411 Tasting Notes
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
I know I’ve already written about this tea twice recently, but I have new data to add. I accidentally oversteeped this by 15-20 minutes. Just totally forgot about it while I was getting ready this morning. And it didn’t get bitter or gross!
So, to sum up my tasting notes: add honey to really make the vanilla pop, try this iced, and rest assured that it’s very forgiving.
Christina didn’t like this one. Good news for me, because I liked it quite a bit and she sent me the rest of hers. Thank you!
This is a nice oolong with a strong undertone of vanilla. It’s good hot, but I’ve just accidentally discovered that it is amazing cold. The smooth vanilla comes to the fore without drowning out the oolong. Man oh man this is going to be lovely as the weather warms. Whee!