384 Tasting Notes

drank Apricot Guayusa by Butiki Teas
384 tasting notes

i find myself in unfamiliar territory. i am trying to sort out guayasa.

i’m not sure if i like it or not, thus i will suspend a numerical rating.

the smell is excellent. the visual with the fluffy saffron coloured bits of calendula curled over the chips of guayasa is very cool. the caffeine absorption is nice and smooth, not a rush and i’m not predicting a crash. BUT… i am detecting a twang. it’s the twang that’s throwing me off. i got it with the killer’s vanilla as well… but there were stronger flavours involved.


195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec

My favorite use is cooking with it. I brew it and add to pancake batter or make complex butter.


ooh! now there’s an idea (because i’m not much enjoying drinking it). thanks for the idea!

Terri HarpLady

I still haven’t tried Guayusa yet. I’m not sure that it appeals to me


i really like the idea… but the twang i get is very marine and i find it odd with fruit.


Steep it lighter and less leaf. Play with it a bit. My preference is the more citrus flavor which seems creamy and perks up pancakes enhancing the grain while adding richness.

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drank Dragonfruit Devotion by Teavana
384 tasting notes

this is a great blend BUT this review actually rates the potential it exhibits when mixed with another teavana creation named ‘weight to go’.

today was ridiculously hot. 29 degrees? on vancouver island british columbia? we’re surrounded by ocean, we have ocean currents that are supposed to whisk the heat away! oh, wait, maybe it was the nutty humidity that weighed it down? you’d think we lived in ontario!

rant aside, apparently pervasive miserable heat and a fierce need for tea fuels the machine of invention. it was too hot to drink my conventional mugs today. i did try, i have heard that when the temperature outside soars that a hot cuppa can actually kick your internal homeostatic (today’s big word of the day) mechanisms into high gear. after today i am going to call B.S. on that theory by the way. i quit drinking it hot after two cups going quite red and feeling like i was running a fever.

tea! i wanted tea! wait….. isn’t there a thing called cold steeping? time to try it. so, the kick of and oolong/puerh from ‘weight to go’ (because sweet tea isn’t sweet tea without caffeine) and lots of fruit from ‘dragonfruit devotion’, 8 hours of peeking and sniffing at my experiment…. brewing up my signature simple syrup…. it was an amazing colour! (that had to be a good sign, right?) a brilliant fushia, smelled like strawberries and tropical fruit and flowers… i really hoped my ratio was right. please let me detect the caffeine? please? (alot please).

i am pleased to announce IT WAS AWESOME! and hugely refreshing. i am very refreshed and a tad bit proud… okay, maybe a smidge more than a tad, lol. not bad for a first attempt!

Iced 8 min or more

yes, i thought of you terri as i sipped away! i experimented with my simple syrup as well and added a golden cake of palm sugar to to the concoction. lovely, lovely.

Terri HarpLady

I feel honored :)
How do you like being the star of the frozen dashboard? LOL!


it’s pesky, isn’t it? wonder what the glitch is?

Terri HarpLady

Yeah, but at least we can still post tasting notes & read them!
I’m so glad to have discovered the Explore button.
I really hate it when the dashboard freezes & you can’t post either, but that’s what led me to using the Discussions.

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SORRY FRIENDS! this is a repost. i reviewed a tea by the same name but by a different company… see this is what happens when the weather dishes out excessive heat!

i have been musing over this sample… to review or not to review, that is the question!

okay two statements 1) this is a brilliant tea and 2) i don’t like it.

i know that a lot of steepsters don’t do negative reviews. i am not one of them… that said i really butiki teas, just not all of them apparently. i don’t like the idea of criticizing a company or an artist that i have so much respect for especially when it’s not the skills or the artistry i’m commenting on.

so i resolved that my numerical rating would be based on the tea’s execution as opposed to my personal appreciation of it.

there is a distinct floral component of the tea. ‘bouquet’ is exactly the right word for it… i taste all the layers—it’s not a random floral tone… every flower is independent. the rose is light, as is the calendula, to me the violet is strongest which is awesome! this is a tea that has kept its promise.

why don’t i like it? that’s a bit of an unknown, to be honest. i think it’s because it seems more like flowers than tea in my mouth? i feel similarly about the eight treasures yabao by verdant teas with a ‘good, but…’

it was very well done, just not quite me is all! ‘A’ for accomplishment, ‘D’ for personal taste (it’s not you, it’s me).

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Terri HarpLady

LOL, I don’t remember what I said the first time. ;)
uhhh….I tried this tea & haven’t commented about it yet, no because I have a problem saying negative things about teas I don’t care for, but because I’m gonna give it a 2nd try before I say anything. It was something like that…

Terri HarpLady

Oh yeah, & I think I said, “I love this post!”


lol, i do believe that was precisely what you said! it is stupidly hot here today…. yay tea! i was thinking of you a few hours ago when i set up my first cold steep!

