1291 Tasting Notes

90
drank White Rhino by Butiki Teas
1291 tasting notes

The second of the Butiki teas I brought to work with me this week. White Rhino is a tea I picked up pretty much as soon as it was released, if I remember correctly. I’ve liked white tea for a long time, and black tea is my all-time, all-consuming favourite, so I was naturally curious to try a white tea reported to share the characteristics of a black tea. I followed the recommended parameters for this one, and gave 2 tsp of leaf approximately 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a light golden brown, reminiscent of either a seriously overbrewed white or a very light-bodied black. The leaf itself is a most intriguing and beautiful thing – it reminds me a little of a dian hong, with long, tippy, golden-brown leaves that are a little wiry. Some of them have patches of bright white which makes me think of rhino horns. It’s certainly a clearer white than pretty much any other white tea I’ve ever seen, but the only other indication that this is a white tea is that some of the leaves are very downy. It’s safe to say that the dry leaf is very pretty and I found it interesting to contemplate while waiting for the kettle to boil!

To taste, this does remind me more of a black tea than a white, at least on the whole. There are significant notes of sweet malt and a touch of honey in the initial sip, with a touch of sweet potato soon emerging. It’s very smooth, with an almost creamy mouthfeel, and this texture works really well with the intensely sweet, almost marshmallow, note that rounds off the sip. It’s possible to detect elements of white tea in the flavour, such as a mild, almost hay-like, slightly dusty floral in the mid-sip, but these are by no means as prominent as I thought they might be.

I’m really happy with this one, partly because it’s so unique and a little unusual, and partly because it displays the flavours I love most in black teas with the body and characteristics of a white. It’s light, refreshing, and pretty perfect for a warm, spring day like today. Teas like this make me mourn Butiki more than ever, for the quality and variety of teas they stocked, and for their lack of fear in introducing something new and unusual. I can’t say the same about many other companies. This will be another tea I miss when it’s finally gone for good.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp
Sil

i agree! this one is so good.

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95

I pulled out a couple of untried Butiki’s to being to work with me today – this and White Rhino. I’m trying to resist the urge to hoard them, knowing that I can’t get anymore, but at the same time I don’t want them to get old and lose their flavour. I used 1 tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a pale yellow-gold, and the scent is lightly floral.

The flavour is another matter entirely. There is a hint of floral, yes, but mostly this is pure tropical fruit amazingness. I always knew Butiki’s banana was good (Hello Sweetie, anyone?), but it’s especially clear here. It’s tastes almost a little under ripe; not hopelessly so, but slightly green and still firm. It’s perfectly complemented by the coconut, which adds a sweeter overtone and a mild milky creaminess. There’s a hint of floral in the background, but it’s almost like breathing the air on a caribbean island. Beach flowers, local fauna and flora, caught on a passing breeze. The white base is perfect here. I think it enhances the floral flavour a little, contributing something all its own. To me, it’s almost peony or orchid-like, a gentle tasting but highly fragrant floral.

I’m not typically a fan of floral teas, but this is one I can get behind. It’s not too perfumey or overdone (even though the inspiration behind it was a perfume!), and the floral is an integral part of the experience, rather than an end in itself. The banana/coconut combination is stunningly delicious, and when combined with the other notes it’s just like a summer holiday in a cup! Beautiful and evocative. I’ll definitely be sad when this one is gone from my life.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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70

Used 1 tsp of leaf today, and a slightly longer brew time (approx. 3 minutes). The raspberry is still great, if a little candy-like, but sadly no white chocolate. There were definitely a couple of chips with the dry leaf, though, and the oily surface scrim to prove it. Perhaps it’s more of a textural thing than a flavour with this one. I’m still enjoying the raspberry, either way, but it falls a little short of my (maybe grandiose) expectations without the white chocolate. Still, can’t win them all!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

Sipdown! Also finished this one off last night – another of my favourite Adagio Sherlock fandom blends. I like the almond cookie flavour and the strong Assam base. No surprises there, if you know my preferences! Another that could be a repurchase, at some point in the future. It will be missed!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

Sipdown! Finished this one off last night – one of my favourite of the Adagio Sherlock fandom blends. I didn’t like Cream much when I tried it alone, but it’s a great supporting note in this blend, and works really well with the Chocolate Chip and Vanilla Chai. It’s especially good with milk. This one is definitely restock material, if I ever get my cupboard under control!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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55
drank Jasmine by Whittard of Chelsea
1291 tasting notes

Warm and spring-like weather, to me, is perfectly suited to Jasmine tea. Hence, today was the perfect opportunity to give these tea bags a try! I used 1 bag (which looks to contain maybe 1.5tsp of leaf), and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. While tea bags have the advantage of convenience, they can suffer in terms of the quality of the leaf. This looks to be the case here, as the bag contains primarily very fine-shred fannings. No variety is specified for the green tea, either, so I can only assume it to be a blend. The resulting liquor is a medium yellow, the scent lightly floral.

To taste, this one comes across as a very mild, light, jasmine flavoured green tea. The initial sip is a primarily a smooth, slightly buttery green. There’s a tiny bit of bite towards the end of the sip, almost verging on bitterness, but it’s actually quite pleasant in that it gives what is a very mild-tasting tea a little texture and depth. It doesn’t impact on the overall flavour, which is fairly sweet and floral, too much.

