Royal Garland

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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28 Want it Want it

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21 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I fail to understand how I failed to log this tea. Fail. Fail. FAIL. Y’all, this tea is good. Like, teen girl squad Read full tasting note
  • “This smells so fresh buttery that my mouth is watering. Literally. I’m drooling. Tried this at a lower temp to see how that adjusted the taste. Still has the bright, Darjeeling-esque notes...” Read full tasting note
  • “Man. Reading the lists of flavors that Samovar provided while I anxiously awaited my order’s arrival, I tried to compile some mental understanding of what those combinations would be like...” Read full tasting note
  • “I liked this tea but was not in ecstasy. I think it’s a great oolong but it fails to win top grades with me simply because its identity is a bit too diffuse. I can tell and taste that this...” Read full tasting note

From Samovar

Flavor Profile: Royal Garland is one of the most interesting and unique teas we’ve tasted.

When brewed like a Bai Mu Dan white tea (using low temperature water), Royal Garland has a bouquet of smoked dark milk chocolate, Weissbier and profuse, blossomy aromas of lilac and lavender. Majestic forward tones of Darjeeling muscatel tea and malt are complemented by notes of fresh cream, ripe purple plums and pears, nectarines, meringue with grated lemon zest and smoked chocolate with toasted walnuts, which develop into soothing and enduring aftertastes of gardenia, hot cocoa, red bean paste and steamed banana leaf.

When brewed like a Bai Hao Oolong (using a higher temperature water), fragrances of Darjeeling muscatel, white grapes, gardenia and other intoxicatingly perfumed notes, cannabis, caramel, smoke and citrus-scented hops prevail, as do flavors of mineral springs, baked purple plums, unripe green melons, fresh honeysuckle, lilac and gardenia, and Darjeeling tea. An aftertaste of whole cardamom pods, goldenrod blossoms and quarry air follows.

Brewed either way, this Royal Garland is transparent and clean, with a satiating, almost candied, sweetness.

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.

21 Tasting Notes

260 tasting notes

I fail to understand how I failed to log this tea. Fail. Fail. FAIL.

Y’all, this tea is good. Like, teen girl squad SOOOO GOOD!

At the higher temperatures it’s a bit dark, and I, like Auggy, much like it in the lower range of water temperature. It’s not bad at the higher ones by any means, but it unlocks these flavor profiles that I love with the cooler water so it’s all about the subjective preference for me.

The scent of the steeping leaves has a vegetal quality about it. At times, I almost smell cornbread. But the tea. The tea is where the magic happens. Walk with me.

This tea is like the embodiment of a specific type of commercial. You know, like shampoo or soap commercials where colorful exotic flowers and/or fruits fall across the screen amidst slow motion splashes of backlit water. Or perhaps washer commercials set in brightly tropical environments where long bolts of colored silk slide, defiant of gravity, through an impossibly transparent underwater environment while softly invigorating Enya-like music plays in the background.

This tea bombards my senses with lush, botanical florals that I can’t identify and nectary fruits, while remaining soft in flavor. It has that sense of denseness and humidity about it – like when you step into the tropical climate exhibit at a zoo, garden, or science museum. And yet the tea is light and smooth.

A very, very light buttery flavor cuts seamlessly in and out of the flavors. There is a hazy yet crystalline sweetness that caresses the tip of my tongue when the liquid is swished around. The overall effect is one of a natural, renewing freshness that radiates outwards until it saturates my consciousness with unfathomably delicious flavor.

It’s a direct line to tropical warmth, and since actually going to Hawaii isn’t at all feasible at the moment, right now [heh, especially now], I’ll take it.

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec


Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

And, as usual, amazing, mouth-watering descriptions. Very happy that I have some of this to try!


You know, like shampoo or soap commercials where colorful exotic flowers and/or fruits fall across the screen amidst slow motion splashes of backlit water. Or perhaps washer commercials set in brightly tropical environments where long bolts of colored silk slide, defiant of gravity, through an impossibly transparent underwater environment while softly invigorating Enya-like music plays in the background.
That? Perfect way to describe it. So many different, gorgeous and tropical flashes of fruit, flowers, nectar and other nummy things. Such a lovely tea. So. Good.

Can I like this log multiple times please?


Beautiful phrasing, makes me want to smell laundry soap hahah


@teaplz Ooncha, ooncha, one two three-cha!
Leave me alone, or I’ll tell teacha!
Brush your teeth, comb your hair, I saw Tompkins in his under-
Where are you going? What are you doing?
How do you be so short?

@Auggy Thank you!! I don’t know why, but when I drink this I can close my eyes and imagine that I’m in a whirlpool commercial.


@TeaCast Better believe I will be adding “inspired people to huff laundry detergent” to my resume.


