602 Tasting Notes

80

Seven hours ago I made a mug of this, only to have to leave it abruptly so I could clean a couple of houses. I only managed a few sour sips and didn’t even get the chance to add the quintessential milk (in retrospect I’m so glad I didn’t get the chance to add milk, as it would not have complimented this tea).

Instead of dumping it down the drain when I got back, I decided it would be interesting to see if I could drink it cold and plain, but it turns out that it isn’t a hard task.

It started off woody and sour (meh), and then the flavour built to encompass playful strands of creamy, floral and fruity notes. This tea became better the closer I came to the bottom of the mug. By the end it was even sweet, and had a lingering peachy aftertaste.

Yeah, that was the cold cup. Now I’m looking forward to drinking this hot tomorrow! The Darjeeling experience might be ok after all, even without milk.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Fuzzy_Peachkin

It’s a good thing you gave it a second chance. I might have to revisit this tea.

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76

I still need my milk training wheels for Darjeeling teas. I hope to remove them, and grow a proper palate, by the time I finish all six of the Darjeelings in my cupboard. I’m not entirely optimistic I’ll succeed though.

This is Darjeeling No. 1 out of the way. I took a few sips without milk, felt unsteady on the dry woody terrain, and slammed those extra wheels right back on. Yeah, it was a humiliating show but I felt comfortable. That’s the important part, right?

The highlight of this tea is the sour fruity note in the finish and aftertaste. It’s tangy and grape-like, and makes me want to pull out the cheese and crackers. There’s also a curvy floral tone that’s kind of fancy, and fluffs things up.

This last cup is the best this tea has ever tasted for me. I don’t know if that’s due to me finally paying attention to how it properly or because I was more generous with the serving this time around, but it’s yummy today. Maybe working through the other five Darjeeling teas won’t be so much like a chore after all?

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

I usually don’t use boiling water when I make darjeeling tea, I find it sucks all the flavor right out of them!

Sil

Looking forward to our journey…I haven’t quite gotten there myself with darjeelings and I’m not sure why…

Sil

Our = your bah

gmathis

Curvy. Nice adjective. I like that!

CrowKettle

Aww, Sil! For a moment there you had my hopes up that I wouldn’t have to travel this long four ounce road alone.. if you ever change your mind I can send some out to you via Priority™! :P

CrowKettle

Thanks, gmathis! And I’ll keep that in mind, Amy oh :)

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70

This is from way back in November and I’m just opening it now. If there was ever doubt that I’m a procrastinator..

I’m pleasantly surprised by this one. As Ozli noted, it tastes a bit like David’s Forever Nuts (must be the apple and nuts thing), but there are some textural differences in the way the apple flavour and sweetness come across.

At its best and thickest, it tastes a lot like a baked apple dessert, along with all the fine spices and stuffing. Other sips sometimes come across as watery and unnaturally sweet, with a sour tang, which is not fantastic. It’s still a fun rooibos to drink and I don’t think I’ll have any problem getting through an ounce of this, however.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Ok, so it’s not just me who is behind on trying teas that have been sitting there forever. :)

OMGsrsly

Not just you, Incendiare. :)

CHAroma

Yeah seriously, I have too many unopened teas sitting neglected in my cupboard. Poor teas. Life just isn’t fair, LOL!

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84
drank Anji Bai Cha by Butiki Teas
602 tasting notes

For a while there I forgot green teas existed; then Stacy included this as a sample in the big group order I participated in a while back. This tea turned out to be a nice reminder that greens aren’t always boring and can be tasty! I really did think I would easily write this one off after trying a cup.

This tea is surprisingly sweet, both in aroma and taste. Initially, I thought the fruity sweetness was due to (a very good kind of) cross contamination, but the online description says that’s one of the distinguishing characteristics. It’s hard for me to get over that this isn’t one of those green, floral cherry blends that are everywhere. How is it doing that? The tart cherry flavour is surprisingly vivid and fresh.

