525 Tasting Notes


I got this in a swap forever ago. I forget from whom. I’m sorry! :(

I don’t know why it took me so long to get to it. The taste is quite nice despite suboptimal storage conditions. The flavor reminds me of that boozy scent you get from vanilla extract. There is a lovely depth from the sweet caramel flavor but a dryness from the astringency. It’s untamed and refined all at once.

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Tea review + story time.

So I wake up this morning happy to finally have some time to do my own thing after a weekend of socializing. I make this tea and go out to water the garden so it has time to cool. Unfortunately, husband suckered me into helping him wax his car. Then I spent some time watching 5 swallowtail butterfly caterpillars demolish my small (3" tall) bronze fennel plants. I’m actually more concerned that they’ll run out of food than that my plants are being eaten down to nothing. I purposely got the fennel in order to attract these butterflies, but they haven’t grown enough to support the appetite of even 1 caterpillar, let alone 5. I should run by the store and pick up a parsley plant or something for them. I wasn’t planning on planting carrots until later in the season. hmmm…

Anyway, by the time I got in to drink this tea, it was only lukewarm. And I was so hot from working outside I didn’t even want it anymore. I wanted iced tea!! I drank it anyway. Can’t let tea go to waste. :D

This was one of those teas I purchased when I made a big order from Verdant a while back. First time opening the bag. I’ve decided that I’m not really such a huge fan of qimen. Sometimes I like them, but sometimes not. This one seemed like a really good quality one for someone that appreciated this type of tea. Smokey and fruity and autumn leaves. Nice.

Now on to the cold brewed tea in my fridge. yay!




I should specify that it’s an Eastern Black Swallowtail. They only eat plants like parsley, fennel, carrots, and others in that family. I happen to know where to find wild carrots in my neighborhood so maybe I’ll just harvest some of that for them.


Or maybe I should bring them indoors. I’ve noticed lots of wasps browsing my garden for caterpillars. :(

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This tastes like a dark tomato soup. It’s crazy!

There’s the fruitiness and tartness of a nice grape tomato. There’s some herbal medicinal thing going on as well. I can possibly imagine the mint. I can’t imagine any clove or cinnamon.

It’s not a bad cup but I’m not keen to repeat the experience.

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drank Obukucha by Steepster
525 tasting notes

Beautiful color, as with many Japanese greens. The leaves expanded a lot in hot water. I absolutely adore Japanese greens when they are like this. There’s that smooth creamy greenness in the background that makes it so perfect. I love the pine. I love the savory sweetness. Really lovely tea.

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
525 tasting notes

Good bye, Laoshan Black.

This tea brings up all sorts of conflicting emotions for me. The first time I tried it, I thought I had tasted the perfect tea. I was ecstatic. Then I bought a pouch and it wasn’t how I remembered it tasting, so I sold it and bought another pouch from a different season. It still wasn’t how I remembered It. I guess that first taste I had was a unique batch or maybe I’m just out of my mind. But I’ve been drinking that last pouch I bought and the taste, while not perfect, was very enjoyable. Today, I dumped the last of the leaves into my steeper basket and wasn’t sure if I was glad or sad. It’s a tasty cup, but will I restock? Probably not for a while if at all. I over did it a while ago on buying straight Chinese blacks. I’ll be opening a new pouch of something soon. Maybe Loashan Black and I will grow fonder for each other in the interim. :)

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drank Peach HoppiTea by Butiki Teas
525 tasting notes

This is better than I expected. I feared that the hops would ruin the tea as I’m quite sensitive to bitter favors. Fortunately, peach predominates and the bitterness only makes as appearance when the tea has cooled. Even then the hops only serve the create interest and a refreshing sensation.
I got 2 steeps out of the leaves. Both very flavorful sweet and invigorating. I’m glad I got some of this. :)

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Last of my Butiki samples.

This is a pretty perfect root beer flavor. Not sure I’m getting the “float” part of it. The slightly woodsy flavor naturally occurring in honeybush is just right for root beer. It’s kind of making my crave an actual root beer float. Maybe it’s just that I spent a nice hot afternoon in the garden. Ugh. Gardening should be done on cloudy days or mid-morning. Too early and you become mosquito food.

Is it too late to plant oregano seeds?

Anyway! Back to tea! Root beer always reminds me of my childhood. I remember one hot sunny day, dad picked my sister and me up from school. He carried our backpacks as we walked home. Halfway there, us kids spotted an ice cream truck and begged dad to get us something. Somehow he indulged us and we each got a giant (so it seemed at the time) cup of root beer float. I don’t know how much of it I had before I gave the rest up to dad. I had no appetite for dinner. That memory always makes me feel warm and loved. Dads are the best.

