve tried from Life in Teacup and everything I’ve tried from Samovar, and there are some companies whose offerings consistently miss with me, too. But even among these there are outliers to the high and to the low end of the spectrum.

S

Yeah…I’m kind of kicking myself for not ordering samples instead. But the website said 40 servings with multiple infusions each, and yet my tin is so empty…cry

SoccerMom

Morgana, I totally agree with you in that some companies are hit and miss depending on the person/taste buds. I am with you Shanti in that I didn’t find this one remarkable but I think Samovar is a altogether miss for me anyway. :(

S

Yeah, I don’t know…I guess I’m kind of suspicious of Samovar. It’s easy for a company to jack up the price of a tea and add a bunch of made-up flavors to the description, in order to push tea. (I mean, look at all the reviews for any tea, where they’re like “I didn’t know what this stated like until I read the description, and then I was like duh!” etc….I mean, if the company says you’re supposed to taste mango, then you will probably taste mango even if it’s not truly there. But I digress.

I guess I’m sick of the way people have to be afraid of offending others now on Steepster when they write a review. I have seen numerous reviews where people are like “Oh, I don’t like this tea, but important Steepsterite said it’s omfg amazing, so I’m not going to put a rating on this/am going to raise my rating.” I don’t think people should feel coerced to either write a positive rating or not leave a rating at all.

Erin

Shanti – Did you try letting Samovar know that your tin was only half full?

S

No, but I’m guessing it’s probably the right amount (by weight…I hope the tared the weight of the copper tin out)…but it’s still not 40 servings worth.

Rabs

I guess I catch myself at times hesitating to knock a tea really hard because, well, I’m a libra, and teas are such a subjective thing. But, I hope that I never end up basing what I taste/how I feel about a tea (and almost everything else in life) on what others say. However, I do try to be respectful in what I say when I dislike something like tea because I don’t want it to come off like I’m saying that others have bad taste.

Shanti – thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. :) I know that they really made me think seriously about staying true to myself. Rock on lady!

LENA

Thanks for this review, Shanti. I have to say, I agree with you on this tea. I’m an avid oolong lover, but the description on this one seems way off. I haven’t written my tasting note yet, because like you, I’ve been trying to figure this one out. It is very FLORAL and very GREEN tasting to me. I’m not a huge fan of green oolongs, so I probably would not have bought this if I would have known that the bake-y/bready notes were BS.

Also, my tin of Downy Sprout was not very full. Very sad. :(

S

I know, right…I ordered small tins of Downy Sprout, Royal Garland, and Osmanthus White, and they were filled to varying amounts…but seriously? The Downy Sprout and Osmanthus look very similar in size, weight, yet the amount of tea in the tins varies widely. I wish I had a scale to weight how much I was sent…le sigh. One thing is for sure—Samovar will probably never get my business again.

[And as an example of a good company that does not do this, see The Simple Leaf. Their one ounce “samples” seem the same size or larger than Samovar’s half-empty tins. Sigh.]

S

Okay, sorry guys, this is my last comment, but here’s a little comparison for you:

Competition Grade Four Seasons (Si Jie Chun), zen8tea – $12 for 150g
there are cheaper versions that are lower grades available as well
Samovar Four Seasons, ambiguous grade – $24 for 56.6g

Now, of course you have to account for the fact that Samovar relies on more middlemen than the other example I cited (I assume), but still: Samovar is charging $0.42 per gram, whereas zen8tea is charging $0.08 per gram of competition grade tea. That’s a little over 5 times the price.

sophistre

Gotta say, I think Rabs really nailed it. Part of the issue with the steepster system of rating is that we’re all grading our teas subjectively, as each of us wants something different and, of course, there are peripheral concerns aside from taste that matter to us individually as well, such as price and ability to resteep, as aforementioned here.

