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Honeybush Tea
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From Samovar

Origin: South Africa

Flavor Profile: This cousin of Rooibos is named “Honeybush” for good reason – it’s incredibly honey-sweet and with deliciously smooth woody notes.

Tea Story: A cousin of the more famous Rooibos, Honeybush is quickly gaining recognition as a mineral-abundant, antioxidant-rich, caffeine-free tisane with an addictive flavor.

It is made of the leaves of a flowering legume shrub that only grows in select regions of South Africa. The leaves are selectively harvested, cut into manageable pieces, bruised with rollers and then oxidized in the sun. Afterward, the dried leaves are sifted according to size.

Our grade is the largest, making it ideal for loose-leaf brewing. Its dry aroma is intensely sweet, with notes of cedar, orange blossom honey, candied orange peel and dried raspberries. It brews into a deep, reddish amber, like the color of dark brown leather, and has a brewed aroma of lots of honey and cedar with hints of raspberry and tannins.

The taste is almost absurdly smooth, with outdoorsy notes of cedar shavings, wildflowers and gravel, and a sweet-citrus-tannin flavor akin to mulled Russian Tea. The aftertaste is sweet, mellow and abiding.

Samovarian Poetry: A nectarous brew from the honeybush plant sweetens the tongue and replenishes the body.

Food Pairings: Drink Honeybush with roasted, salted pecans, toasted pignoli drizzled in rosemary butter, cedar-plank-grilled trout, thyme-garlic roasted chicken (with the skin on), bundt cake with earthy spices or pumpkin bread with walnuts. It’s also great iced or brewed double strength for caffeine-free Thai iced tea.

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.

3 Tasting Notes

953 tasting notes

I bought this sample a while back as part of the experiment described here:


which I extended from rooibos to honeybush.

This sample has been following me to the point where I considered a restraining order. Every drawer I put it in, it manages to float to the top (in that uncanny way that tampons seem to float to the top of any handbag, so that when you open it up in the grocery line to get your wallet, it’s the first thing the attractive man next to you in line sees, amIright ladies?). If I put it in a cabinet, it falls out when I open the door. The only reason I didn’t dig a hole in the back yard to bury it in was because I feared a zombie version would rise from the grave and eat my brains while I slept. (Just kidding. I would never put any sort of tea in a hole in the backyard.) I decided to drink it to put an end to the madness. ;-)

The dry honeybush smells quite woody to me and in fact I can’t really make out anything but wood. Brewing, however, released a lovely honey smell that pretty much extinguished the wood. I got a cloudy, red brown liquor reminiscent of apple cider.

I was prepared to say I wouldn’t drink this again before I tried it, simply because I can think of so many other things I’d rather drink than plain honeybush, even if it is from Samovar. Now, though, I’m not so sure. As the description says, its absurdly smooth, and I can see this as a balm to a sore throat on a miserable rainy stay at home sick day, or a kind stroke to the mouth after a bad visit to the dentist. I do get cedar notes, though not in a sawdust, hamster cage way. More like the smell of a sweater after it has spent the summer in my cedar chest. And something I’m getting that isn’t even mentioned in the description is a nutty flavor, almost like a roasted chestnut aftertaste. It has a sweet little upswing to it, but not a strong taste of honey. There’s a slight earthy/metallic note which I suppose is what they mean by gravel that is evident in the aftertaste, and something that is somewhere between green and wood. It’s surprisingly complex for something I bought to better understand the flavor as a base for blends.

While at the rate I’m going I have enough tea to last me until I’m 100, I wouldn’t turn this down if offered. I can’t justify buying any, but mostly because I can’t justify buying ANY tea. I just spent the morning rearranging the tea that isn’t in cupboards in my kitchen or eight small shoe-box size plastic containers into tubs like this:


Four of them. Insanity. Just insanity.

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1. Yes, you are very right (re: mysterious purse physics), and 2. I made a weird chortling noise when I read your zombie tea line. I think the joke’s been made, but man, the thought of a little Samovar sample packet rising from the ground, all wrinkled up with moldy tea spilling out and moaning “Tisssaaaanes” — well that thought just brightened my morning :)


Zombie tea…. Terrifying…. :S

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714 tasting notes

Steep Information:
Amount: 2 tsp
Water: 8 ounces filtered boiling water
Tool: Adagio IngenuiTEA 16 oz
Steep Time: a little over 5 minutes
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: honey, wood
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet wood
Flavor: smooth, sweet
Body: Medium
Aftertaste: woody
Liquor: dark orange brown

I got a small sample pack from Samovar since everyone always sounds so pleased with their teas. I also could not recall having a plain honeybush and wanted to try it unflavored.

It is not something amazing, but I can see how it acts as a wonderful base for so many flavored teas.

There was a fine dust sludge in the bottom of my teacup when I was nearly done.

Resteep: 7+ minutes, lighter translucent orange-brown color, light taste, weak

I am disappointed in the resteep.

Images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/06/samovar-loose-leaf-honeybush-tea.html

5 min, 0 sec

Yeah, I think running to plain teas are a bad idea. I just tried Samovar’s hojicha and I think I enjoyed Den’s version a lot more.

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911 tasting notes

Smells very berry-like, which is kind of confusing. And wood, which makes it kind of unpleasant because it is almost hitting that sour wood thing. The taste is woody – sweet, bordering on sour wood. (Huh, it’s apparently not just a rooibos thing then.) Actually, I take that back, it is the just aftertaste that is bordering on rotten-sweet (and that lessens when I take big sips). The rest of the taste is a nice, plain wood. I don’t pick up any of the cedar or orange or leather notes the tasting notes mention. Just wood. Well, maybe a faint hint of bright citrus note that makes it more fresh, sanded wood and not just a tree limb. It’s not all that complex tasting (at least not to me) but it isn’t flat tasting either. Fairly straightforward and… well, honestly? Kinda plain.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Plainness: that’s why it’s so often used as a base. ;) Do try it iced with some sugar—that’s the way I first encountered honeybush, on a hot day when there was no option to get out of the heat, and all the other available beverages had caffeine. I was surprised at how tasty and refreshing it was.

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