Tea of the Week: Samovar’s Apple Ginseng Oolong

Earlier this year, I visited Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco. To say that it’s a place to get tea is a severe understatement as the shop embodies the idea of serenity in a cup. Samovar is unlike any traditional tea room you’ve ever been to and elevates tea to an almost spiritual pastime. If you are in San Francisco and love tea, it is not to be missed!

Apple Ginseng is one of Samovar’s popular oolong blends. The tea has a wonderfully earthy quality where plentiful chunks of dried apple and mildly sweet licorice root make help to mellow out the soft bitterness of ginseng. If you’ve ever had plain ginseng tea before and didn’t like it or if you’ve never had ginseng tea before and are curious, you should definitely try this blend.

Together, the fragrant Taiwanese oolong and sweet apples lend a floral essence to this blend that the ginseng tea itself wouldn’t have otherwise. The steep has a sunny, honey-like character to it, making it a yummy partner to breakfast items and brunch time baked goods.

I’m presenting this tea to you Samovar-style today, where the guest is offered a small wooden tray with a pot of tea, a teacup, and perhaps some extra tea for additional steepings. This is the signature way that Samovar Tea Lounge serves any brew. It’s a simple, unique way of treating every brew with a sense of ritual, focus, and respect.

The addition of both ginseng and oolong in this blend mean that it has a fair amount of caffeine, so this an excellent AM steep to help get your day moving along. Samovar hails this tea as one that promotes “vital energy and libido.” I can attest that the first part of this equation is true. As for the second part, don’t expect any reports back from me…you’ll just have try some and find out for yourself!

Tasting Notes for Samovar’s Apple Ginseng Oolong Tea:

BREWING TIPS:  212 degrees F for 5 minutes. I generally like to drink any ginseng tea hot. Good for several steepings.

THE BLEND:  A mix of Taiwanese oolong, dried chunks of organic apple, organic white ginseng, organic licorice root, and natural apple flavor.

THE SCENT:  Smells of wood, tree branches, and earthy fallen leaves. Like a serene autumn walk through the woods.

THE STEEP:  Each sip starts with slight astringency from the ginseng root. The astringency is followed by the woody, earthy taste of oolong, and then tamed by gentle sweetness from the apples. This is a sunny, refreshing alternative to your morning cup of Joe.

GET IT:  You’ll find this blend at all of Samovar’s vibrant tea lounges in San Francisco, except for their latest Tea Bar on Valencia St. The tea is also available online at Samovar’s website or on Amazon.

FOOD PAIRING:  Apple Ginseng Oolong pairs perfectly with fall breakfast treats like french toast, pancakes, or a thick slice of Maple Brick Toast. It’s also exceptionally delicious with Mochi Banana Bread or my favorite fall treat…Crisp Apple Strudels!

The cute sticker comes tucked inside the box of tea!

22 thoughts on “Tea of the Week: Samovar’s Apple Ginseng Oolong

  1. Bonnie, I love Samovar! We actually went to the Yerba Buena location last time we were in San Francisco and had the Chinese service which was so deicious and served with I think a BLood Orange Pu erh tea. Do you know of any place that is similar in Los Angeles? I would love to find a similar tea lounge, it was such an enjoyable experience! BTW missed you at UCLA yesterday but it was such a fun event you should think about making a pie that would go with tea (I saw a few tea themed versions) because you get to serve one of your pies to the public and it’s so fun meeting the thousands of people and other bakers!!! and I won 2nd place out of 378 pies! Totally cool! Have a great week!

    • Yay! So glad to talk to someone who understands how AMAZING Samovar is! Yes, the Blood Orange Puerh is delicious…was trying to decide whether to post on that or the Apple Ginseng (decided on the ginseng because the apples at the market were so pretty). I don’t know of any tea shops in LA being similar…if I do find one I will most certainly let you know so that we can meet up there! Now you have me thinking about a tea flavored pie for next year…lots of time to prep at this point! And gosh, how amazing is it that you got 2nd place out of 378 pies!!? Is everyone around you asking you to make pie now? And to think….Thanksgiving is coming up!! 😉

      • I’m so intrigued that we don’t have a similar tea house or salon here in LA; we’ve got high tea places and boba places and places where you can buy bulk tea and there’s Chado, but . . . well I’m just surprised. And if you can believe it we’ve gone off coffee, so now I’m really motivated to find some amazing tea places! Thanks for all your kind words and have a great Sunday!

      • Wow–did you cut off the java cold turkey!? Hard to do…I would know! Now I have extra motivation to find you some delicious teas to go along with all your scrumptious baked goods. And I know what you mean–when it comes to tea, LA isn’t the most progressive place…I’ll certainly be on the lookout though! Will keep you posted Sue! 😉

  2. Once again I have not heard of this company and I indeed never tried ginseng tea but this flavour combination with apples and oolong sounds really neat! Your teapot and the matching teacup are so beautiful by the way 🙂

  3. I love tea shops- I buy tea a lot, my boyfriend sometimes laughs at me and starts counting all the kinds of green tea we have at home 😀 We have a few nice places in Luxembourg- now I’m thinking I should go and visit that new tea shop in the city center. Such a pity I don’t live in SF. Beautiful pictures Bonnie- oh and any information about “energy and libido” sources for someone in my age are much appreciated 😀 have a lovely week xx

    • Haha, so you did catch that “energy and libido” bit at the end of the post Marta! I was hoping to sneak it by, as it is a signature feature of this tea. 😉 I have so much green tea too…luckily I do somehow get through them. For me, it helps a lot to store them in a way where you can easily see everything you have…this way you don’t forget about having them! I’m betting Luxembourg has many lovely tea shops…if you happen to have some favorites, do let me know…I would love to visit them someday (I’ve been to Luxembourg before, but not to any of the tea shops!) 😉

      • Oh let me know next time when you here! There is a new tea shop right in the city center, I went there twice and have to go back for sure. Yes, I got that important past of this post- I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t 😉

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