381 Tasting Notes

drank Maple Pecan Oolong by Butiki Teas
381 tasting notes


The first steep smells wonderfully of maple. Distinct but not overly sweet. The initial sips are quite maple-y. As it cools, more of the pecan flavor comes out.

I made the second steep with a few grains of brown crystal sugar. It tastes predominantly of pecan with a touch of sweetness at the end of the sip. The base tea has a bark-like quality that I’m enjoying. The maple aftertaste builds slowly, pleasantly. It also comes to dominate the sip as I hit the bottom of the cup – not sure if that’s because the tea has cooled or because sugar disproportionately settles at the bottom of the cup.

Mmm! I did the third steep at a higher temperature, around 204 F. It brought out a perfect balance of maple and pecan. No sugar needed! Is there a way to just skip straight to the third steep? The other two were ok but not quite hitting the spot. This one is juuuust right.

Thanks for the sample with my last order, Stacy! I’d like to play around with this tea a bit more, so I’ll probably be placing my Black Friday order on actual Black Friday in order to get the free ounce. I’m so excited!

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The only thing that makes me sad about this tea is that I am drinking it from my travel mug and thus depriving myself of the wonderful smell. It just smells and tastes exactly like biscotti, from dry leaf to aftertaste. I’m super happy about the green tea base, too. Thanks so much for including this in my Secret Pumpkin, BrewTEAllySweet! It looks like you haven’t tried it yet yourself – get on that! You won’t regret it.

BrewTEAlly Sweet

Ha ha I haven’t I need too!!!! I have so much tea to get through.

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drank Sencha by Tea Forte
381 tasting notes

The first time I made this, I steeped for 3 minutes. Ugh. It came out astringent and thoroughly unpleasant. I didn’t even want to drink it again, but I needed the sipdown. So I brewed up some fresh leaf (which includes stems and fannings as well as leaf, not cool) at 180 F for about 1 minute. Big improvement! No astringency or bitterness. Light and vegetal. Two solid steeps. Rather mediocre though. A year ago, I thought Tea Forte was the best out there. Now that I’ve really gotten into tea, I find myself less impressed. Oh, well. Sipdown!

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I so don’t want to be the first one posting a note for this tea! The pressure!

Well, I only have the one cup’s worth, so I guess it’s now or never…

The nuttiness is prominent here, with a strong vegetal undertone. This is quite savory. It held up solidly for three steeps. Oddly, some honey notes came through in the second steep but not the first or third (both of which tasted about the same). The honey notes really balanced out the other flavors and made it an enjoyable cup. I can’t quite articulate it, but there’s something about the balance of nuttiness and vegetal notes in the other two steeps that is not really working for me. The aftertaste is dry and increasingly seaweed-like. Three minutes after I’ve finished the cup the taste of seaweed in my mouth is still getting stronger. It’s rather unpleasant, actually.

Glad to have tried this in my ongoing mission to taste all of the Butiki teas, but this one was a miss for me. Thanks for the sample, Stacy!

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drank Carrot Cake by Della Terra Teas
381 tasting notes

I finished off the last of this last night. Thanks for the sample Short Sorceress!

First off, this smells wonderful. Just exactly like warm carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Alas, as many have already noted, the flavor doesn’t live up to the smell. It is tasty, but doesn’t quite hit the mark. I steeped my final cup for a good long time with a grain of crystal sugar. I can taste carrot and spice, but mostly it tastes like rooibos. A little bit of creaminess comes in at the end. Not a bad cup, but nothing I’d write home about. Which is fine because this is a sipdown.

UPDATE: Turns out I didn’t finish my mug, so I got to try some of this cold. So. much. better. It actually totally tastes like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. The sip starts spicy, with a full carrot flavor coming in soon after, and a lingering creamy frosting aftertaste. But who wants cold carrot cake? I would absolutely love this tea if it tasted like this when it was hot. I’m actually giving it a rating bump to reflect the awesomeness of the cold flavor.

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This comes to me courtesy of a Secret Pumpkin package from Short Sorceress.

I’ve been longing to try a 52teas cheesecake blend for some time now, so I was pretty stoked that Short Sorceress sent me a few cups’ worth. Apparently I’ll have to keep longing though, because this blend is not very cheesecake-y. After a lot of experimentation, I found that this is most enjoyable for me brewed at 200 F for a long period of time (7+ minutes). The ginger isn’t overpowering, but it is most of the flavor. There’s some cinnamon flavor as well. Pumpkin is nowhere to be seen. The closest I could get to cheesecake was by adding one piece of rock sugar – it brought out a creamy texture without altering the taste. Still, creamy =/= cheesecake. Glad to have tried, but equally glad to call it a sipdown.

Short Sorceress

I really had high hopes for this which is why I ordered it for secret pumpkin. I hope you enjoy the rest of the teas I sent more than this one.


Aw, I am! I really like Bats in the Belfry!

Short Sorceress

That one is really fun :)

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drank Red Lavender by Zhena's Gypsy Tea
381 tasting notes

So soothing. This is a really lovely lavender and I’m a little sad to say that it’s a sipdown. At least I still have my Butiki Lavender Chamomile in stock :)

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drank Nina's Japon by Nina's Paris
381 tasting notes

Oh boy. This is so much better at 204 F than boiling. I’m not sure how long I steeped – I think it was somewhere between 2 and 3 minutes.

The caramel notes are really prominent and work quite nicely with the savory aspects of the genmaicha. The vanilla only comes out in the aftertaste, but it’s beautiful. Just a natural, lingering, smooth vanilla.

Thanks to Laurent at Nina’s Paris for the sample, and I get to call this a sipdown!

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drank Ginger Citrus Guayusa by Runa
381 tasting notes

Nom nom nom. I had the teabag of this for breakfast a few days ago and it was lovely. The smell is all citrus, sweet and a tad tart. The flavor itself is a very natural citrus and ginger balance, supported by the slight bitterness of the guayusa. I am going to have to get a box of either this or the Cinnamon Lemongrass to keep at the office.

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Runa guayusa helped get me through grad school, but I’ve never had any of the flavored versions before. I got a sample teabag of this and the Ginger Citrus flavor at the Coffee & Tea Festival. I’ve been saving them for a particularly tired morning. Of course, I ended up drinking both this week.

This is so perfect. The cinnamon is prominent, natural-tasting, and brisk. Hints of lemongrass come through in just the right balance. The base is lovely. Overall, a nice, round, satisfying morning cuppa.


Cinnamon / lemongrass?? I can’t picture it! Weird!

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