540 Tasting Notes
This same came from NayLynn. I haven’t tried any of Butiki’s guayusa blends, or any guayusa blend in general, but I’ve been curious about them since most of the flavor sound really good. Visually, this looks like flaky crumbled dry leaves. They’re a muted green/grey color. I confess, I was a little sad when I noticed the lavender buds mixed in, as I didn’t realize there was lavender in this one. Ah well. Steeped a teaspoon and a half of leaf for 6 minutes in boiling water.
This one is just okay for me. I don’t taste a lot of lavender, which is very good in my opinion. The lavender mostly comes off as citrusy in this blend instead of heavily floral. Mostly what I taste is the mint, but even it is quite mild. I could use more vanilla here. Overall, this is a very mild minty herbal with a few other light flavors.
Flavors: Citrus, Lavender, Mint, Vanilla
My free “press” samples from Yunomi.us came! I was very excited to see a black tea, as I’ve been curious about Japanese black teas but have never tried one. The leaves are small and very fragile-looking, and they’re curled up into little loops and ‘u’ shapes. The color is a rich dark reddish brown with some grey in it. Dry, it smells like musty hay with some malt and honey mixed in. I steeped about 1.5 teaspoons of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once brewed, this tea smells quite malty with an interesting almost grassy note to it, accompanied by grain and honey. The flavor here is kind of hard to describe, especially since it seems to change a lot during the sip. But I’m going to try to describe it anyway! Initially, it tastes like musty hay and is quite brisk (I think I may have overleafed a tad as at one point it’s almost bitter). At the same time, there’s a bit of a grassy quality and some astringency. Toward the middle of the sip, the flavor transforms into this luscious and creamy bread amazingness! Lovely sweet, crusty bread with creamy honey over the top and a touch of mild fruity preserves. The aftertaste is all creamy bread and honey, and it lingers for some time. I am very curious to see how this tea turns out using an actual teaspoon of tea instead of my heaping variety. I might try a lower temperature too, as the packet recommends 195 degrees.
Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Biting, Creamy, Dried Fruit, Grass, Hay, Honey, Honeysuckle, Jam, Malt, Musty, Sweet, Toast
After-workout tea! You would think I would want something light, but I guess not. :P This sample came from scribbles (she sent me basically all of the Joseph Wesley teas). The leaves of this tea are about medium in size and just slightly twisty. I would say they’re about 60% black to 40% gold. I’m not sure why I feel the need to be specific on that, but oh well. Dry scent is mild malt with nice Yunnan-y honey and stonefruit notes. I steeped a heaping teaspoon for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Whew, this is definitely a darker Yunnan by the smell. There’s a lot of earthiness here with some mineral and smoke qualities. Happily for me, the taste is very well-balanced. That earthy quality is here as well, but is nicely softened by a dark fruitiness and the sweetness of honey. I do get some minerality along with a slight smoke. Overall, not my favorite tea, but a good one. :)
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Earth, Honey, Mineral, Raisins, Smoke
Well, I had a selection from Blodeuyn’s swap, now there must be a contender from scribbles’s! Just kidding, ladies. :P But for serious, this came from scribbles. I’ve had a Tan Yang from TeaVivre, so I was curious to see how this one compares to it. The leaves are small, thin, and slightly curly. They’re dark chocolate brown all over with just a few smatterings of gold. Dry scent is very musty hay and grain with a touch of honey sweetness. I steeped a heaping teaspoon of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once brewed, it smells like dark toasted wheat bread with molasses and fruit preserves. As it cooled, I started to smell a very slightly floral note. Yum, this tea is so rich and creamy! It’s very grainy (oats?) and pastry-like with a strong nutty influence. It’s definitely a richer nut, maybe macadamia? I dunno, but it’s tasty! There’s also sweetness with a touch of floral, like wildflower honey. And perhaps the teensiest touch of golden raisin? Lastly, a very mild herb/spice note, something similar to cinnamon or anise, but it’s hard to say since it’s so light. Delicious, creamy goodness!
