136 Tasting Notes

91

Let me start by saying that I’m not that much of a flavored tea type of drinker. There are few that I’m willing to try, and those are usually peachy or citrusy blends. This one is an exception, mainly because it is very fitting for the transition into the fall season. The other motivating factor in selecting this tea was its appeal to non-tea drinkers that are searching for new “fall flavored” drinks – by this, I mean my wife. She will NOT try any of my other teas, of which is disappointing and frustrating at times. My only shot of persuasion is using other trusted friends to peer-pressure and offer teas that are flavored to drinks that she loves already. Maybe – one day. So far, no luck on this one. She did say that she MIGHT try it. Let’s hope.

Let me now tell you the dry leaves smells very chai spice-like at first, however this changes quickly as they are steeped. It’s as if the natural flavoring and tea leaves come alive and transform into something entirely different. It smells almost identically as to what you taste during the sip. The infusion produces a medium dark red colored brew, that is smooth and brisk with a semi-mellowed body. The crème brûlée flavoring adds an extra creamy thicken texture, of which pushed this one over the top in winning over my taste buds. I actually was a little sad to not have time at the moment to get more than three cups of this down before leaving for work.

Even if I am not successful on convincing my spouse into trying this tea this go around, it certainly got me on board. Another great creation by Stacy at Butiki Teas. Very nice!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
MsWhatsit

I think you’re on the right track. As a former hater of black tea, I have found flavored teas a kind of gateway into the tea world. That background flavor eventually becomes a familiar presence.

Pureleaf

MsWhatsit thanks for the input! I’m certainly going to continue to persuade. There MUST be one, someday that will win her over. Let’s hope! :)

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91

I’m really sad that this box is now done! It’s hard to believe some tea fairies have stolen my tea in the middle of the night and now I’m left longing for more of this wonderful cup! :) Seriously, I’m pretty sure that I didn’t even share this tea, other than a second steeping with the kiddos. I was such a hoarder. It will be missed, at least until I can get some more. One of the best, smoothest Indian teas that I have ever had. IMO – it’s a cupboard keeper or must.

See my first tasting note for further info or description on this tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Guilt, guilt. You need another stash!

tunes&tea

Hey, you DIDN’T even share that one with me…

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93
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
136 tasting notes

Thanks, to my good friend tunes&teas for sharing this with me.

At last, I finally get to try this lovely Laoshan Black tea! The dry leaves are so dark, twisty and shimmery. The smell of the pre-steeped leaves are chocolaty and sweet.

It’s so hard to comprehend the diversity and variety in the black tea family (all teas for that matter), such as – the region that it is picked, altitude of origin, soil conditions, climate, season of harvesting, level of oxidation, method of processing and many other things. You can really have unlimited options to try and experience. I truly enjoy this about our shared passion of the leaf. It’s teas, such as this one, that truly drive the point home and make you aware of the complexity and potential of great tea. Even smelling the dry and wet leaves, knowing all the info concerning the tea and it’s background – none of these things replace the experience of tasting the tea for yourself!

This tea truly delivers all the hype and advertising. Once the leaves are infused and you try it for yourself, you find that it is far greater than what the smell or aroma indicated. Yes, you taste the rich cocoa base, but there is a cinnamon creaminess that is present as well. The brew is full bodied and has a nice texture or feel inside the mouth. Very smooth.

I started with 3 sec steep on the 1st, then 7 sec on 2nd, 12 sec on 3rd, 17 sec on 4th, 23 sec on 5th, 30 sec on 6th, 2 min on 7th. Each of these produced a very tasty cup of tea and there was no found bitterness during each of the infusions. One interesting thing that I noticed, was that after 3 or 4 steepings, the wet leaves had more of a fresh hot pepper smell to them – green Thai peppers or red habaneros. I didn’t not, however notice any of the spiciness in the brew. That would have added an extra little kick!

This is a great tea and is best suited for a time when you are not in a hurry and can allow the tea give all that it is desiring to release. Of course, you can drink it on the go! Just don’t throw the leaves away. The rested leaves while you are gone will be more than ready to pick back up where you left off. Very nice tea indeed!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Kittenna

Laoshan Black can withstand SO many infusions (and I do them western-style, too!) Delicious!

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89

These soft twisted downy black tea leaves are long and slender, with a coloring that is just as wonderful as the cup – dark chocolate and coppery caramel, intertwined together. It’s hard to get past the beauty of the dry leaves, but truthfully the brew is just as grand. Let me say before moving on, the prominent aroma from the dry leaves is of shaved dark chocolate – slightly drier, chocolate dust in smell.

The leaves seem to unify in color during and after the infusion. The liquid is full bodied and carries the cocoa aroma to a creamier molasses taste as you finish the sip. The tea seems to hold out very nicely during each of the steepings.

I started with a longer western steep time on the first infusion, then switched to Gung Fu method for a few cups, then back to western. Now looking back, I should have started Gung Fu, then switched to western to get the best take on how the tea really develops. Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure that I enjoy a little longer steep time on this one, in order to get a little bit of the drier astringency feel to the mouth. At least that’s which way I prefer at the moment.

This is a great tea and it certainly speaks for itself. One you must try to fully appreciate it.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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94

Thank you Nuvola Tea for this delicious and unique sample!

What a great idea of offering this very intriguing black tea. It’s always nice to find a good Taiwanese tea, especially a oolong or black – but find a hybrid, now that’s absolutely perfect!