Besides the sweet finish, this has all the grassy, vegetal, and mineral water notes that one could hope for in a nice green. There is are also some nice buttery notes, that give the tea a pleasantly creamy quality, but it isn’t as dominant a note as some of the buttery Dragonwell or oolong teas I’ve tried.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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75

Last Winter I got my aunt hooked on David’s Tea. She doesn’t have a huge selection but it’s still nice to have some loose leaf options while looking after my little cousin last night. :)

This tea isn’t bad, especially considering that it contains David’s pu’erh (bleh). It has an adequate dose of ginger and citrus zing, for a palate cleanser and stomach soother. The smooth earthy notes add a relaxing touch. It’s a nice cup to take along on a walk, or after a day of unwise food choices.. maybe eating cheezies all day wasn’t a particularly smart decision. Oh well. I’m very grateful that this was hidden away in the cupboards!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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82
drank Oriental Beauty by Butiki Teas
602 tasting notes

I tend to neglect the darker, (Edit: more heavily oxidized) oolongs, and was pleasantly surprised to see Stacy had included it as a sample! I know next to nothing about this type of tea variety, or how it’s produced, and should make a point of trying more.

The dry leaf has a sweet and roasted nut aroma, with something like cinnamon or baked sugar. The hot liquor smells more like general toastiness and isn’t as interesting. The taste fulfills the promises from the dry leaf, though, and there is a lot of fun stuff happening here. Most dominant to me is the roasted note of unsalted macadamia nuts. That’s my absolute favorite kind of nut, and every time I get a taste of it here I’m mentally jumping up and down. You wouldn’t know just by looking at me but I am.

The finish has a gentle hint of bitter nuts, mixed in with something creamy, buttery, and sweet. I’ve never tried macadamia nut butter; I wonder if it’s as delicious as it sounds. The aftertaste is like fruit jam and honey. The empty cup smells like a full jar of honey too.

Hopefully I can stretch this oolong out today, with a multitude of steeps, as this tea rocks. I will pick up more of this in the near future, and it will get a rating then when I’m less excited about the delicious novelty of macadamia nuts and dessert. I never thought I would like this one as much as I do.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
JustJames

okay, now you’ve captured my attention…. i love macadamia nut butter… may have to try some of this!

Sil

Nice… Tracy suggested I try this one given my strong dislike of oblongs, so it sounds like she might be right that I’d like it.

Sil

And by Tracy I meant STACY stupid autocorrect…

CrowKettle

I think you would be ok with this one, Sil. It tasted nothing like the floral and milky green oolongs I normally drink. If I didn’t know better I would’ve assumed it was a quirky black tea.

I thought it tasted a lot like the roasted oolongs too but wiki says it isn’t. Apparently, it’s usually heavily fermented and a leafhopper tea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dongfang_Meiren

CrowKettle

I clearly don’t understand oolong production at all, but this was a good tea :)

Sil

thanks crowkettle :) now i just need my tea to get here! so i can order everything haha

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79
drank Gui Fei Oolong by Butiki Teas
602 tasting notes

I don’t know how to begin describing the smell of the liquor. It’s kind of floral and fruity, like dried cranberries or apples, but it also has a savoury, bready component to it. It kind of reminds me of a fruity turkey stuffing, a cobbler, or a loaf.

The cup is smooth and juicy, with a distinct honey finish and lingering taste. I thought of apple strudel, mulled wine, and jam with buttered toast as I sipped through the first steep.

Edit: second steep is even fruitier than the first. I allowed my cup to become cool, and the flavour is a lot like ice wine!

There are notes present here that I would find overwhelming if they were left to dominate, but they pleasantly weaved in and out as drank this tea. The heady, buttery-floral notes blend in with the honey tinged fruitiness to create something that is very different from what I’m used to drinking.

A few characteristics I appreciate in green oolong are present here, but with a sweet twist. I’m glad I requested this as a sample and hopefully I get the chance to pick up more before the New Year.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Nice! I think this was the one I originally wanted in our order but got axed. I asked for a sample too though and your review makes me itchy to try it. :)

CrowKettle

I do regret not going for a bigger portion and splitting it with you, but at least I know now for future decisions. :)

Chelle

I have been eyeing this one each time I visit Butiki’s site. Your description has definitely made this a must with my next order.