YES. I read ‘teen girl squad’ and was like…I know that…why do I know that? And then I read teaplz’s comment, and life was right again. I’m obviously overdue to go back and watch them all over again.

Also, I am now going to be seriously put out if this really was one of the teas that they were out of, because between this review and Auggy’s yesterday, I now NEED this tea.


Hahaha, I like to go back to Homestar Runner every now and then. They’re stil updating! I don’t know why it makes me so happy, but it does. I’ll cop to downloading one of the Strongbad games from the Wii store. [It was decent. About what you’d expect.]

I hope you got Royal Garland, too! I think you can check your ordered quantities on their site if you signed up for an account with them?



Ahhh, that brings back memories. But yeah, Royal Garland. I’m probably going to make some this weekend! Yay!


What time is it? IT’S VALENTIMES! What time is it? IT’S VALENTIMES! What we gonna get? SEVERAL BOYS! How we gonna get em? Uhm….er…

Happy Vamlumtimes day! And awesome review :)

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911 tasting notes

This smells so fresh buttery that my mouth is watering. Literally. I’m drooling.

Tried this at a lower temp to see how that adjusted the taste. Still has the bright, Darjeeling-esque notes of muscatel that I tasted at the higher temp but there is more of a buttery taste to it, too. Not quite as much as the smell, though. Also, the Darjeeling aspect of the tea isn’t as hard hitting as at a higher temp. Now it tastes more like a softer oolong, maybe grown in the same region. There’s still a hoppy note at the end, but it seems to blend better with the softer taste of the tea. Almost gives me flashbacks of the Schlafly brewery tour and tasting from yesterday, but not quite.

I definitely like it better brewed at 195 so far due to the slightly softer taste to the tea and the addition of the buttery taste that, to me, seems to pull the flavors together a little better. I think I have enough for one more session with this and I might go down to 180 just to see how it does there.

Sharing this one with the husband. He said it tasted like an oolong plus herbal but then he’s not really had much experience with Darjeelings so I think the fruity Darjeeling flavor is hitting him as fruity herbal. He didn’t try this one at a higher temp, just 195 so can’t compare that way, but overall gives the tea a 4/5 stars. I think if I could get a little bit more buttery out of it, I’d make it a 4, too. Again, I’ll see how the last bit does at about 180.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Mmmm! I love it when I can pick up buttery scents in teas! It just makes me want to dive in even more. Hopefully within the next couple of days I’ll be trying my first Darjeeling, so I’ll be able to understand the fruity/muscatel elements that everyone raves over!


raises an eyebrow A “hoppy note”? Does it bounce around your tongue? Does it leap over your taste buds? ;P


Hehe – not quite! Hoppy as in beer hops! Though I do not discount it bouncing…


Gonna have to drink this one again now that I’ve toed the waters of a darjeeling. Too many teas. Not enough time.

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158 tasting notes


Reading the lists of flavors that Samovar provided while I anxiously awaited my order’s arrival, I tried to compile some mental understanding of what those combinations would be like together and had the most difficult time. Having now had the tea, I’m still not certain that I can describe quite what it’s like, but I’m going to try.

First of all, the leaves are incredibly fuzzy. I opened my tin eager to get a whiff of the leaves and was surprised by the amount of fluff stuck to the sides of it…there’s a lot. Which makes me happy, for whatever reason. It really looks more like clippings of brown and green-silver yarn than tea leaves.


I have never had to rinse tea leaves before. I know you’re supposed to for some, and probably there’s something to be said for doing that for some oolongs no matter what, but…I never have. Needless to say, my zojirushi being set to 175 already meant that the little rinse they got was fairly low-temp, and I don’t know if that makes a difference…they recommend boiling. And such a short steep time!…but then I got to thinking…does the 3-minute steep time still hold true for the lower-temp 175 brew vs. the boiling-water brew?

And then I decided it smelled delicious while it was steeping and I didn’t care, because I could just experiment more later and find out. Hoo-ah.

I’m not sure what I expected, but I could never have expected this. To me, this is sort of like someone managed to combine together oolong and white tea, completely bypassing any of the notes I usually associate with green tea in a bizarre leap I wouldn’t have anticipated was possible. We’ve talked a little bit in TNs and comments about green oolong vs. black, but I dub this white oolong. It even has the fluffies floating around the bottom, the nutty nectary sweetness, the…mmm. Even the little bit of tang I sometimes get from whites.

Bready fruit, like plantains — easy to find. Starfruit when very hot (along with something more nutty like peach or apricot), then more bready as it cools, like plantains.

