518 Tasting Notes

87

This is such a unique tea! I don’t think I’ve tried anything like it before. The first thing I notice is how rich and dark it is. With just one sip, I notice thick and heavy notes of molasses. I’m reminded instantly of a gingerbread cake – soft, sweet and so distinct. This tea would be absolutely perfect for an evening cup during the holiday season. It really does bring to mind gooey, sticky, dripping molasses. Other cups I’ve had bring to mind a dark honey with stone fruits. I personally have to be in the mood for a tea like this as it’s so deeply specific, but it is very much a beauty. Many thanks to Green Terrace Teas for a sample. This has been a real treat to try!

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53

The dry leaf smells floral and sweet. There is also something spicy that reminds me vaguely of clove and cinnamon. Once water has been added, I detect that starchy scent that some Yunnans have. The spice is still very present, but I have a feeling that it will lighten up a little as the cup cools.

Sipping… wow, there are some really strong leather and tobacco notes here. It’s very savory, but also has mild notes of sweet potato and milk. This is a decent cup of tea with different layers, but I think it’s a bit too sharp for me. I’m not crazy about the leather/tobacco and pepper combination. Creamier sweet potato and honey flavors would really turn this tea around, but they’re so faint that the tea remains peppery and brisk.

I’m happy to have tried this tea, but I am not all that impressed with this particular Yunnan.

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81
drank Qing Pin by Yezi Tea
518 tasting notes

This is a very interesting tea. The first cup was smooth and quite light. It reminded me a bit of Joseph Wesley’s Bai Lin Congfu, only softer. I’m now on my second cup and it seems to have changed its tune a little bit.

The sip starts out rather savory and brisk. It seems to become a little bit sweeter and I detect some mild floral notes in the finish. There is something that lingers in the background that adds strength and astringency. It doesn’t take over, but is quite noticeable. I don’t seem to catch any smokiness which is definitely good news for me. I wish that it could be a little bit more sweet as I think it would make the tea more interesting, but it is still enjoyable.

Overall, I think that I liked the first cup a bit more, but this is a nice tea for the morning or for the afternoon when you need a little boost!

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85

I’m excited to try a tea that comes exclusively from Indonesia. Although the dry leaf isn’t the prettiest I’ve seen, the scent is sweet and strong. I have to fight the temptation to add milk since I have a feeling it would take milk beautifully. I do want to try this first cup plain to see what this tea is all about!

Sipping… this is so nice and sweet. I really enjoy how simple this cup is.. it’s sweet, smooth and generally a satisfying cup. There isn’t anything unpleasant that gets in the way — no smoke or bitterness. I could see this being a nice replacement for a morning Assam. I think I might try my next cup with milk, but it’s very nice without!

Thank you to Tea at Sea for a sample of this one.

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84

The scent of this tea is of strawberries, coffee and something a little like a cookie. As I’m sipping, I am reminded of strawberry wafer cookies. I used to love those and would eat them by the packet if I could.

The strawberry and “cookie” part of the tea is most noticeable. There is also a slight bitterness in the background that brings to mind that Orzo tea from Lupicia. I don’t taste a whole lot of chocolate, but I’m really enjoying the strawberry wafer + bitter, weak coffee notes.

This is certainly a tasty tea, I just don’t know if it qualifies as one of my favorites from Butiki. I will enjoy the rest of what I have, but am not sure if I would restock.

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86

The scent of this tea reminds me of buttered corn. It smells very rich and creamy! I can’t wait to see what this one tastes like… always eager to try a new milk oolong!

Sipping… this is so weird, but what I’m tasting is really buttered corn. It has that rich sweetness that corn kernels have, but a nice buttery background as well. What I like about it is that it’s on the sweeter end of things and not the savory. It’s not sugary like some other milk oolongs out there, but still retains enough of that sweetness to make the cup delicious. The entire sip is smooth and gentle. This is really tasty. I wouldn’t say that this is my favorite milk oolong in the world, but it’s buttery, unique and very enjoyable.

Thank you so much, Green Terrace Teas for a sample of this tea!