I tend to disregard the numbers as anything but a rough guideline (so-and-so liked it, or did not) and focus more on what they had to say about it. Some of us rate based on taste alone — subjective enough to begin with, even disregarding things like price — and some of us rate based on the taste as compares to what was promised, which is not always the same (I’ve seen plenty of reviews that say ‘this tea was very enjoyable, but didn’t taste as advertised’ with a low number OR a high number)…

In the end, it’s important to remember that the numbers people assign are meaningful to them based on criteria that may have nothing to do with our own. All we can do is just try stuff, see if we like it for what it is, and rate accordingly, as consistently as we can with the stuff we’ve already rated (and I dunno about you, but that’s hard enough for me already!).

sophistre

Also…just a side note, but you might want to try the rest of what leaf you have at 175. That’s how I take mine, and I prefer it by a wide margin! I suppose that won’t make up for the disappointment of your experience, but it might produce a cup of tea you like a little bit more, at least. :)

MattHBomb

I’ve tried it at 160, 175, 185, 200, and boiling. I didn’t notice any increase in breadiness or milkiness at the lower temps, but it was a little less bitter. I prefer it that way, too :)

S

Thanks sophistre and MattHBomb for the suggestions. I’ve tried it at around 160, 185, and near boiling, but not 175…I’ll try that next time. :D

__Morgana__

195 is what I usually steep oolongs at and it got me a lot of milky/creamy/buttery flavor out of this. To get anything near bready, I had to “throw my mind out of focus.”

I take these notes by companies (perhaps naively or incorrectly) not to be random, but to mean that a more cultivated palate than mine has identified these tastes or aromas and that I can train my palate to be better by searching for the notes. Sometimes I come up dry, but sometimes I really can find them, or something that I think might be them, if I try hard enough and if the stars otherwise align in terms of steeping temps/times, mood, amount of leaf and other things I’m sure are intangible. In this one, I didn’t get what I normally would think of as bread, which is a yeasty flavor, or a dark malty flavor like a thick slice of dark bread. What I got was the white inside of hot french or Italian bread, which when I think about it has a lot in common with, and isn’t that much different from, a creamy/butter flavor anyway, which I definitely tasted.

S

I’ve always been told that a good quality oolong like a green TGY is best at boiling.

I think I mentioned this already, but Four Seasons from Nantou is usually described not as particularly buttery, but as fruity and honey-like. The main fruit flavor is supposed to be osmanthus…I’ve read pineapple at some places too, which makes sense because osmanthus is kind of pineappley-peachy-apricotty. But it’s not bready, it’s not bakey, it’s not starchy, and it’s not particularly lactose-y to me.

Auggy

It might not make a difference at this point, but out of curiosity, what size cups are you making? Takgoti sent me a sample of this a while ago and honestly, I never really got it – it just seemed kind of flat to me – until my last cup where I made a big 14oz mug instead of the 6-8oz cups I had been doing. Of course, I’m not sure if that is what made it taste so much better or what but that last cup I had was really delicious. The other cups before? Not so much.
(Though I never got bread – looking over my notes I got flowers, nectar and cattails.)

S

Ah, I’ve been doing between 6 and 8 ounces…I’ll try the bigger size one of these days :)

And flowers and nectar are what I tasted too. :)

Stephanie

I love this note! The Samovar spell has broken! :)

wombatgirl

I just wanted to ask about your label on your container. My label said to use 1 tbsp per 16 oz of water. When I went to the web site, it said 1 tsp per 10-16 oz of water.

My Royal Garland label was even worse. It said 2 tbsp per 6 oz. Which resulted in this horrid, bitter icky brew.

S

Yeah, my labels were like that, too. I’m still pissed—there’s no way in hell there’s 40 servings in my tin of a teaspoon each, let alone a tablespoon or 2.

Rabs

Shanti — just placed my first Samovar order 13 days ago and I’m already getting pissed. Not that they have a lot of control over shipping, but I was told I’d get my package on the 20th. I watched the package tracker start off in NV (?) head toward me, and now it’s in CA and heading to NV again. What the heck?!? The little “estimated delivery” when from 20th for sure to the 22nd, and now it’s saying the 25th. I’ve spent 1/4 of the money at other online tea stores and have had prompter deliveries than this. Going in a circle, really? This isn’t making a good impression on me. :P

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80
158 tasting notes

Bumpin’ this down a bit. Not because it’s not good — it is — but because it doesn’t any longer belong in my ‘gotta have this on-hand’ bracket. There are a few other places I think I’ll be going for my savory-sweet-spicy-floral-buttery TGY or Ali Shan fix instead. It’s expensive leaf all-around, generally, but a few others I’ve tried have had a fuller flavor profile, and I miss it when it isn’t there.

Won’t have any trouble going through this though. I’ve been unusually heavy on the leaf because I’m trying to clear it out of my cabinet and don’t feel the need to be so miserly with it anymore. It brings out that soft spice beneath all of the floral, which is fun.

