drank Blood Orange Pu-erh by Samovar
2024 tasting notes

Sam O. Var is my new love. I’m going to elope with him. Right now. He can do no wrong, in my book.

I know what you’re going to say — it’s just so much pixie dust, that tinkling of little bells you hear in your mind, that image you see of little cartoon hearts floating up around your head like soap bubbles, that frisson of anticipation. He’s bound to disappoint you at some point. Just give it some time. It always happens.

You could be right. You could be. But not today. I am six for six today, six for six of Samovar samples that I would most definitely drink again. (Now if only Breakfast Blend would come back in stock in the large tin, I could complete an order and qualify for free shipping.)

The aroma out of this packet is deliciously orange. Not tart, not thin, not artificial-smelling. It’s a rich orange smell, almost creamy, like the orange in fine orange-flavored chocolates. It predominates over the pu erh until the leaves and those little bits of orange rind and ginger are wet, when the tea starts to share the stage. After multiple steeps, the aroma of the wet leaves and the tea itself is still deliciously orange, and the grapefruit is there as well. The ginger is pretty subtle, but that’s fine with me. I like my ginger subtle.

The orange in the flavor is mellow and deep, like a very ripe, very juicy orange — but more. The fact is I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a fresh orange that is this orangy. It must be a synergy in the blend, with the other flavors bringing more orange out of the orange. I suspect this is the primary role of the ginger, along with adding a bit of spice that stays on the tongue along with the orange in the finish, and persists, pleasantly, for quite a while.

This is not a star vehicle for the pu erh; rather it is part of a terrific ensemble cast. It balances, it interacts, it comes to the front from time to time to deliver a forest-floor-after-rain note and then retreats to a foundational presence with the rest of the flavors.

I took this through 5+ steeps. Unfortunately I was interrupted with a phone call during the third, and didn’t get off the phone until it was time for the fifth. All the more reason to add this to my next order, so I can enjoy it again in peace.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

Sam O. Var = most clever!!!


I was getting jealous of the relationship with Thomas, so I had to invent my own pretend beau. Lol.

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Sam O. Var = most clever!!!


I was getting jealous of the relationship with Thomas, so I had to invent my own pretend beau. Lol.

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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