The jasmine emerges in the mid-sip, and adds a sweet, floral accord. It’s not a heavy, perfumey jasmine, and it’s by no means overpowering. It’s still possible to taste the green tea base underneath, and it really just gives a taster of what jasmine as a flavouring can add to a tea. It fades fairly quickly and doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/05/01/jasmine-green-tea-whittard-chelsea/

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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75

Drinking my second (and last) of these today. I’m currently on my second steep, and it’s just as I remember from last time. The only thing I’m noticing this time is a greater amount of…something at the bottom of the cup. Some kind of residue that looks reddish-black and cloudy? I did give this a fairly generous rinse to start with, so I’m not sure what that’s about. Either way, it doesn’t seem to be affecting the flavour (although I am trying not to drink to much of it, as it’s a little gritty and odd).

I don’t often find a Pu’Erh that I genuinely like, but this is one of them. I’d happily purchase more of this one once I’ve cleared out my stash a little more!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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85

This is the last of my untried Della Terra samples, I do believe. I think the only unopened Della I have now is a full bag of Anti V-Day treat, which I’ll probably dig out next. I really ought to make some progress on my older 52 Teas, though. They should really be next by rights! I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for this cup (my work mug is quite big…) and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden-brown, and a little oily from the melted chocolate chips. It smells wonderfully of caramel.

To taste, it’s pretty good in the way of most Della Terra “cake” blends. They’re certainly fabulous dessert teas, without a doubt! This one reminds me quite a lot of Red Velvet Delight, which was chocolatier, but which shares the same cake batter notes and broad overall flavour.

This blend tastes mostly of caramel and toffee, with a hint of chocolate. There are both white and milk chocolate chips in this blend, which add a deliciously creamy overtone. It would make a pretty good sauce for sticky toffee pudding, if only it were thicker…The distinctive “cake” flavour shared by many Della Terra teas is also kicking around in the background, although it’s not as prominent here as it sometimes can be. This one is all about the caramel! Sweet, smooth, delicious caramel, with a light coating of milk chocolate. It’s pretty amazing to drink, and the rooibos barely makes itself known. Win-win! I’ll be a little sad when this one’s gone.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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70

One of my last few Della Terra blends, which I’ve been hoarding for far too long! These were actually the last few blends that I purchased, so I’ve done a pretty good job of using them up in order. I’m finding that I’m drinking more white and green tea as the weather continues to warm up, and as a white/green blend this one perfectly fits that trend. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees.

The resulting liquor is a medium yellow-green, and the scent is sweet and enticing. The flavour is mostly raspberry, as far as I can discern. It’s a candy-like, sweet, very slightly tart raspberry. A little artificial, but not terribly so. I can’t really taste any white chocolate, which is a disappointment, but it’s possible that I just need to adjust my parameters a little. I have enough leaf left to experiment with my next couple of cups. The base was also a little more prominent that I would have liked. The green tea was okay – fairly unobtrusive – but the white tea tasted dusty and quite drying. I liked the raspberry, though, so it’s not a huge problem. Adjusting my parameters may help with this as well.

This one reminds me quite a lot of 52 Teas Hindbaersnitter Shou Mei. The raspberry flavouring is similar, as far as I can recall it. I like my raspberry teas (even if nothing will ever replace 52 Teas Raspberry Cream in my heart), and this one is enjoyable and pleasant for the most part. Hopefully I can improve on my brewing for my next cup!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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80

This is one of Cara McGee’s Sherlock fandom blends, created to represent the character Irene Adler – otherwise known as The Woman. The description is perfectly suited to the character; beautifully sweet with a fruity edge, trailing a puff of smoke. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium brown, and smells like a mild Lapsang Souchong.

Upon taking a sip, the first flavours to emerge are the cherry and vanilla. It’s a sweet beginning, maybe even a little cloying (although only momentarily). It’s saved by the smoke, which emerges in the mid-sip and takes the sweetness down a peg or two, adding a slightly acrid, sour note that isn’t at all unpleasant. I say this as someone who’s not usually a fan of smoky teas, so it’s a big compliment coming from me! It’s possible to detect the woodiness of the honeybush slightly at this point, too, and that again helps to mediate the sweetness of the cherry and vanilla. It makes the whole cup more layered and complex, too – rather like the character herself. The cherry and vanilla emerge again right at the end of the sip, once the smoke fades. This time the sweetness is more welcome, and it’s possible to appreciate how flavour-accurate the cherry is (no pseudo cough medicine here), and the light creaminess contributed by the vanilla. It’s actually a pretty delicious combination, and it reminds me a little of ice cream.

As a fandom blend, I think this tea emblematises Irene pretty well. She is beautiful and alluring, with a sweet, decadent edge. The smoke is characteristic. The combination of the two hints at something more complex, a little darker and more dangerous. Irene isn’t straightforward character, and this isn’t a straightforward tea. So far, they’re equal.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/04/25/woman-custom-blend-adagio-teas/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 27, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s ny latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

In addition to Steepster, I also write for the SororiTea Sisters. My reviews there will typically be posted here also, although typically in a shorter format. Any teas I’m sent specifically for review will only appear in full on the SororiTea Sisters website, with only a short introduction and link to my review here.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.

Location

Norfolk, UK

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