And now, a public letter to my zorapot:

Dear Zorapot,

You are fun. I like to watch my oolong leaves rehydrate in your belly, and your stainless steel lines please me, but why must you occasionally leak? Why must it be so difficult to be certain that your mouth is sealed on the rubber when I close you up?

Please do not leak all over my desk, and especially do not look as though you aren’t leaking when I check you, then wait to leak until I leave the room to get something, then begin leaking copiously near the laptop that I’m writing a novel on.

Smooches,
Maggie.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C
Meghann M

Oh, no! I hope the laptop is saved and the Zorapot leaks no more. Bad Zorapot!

Auggy

Oh no! Bad leaky Zorapot!

Lori

My ingenuitea from Adagio leaked on my work desk! So I can relate.

sophistre

It is bad times! There is no easy way to determine whether or not the zorapot is leaking…aside from sitting and watching for a while…so…sad. :(

But the laptop is fine, so that is a plus. Note to self, do not put zorapot near laptop.

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80
911 tasting notes

I’m currently watching Hockey Night in Canada and trying to corral my ever increasing tea collection. I didn’t need more tea. But I got it. So yeah, the corralling thing is gonna take some time.

I have a little stack of teas that I’m almost out of and this was one in that stack. I decided to make a big ole cup with the remainder of the leaf. Not only could I use a big cup of tea, it will be nice to unclick the “In Your Cupboard” button on something.

So this one is a big favorite of takgoti. She was nice enough to send me some a bit back for me to try. Honestly, I never quite got it. I adjusted the parameters some and got it more my speed but it still never quite fully clicked with me. It was good, but I was missing the love takgoti had for it.

This cup? Has the love. Maybe because I went a little heavy on the leaf, maybe because this tea does best when brewed in large quantities. I don’t know. But this is good. Fresh and rich with a bit of a sparkling floral top note. Not delicate but not heavy handed either. Just a really good, fresh tasting, comfortable, tasty green oolong. And I’m not reminded of being made to eat cattail leaves by my dad, which is always a bonus.

I’m sad that it took me until my last cup to discover the pretty of this tea, but I’m really glad I have. I’ve upped the rating a bit to reflect the yumminess.
8g/14oz

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec
takgoti

Aww, yay! Sorry it took a while, but I’m glad you found a happy place with Four Seasons. I feel like I always go heavy on my leaf. Maybe I just need to be more mindful about things. I’m bad at relating eyed measurements to concrete units.

Auggy

I’m glad I found it! Sad that it was on my last cup but it is better than not finding the love at all!

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75
1527 tasting notes

It a bit surprising how resilient this tea is to high water temperatures, especially given how green this particular oolong is. I steep this tea three times (2nd @ 3:00, 3rd @ 3:45) before I got bored with it – three seems to be my limit for most oolong teas, although that Jade Teapot Tie Kwan Yin sample managed to keep my interest for longer.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec
S

I haven’t written a review for it yet, but the Jade Teapot sample of green TGY I got was freaking magical. Four Seasons seemed so overpriced and weak in comparison.

Jillian

It does, I totally agree. In yo face Samovar! ;P

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96
933 tasting notes

For my Friday fun, I briefly considered a themed set of three tasting notes. Not similar teas, just three teas organized thematically. It seems like a fun idea, and I may yet do it so I won’t reveal the theme, not that I would expect a tremendous number of people would either remember it or were familiar with it in the first place as it is rather a niche item. Can you tell that I have limited creative outlets these days?

But I don’t think I have time to do the themed notes and also taste this tea, which I have been waiting to taste for three weeks now. I knew from what others had said about it that it would be pretty special, so I wanted to taste it at a time when I was alone in quiet, which is rarely the case in this house. Today I’m working from home and I’ve just finished most of what was on my plate for today so I’m taking a small break before the last push, and I am taking advantage of the quietness and aloneness to do it.

I am finding that oolongs are probably my favorite kind of tea. I say probably because I really love blacks, too, so it’s a toss up but for this. Oolongs have a rare gift that I truly appreciate and that they may only have in common with pu erhs, in my experience. They can really transport me to another physical, mental and emotional dimension. They’re supremely relaxing to me, and yet they also provide that state of quiet alertness I’ve read so much about. The seem well matched to meditation. I may test that out at some point: drink oolong and then meditate.

