Russian Samovar from Mahamosa Gourmet Teas, Spices & Herbs

Russian Samovar from Mahamosa Teas
Russian Samovar from Mahamosa Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Mahamosa Gourmet Teas, Spices & Herbs

Tea Description:

This tea blend is derived from an old Russian recipe. As the name implies, it is perfect for serving from the traditional Russian teapot, the “samovar”. Russia is known for its love of teas which first arrived from China through Mongolia. Tea is the most popular non-alcoholic drink in Russia. Zoom into this classic blend and note the dark leaves, smoky in appearance. This blend is highly aromatic. It is light bodied, and in accord with the appearance of the leaves, a hint of smokiness.

Leaf:  Dark leaves

Body: Light

Aroma and Taste: Highly aromatic, hints of smokiness

Intensity: Medium

Color:  Orange

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Russian Samovar from Mahamosa Gourmet Teas, Spices & Herbs is one of the smoothest morning brews I have had in a very long time.

When I opened the bag and put the leaves into my steeping basket I could smell a faint aroma of vanilla, although this is not listed as an ingredient I felt it had to be a natural aroma in the tea. I also was able to taste a light vanilla flavor as well but as the tea cooled more the vanilla aroma dissipated. The flavor mellowed into a simply smooth delicious black tea.

I have enjoyed this tea on several occasions and each time I plan to do a review on it but I just find myself sitting back and enjoying my morning cup which tells me I really like this tea.

I won’t say it is a complex tea layered with different flavor notes or anything like that. Rather it is a simple morning cup that wakes you up gently, smoothly, and allows you to start moving without feeling jittery or anxious. It is very pleasant to sip, welcoming on the palate and such a lovely cup.

I have been impressed with the teas from Mahamosa thus far, I still have a couple to try but so far I give a huge thumbs up!

Mahamosa contributes 50% of their profits to charity which gets my approval as well!

Now getting back to this tea … it says in the description that it is smokey. Well, you know, its not really all that smokey, at least not in the manner of a Lapsang Souchong anyway. Its rather difficult for me to label it as smokey because usually that is a flavor that is up front, in your face, and in this tea is simply is not. For some that may make this tea more or less attractive The smokiness is light, and in a strange way far less in the flavor than in the feel of the tea. I don’t know if that makes sense or not. It does have a very light campfire side aroma but there is this light sweetness to it that makes me think more of a lightly roasted marshmallow than the campfire smokiness itself.

Another cool thing about this tea company is they also offer spices and herbs which I do need to replace a lot of my outdated spices soon, they, like tea, also lose flavor after too long. So for those of you who need another great reason / excuse to buy more tea … there you go! You probably need to replace spices as well!

Russian Caravan from Bon Thé Place

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Bon Thé Place

Tea Description:

A smokey, strong tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve never attempted to downplay my previous dislike for smoky teas.  In fact, dislike may be too gentle a word!  I disliked them so much that I couldn’t even have them in my house because the smell was so repulsive to me.

I have since come to appreciate them a little more than I once did (which wouldn’t be hard because I had no appreciation whatsoever for them before!  haha) but it’s been a long, hard road to get to that point.

Russian Caravan – like this one from  Bon Thé Place – was one of the first smoky teas that I came in contact with … and I remember being so disappointed that it was so strong and smoky.  I had big hopes for a tea called Russian Caravan.  (I’m part Russian)  It was a horrifying experience for me.

Since then, I’ve come to enjoy smoky teas, including Russian Caravan, but I do have my own method in brewing the teas so that they can be enjoyable.  First, I steep them for about 10 seconds (a 10 second rinse) and then discard the liquid.  This helps remove some of the strongest smoky elements as well as the sort of smoky “dusty” taste that I found most difficult to consume.  Then I steep it as usual, using boiling water and steeping for 3 minutes.  A perfect cup of tea!