Terri HarpLady

What did you cold steep?


a combination of teavana’s dragonfruit tisane and teavana’s weight to go (i really dislike that name…grr). i’m hoping for the fruit tones with a bit of caffeine punch. it’s a beautiful colour! haven’t tried it yet =0D

Terri HarpLady

I used to do a combo of weight to go (I agree, it’s a ridiculous name) with some fruity flavored brew…it’s been awhile, so I can’t remember what.

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apparently my tastes have changed… i used to love this blend and now i have to drop my score on a very large scale. apparently my steady diet of verdant tea and butiki has turned me into a snob.

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drank With Open Eyes by Butiki Teas
384 tasting notes

a hundred times a week (almost always coinciding with an excellent cup of tea) i wonder if there could ever be a way for me to work in tea…. and then i got this sample. and my unwavering answer became nope.

the contents of the sample bag looked a lot like salad and smelled a lot like strawberry. there was no warning. butiki teas should have a sticker with a tongue exploding and morphing into a stretched out paypal symbol. ‘warning: sipping may induce self justified tea budget destruction’.

i taste strawberry madeleines, i taste the meringues that i whip up to put on top of pavlova… it is light, it is airy and i have absolutely NO idea how ginger and strawberry and dragonwell (among other ingredients) could possibly yield this result. how do you plan something like this????

sigh. and as always, if i didn’t have bad timing i would have no timing…. because i placed my butiki order LAST night. i am going to go and hit the ‘add to shopping list button’, reflect on whether or it is possible to be a strategical tea pusher (and whether or not that would even be a bad thing!!!), and assuming that being a tea pusher is possible how much mindblowing skill was employed in the creation that went into my sample bag….

OMG! it’s the lychee oolong all over again!!! sheesh…

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I wish I could work in tea too. When I was on mat leave I thought about becoming a tea distributor and starting a small online only business, but realized that I’d be relying on others to create the blends for me, and welll nope.

And if you’re looking to add this to your order, I’d run it by Stacy – maybe she could add it! Especially if she’s on holiday and the order is just sitting til she gets back anyway…

Butiki Teas

JustJames-I’m in the office now and will be working for the next 30-45 minutes. Let me know if you want me to hold your order otherwise it will be shipped today.

Butiki Teas

Actually, maybe I should hold it just in case. I’ll hold it, that way if you want to switch your order up you can.


I could see you being a tea pusher though – you are very poetic with your words – you’d be a marketing dream!


lol, well i’m on my way back to school for occupational psychology with a specific study in motivation. not sure i’d be a good pusher, but once i have my paperwork (and the alphabet soup after my name) i’ll be able to afford my habit!!!

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this is a bittersweet tea for me. i say in my profile that tea is a many splendoured, multi layered thing. tea is where tangible ingredients and steeping instructions connect with intangibles: memory, inspiration, imagination.

many teas that i love have elements of vanilla and almond, there’s a reason for that. thank you stacy for this gateway to memory. i will greedily journey back with every cup.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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as i sip i identify tastes for what i know and use metaphor for what i do not.

firstly, this is a very soothing blend, as stated. i like vanilla and mint, but they can taste medicinal and i am not a huge fan of lavender. that said, these three elements are a trio, cleverly bonded and timed by stacy and her team! … … (at least i hope she has a team, otherwise this is a whole lot of work for one person). the flavours hit the tongue in sequence— like notes played on a piano:

vanilla (must have been tumbled in a dryer because it is warm and round)
mint (slight sharp sensation)
lavender (toned down and doesn’t crawl up my nose)
leaves a fresh palate.

now the guayasa is something i am unfamiliar with before this tea (yes i know it may have been wiser to sample my sample of plain guayasa first but that didn’t happen so hush! =0) the guayasa adds a further depth to the piano playing flavours reminiscent of benign roots… not like roasted roots (ie parsnips at thanksgiving) more like an alternate earth smell.

alright, this will sound vaguely nuts but what’s new in my reviews? you know when you’re gardening and you pull up something dangerous, deadly nightshade say, and there is this horrible twang that makes you want to shove tea tree oil up your nose to make it quit? THAT IS NOT THE KIND OF ROOT I MEAN. have you ever pulled up one of those huge wanna-be-a-tree dandelions along with its foot and a half long tap root? it doesn’t smell just like soil… it smells sweet and basic, no astrigency. THAT is the root i mean.

i like this! i think (as usual) i will have to tinker a bit, i want it stronger than the directions recommend. i also am getting used to the entirely different way of disseminating caffeine… i can feel it in my body, but haven’t tasted it on my tongue. i suspect that trying to compare this tea to any other kind of leafed tea will leave you frustrated.