This oolong is an oolong’s oolong. It has a whole lot of special going on.

When I opened the sample packet, I noticed immediately that the leaves smelled like flowery butter. Though they are less floral-smelling that those of the Life in Teacup An Xi Tie Guan Yin Grade II modern green style, the floral note they do have is similar. There’s gardenia, and more. Where the LIT had a pure, delicate floral note, these have a stronger one that is, perhaps, boosted by the creaminess of the buttery fragrance.

The leaves range in shades of green from fairly dark, almost forest, to much lighter, and are tightly curled, almost to the point of pearliness. They are fairly small, but substantial-looking.

First steep: 2 min. A light yellow, very slightly green liquor. Intensely floral, intensely dewy, creamy, rich aroma. Silky smooth in the mouth and tastes of flowers and creamy butter, with a fresh green note. It’s like a more intensely flavored, fuller-bodied version of the LIT. A more grown up version of the LIT.

Second steep: 3 min. A darker yellow green. I’m looking for the fresh baked bread, and unbelievably, it is there. The melt-on-your-tongue, white, fluffy innards of a fresh Italian or French bread loaf while it’s still hot, drizzled with sweet butter and consumed outdoors under an arbor on the grounds of a Tuscan villa or in a garden in the suburbs of Paris.

Third steep: 3:30 min. The agony of the leaves leads to having to transfer them into a bigger filter. They’re completely unwound and voluminous. This steep is all about the dairy. It may be milk, it may be butter, it may be cream, it may be all three at the same time or in pairs, but it is all dairy all the time. The LIT is like a baby’s breath and lovely. This is like burying your nose in those soft baby neck skin folds (clean ones!), and lovely as well.

Fourth steep: 4 min. The greenness of the oolong emerges this round. It isn’t what I’d call vegetal, more the greenness of the floral aspect. The taste of the fragrance of fresh flower stems, green but inescapably floral. The dairy has receded, though it is still present. Though I can’t test it, I feel as though my breath probably smells very fresh right now. :-)

Fifth steep: 4:30 min. It’s like the tea is waving goodbye and receding slowly into the distance. The silkiness is tapering off, as is the butteryness. What is left is flowers, like the memory of perfume on a pillow. It’s a graceful taper, but I feel the tea is telling me it’s over until next time.

This was an incredibly wonderful way to refresh on a Friday after a long week. This is something that I must have in my life, at least until I find something that tops it. Along with the LIT, I now have two favorite oolongs. I feel moved to bump up the LIT a bit since I enjoyed it, in its own way, and since there is now, no matter how much it may be clogged with other things, a place reserved for both of these in my cupboard.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Stephanie

What a deliciously detailed tasting note! Makes me want to break open my tin and drink this right now! Oh so many teas, so little time…:)

LiberTEAS

Ahhh… I love Oolong too. My favorites for a long time were fancy-type Formosa Oolongs, but, I think I have switched over to the greener Oolong, specifically, Ali Shan Oolong (preferably from Norbu) … amazing. I love the buttery flavor, it is like sweet and savory perfection all at once.

Rabs

Wow – that was wonderful! I almost felt like I was there sharing this tea with you. I had never tried an oolong until about a month ago and they have skyrocketed to being my favorite tea. But I’m also gaining an enjoyment of black tea (finally!). :) Thank you for the great note! :)

__Morgana__

It was quite an experience and one deserving of a detailed look, plus I’m just inherently long winded sometimes when I get on a roll. ;-) But glad you liked it and most importantly, get a sample and try this tea!

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93
186 tasting notes

Backlogging the epicness of last night with this tea.

Because Four Seasons, lemme tell ya, it’s epic.

I wanted something yummy. Something delicious. Something that has high marks, and that I could get a lot of cups out of. Enter oolong, which is quickly rising to become one of my favorite go-to teas when I want a sustained tea drinking experience.

So Four Seasons. It smells at first pretty non-descript, which I think a lot of oolongs have trouble with. It smells slightly floral, maybe juicy-ish, but mainly vegetal and not very interesting. The leaves are rolled into tiny, irregular pellets.

So I steeped this one up at first with boiling water, at 2 minutes. The smell coming off the cup was amazing. It’s one of those things that you want to breathe in, inhale, surround yourself with, become ONE WITH THAT CUP, cause yeah, it’s delicious. Buttery and full and rich. And the taste was pretty awesome, I have to say. It mainly tasted like flowers with a buttery edge. There were cocoa notes at points, savory end notes, and the hint of some sort of milk protein at the end of every sip. There’s a pretty heavy mouthfeel, which I’m enjoying immensely.

