594 Tasting Notes


I made a big ole’ teapot of this just so I could get the sipdown. It’s nice today. The strawberry is here, more like strawberry hard candy than the fresh fruit. I’m not getting much of the cream. There’s a dryness here that lingers long after the sip. I’m generally not a fan of dryness in teas, but it’s drinkable.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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drank Milk Oolong Tea by Mandala Tea
594 tasting notes

This is my first milk oolong. Thanks Stephanie!

I first tried this gong fu style. ½ tsp for 4 oz at 195f. The dry leaf smells creamy and sweet. After a quick rinse and a 20 second steep, the first cup smells the same as the dry leaf. The tightly rolled leaf has started to unfurl. There’s a creamy fruitiness in the smell of the brewed leaf. I can’t place it; pit fruit maybe? The creaminess of the tea hits right up front in the sip, followed by a green flavor…parsley or spinach maybe?… and a creamy finish.

Second steep, 25 seconds. Yup, creamed spinach. Well, cream and spinach. I’ve never had actual creamed spinach, so I can only guess what that tastes like.

Third steep, 45 seconds. This steep is more green, less cream. Parsley? Other than the creaminess, this tastes more like a green than an oolong.

Fourth steep, 1 min. Fifth steep, 1 min 30 seconds. Sixth steep, 2 mins. All taste basically the same – creamy and vegetal.

Seventh steep, 2 mins 30 seconds. A bit of toffee comes out.

Eighth steep, 4 mins 30 seconds. Starting to lose flavor. A touch of creaminess, a hint of toffee, and a lingering green flavor that I’m calling spinach right now. The leaves are gorgeous. Big, brownish-green, with slightly jagged edges.

I also tried this Western style: 1 tsp/8oz, 197f, 5 mins 30 seconds. The taste was about the same as I got from the gong fu brewing. Creamy, slightly sweet, vegetal. I don’t know that I have a preference between the two brewing methods for this tea, except that Western style takes less effort/overall time.

I haven’t decided how I feel about this tea. The creaminess was weird at first but grew on me after a while. I think I need to try a few more milk oolongs before I can meaningfully rate this one.



Nice review! I love this tea…


Glad you had fun trying it :)

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drank Bombay Chai by Tea Forte
594 tasting notes

I had a Single Steep pouch of this. I think there was about 1 tsp of tea in it.

The dry leaf smells nice, primarily of clove with a cardamom undertone. The leaf is extremely fine. The brew is an opaque orange-brown. The taste is blegh. Bitter? This is definitely not a chai that can be drunk without some version of milk & sweetener.

I was able to improve it substantially with almond milk and honey. The optimal ratio seems to be 2 parts almond milk to 1 part chai. I also added about a tablespoon of honey. It’s still not great, but it’s decent now. Heavy on the clove. Some ginger comes through, along with a hint of something minty – maybe that’s the star anise?

This leaves a dry, clove-tingly aftertaste. The sweetness of my additions comes through but doesn’t linger. Even with loads of almond milk and honey, though, this is meh at best.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I’ve been trying to get through more of my Butiki Teas (mostly so I can justify another order in June). There wasn’t much of this one left, so I figured I’d finish it off tonight. I managed to pour all of it into my steeper before realizing that there was WAY more than 1 cup’s worth of leaf left in the bag. I ended up making a whole teapot (~32 oz) and it was still a very rich cup. As always, this blend is smooth and well-balanced. It’s definitely on my optimal rotation list and will likely be part of my next order. In the meantime, sipdown.

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drank Honey & Spice by Della Terra Teas
594 tasting notes

I like this more now than I used to. Maybe the spice mellowed out over time?

This blend is not especially complex – basically it tastes exactly like its name suggests – but it is quite pleasant and soothing. I think this is what chai would taste like with a honey base. I have found that rooibos is rarely a good base for chai because it just can’t stand up to the spice. Della Terra seems to have solved that problem by covering up the rooibos base with honey sweetness that complements the spice. So, yeah, this is aptly named.

I practically gulped this down. Sadly, I have no more as this is a sipdown. And I once again forgot to try brewing it in cider. D’oh!

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This was part of my massive Black Friday haul. I’m increasingly realizing that there is a law of diminishing returns for good sales on tea. The more tea you buy, the less likely it is that you will be able to enjoy all of your teas at their freshest and tastiest. Pu’erh can be the exception that proves the rule.

