411 Tasting Notes
I had a cup of this at TeBella’s tea bar at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa. At $3.75, it was a little pricy for the area but you really pay for the atmosphere at OE. Lots of wood paneling and comfy couches, tasty-looking food and carefully curated elegance at every turn. I was tempted to get Afternoon Tea but it was $26/person for a traditional tea ($20 if you only want scones). So I opted for a single cup and taking some loose leaf home. The loose leaf is the Banana Creme. It’s tasty and I’ll review it eventually, but in retrospect I should have gotten the Key Lime Ginger instead.
The flavoring in this blend is just really spot on. I’m particularly impressed because I often can’t distinguish between “lime” and “key lime” flavor but here it’s very clearly key lime specifically. Tart and juicy. The ginger balances it beautifully. The rooibos kind of just chills out in the background playing a supporting role while key lime and ginger are the romantic leads in a performance where everything ends happily ever after. This is definitely a blend worth revisiting.
Free sample from the company. I’m usually not too fond of Yogi teas – too many ingredients. This one has a fairly reasonable quantity of ingredients and I like that they’re organic. What I really like is that the cocoa shells dominate everything else in both scent and flavor. There’s also hints of roastiness, pepper, and cinnamon. Buuut mostly it’s cocoa. Yummy yummy cocoa. This reminds me a lot of Herbal Infusions’ Cacao Tea, though I think I slightly prefer that one.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cocoa, Pepper, Roasted
My weekend hasn’t quite gone as planned, so it looks like this will be my only sipdown. Hey, incremental progress is still progress.
I always break open the SB teabag and divide the leaf so I can make multiple cups over time instead of one big pitcher, trying the tea both hot and cold.
The dry leaf smells precisely like you would expect it to – chocolate and malty. Hot, the front of the sip is sweet chocolate. It quickly transitions into a nutty maltiness that reminds me of a lager. Not bad.
Cold, the nutty maltiness is even more prominent. The chocolate flavor seems to have almost evaporated. As with the marshmallow treat genmaicha, I find this one more pleasing hot than cold.
I got the silly idea to try this one carbonated. I would not recommend doing that. It ends up tasting way too malty, like chocolatey root beer, and not in a good way.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Nutty
This was my Frequent Steeper birthday tea. I chose it because I like oranges and thought that orange + pu could be a tasty combo. Turns out it is. This tastes like Tropicana orange juice. You have to watch the steep time, though, because it just keeps getting tarter. I had difficulty really making out the pu’erh-ness of this. It tastes more like a mild black tea to me. The second steep just tastes like OJ from concentrate. Still nice but not as juicy as the first steep.
I don’t know if it’s because I drank this on an empty stomach or even unrelated to drinking this tea at all, but I started feeling sick after having this tea. First my stomach hurt, then my chest felt tight for 15-20 minutes, then I gradually developed a migraine that required medication to treat. Just noting it in case it happens again.
I hate eggnog, but this blend grew on me over time. It’s all creamy vanilla as long as I don’t add sugar. The slightest sweetness and it gets all eggy on me. I’ve tried cold brewing the second steep but it took on a bitter note that I didn’t like. Maybe I’ll try a cold brew from scratch one of these days before I run out of leaf. It’s unlikely, though. This is a good flavor for cold weather and the last thing I’m in the mood for in this freezing cold is iced tea.
I’m going to miss Butiki, but this tea I can do without. DavidsTea’s Vanilla Orchid is very similar and I like that one better because I don’t have to worry about any egginess creeping in.
Flavors: Creamy, Vanilla
Taking a detour from my birthday Butiki blast to enjoy another B tea that I’ve been looking forward to. The smell of this one is lovely. Strong cinnamon, cardamom, and nuttiness. The dry leaf is a little fruit salad looking for my style, but I decided to just roll with it. The brew is pretty tasty. It’s a little spicier than most real baklavas I’ve had, but the honey nuttiness is spot on and the spice highlights the flavor nicely. The cinnamon is assertive and bright, but not overly so. The rose is subtle at first. However, it gets stronger as I keep drinking and the tea cools. It never becomes the dominant flavor but it’s definitely present and pleasant.
The only think I really dislike about this blend is that it’s obviously pre-sweetened. It doesn’t seem to have huge chunks of sugar in it like the chocolate macaroon blend does, but it is still too sugary. Maybe the non-tea chunks are candied? I prefer to control the level of sweetness myself.
The resteep is too thin and imbalanced to be worth the bother.
It’s my birthday! Yay me!
I’m super big on birthdays. There’s just something lovely about an entire day for celebrating one person. For my birthday, I took the day off work so I could sleep late and relax. The plan was to get brunch when I woke up, but it’s snowing! I have exactly zero desire to spend 20 minutes walking in the snow today, especially since I’m going out tonight. Two outings in the freezing cold on the same day? No, thank you.
Instead, I’m going to stay inside with a nice, hot cup of tea. What better tea theme for my b-day than Butiki? Especially since Stacy is releasing a bunch of new flavors today. I know it’s a coincidence, but I’m calling it a birthday bonus from the universe. Also I can rationalize buying all of them as a present to myself. Whee!
This tea is hands-down one of my all-time favorite Butiki blends. I stocked up when Stacy announced that she’s closing up shop. This is just the perfect blend for a cold, snowy day. It’s sweet maple nutty goodness. The mouthfeel is so thick it’s almost syrupy. The only downside is that this tea oversteeps and gets bitter fairly easily. There’s an easy fix for that though – just pour some out and add more hot water (thanks for that tip Stacy!).
Now to sit back and enjoy the snow from indoors with a nice hot cuppa…
Sugar. The key to this blend is sugar. Without it, there’s a rich mouthfeel but the flavor is pretty meh. With about a teaspoon of brown crystal sugar, it’s raspberry, buttery, waffley goodness. The chocolate is pretty muted, dancing in and out of the sip while the raspberry and waffle flavors take center stage. I’m glad to have a decaf dessert tea that I can enjoy in the evenings. This is one of those rare-ish black teas that doesn’t hurt my stomach either.
Wah, another tasting note that disappeared. I’m going to start keeping track of my notes in a word processor.
This blend is very creamy even without any additions. I used 1 bag in a 16 oz travel mug with hot water from the office water cooler, steeped for about 12 minutes. The cinnamon is definitely present but not overwhelming. Yum!