Organic Vanilla Blossoming Black Tea

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Black Tea
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205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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22 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Yesterday evening, it started snowing. I am no stranger to snow, but it’s been noticeably absent from these parts for the past number of years. We’ll get one, maybe two inches – barely enough to...” Read full tasting note
  • “Having just finished cups of Black Orchid by Mariage Freres and Starry Night by the Jade Teapot, I’ve turned to this one as the third in my tale of three vanillas. The dry leaves look quite a bit...” Read full tasting note
  • “The amazing takgoti sent me this tea!!! My first Samovar tea!!! I made a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing this weekend, and we had two pieces left – I thought that this tea would go...” Read full tasting note
  • “It smells like caramelized vanilla and something heavy and almost coffee-like. The taste is unexpected – not sweet and soft like a typical vanilla but more… masculine, for want of a better word. ...” Read full tasting note

From Samovar

Origin: Organic, fair trade black tea from Yunnan, China. Blended with organic vanilla bean and natural vanilla flavor in the U.S.

Flavor Profile: Pungent, hearty notes of malt, cocoa, black pepper, brown sugar and bakey Graham crackers. This full-bodied tea is preceded by the scents of vanilla bean sugar, Cocoa Puffs and toasted marshmallows, and has a finish of cocoa and smooth vanilla bean with full tannins and lots of copper.

Tea Story: Dian Hong is a traditional Yunnan tea with a history of being blended with sweeter ingredients, such as lychee, rose or longan fruit (“dragon’s eye”). This blend is a tightrope balance of robust, peppery and even coppery Dian Hong with delectably smooth vanilla beans. It is set apart from other vanilla teas in that it is a completely natural, sophisticated, subtly flavored tea rather than a questionable flavor source with sub-par tea as a delivery vehicle. Also, unlike other vanilla blends, its vanilla notes are primarily in the bouquet and the aftertaste.

Bold Yunnan teas (like this one and our Samovar Breakfast Blend) particularly appeal to coffee drinkers. Vanilla Dian Hong is great on its own, with milk and sugar, or prepared as a latte.

Samovarian Poetry: Tealeaf and vanilla bean brew in dazzling harmony. Sip and savor the balance.

Food Pairings: Pair Vanilla Dian Hong with the sweeter end of the flavor spectrum – lavender butter cookies, tiramisu, German spice cake or rhubarb-compote-topped cinnamon French toast.

Formerly known as Vanilla Dian Hong

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.

22 Tasting Notes

260 tasting notes

Yesterday evening, it started snowing. I am no stranger to snow, but it’s been noticeably absent from these parts for the past number of years. We’ll get one, maybe two inches – barely enough to cover the ground. When I was in high school, we’d hope against hope that the school board would take pity on us and cancel school for the day [and since we usually don’t get much they typically would, even though it was definitely drivable].

This year, we got dumped with 14-16 inches during the big east coast snowfall. In between then and now, we received a few more inches. Yesterday evening, the weather graced us with another 4-6. This has prompted a number of silly hash tags on twitter, like #snOMG, #snowpocalypse, and #precipageddon [that last one may be my favorite].

Last night’s snow was packing snow. For those who might not be familiar, that means it was coming down in big, airy flakes that are optimal for creating those spherical orbs of crystallized H20 that people sometimes like to chuck at each other or stack into vaguely humanoid forms. This was the kind of snow that used to get me crazy excited as a child, because I knew I’d be decking a few kids in my neighborhood before someone got hurt and we all got yelled at. [Ah, childhood.] Even now, it’s the snow that I find the prettiest. There’s something romantic about it, and it demands a tea with a hazy warmth about it.

Deciding to chance it on something new, I brewed up a cup of Vanilla Dian Hong while I watched the flakes float silently down outside in between physics problems. [I should add at this point that this is one of my favorite contemplative “it’s snowing outside” songs ever – – should you need/want one.] So I sat there, working through problems, watching the snow, and smelling the tea while I waited for it to cool.

It smelled like vanilla, unsurprisingly, but with an edge. It almost smelled…malty. Maybe earthy? It reminded me a bit of pu-erh, actually, and I did find that surprising. Once I thought it had cooled enough to sip without fear of scalding, I went ahead and slurped in a bit.

I’m not sure how to describe what transpired, but it resulted in one of the more interesting mouthfeels I’ve had in a while. It was as though the outside borders of the liquid was watery; tiptoeing on but not quite breaking ground into bitter. It was a little metallic, in a way, almost…coppery? The center of tea, however, was rich and flavorful. This was all in one mouthful, and all when it was held in place without swallowing, and unfortunately that’s the best I can do to explain it.

The center of the tea didn’t have a lot of vanilla taste to me, which was maybe a little disappointing, but it did taste like something good. Part of it was malt. That was unmistakable to me, but it took me a long time to place what the other thing was. Once I did, it was one of those things that made me “D’oh” out loud. It tasted like graham cracker. I haven’t had graham crackers in a long time. Realizing that this is what I was tasting almost instantly transported me back to when I was little and my brother would fight at the end of lunch over who got to split the cracker down its perforated seam. I used to like to dunk my sections of cracker in my apple juice. [Don’t make that face at me; it’s good! Seven-year-old me promises. Cross her heart!]