Sure, it’s still smoky, but some of the smoky tones have been eliminated by the rinse.  And Now, I can enjoy the sweet, caramel-y undertones (and I love how the caramel notes and the smoky notes mingle together to create a smoky caramel taste … its such a tantalizing flavor!)

The tea is rich and satisfying, full-bodied, with intriguing fruit tones just beneath the smoky layer of flavor.  It is an invigorating cup – one that works well to get you going in the morning, it also works as a pleasing afternoon cuppa when you need that little something extra to cast aside the mid-day doldrums.

If you’ve a sensitive palate to the strongly smoky teas, I suggest trying my brewing method for them.  You may find out that you, too, can enjoy smoky teas!

Samovar Tea from Kusmi Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Kusmi Tea

Tea Description:

This tea owes its name to the heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in and around Russia, a classic symbol of daily life in Russia. This tea is a blend of lightly smoked black teas from India and China. Perfect with savory or spicy dishes.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The very first time I was given a sample of this tea, I sent it off to a friend without even trying it.  All I did was take a quick whiff of it, and the smoky tones were immediately off-putting to me.

That was several years ago.

Since that time, I have been slowly gaining an appreciation for smoky teas, and while I doubt I will ever proclaim them as my favorite “flavored” tea, I find myself enjoying them far more than I ever thought possible back when I was put off by the mere scent of them.

And of the many smoky black teas that I’ve tried since that time and have enjoyed, I think that this one may be one of my favorites.  I really like this a whole lot more than I ever thought I would, and now as I am sitting here, enjoying this cup of Samovar Tea from Kusmi, I am regretting sending off that sampling of it way back when.

The dry leaf actually presents a stronger smoky presence than the flavor offers, in my opinion.  Sure, I still taste that smoke flavor, but, it mingles with tones of caramel and malt and even a hints of freshly baked bread notes that the smokiness is hardly a detraction.  Instead, it becomes part of a unique set of flavors that has me coming back for more.

The flavor is rich and satisfying.  There is some astringency to this, and it is quite noticeable, but, I find that it too, adds to the satisfaction of this tea as it cleanses the palate between sips and keeps it from being too overwhelmed by richness – and yes, the smokiness – of this tea.

Overall, a delicious cup of tea.  One that I’d not only be happy to enjoy again, but one that I could see myself buying in the future!  Given my apprehension about smoky teas … that is saying something!

Russian Earl Grey from Culinary Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Culinary Teas

Product Description:

All natural Thai Lemongrass and Spanish orange infuse premium Earl Grey with sultry citrus notes.

Bright, with pleasing citrus overtone and mellow finish.

Ingredients:  Luxury black tea, Natural dried lemon Grass, Natural dried Orange, Cornflower Petals, Natural Flavours.

Taster’s Review:

I admit – this tea frightened me.  It’s an automatic response to teas that are called “Russian” – usually, that means “smoky” tea (at least, that’s what I’ve been conditioned to assume!).  But, this is a happy surprise – no smoke!  Nice!

The flavor is a bit unusual for an Earl Grey – the bergamot taste is there, but as it mingles with the lemongrass and orange flavors, it becomes softer and less distinct.  This smells and tastes much more like a citrus-y tea rather than an Earl Grey.

Yes, I know that bergamot IS an orange, but, a quick trip through the average grocery store produce section will tell you that it is no ordinary orange.  It is not readily available to the average consumer (at least not here in the US).  That’s what makes Earl Grey tea so unique – at least to me – is that it doesn’t taste like a typical orange flavored tea.

But, I digress…

The bergamot is present here, it has just been softened somewhat by the presence of the lemongrass and additional orange flavor.  But that is not to say that this tastes like a typical orange flavored tea either… it has such an interestingly complex fruit taste.

The black tea is smooth and brisk without being too aggressive.  It has a rich taste that compliments the citrus notes.  It is a very pleasing harmony of tastes.

This is truly a rewarding cup of tea – one that presented me with such a lovely and welcome surprise.   Delicious!