drank Russian Blend by Samovar
1996 tasting notes

This is the fourth Samovar sample I’ve tried and I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever run across something of theirs I don’t like.

As a recent inductee to the smoky fan club, I was delighted with the smell of the dry leaves, which reminded me of how my dad’s pipes smelled after he’d smoked them. I realize that this may not sound that appealing, but I’ve always loved the smell of really good pipe tobacco. It’s a smell one doesn’t run across that much anymore now that the health dangers of pipe smoking are so well documented, but to me it’s reminiscent of an era of narrow ties, Fedoras, and big honking cars with fins.

The aroma is smoky as well, with that campfire thing going on, but I can also smell the fruit. I didn’t make the preparations necessary to taste this the traditional way — I’m drinking it straight up, but it is quite enjoyable without any additives at all and I am eager to give it a try the traditional way.

This is a beautiful, sophisticated tea. There’s a smoothness to it that I’ve come to expect from Samovar’s blends, and which I really adore. As with the others I’ve tasted, all of the flavors work together harmoniously; the piney/smokiness, the fruity/nutty upswing from the lychee, the sweet finish with an extremely interesting warm/cool after-effect on the tongue. I feel a foresty coolness in my mouth, but there’s a little heat and bite there as well.

I don’t need a crystal ball to see a very large Samovar order in my future…

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Another tempting Samovar review! What is it about Samovar and their enchanting teas? It seems like all of Steepster-ville is under their spell! :)


Truly, it does seem that way.

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Another tempting Samovar review! What is it about Samovar and their enchanting teas? It seems like all of Steepster-ville is under their spell! :)


Truly, it does seem that way.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes


Bay Area, California



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