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Yes, I actually drank the tea I bought and not just the samples. :)

I love the smell of this. Cool sweet mint and dark chocolate. Mmmm. I also enjoy the mouthfeel of this tea. It’s thick and rich, probably due to the marshmallow leaf properties. Marshmallow is supposed to be good for tummy troubles, right? Well, it’s just delicious, tummy troubles or not. I think this would be lovely iced. I also just got a chocolate mint plant. I wonder how the two compare. :D

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Another sample from my order! I remembered how impressed I was by the cream flavoring in Butiki’s Cantaloupe Cream so I wanted to give this one a try. It’s such a romantic sounding tea that I wanted to share it with my husband. Of course he took one sniff and crinkled his nose. “It smells like flowers.” Hah. I figured he’d react that way. All for me then.

I quite enjoy rose flavor so it wasn’t too flowery for me even though there were 10 rose buds in there. So pretty! There was definitely a nice creaminess. I could taste the champagne more as it cooled. Lovely white tea base as well. It just tied everything together. I got 2 steeps and they were both delicious.

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I’ve been absent for a while. I’ll admit a new obsession is currently occupying my time – gardening! I still drink tea everyday, but it’s generally the same stuff. I’m still trying to drink through my stash. It has, sadly, not diminished much. I can’t believe how much tea I have. Despite that, I recently ordered Peppermint Patty and Peach Hoppitea from Butiki. I justify this by explaining that I am quite low on non-caffeinated teas. :) I requested this tea as a sample since it sounded so delicious.

It smelled sweet and decadent. I worried that I shouldn’t be drinking it. Of course it’s really just tea and has nothing bad in it, so I sipped away. It was such a well blended tea. The tea itself was really allowed to shine through. It was strong and just a bit astringent. I may have left the leaves in a bit long. The caramel provided a lovely sweetness and the vanilla propelled it into dessert status, no sugar needed. :) Too bad it was only a sample! I’ll probably buy this next time I have a good excuse to order.


Welcome back :-)

Terri HarpLady

I’ve been having gardening withdrawals all week! I had too much to do, & the only thing I got to do outside was pick yummy veggies.
I love my garden, & this time of year I just want everyone to leave me alone out there, with no responsibilities, just to crawl around in my mindful earth, planting, sniffing, picking, trellising, creating weird little macrame hammocks for big fat tomatoes, etc.
Then there is life…so many things to do!


I’ve only got a small garden bed this year. It took many many years to convince the powers that be to let me have one. I feel like the soil needs a lot of improvement. The things I have growing in there don’t seem to be doing well despite all the work I put in. :( I’m trying to avoid fertilizer but I might go out and get some organic stuff to put in. I’ll improve the soil over time. I’m going to try cover cropping in the fall. :D

Terri HarpLady

When I started my garden, it was solid clay. I’ve been adding compost, straw, newspaper, cardboard, leaf mulch, etc for years.


I have some wood chips to use as mulch. I was waiting for the plants to get taller before adding them in or I’d just end up burying them. Trouble is, the plants aren’t really getting taller. :\ I’m also participating in a sort of communal compost bin. I was hoping to do some hot composting, but it looks like everyone else wants to do cold composting. You gotta work with what you have! Hopefully I’ll be able to buy a house with a nice sunny yard soon! Then I’ll be able to do whatever I want to my garden. :)

Terri HarpLady

That’s the spirit! We do what we can. I have friends in a part of town where the ground is known to be polluted, so they do all of their gardening in large containers. They even add worms to them!

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I came from a tea drinking family, but I never appreciated the different qualities and varieties of tea until older. All that time wasted! But I guess I needed to be mature enough to appreciate the tea experience. :)

My favorite teas are green oolongs and white tea. I also love greens, especially gyokuro. I have a huge appreciation for rooibos and honeybush as they are often that only thing I can drink in the evening. I am a relatively new convert to black teas. This is unfortunate for my wallet but extremely wonderful for my palate. :)

In any case, I have a love for both flavored and unflavored teas. They are different experiences for sure, but both enjoyable. I find that it often depends on my mood.

I am on a quest to find a tea that will win my husband over. I think I’m making some headway…

My profile pic features my two lovable puppies, Mr. Snuggles and Sr. Caliente.


NYC / Westchester

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