drank Lemon Yunnan by Samovar
2024 tasting notes

Time to break out a few more Samovar samples. Since it’s still early, I’m going with a black tea to start.

Green and black are one of my favorite color combinations ever. It was the color combo for my bridesmaids’ dresses back in the married era, though the green in those was more of an emerald. In any case, I love the contrast, both in the color and in the texture of the lemongrass and the black tea leaves.

The smell I get from the dry mixture is not so Pledgy as it is a fairly sharp, high lemon note. It has a sort of powdery feel in my nasal passages, and between the sharpness and the feel I’m thinking dry lemon drink mix, minus sweetener. Crystal Light maybe.

This tones down and mellows quite a bit during steeping, and the tea’s aroma ends up being a wonderful combination of that Samovar black tea smell I love so much and lemon. The sweet maltiness of the tea combines with the lemon to give it an almost lemon drop smell. Wow.

The liquor is interestingly cloudy, which must be from the lemongrass as I haven’t seen this in a Samovar black tea before. It’s on the lighter side of tea colored. I may be drinking this before optimum steeping time and I am going to resteep longer (Samovar black teas are the only ones I’ve found that resteep reasonably well).

Hmm. This wasn’t at all what I expected this to taste like from the aroma. It seems to me to be balanced more toward lemon than toward tea. The tea flavor comes through mostly as a dip toward the tail end of the sip, kind of like that finger game I play with my kids… Johnny Johnny Johhny Johhny Whoops Johnny Whoops Johnny… it’s the Whoops slide down the tip of the kid’s pointer with the mom’s finger and back up to the tip of the kid’s thumb. Except for the Whoops, all the Johnnys are pretty heavily lemon-weighted over an undercurrent of a sort of dusky tea, which would probably taste a lot sweeter than it does if not for the lemon.

Now. You might think from what I just said that I’m disappointed in this tea. Maybe I am, just a teensy bit, because I had hoped for more of that black tea flavor that I love so much with the lemon as an accent rather than a main flavor. But it’s really not disappointment so much as that I’m a little taken aback and not sure what to make of this because it’s so different from what I’d expected.

I also wonder whether my sample was skewed a little more heavily toward lemon than would normally be true. I just took a look at what others have said about this and I seem to be in a minority in thinking this is heavily weighted toward lemon, though it seems Ricky’s experience of this came close to mine.

So now I’m faced with a big question mark about whether I like this enough to add it to a future order. I think the answer might be yes, but a cautious yes. I need to taste this again a few times now that I know what to expect. Knowing what to expect, I’d be able to analyze the flavor in context a bit better and see how I think I’d feel about multiple drinkings.

I really need about three more sample tries to be sure, but by that time I might as well bite the bullet and order a small tin, no?

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

I’m thinking this may be good in a marinade for lemon pepper chicken…

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I’m thinking this may be good in a marinade for lemon pepper chicken…

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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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