I know I’m starting to sound like a johnny one note here. Or perhaps as though I’ve had a thorough brainwashing prior to induction into the cult of Samovar. But I am now officially… what is it? I’ve lost count. I think it’s six for six, or maybe I’m up to seven for seven. Perhaps I should just say I’m batting 1000. Or bowling 300. To sum it up, when it comes to Samovar’s offerings, I haven’t met one I wouldn’t buy again and the trend continues with the ginger pu erh.
In the sample packet, the aroma has a surprising chocolate note to it. Chocolatey, spicy, leathery. As with other Samovar teas I’ve tried, one of the most interesting things about it is that it isn’t fixed. It’s like shifting sand. Sometimes the chocolatey smell is primary, sometimes the leather, sometimes the spice. They each swirl forward and then recede, shift, do it again.
The rinse awakens and makes more powerful the ginger and orange scents. The ginger is spicy-sweet, not at all harsh. After steeping, the aroma evens out again. I found the chocolate again, and another surprise, a coffee note, along with leather, earth and spice.
The color of the liquor is very like how I remember the orange pu erh looked. Deep, woodlike. I think I said mahogany, can’t recall — it’s not the black petrochemical look of the Numi pu erhs. It’s deep, but translucent.
This may be the most successful use of ginger in tea I have experienced. Of course it is the only use of ginger I’ve experienced in a non-green tea except for in chai. What makes it successful is that it is part and parcel of the blend. Though it is definitely a focal point, it doesn’t blot out the other flavors. The orange is present, taking a far back seat compared to its role in orange pu erh (as it should), and the pu erh itself is deliciously smooth, rooty, and wet-earthy.
And with that, I can hit the free shipping number without waiting for Breakfast Blend and Chai to come back in stock. So I’ll be placing an order today. But not until after I’ve held this one’s hand through its remaining steeps.
Note: I am definitely going to have to recalibrate my pu erh ratings. Samovar’s are qualitatively better than Numi’s to my taste (even the Numi chocolate). But I will probably wait to do it until I’ve tried some other types of pu erh.