Anyway, I can tell from my first tasting note that this tea is capable of being very good. And I would expect it to be, since I still adore Della Terra’s cream flavoring. Alas, I think this tea’s gone bad. I have brewed this up several times over the past few days and always run into the same problem: no matter how much leaf I use or how long I steep, I can only eke out the tiniest bit of flavor from this blend. Mostly it just tastes like rooibos. I had this happen once before with a chocolate-flavored rooibos from another company. It was delicious when I first got it, but when I came back to it again after a few months it had lost all its chocolaty goodness. Neither blend actively tasted bad. It’s just that the flavoring had gone bye bye.

I mixed 2 tsps of this with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon chips and let it steep for 20 minutes. The result was a smooth, slightly spicy, woody brew. I think the best use of this tea now may be as a base for playing with add-ins. Perhaps some dried orange peel next time?

I’m not changing my original rating because the loss of flavor is my own darn fault for letting it sit in a cabinet for 6 months.

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drank Cinnamon Magic by Wissotzky Tea
594 tasting notes

Of course it took me until the last two bags to figure out how to make this taste like more than just cinnamon water. The trick is to use 2 teabags/8 oz and steep it for at least 10 minutes. Suddenly the cinnamon kick is backed by a lovely juiciness. Hibiscus, apple, and a hint of tanginess. The cinnamon is still strong and it definitely lingers sharply. I really wish I had figured out sooner how to brew this properly. Oh well. sipdown

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drank Caramel Oolong by Della Terra Teas
594 tasting notes

Mmm. I overleafed so I could start the day with a sipdown. It worked out quite nicely. This is just a lovely caramel tea. It was probably my favorite caramel tea until I tried Golden Moon’s Sugar Caramel Oolong last week. The caramel flavor is pretty comparable in both blends, but the base tea in the Golden Moon just blows the Della Terra base tea out of the water. Still enjoyable though.

Thanks to teamore for sharing this tasty treat!

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drank Gui Fei Oolong by Butiki Teas
594 tasting notes

The dry leaf is tightly rolled. It smells moderately roasty. I used 2 tsp of leaf in ~4 oz of water in my little glass gongfu teapot. 5 second rinse. Four steeps, all at 212f.

First steep: 30 sec. The brew is a pale yellow. It smells sweet, but there’s something a bit off about the smell. Almost ammonia-like. This steep tastes sweet, as if there’s a lot of sugar in here with a hint of apple. That weird aspect of the smell is in the taste too, though. Looking at the tea description, maybe this is a bitter almond note?

Second steep: 45 sec. The brown-green leaves start to unfurl. The color of the brew is deeper – a light orange color. There’s that weird smell again, only…warmer? deeper? That bitter almond (?) flavor is stronger than in the previous steep.

Third steep: 1 min. The orange color is very similar to that of the previous steep. The unpleasant odor is fainter, dominated now by a honey scent. There’s a stronger almond taste in this steep, less bitter but more astringent if that makes any sense.

Fourth steep: 2 mins. The leaves continue to unfurl. I can see now that they are a deep green with brown, torn/jagged edges. The brew is the same light orange color as the previous two steeps. The scent is now faintly sweet with a hint of roastiness. The almond flavor is sweeter but the bitterness is still present.

I really, really don’t like this one. Like, I’m actually surprised at how little I like it. I have never found a Butiki tea actively awful before. Did I mess this up somehow? Reserving a rating until I try brewing this Western-style, but based on this session I would rate it a 60.

Butiki Teas

Hmmm, there should be no bitterness in this one. I would try a 180F degree steep and see if that works.

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drank Demain by Nina's Paris
594 tasting notes

I tried this tea without looking at the description or reviews. I enjoy doing that from time to time, to see what flavors I can make out for myself.

This brews up a lovely pale gold. The taste is fruity… berries? peach? apricot? Yup, definitely apricot. Dry mouthfeel. Not bad hot, but so much better iced. The apricot stays natural tasting, with a hint of astringency that evokes the apricot pit. There’s a lingering dryness, but it’s pleasant.

Apparently this is supposed to be a berry tea. Looking at the other tasting notes, seems like I should try again at a strict 3 min steep to see if I can get the berry flavor. Or the parameters Lala suggested: “1.5 tsp for a 8 oz mug, 3-4 pieces of brown rock sugar, 190F (definitely hotter than what would be recommended for a green), 1-1.5 minutes.” (Hope you don’t mind my quoting your tasting note, Lala!).

Thanks for sending me some of this, Christina! I did enjoy this tea, even if I got the “wrong” flavor out of it. Thankfully, I’ve got enough left to play around with.

P.S. I used 2.5 tsps, but the tasting note thingy won’t accept decimal points.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Christina / BooksandTea

Hmm, apricot is interesting. I’m not a big person for iced teas, but perhaps I should try this iced. One of the times I tried it hot, the aftertaste reminded me of fruit roll-ups!


I just tried this today and had the same experience: when hot it’s just ok but iced it really pops!

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