But I have to give it up to the Second Steep (3:00, boiling) which pretty much stole the flavor cake. Man. It smells just as strong, has that rich buttery color, but the taste pretty much throws this one into the OMG WANT MORE AMAZING category. Especially as this one cools. This one tastes lighter, but fuller, if that even makes any sense. The flavors are sugary sweet and overwhelmingly creamy, with milky notes that are in full force. The cooling effect only thickens the mouthfeel and brings the sugared-milk notes into prominence. The floral notes are still there, but they’re not as strong.

Steep Three (3:30, boiling) I probably should have done for longer. This one had a slightly thicker mouthfeel than #2, and was fairly similar to two, but had more of the savory topnotes that were in the first steep. I want to say this one tasted a bit “greener” than the other two.

Steep Four (4:40, boiling) had a much higher savory component, but a lighter flavor overall. There was an almost green bean taste to this one, that crispness you get when they’ve been steamed. But the flavors are pretty much muted, and the smell is a bit disappointing.

Steep Five (6:00, boiling) is where I ended. This one was even more savory than the last, the sugary tastes fading away, and oddly enough, I was getting the taste of fresh baked bread at the end of some of the sips. But this one was definitely not as flavorful as the past ones, so I dumped the leaves.

I really, really want to try this one with less-than-boiling water, as I feel it might be able to sustain those rich milk-buttery notes for a bit longer.

Also, I need to give a shout-out to the leaves because man, are they BEAUTIFUL. This is actually the first time I took leaves out of the pot to inspect and hold. They expand at such an exponential rate and unfurl so beautifully, that your entire pot is just completely stuffed with evergreen goodness. The leaves are all pretty much intact and full, and you can clearly pick out the buds with the leaves still attached. One was so big it took up half my palm (please note: I have tiny hands). But still, really, really awesome. The quality is just written all over this oolong.

So YES, SAMOVAR, YES. You have stolen my heart. Please keep it safe. Because I was in oolong heaven last night!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Ricky

Wait boiling water… 2 minute steep…. WAIT! This isn’t downy sprouts. Wow I’m so out of it =]

Yay, a goood tastyyyy oolong =] AND you have a teenyyyy pot!

S

This sounds sooo amazing! My package isn’t here yet, even though UPS says it was delivered! :O I’m freaking out…I just emailed Samovar, hopefully they can sort it out….but I wanna cry, because I was looking forward to this. :(

DAMN YOU UPS! >:[

Ricky

Now I don’t have problems with UPS, but USPS! ARGH! The delivery guy does not like me at all! I live on a busy street and tell me how he left a big package sitting on top of the mailbox . I even had a nice sign with PICTURES, telling him how/where the back entrance was. He just hates me.

fcmonroe

Mine’s arrived and I’ve opened the tin to smell the leaves, but I haven’t tried it yet. This review is inspiring me! Today’s the day. I’ll have it for an afternoon treat.

sophistre

With water at 175 it seems to me that this oolong can go for everrrrrr on repeat steeps. I have yet to get to a point where the leaves ran out of reserves before I was in the mood for something else, or had depleted the zojirushi so much that i had to reboil and wound up wanting something else for the sake of temperature.

teaplz

Thanks for the tip, sophistre! I definitely am going to try to bring the water down next time. I think the more buttery flavors might come to the forefront of multiple steeps as well if I do that.

Melissa

This tea is pretty expensive (compared to what I normally drink). This review though makes me really want to try it. I may just have to cave.

S

USPS and UPS both suck. :) But I like USPS a little better…I mean, they don’t forge signatures and I’ve never had problems with them.

This post + comments are taunting me :‘( I’m so disappointed….I want my Samovar tea!! :’(

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79
1851 tasting notes

This is another tea I’m revisiting after a long period of time in which I have tried a lot of different green oolongs. I think I appreciate it better now. It’s vegetal, it’s floral, it’s a little buttery, it’s a little nutty, it’s got that honeyish note that ties it all together. It’s also a hint astringent, but not in a bad way… it’s just on that end of the spectrum rather than the creamy mouthfeel side of it. All in all a very nice tea and I’m definitely enjoying it a lot.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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