As the tea cooled down to lukewarm, the vanilla came out of hiding and was much more present in the tea, which made me smile. Sometimes, when the sweetness would fade away at the tip of my tongue, I could taste a spicy puff of black pepper. When I exhaled, I could taste the vanilla on my breath, and the scent rising out of my cup began to remind me of pipe tobacco.

This tea was best to me at a bit below hot to lukewarm. It’s something that I’m looking forward to trying again, because I found it to be pretty complex. It lent itself very well to homework and snow, and since we’re supposed to be getting more snow in soon [and I doubt my load of homework’s going to lighten before the semester’s over], I may find myself in another opportune setting this weekend.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec

This sounds absolutely delicious. Man. Samovar’s a beast. The end.




I remember the apple juice thing.

I can’t believe I do, because I don’t even know what would have possessed me to do that, but I am pretty sure that the kids in the cafeteria always did. I didn’t remember that until just now.


Dude! It makes me grin to know that I’m not the only person who did that. I’m going to have to pick up some graham crackers and apple juice now. Mandatory reminiscing ahead.


Ohhhmeegoddd, graham crackers? Now I want some! I swear my first samovar order is going to be over a hundred dollars at this rate. Actually it probably already is. You’re going to make me broke!


Ricky, at least you’ll get free shipping then! :P


I know! Free shipping over $100 or more. I definitely hit it with Samovar. Cries… poor wallet. What shall I do?


‘SNOWpocalyps’ Bah, you wusses need to come spend a winter here in Canada – then you’ll see what real snow looks like! ;)


I hope you’re keeping warm. Ours has switched over to rain, just above freezing. Will be a fun day to see what comes of it tomorrow.

And, man, Ricky’s right on. Between your great Samovar reviews and other good things I’m hearing about them, it’s going to be an expensive first order when I finally do!


@Jillian Hahaha, true, but it’s all relative. We typically get a little bit of snow every year, but only a few inches here or there. In my 25 years, I’ve never seen it snow this much here. We aren’t equipped to handle it!

@laurenpressley Eep, I hope it lets up for you guys. I’m hoping that they’re wildly exaggerating the amount of snow we’re supposed to get, but mostly I’m hoping the power doesn’t go out. And yay for Samovar orders!

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2036 tasting notes

Having just finished cups of Black Orchid by Mariage Freres and Starry Night by the Jade Teapot, I’ve turned to this one as the third in my tale of three vanillas.

The dry leaves look quite a bit like the Black Orchid. The color is similar and you can see vanilla beans in this one, too. I’d venture to say that the leaves of Black Orchid are slightly longer, which is probably owing to a difference in the variety of black tea used.

And that’s where the similarities end. I get the same chocolate note from the dry leaves of the Dian Hong that someone else mentioned instead of the amazing vanilla that came out of the Black Orchid. This, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a different thing. The aroma of the tea also has a chocolatey note — in any case, it is not overwhelmingly vanilla, though I can smell some vanilla in it. Mostly what it has going for it is that aromatic Samovar black smell that is common to all of the black teas of theirs I’ve tried. It’s a brown sugary, malty, smooth, delicious foundation for all the other flavors to frolic on and among.

The two notes here, chocolate and vanilla, are like two for the price of one. If you’re looking for a vanilla flavored tea, you’d probably be more satisfied with the Black Orchid, which is classically vanilla flavored. But if you’re looking for something with vanilla flavor and something more, give this a try.

I’m not sure which I prefer to tell you the truth. Both this and the Mariage Freres Black Orchid are exemplary blends. Black Orchid is a Rembrandt, this is a Jackson Pollack. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. I’m calling it a tie.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Loving your comparison tastings!


Very methodical way of conducting a taste test/comparison! Nicely done!


Your Tale of Three Vanillas (<—LOVE that) was inspirational for me – tomorrow my first GM sample must be a vanilla one! :D


I wish I could have done more! But I figure I can always amend to add more later. ;-) And I got the workout done, which was the impetus behind the whole thing. Lol.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Loved reading your three-way vanilla comparison. Yay @ getting your workout done!


I think I’m going to have to do a three-way chocolate tasting. I am up to my ears in chocolate flavored things here, but three seems about the right number. I can’t imagine trying to compare five at one go. And I might have to do a caramel as well. And maybe everything with the name cookie in it. Hehehe.


All reviews/posts to look forward to, __ Morgana __ !!


oo i can’t wait for that comparison…COOKIES

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1112 tasting notes

The amazing takgoti sent me this tea!!! My first Samovar tea!!!

I made a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing this weekend, and we had two pieces left – I thought that this tea would go well!