PS: contrary being that i am i prefer an 8 minute steep over the recommended 6. it really is a beautiful and effective tea. two cups this morning served as breakfast and lunch and wake up. no crash, no loss of energy. excellent!

195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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a beautiful blend to behold in the bag, but as i pulled it out on the spoon the hugely long assam fingers would fall off. and once i finally got the pieces into my tea ball i realized there was zero chance i was going to get the lid on… i also didn’t have nearly enough of the blend into the ball. what’s a boy to do? in short commit butiki sacrilege in the form of crunching the bag.

in my tea mad brain i got a lecture from bonnie as i crunched, approval of my critical thinking skills from scribbles, and a moderate wince from stacy when/if she reads this.

the potential for this tea to have been lacking or imbalanced in any number of ways was huge, especially on the part of the assam base. this creation makes me wonder if butiki teas architects are required to have studied gestalt art theory briefly summarized as ‘perception as the product of complex interactions among various stimuli’ and that a whole is worth more than its separate parts. lol.

this tea is a very successfully blended whole—less a caramel vanilla assam to me, and more a spun vanilla sugar highlight laid over a delightfully smooth black.

having been at art school for a very long time i tend to equate the world around me with complimentary senses: so a smell may trigger an image, and a taste may draw out a sound. for me this tea is imagery.


which translates to: skill, diligence and if you weren’t careful as you built it then it all comes tumbling down and leaves you with nothing more than a puddle of goo that you spend the next year trying to scrape off your floor!

very nice! i think in my next cup i may use a bit of brown sugar to draw out just a little bit more of the spun sugar taste, although that will have to be tomorrow as it is already 10pm and i do need sleep!

UPDATE: okay, brown sugar maximizes this tea. my mouth is very happy!

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 15 sec
Butiki Teas

I did wince a tiny bit. Hahaha. Oooh, that spun sugar looks very challenging.


your blend must have been very challenging! i am sorry for my crunching… but my tea ball is a vicious taskmaster regarding what will and will not fit! if it helps i did not (would not) pulverize… just snapper the larger lovelies in half.


As soon as you can ditch the tea ball…do it. The leaves are not happy in such contraptions. A stainless basket where water can flow around the expanding leaves is best or for a by-the-cup portion a finum infuser.


I’ve been known to use a pyrex measuring cup (since it has a spout) and a somewhat fine kitchen strainer in a pinch. :)


@Bonnie…. yeah, i was going to look for a basketed cup today. just have to watch the budget!


okay… i got a proper mug. with a basket strainer. yay stokes! they’re always reasonable and everything in the store was 25% off!!!




You’ll be soooo much happier! I started my loose leaf tea adventures with a tea ball and quickly discovered that the teas didn’t taste very good if the leaves couldn’t fully expand. A brewing basket makes a world of difference!


it gives me an excuse to go back and reassess, lol. i am discovering that the taste is more sincere.

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Time For A ReWrite!

A good friend of mine on here kindly asked me to do the Steepster world a favour and list my allergies front and center (fair enough, lol):

-COFFEE … rare, nasty, not even a bit funny if i’m exposed. (call me original)

-ROOIBOOS … is a new appearance. under certain circumstances i’m okay with it (ie if it’s GREEN and paired with mate) but because i have an auto immune disease i try not to poke at things.

*NOT an allergy, but an abnormality that drives my tea buddies bananas, i AM INCAPABLE OF TASTING CARAMEL AND TOFFEE. so i thought i’d list it at the top too. it’s very annoying. they smell great!!?

Hi! I’m James!

I’m a student: double major of human geography and psychology with the intention of chasing a double doctorate. (reading that over it occurs to me again that i must be crazy).

i’m a live and let live sort. i look and see alot of silver linings. my discovery of tea has only served to further that viewpoint. for me tea is art and nuance, watercolours and bold brushstrokes….

swaps are grand things! the element of surprise in a tea swap completely trumps forrest gump’s chocolate box life metaphor, lol.

favourites: french teas dammann freres, mariage freres and nina’s paris especially.

i have recently discovered a german tea company that has romanced me: tea gschwendner (sp?)

mandala teas is brilliant and a company i count on.

justea and tealet are companies i study because of both their exceptional products and and business models, as well as their work with farmers who are TOO POOR for fair trade certification. this is highly relevant to my studies.

90-100 i need more
80-90 i might need more, or it might be a respect vote
below 75? it was likely an oops buy. my evolution into french teas has vastly focused what i like!!

however, i’m always open to trying things.

dislikes so far: guayasa, darjeeling, most peach teas.


Victoria, BC

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