Nutty sweet floral roasted starchy tropical-fruity bliss. I cannot for the life of me find the ‘smoked chocolate’ in here unless I try very, very, very hard, and even then I’m not sure that I’m not just making it up. The cup had more strongly fruity flavors when hot, and some of the edges seem to be rounding off now that I’m at the bottom of the cup and the liquid is tepid. I haven’t tried this at a higher temperature…it sounded good this way, so this is the way I started out…but I imagine it’d be quite tart…more like the skin of a plum than the flesh of it. I’m interested in trying it to see.

I feel as though this is a cup of tea that’s going to provide a lot of flavor revelations the longer I go on drinking it, and that’s pretty exciting. In fact, I think I might have myself some more. Gonna try to resteep first. The short steep time makes me worry that it’s not able to go a second round, but here’s hoping!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 45 sec

Okay, your description of “white oolong” was the push I needed to finally place an order. I can’t wait to try this!


We are of one mind today, as I found myself drinking this as well. I’ve been re-steeping for the better part of the afternoon-evening. Insert happy sigh here.


Such a cooooool cooooool tea log. I love the white oolong stuff, and the plantains, and tak-tak sent me some of this, and I haven’t tried it yet… Man! Yay! I can’t wait to read what you think of the higher temperature!


I only tried resteeping it once. That cup was good. A little bit less dynamic, but good. I was afraid to leave the leaves steeping for too long, but it’s good to know it’s possible to get more than that if I try (though I’m not usually that patient).

I’m looking forward to trying it at the higher temp, myself! Maybe I ought to go and set the zojirushi now…

Looking forward to seeing what you make of it, teaplz!


Oops! Not sure how I missed Shanti’s comment…good grief. I’m having this now as my omgreward for trying pu-erh (haha) and I definitely stand by that assessment. I hope it proves worthy of the incentive, for you!


Booo! How did I miss this tea when I was making my samovar shopping list! Sounds deliciousss! Shantea, no more tea! Haha, you and your evil twin.


Any tea you don’t put on your Samovar shipping list is a miss, Ricky! Hehehe, takgoti is completely right – I haven’t been disappointed with a single one of their teas she’s sent me.


Good reminder! I wrote the comment and forgot to add it to my shopping list! Ahhh! I mean there’s always next time =P

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257 tasting notes

I liked this tea but was not in ecstasy. I think it’s a great oolong but it fails to win top grades with me simply because its identity is a bit too diffuse. I can tell and taste that this is a tea of great quality but drinking it feels as if I am standing in the middle of an enormous gallery at a fine art museum and I can only get impressions. I would want to move towards an individual painting to get a closer look but instead I cannot do that. It’s a vast canvas of a tea with a lot going on in the scene, but I cannot see if all.

It’s all true: buttery, vegetal, malty, yeasty, like wine, like fruit of various kinds. I think what I’m wanting is some sort of dominant note to ground the tea so that it can define itself more clearly.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec

This one was a blah cup for me. I loved your review as you described what I was thinking perfectly…. I was suprised it got such high reviews….

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4847 tasting notes

Woo Hoo! My samples from Samovar arrived today! I ordered several samples, this is the first one that I’m going to try…

As the package does suggest and since it worked so well with the Vinegar tea that I tasted earlier, I chose to pre-rinse this tea, and then steep at a lower temperature for 3 minutes.

The aroma is amazing. The dry leaves remind me very much of a flowery Oolong. However, when it’s brewed, the liquor is buttery, nutty, earthy, floral, fruity with a nice note of muscatel that I adore in a Darjeeling – but I don’t ever recall noticing in an Oolong! Remarkable! There is also a savory cocoa note to this tea’s fragrance. This may very well be one of the best smelling “unflavored” teas I’ve ever had the opportunity to smell. (It always seems weird to me to refer to teas as “unflavored” as I have found such remarkable complexity of flavors within a high quality “unflavored” tea)

And it tastes incredible! I am not going to suggest that it’s my favorite Oolong but it is an extraordinary Oolong that I really like a lot. So much, in fact, that I may just have to break down and purchase a larger quantity of these leaves.

A delightful Oolong – I look forward to many great infusions with this one!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

My second and third infusions proved to be just as delightful as the first… perhaps even more so!


Five infusions! As I sip my fifth infusion, I find that the flavors are a bit less potent than they were in the previous infusions – it’s still quite delicious, but the flavor of this infusion signals me that the leaves have given up the best of what they have to give me. I hope I’ll find time tomorrow to try another Samovar sample!

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28 tasting notes

I FINALLY …am the proud owner of some Samovar leaf. I was so excited to get my order this week – I checked the tracking info a million times yesterday morning to make sure it was being delivered… but by the time I got home to meet my little bundle of joy, cruel fate had decided to give me the beginnings of a crappy head cold. I couldn’t wait, and brewed up a cup of this anyway. :/

A scant 2 tablespoons was about 5g, used about 6oz water.
Well. I tasted sweet, and creaminess, and a hint of warm starchiness.
That was about it.

