558 Tasting Notes


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
558 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
558 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
558 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
558 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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Hmm. This is both calming and refreshing. The chamomile and mint are well balanced, with a touch of lemon in the background. Just the right amount of mint lingers after the sip – energizing but not brisk. This would make a good breath-freshening afternoon tea if you don’t want any caffeine.

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This has a pleasantly roasted, woodsy scent (pine maybe?). The taste is like warm toast on a cold day. Yet it leaves something to be desired. I’m just used to Den’s Tea being more complex. This is rather one-note, though the second steep is better than the first. The roasted flavor remains dominant in the second steep, but there’s also a seaweed note that comes out. This is actually really nice cold – I could see having it as a savory iced tea in the summer. Overall, this tea is tasty enough but nothing special. Another sipdown though!

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Mmm. This goes beautifully with mildly spicy and garlicky sauteed bean sprouts with tofu. Just the right balance of green tea and jasmine with that ineffable flavor of Taiwanese greens that lingers drily in the mouth (see my previous tasting note for more detail – one day I’ll find the right words to describe this taste!). I’ve discovered that this is good for at least one resteep. Possibly two, but I don’t want to have that much green tea at this time of night.

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