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86
drank Banana Dulce by Art of Tea
518 tasting notes

I think that I like this blend a bit more than I did about 3 years ago. It could be that I’ve become more fond of banana teas, but this one is very unique and yummy. I first taste the sweetness of the banana and it reminds me a little bit of a banana dessert with graham crackers, caramel and whipped cream. The finish is almost pure chamomile, gently floral. I can taste a little bit of the coconut in the form of something sour, but none of the lemongrass. It does get a little bit soapy, but I like the sweet banana too much to stop drinking. This is a nice blend to have in the cupboard when you want chamomile with something extra!

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85
drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
518 tasting notes

I am trying out this tea with a longer steep time and I think I like it better than the suggested short steeping times. I’ve also realized that every time I’ve had this tea that the first steep is the best and that it slowly declines from there. In my experience, this happens for me most often with flavored oolongs.

I do enjoy the sugary, milky first cup and actually think it’s worth buying just for that. I think that this milk oolong is special because it’s soft, milky, sweet and the slightest bit leafy. I hope to bring out more of this flavor in second and third infusions to make this one a bit more affordable!

Cameron B.

How long of a steep did you do, and at what temperature? I’m trying really hard to like milk oolong. :P

Sil

mandala’s is the only milk oolong i really like..

QueenOfTarts

Cameron B., I tried this particular cup at 195 F and 3 minutes!

Sil, Mandala’s is definitely a unique milk oolong and sort of sits by itself in terms of a unique flavor. :)

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89
drank Hello Sweetie by Butiki Teas
518 tasting notes

I remember trying a sample of this tea a while ago and not writing a tasting note because I gulped down the cup quickly without concentrating. Hopefully I’ll be able to slow it down with today’s cup! The scent of this tea is delicious! I smell crumbly cookies, bananas and coconut. The dry tea leaves are absolutely huge and a little bit creepy. They remind me a bit of twisted tree branches from a dark forest.

Sipping… mmmm! I first taste the banana. It’s a nice, very well-rounded banana flavor. Nothing fake about it! I love that I taste the sweetness from the banana, but the coconut also comes in and adds a sort of tart, sour flavor. This coconut I can tolerate because it’s very balanced with the banana and doesn’t become too overwhelming.

I taste a bit of biscuit next, sort of a shortbread flavor that adds a nice richness to the tea. I also love the assam base for this blend as it wraps everything up nicely and adds the slightest bit of astringency at the finish. I think that this tea would be really delicious with a splash of milk. I think I’ll try that next time as a creamy note would take this over the top! Such a tasty and unique tea!

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85
drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
518 tasting notes

I’m excited to try this tea since I’ve read such amazing reviews about it. I’m always up for trying a new milk oolong, especially one that is so loved by the community.

First Infusion: I quickly steeped the leaves and they haven’t opened up much, so I suspect I’ll be getting a bit more flavor in the next few cups. It is faintly milky with a touch of peach and sugar. I think I really enjoy how this cup is delicate and rather light. I like how it’s on the milky side instead of the more savory and buttery end. I’m really excited to see how the next cups taste!

Second Infusion: The leaves have now really popped open and are nearly without their little curls. The scent is stronger for this cup, but is still very faint. It’s hard for me to pick out any individual notes with my nose. Sipping… still very nicely milky with the same faint peach notes. I find that I have to drink a lot of the tea at once to bring out the peach, but it’s tasty.

I’m interrupted at this point and can’t continue to steep this tea right now… but I will try again tomorrow! Overall, I really love the milky character of the tea and love how it’s delicately soft and not super buttery and overwhelming.

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Bio

~
Tea (& Coffee) lover. Bookworm.

Favorite teas: Milk Oolong, Flavored blends, Dessert teas, Creamy Teas, Rooibos, Oolong, Black, Green
Dislikes: Spices, Peppery flavors, Cloves, Cardamom, Licorice, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Mate, Puerh, Chai, Ginger

My Rather Picky Ratings
90+ – Reserved for the very best! Always in the cupboard!
80-89 – Quite good! A very pleasing cup.
70-79 – Room for improvement, but not bad.
60-69 – Mediocre.
50-59 – Bad. Will not purchase.
49 & below – Depending on the more specific rating: Undrinkable. Yuck. Will not purchase.

Note: Teas in my cupboard are all of the teas that I’ve logged, regardless of their current presence in my actual cupboard. For an updated list on what teas I have available for swap, check out the swap thread and not my cupboard! Thanks!

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