First off, the scent is heavenly. The tea tastes almost like it has spirits in it! A vanilla bourbon flavor that is different than any vanilla tea I’ve ever had. It combines with the sweet maltiness of the Yunnan for such a full bodied taste! Having a high quality tea base really makes a difference. It also held up well to the dense dessert.

I KNOW it didn’t have any alcohol in it, but I feel a bit tipsy! I must be drunk on deliciousness!!!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Success! Next time I have chocolate cake in my possession, I may need to pair it with this tea as well. I can see that going over very well indeed.


Rachael Ray completely rubs me the wrong way, but when I was searching for an easy chocolate cake (I was also making a cheesecake and it’s insanely fussy) this came up and I tried it because it looked easy – and it was really great!!

I frosted it using

(scroll down for frosting)

but used Scharffen Berger cocoa powder and only ONE cup of powdered sugar.

I decorated the edge of the cake with little chocolate nibs and it looked very pretty and added an extra dimension of chocolatey goodness :) Some whipped cream would have been nice but most guests had chocolate cake AND cheesecake and it all kind of happily went together – lol!

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911 tasting notes

It smells like caramelized vanilla and something heavy and almost coffee-like. The taste is unexpected – not sweet and soft like a typical vanilla but more… masculine, for want of a better word. Earthy? I can totally see Cocoa Puffs flavor they mention in the tasting notes, particularly in the aftertaste. I don’t get graham crackers so much as that undernote of whatever cracker-like thing Cocoa Puffs are made of. It has a hint of pu-erh sweetness to it but the vanilla tempers it, keeps it from being too strong. It is much heavier and bolder than I originally expected and I like it though the thickness of the flavor makes one cup plenty.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Very intriguing tea and one of my favorites…


It is quite interesting. I think this one suffered a little bit because I inadvertently ended up having a lot of heavy teas yesterday and by the time I hit this one I was needing something a little lighter/cleaner and even though this isn’t sugary sweet, it struck me as fairly rich.

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558 tasting notes

This is quite a complex tea! The leaves alone smell so decadent. I know this was a great choice for a dessert tea, I just wish I had a dessert to pair with it. I taste milk chocolate, a bit of cedar/woodsyness, warmth from the vanilla beans. The aftertaste has something a bit like the coppery taste after biting my tongue, maybe it’s just earthy flavors I haven’t quite explored yet. I’d enjoy tasting this tea again, it has many interesting characteristics.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

I have finished a small tin of this tea and I still cannot peg some of the flavors….yet oddly I like it…

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639 tasting notes

This tea is just so good! It has tons of actual vanilla beans!

My first experience with this tea was using my new owl mug (click here to see how cute it is: It has a dark brown inside, so this observation eluded me then. But today, I used my lime green mug because I was at work.

I noticed a bunch of little black specs at the bottom of my empty cup. At first, I thought the leaves had been chopped up too finely and had gone through the strainer. But then I realized they’re vanilla beans!

How can anyone think this tea doesn’t taste like vanilla when there are real vanilla beans floating around in it? I’m going to have to place an order now that my sample has run out. Welcome home, Vanilla Blossoming! :)

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

That sounds delicious!

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4843 tasting notes

I think I may have to add this one to my shopping list. I only had a wee bit of this to try, and I’m liking what I’m trying thus far.

Nice vanilla flavor. Very creamy and smooth. The Yunnan adds a nice peppery tone to the cup. It’s a wonderful contrast from sweet to a little bit spicy. I’m liking this a lot.

Thank you to Geoffrey for sending me a bit of this tea … sorry it took me so long to get around to trying it!

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237 tasting notes

I love vanilla and am picky about teas that include it. I have fairly high expectations going into this one since Samovar seems to be angling more at the high end of the tea market. The dry leaf is very dark and has noticeable snips of vanilla bean mixed in, which is a good sign, but the aroma is not as deeply soaked in the spirit of vanilla as others I’ve tried, most notably Mariage Freres.

After four minutes I have a dark brown liquor with a pleasant level of vanilla scent. I almost always put cream and sugar in vanilla tea, but I’ll taste this first without to see what comes across. The tea base is quite strong, with quite a bit of astringency but lots of vanilla too. There are malty and spicy notes in there, pepper and nutmeg. With cream and sugar, the vanilla really blooms. It all works really well together to create a hot vanilla malt-like experience which is very tasty. High marks!

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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411 tasting notes

hrm. I wasn’t particularly impressed with this tea. I wanted to be, I love vanilla. But it really didn’t have much of what I identify as that flavor. More came out once it cooled, but not initally. It was pretty tannic.

Overall, it just didn’t stand out for me. I tend to hold Samovar to pretty high standards, partially because they cost so much, and partially because so many others hold them in such high esteem. And this just didn’t make it.

Ah well – more samples to go try. :)

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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328 tasting notes

This is quite a cerebral tea and certainly not a run of the mill vanilla . On the forefront is the sweet vanilla ; in the background, is a slight pepper/malty? flavor from the yunnan. As I drink this tea and contemplate the contrasting flavors, I keep thinking to myself, “hmmm…what is this?”

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