Review: Samovar Lemon Yunnan Black

Black Tea, Lemon Balm Tea, Lemon Tea, Lemongrass Tea, Samovar, Yunnan Tea Add comments
Dan’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"As a stand-alone tea, regardless of the holiness of its ingredients, I concur that this is a tasty, refreshing cup."
Dan’s Teaview: 7.5/10
Other Teaviews: Lynn gave it 6.5/10, Laura gave it 7.5/10, Vanessa gave it 7.5/10
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samovarlemonyunnanIt seems that lately, a fair number of Yunnan blends are cropping up - which has me simultaneously intrigued and appalled. It's kind of like when Dangermouse had the audacity to mash up Jay-Z and The Beatles. You don't **** with the Beatles like that - what are you thinking?! However, in the Dangermouse instance, it resulted in one of my favorite albums of the year. In the Yunnan tea instances, it has (thus far) resulted in more of the "hrrmm..." variety.

As with any black tea, Yunnan or not, I brought the H2O to just a notch under boiling and then steeped for 3 to 5 minutes - playing with various times, but each of them yielding a satisfactory cup. Now let's pretend for a moment that I did not know the black tea base here was Yunnan black. On its own merits, this is a fine tea. A rather enjoyable one at that, and one that I have consistently been imbibing several times a week for the last 2-3 weeks or so. The flavor is decidedly lemony, and is very light and refreshing in that regard. Yet there is still a sturdy black tea base to give it some substance, and overall I've not really had a tea quite like it. However, virtually any trace of the provocative Dian Hong flavors are decimated by the lemon-based additives (which include lemongrass, lemon zest and lemon balm). Mind you, it's not an all-powerful in-your-face over-the-top-like-Sylvester-Stallone flavor, but the very essence of the lemongrass just wipes out the revered flavor profile of the Yunnan black, which begs the question: why? Why use such a delightful tea as a base if its unique flavors are not to be utilized to their potential? Why not just use a more common Assam or Ceylon or other black tea base? I guess the flavors would not have married as well, or something did not work right or whatever. Call me old fashioned, but leave my Dian Hong alone. At least they didn't have the audacity to use a Yunnan Pure Gold -- the Yunnan leaves here are quite dark and likely a low grade Dian Hong, which is just this side of acceptable in concept, I suppose.

But again, as a stand-alone tea, regardless of the holiness of its ingredients, I concur that this is a tasty, refreshing cup. I just have to knock it down a peg or two for masking any Yunnan flavor with the typically-pleasant lemony additives. The finish is long-lasting and refreshingly-clean, crisp and lemony. From the initial sip of freshly-brewed hot tea down to the moment the tea has cooled to room temperature, it remains a deliciously refreshing cup. It would be very nice served iced as well.

— To purchase Samovar Lemon Yunnan Black, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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