3 Tasting Notes
While I’ve never had tea prepared from a samovar, this is one of my favorite morning or it’s-late-&-I-don’t-have-to-get-up-early teas. Strong enough to stand on its own but also plays well with sweetener &/or milk. The smoke flavor is strong and forward but not overpowering – I think of a cozy fire on a cold day with snow falling outside every time I steep it (even in summer). The smokiness, to me, is more of a friendly fruit or nut wood type – definitely not a mesquite or BBQ note. The tea flavor is more subtle with notes of roasted grain and hints of spice. Steeps well twice if you’re adding sweetener or milk and a third time for enjoying on its own, though it will have significantly reduced smoke and lighter tea flavors.
This is a very light, mellow black tea with no noticeable astringency. Flavors of toasted grain and a hint of earthiness make it a nice “warm” cup. Steeps well twice, a third steeping unfortunately results in very little flavor. I don’t recommend sweetener as it could easily overpower the tea rather than enhance, and there isn’t anything to mask with sweetness. Every now and again I will add a splash (about 1 Tbs) of milk not cream just for a different flavor.
I find this a lovely anytime tea. The jasmine is very forward initially, and the tea flavor starts very light but soon mellows into a smooth sipping tea with soft tannin astringency. To me, the second steeping is the best as there is a nice balance in jasmine and tea flavors. Re-steeps well about 3 times before the jasmine fades significantly and a few slight bitter notes start to creep in, but note I use a longer than suggested steep time because I like the heft in tea flavors I get.