CrowKettle

Chelle, if you’re a fan of Mi Xian Black and oolong this tea is fantastic. :)

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88

Almost like drinking Caramilk, although never as sweet and cloying. My favourite thing about this one is the hot caramel smell that attaches itself to the cup. I’ve found it’s a good tea to smother most dessert cravings.

I tried adding soy milk to it a couple days back and that completely diluted everything. Maybe a longer steep time would’ve helped, but I don’t feel like playing around anymore when I know I’ve got a good thing going already.

I love the assam base for this blend; I may actually like the assam more on it’s own than here. It’s going on my “must haves” list for fall, though. This tea, a warm fireplace, a textbook, and a chilly night sounds pretty fine to me.

Edit: I’m finally starting to like this tea in it’s own right and not just for its assam base. Being generous with the two teaspoon serving, and stirring after steeping, takes this tea up a notch for me. I normally hate adding sugar to my tea but this is one of the few exceptions where I actually don’t mind.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
JustJames

agreed, it buries dessert angst.

Fjellrev

Oh yeah, the textbook would have ruined that experience. I seriously can’t wait to get my Butiki stuff from the group order, more than anything, to try this one!

tigress_al

Caramilk!! That’s my favourite chocolate bar! I was thinking of making a Butiki order but now I will have to try this tea!

CrowKettle

JustJames, yes, this tea was very effective for that until I saw the spun sugar image link in your note. Then I wanted both the tea AND the dessert. :P

This is no substitute for a real Caramilk bar but it does remind me of why I love them, and why I’m going to buy a big bag full of them in October or November.

OMGsrsly

I really like this one, but I know what you mean. You can’t underleaf it or it doesn’t taste right.

Plunkybug

I can’t wait either. I don’t think I got any of this in the order though, but perhaps I should have.

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79

I’m glad I got the chance to revisit this one because I’ve changed my mind again- I prefer Lime Chiffon. I feel that the flavours are sharper with the Lime, whereas the Lemon is softer and sweeter. Both are great in their own ways, though.

Thanks, OMGsrsly, for sharing! I could almost taste the delectable notches of cream and citrus through this crummy sinus infection. Almost. Bleh. Probably not going to be drinking anything new for a while, or teas I really like. What a muted sipdown.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Get better soon! I heard sinus infections can be really terrible.

CrowKettle

Thanks, Incendiare! It’s not fun, but it also gives me the chance to catch up on some leisure reading and drink up my grosser teas. :)

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95

The aroma of this guayusa is quite lovely- like toasty vanilla with a dash of mint. A hot cup of this makes me think of Pistachio Ice Cream (it’s the creamy vanilla), but instead of green tea and pistachios there is that earthy tone that guayusa is known for.

The spearmint seemed stronger in my cooled down cup than in the piping hot one; the vanilla tasted more subdued. I think I may like this better when the vanilla takes the more dominant role, but the cup is still consistently creamy, floral, and earthy enough for me. The lavender is on the periphery of my senses most of the time, although, like the mint, that seems to be more prevalent in the cooler cup.

On a few other, somewhat related, notes.. I love the name of this blend a lot. It’s also a decent substitute for those who loved Teaopia’s now defunct Mate Vanilla Mint.

It’s not something I see myself drinking all the time, however that’s likely due to some unfortunate conditioning with guayusa, all-nighters, and hopeless papers. I see this getting rotation with David’s Jungle Ju Ju, as a deceptively smoother alternative, around school deadlines.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

White teas, roasted/fired green teas, and green oolong varieties are my favourites.

Ingredients/flavours I enjoy (in moderation): anise, caramel, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lime, maple, marshmallow leaves, melon, mint, rose, vanilla.

Coconut is a big hit or miss.

Ratings:

95-100: A Personal Favourite; I’m never without this tea.

90-94: Great! I’ll try to keep a small amount around.

80-89: Enjoyable; I may buy more at some point.

70-79: Nice, but not something I’d drink often. I may have a few problems with it.

50-69: Something about this tea falls flat for me. Still drinkable.

30-49: This isn’t a particularly pleasant cup.

1-29: …

Location

BC, Canada

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