Anyway, I resteeped for a total of 3 times, enjoying each cup, but I’m sure there’s more to it than I was tasting. I’ll have to wait until my stuffy, runny nose has cleared up to try this again. Can’t wait!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

On the contrary, I think it was perfect timing cuz it lifted your spirits:)


Well, that’s true too! How do you like your yixing pot?


For not using it yet, I love it! I don’t have any raw pu erh to season it at the moment.


Try it at the higher temperature? :O


@teaplz: Definitely have plans to try the higher temp! I’m just afraid I’ll be “wasting” this stuff if I still can’t taste it properly… :/


Feel better soon!

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411 tasting notes

A tale of woe, from It’s All About the Leaf

Dear Tea Companies,

Your packages’ brewing instructions matter.

No Love,

Let me explain. I have run into many a situation where I’ll get some amazing sounding tea. I’ll read the instruction on the label, and do what it says. I have to trust that the company who gives me a tea, knows how to make it the best. It will look lovely, the leaf will smell lovely, and the brew will be the most beautiful color ever.

And then that first sip will make me cry. Wonky preparation details will take my little cup of heaven and make it undrinkable.

Such was the case with my first experience with Royal Garland by Samovar. Many of my on-line tea friends experience heighten states of being when they have Samovar teas. So I was really looking forward to the experience of this tea. And then I got it, and read the package where it called for 2 tablespoons of leaf being steeped in 5 ounces of water for 3 minutes. MEH?? I know some teas, especially the fluffier ones, break that 1 cup = 1 tsp golden rule, but this sounded really funky. And everything I’d read says that more leaf = shorter steep. This just couldn’t be right.

But, I decided to trust the tea company. The leaf was gorgeous and smelled amazing. But when I tried that brew… Oh, when I tried that poor abused cup of tea, I almost sprayed the room. It was horrid. Bitter, astringent, and just plain awful. And it was a goodly portion of my tin, since it had called for so much leaf. It honestly took me a good few months to think about trying the tea again.

But, luckily, this tea story has a happy ending. I, after asking around for suggestions of brewing parameters, played with brewing some additional cups. And I’ve gotten the brew to where it’s pretty darned good. It’s a light yellow color, with a clean and slightly astringent flavor with overtones of cashews. I can get multiple yummy steeps out of the same, much smaller, amount of leaves. This is a really nice oolong. Just don’t use the preparation techniques on the container!!


I think they probably meant to say 30 seconds =X

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328 tasting notes

This was a blah tea for me. I brewed this up on Sunday and tried the multiiple infusions. Sure if I squint my eyes, I may be able to detect some of the flavor notes that the other reviewers noted…This oolong is very subtle. This would be a perfect drink for an afternoon of calm introspection reading at a desk…I just am not sure if this drink fits into my routine….

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176 tasting notes

I’ve been really excited to try this one because of all the positive reviews I’ve read.

As per Samovar’s instructions, I rinsed the leaves (or “awakened the leaves,” as they put it) and discarded that first infusion. The 2nd steep’s color was lightly golden yellow. It smelled faintly grassy, but not overwhelmingly so.

I like this. I can taste melons and flowers and sweet things. The aftertaste is a little grassy, but not enough to scare me away.


did you get any of the chocolate taste the description talks about?


no, but i have a pretty immature palate.

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247 tasting notes

I wasn’t certain what to do with this tea. The directions on the package definitely cause some confusion. First, the website mentions brewing at lower temps, but there’s no mention of this on the package. (Space, I know, but at least indicate there’s an option.) Being the rule follower that I am, well, except with reading the ending of books first, I went with the package instructions and, boy, do I regret it. (Lots of commas in that sentence.)

Dry tea smells really nice. Slightly toasty with a crisp scent.

Anyway, I followed the instructions on the packet. Boiling water rinse to “awaken the leaves” – yeah, they put it within quotation marks, too. Discard. Then steep with more boiling water. It started looking really dark, so instead of waiting the two to three minutes, I stopped at one. I’m really glad I did or it probably would have been undrinkable. It’s strong. It dries my mouth and makes my tongue feel picky. It tastes like boiled raisins mixed in vegetables. It’s not floral or sweet at all. It is interesting, though, and not as horrible as it sounds in description. There is complexity to it as well and I find myself still sipping. I think part of the disappointment is reading about a fabulous sounding tea, only to have it turn into boiled veggies. I really wish I had tried this at the lower temperature. It would be interesting to do a comparison.

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

That sounds terrible : (


I tried a second steep to see if it improved at all, but it didn’t. It’s not bitter this time and the pickiness is gone, but it reminds me of something that someone who likes Yunnan Gold teas might like now. Now it’s more like roasted veggies than boiled ones. I brought the temp down, but the leaves were boiled the first time and can’t be undone.

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