The really long dark strips of tea leaves are more like an oolong, but they are more oxidized to the range of black tea. The taste is sensationally sweet, with some roasted fruity peach notes. The liquid has a pleasant medium fullness with a faint maltiness toward the end of the sip.

This tea is another great reason to love Taiwan teas! Thankfully companies like Nuvola Tea see the need to expose the Western culture to this great treasure. What a privilege it is to experience the long history & tradition of other cultures that celebrate good tea. Definitely a great cup!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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96

Blown away by the intensity of this tea! I’m at loss for words of its complexity and brilliance. You’ll find peppercorn spiciness, sticky rice aroma blended with stewed tomatoes and roasted garlic. There’s something in the flavor that reminds me of pine resin and moisten moss. I didn’t notice any bitterness or harsh/sharp dryness during or after the sip.

This was my first care package from the Verdant Tea Club membership and I couldn’t ask for any better pairing of teas! I’m definitely looking forward enjoying this tea, along with the others sent. Thanks, David and Verdant Tea for providing excellent quality!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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96

These long charcoal-colored Taiwanese Assam leaves have a sweet raisin and creamy cinnamon flavor, that adds to the fuller malty texture & fruity, honeycrisp apple-like base. I found no astringency or bitterness during the first couple steepings and discovered the quality is high enough to deliver a delicious cup even after infusions 4-6.

When I asked each of my kids what they thought of the smell of the tea, not allowing them to actually see it but lifting the gaiwan slightly to allow the aroma to waft out, they sad – “Is that an oolong??” and “Very sweet smelling” I love to keep them guessing and not always depend on what they see when trying new teas. Poor children, they are already corrupted with the world of tea obsession.

As previously stated by Stacy at Butiki Teas, “In the 1920’s, under Japanese rule, Assamica tea bushes were brought to the Sun Moon Lake area of Taiwan. At the time, the Japanese wanted to compete with the British in the black tea market. Since then this Assam has been refined by the Taiwan Research and Extension Station.” I’d say they found a huge success! This would rank as one of my favorite black teas,and am now worried my recent purchase will not last nearly long enough!

If you have considered in the past whether or not to try this unique tea, let me urge you to move forward. I can think of no reason to delay any further. Splurge. Treat yourself. :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec
TheTeaFairy

Pureleaf, I agree with everything you said, this tea deserves a star on the TEA Walk of Fame!

Pureleaf

Good call TheTeaFairy. I second that motion! :)

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93
drank Grapefruit Dragon by Butiki Teas
136 tasting notes

Thank you Stacy and Butiki Teas for this very delightful creation – absolutely wonderful! Also, a huge appreciation for you helping me out with this gaiwan. I’m really loving it and this was the tea of choice to celebrate this new teaware treasure.

These terrific Anhui Organic Dragon Well leaves with poppy-red colored safflower petals are just as pleasing to the eyes, as the tea is to the palate. Let me confess first – I LOVE grapefruit! So the obvious is understood immediately, when you find that this tea duplicates with great intensity the characteristics of grapefruit. This understandable would not be enticing to anyone opposed to this type of fruit, but for those that enjoy a delightful citrusy treat – look no further!

There is almost every single phase that you would expect of the real fruit. You will find mellow tartness, then a refreshing and cleansing sweetness. The flavor stays consistent even after multiple infusions.

This is a great anytime tea and I’m pretty sure that it would be a very nice chilled tea as well. I may have to try this in the near future. Until then, I will see how many infusions this tea can deliver! Very nice!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Butiki Teas

I’m so glad the gaiwan is working out for you and that you are enjoying the Grapefruit Dragon! :)

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86
drank Kenya Kangaita by Butiki Teas
136 tasting notes

These dark leaves have a full body brew, with a smoky citrus taste. Pure smoothness, that is bright with no bitterness – only a good astringency towards the end of the sip, that turns slightly sweet.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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87

Thanks to tunes&tea for sharing this special sample!

This is one crazy complex aged tea. There is certainly noticeable Dong Ding characteristics, however this one brings much more to the cup. The roasty notes are darker, even a touch of char-like quality – not burnt though. There is a mixture of barley and a pleasant hardwood bark flavor – a woodsy roasted tea, with a malty shu-like (puerh) character. There is no detectable astringency, all that is found is a full bodied brew with a silky smooth sip. It slightly sweet, then it not. Very strange – in a very good way. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

The midnight colored leaves remain their darkness, even after several infusions. I found this tea a little tricky to completely unfurl. It’s a very shy tea, that needs great patience and plenty of time to allow it to fully develop and it’s complete personality to unfold. After around 3 or 4 infusions, finally it decides to really come alive!

I personally would not recommend this tea if you are rushed and in a hurry. You simply would only see it as a good tea, and completely miss its greatness. Very nice aged oolong. Another fine job done by Stacy and the Butiki team!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Bio

I’m a southern boy that relocated to the Mid-West that has an intense love for high quality loose leaf tea! This is no doubt, a passion I intend to enjoy and pursue for the rest of my life! I love the art of tea, and the expression of it’s culture in each cup.

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http://southern-sips.blogspot.com/

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Typically, I’m a straight tea and loose-leaf type of drinker. Black teas (especially Taiwanese blacks), Greener Oolong and Sheng Pu-erhs are top on my list!

Don’t get me wrong though, I do like me some darker, roasted oolongs, shu puerhs, greens and whites are a must as well!

I guess the only way to get the bigger picture is to start with that I love tea. Almost all traditional teas are welcomed, and I have been know to try a few flavored or blended teas.

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Mid-West USA

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