Flavors: Anise, Cinnamon, Creamy, Dried Fruit, Floral, Honey, Nutty, Oats, Pastries, Sweet
My first tea of the day comes from Blodeuyn’s epic black tea sample swap. Another Taiwanese tea to make my mouth happy! The leaves of this one are quite thick and shorter than others, but still jet black in color. I saw several long stems mixed in with the leaves. Dry scent is very grainy with sweet cocoa and stonefruit scents. I steeped about 1.5 teaspoons of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Hm, unusual aroma for a Taiwanese tea (at least in my experience). It’s quite bready with sweet honey and just a touch of dried fruit. Wow, this definitely tastes different than all of the other Taiwanese blacks I’ve tried! It’s very bready and smooth, and so creamy. It literally tastes (and feels) like there has been cream added to it. It’s definitely a crusty bread with honey butter spread over it. No jam, surprisingly. I usually find a lot of fruitiness in these teas but it’s absent here. There’s a moment in the middle of the sip where this fleetingly tastes like a plain generic black tea, but it’s quickly swept away by an interesting green bean flavor. I think I’m getting just a touch of apricot in the aftertaste, there you are! This is definitely an interesting tea, and since I have enough for another cup, I’ll definitely try it following their directions next time! :)
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Cream, Green Beans, Honey, Malt
As the evening wears on, I tend to want black teas less and less and I start to turn to green and white options more. This one was a sample sent to me by KiwiDelight along with the other flavored senchas from Den’s. The leaf itself is quite pretty with a few purple flower buds mixed in. Dry scent is candy sweet and grapey. I steeped a teaspoon for 1 minute at 175 degrees (my usual sencha treatment).
Hm, I definitely don’t like this one as much as the pineapple. And that’s mostly because the flavoring here is definitely not genuine grape, it’s more like a grape candy and it reminds me of wine and champagne flavored teas. I was hoping for a more authentic grape flavor, as the pineapple seemed very true-to-life to me. Ah well, can’t win them all! :)
Flavors: Candy, Grapes, Sweet, Vegetal
This is a Butiki tea that I’ve been curious about since I love almond-flavored things so much. NayLynn was nice enough to send me a sample in our swap, thank you! The tea itself is quite beautiful – dark leaves with plenty of sliced almonds and pretty pink flower petals. Dry scent is cinnamon and creamy and sweet. I steeped about 1.5 teaspoons for 4 minutes at 200 degrees.
Like a lot of other Butiki teas, this one doesn’t have quite enough flavor for me. It’s pleasant enough, the base tea is mellow and unobtrusive and thankfully not astringent. I can taste cinnamon more than almond, but there is something pastry-like about it. I would say it’s more of a cinnamon pastry with some almonds over the top. Pretty good, but not a purchase for me. :)
Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Pastries, Sweet
Another tea that I was absentmindedly drinking while playing Diablo. This sample came from NayLynn. I haven’t had a lot of experience with Republic of Tea, but I do enjoy the blueberry black teabags I have from them. These bags smell sweet and vanilla-y with a lot of almond extract aroma. I used two bags for 12 ounces of water and steeped for 4 minutes at 200 degrees.
Meh, this one is just okay. It came out slightly astringent, which is always a frustration for me with some flavored teas. The tea itself is medium-bodied and doesn’t taste like much. The flavoring is somewhat light, I taste the vanilla (which is a custard-type vanilla) near the beginning of the sip and then the almond extract at the end. Just meh.
Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Custard, Malt, Marzipan, Sweet, Vanilla
This lovely sample came from NayLynn. Now I’m not normally a glitter person, but I had to try what miss Marzipan calls “sparkle pony tea”. The leaves are small and generic looking, and there’s silver sanding sugar and gold candy pearls mixed in along with pieces of citrus peel. Dry scent is vaguely vanilla, caramel, and desserty. I steeped a heaping teaspoon of leaf for 4 minutes at 200 degrees.
Wow, so pretty! The tea itself is a dark golden color (at least, it is in this cup) and there are tiny glittery particles suspended throughout. Lovely! This tea seems quite mildly flavored (NayLynn did say that she thought it was an older sample) and I like it that way. It’s a very light-bodied black tea base with some vanilla and caramel notes and just a touch of spice and lemon. Pretty tasty! :)
Flavors: Caramel, Clove, Lemon, Malt, Sweet, Vanilla
This sample came from scribbles! I’m very happy to try these Verdant blacks teas, especially since they tend to go out of stock so easily. The leaves of this one are very long and thin, and somewhat curly. They’re almost all black, with just a few spots of gold. At first smell, this tea seems Fujian to me. It has that savory toasted grain and dill seed aroma, but it also has a sweet apricot preserve scent which is interesting. Smells like Fujian and Yunnan had a baby! :P I steeped about 1.5 teaspoons of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once it’s brewed, this tea definitely smells Fujian to me. The aroma is thick with roasted grain and is quite savory with that dill scent. The taste is much the same. There’s a thickness to the flavor and texture, and it’s chiefly deep roasted grains and rye bread. There’s also that sprinkling of dill over the top. Interestingly enough, I get a light and pure sweet flavor that reminds me of honeysuckle nectar – clear, sweet, and very lightly floral. Yum! :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Dill, Grain, Honeysuckle, Roasted, Rye, Sweet