1293 Tasting Notes

90

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I guess these days you’ve got to try a Butiki where you can. I’m enjoying green tea more and more these days, so this was a sure try from the box. The leaf is a beautiful thing – hand rolled pellets that do resemble a snail’s shell, with the downy silver tip darkening to green/black on the outside. Unfurled, the leaves are bigger than I expected, and a fairly uniform medium green. This is clearly a tea that’s been prepared with love and care, and it’s a delight to see. As per the recommended parameters, I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.

It’s gorgeous. The liquor is a medium yellow, and smells very vegetal with a hint of floral. The taste is similar. It’s quite strong initially, and a distinctive mixture of green cabbage and grass. The mid-sip introduces a smooth, silky buttery note, and it rounds off with the flavour of pine nut. It’s such a smooth (almost to the point of creamy), clean tasting green, with absolutely no bitterness or astringency. As it cools, I also pick up a burst of citrus fruitiness in the mid sip. A characterful green, and an absolute pleasure to drink. I will miss Butiki terribly, not least for their commitment to quality which is absolutely self-evident in teas like this.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Pistachio Rose by Tea Horse
1293 tasting notes

From the EU TTB – Round 3

Another Tea Horse blend that I’ve been wanting to try. Finally, here’s the opportunity! As per the recommended parameters, I used 2 tsp of leaf and gave it 1 minute in water cooled to around 170 degrees. The dry leaf is a thing of beauty. Plentiful pink rose petals, whole green pistachio nuts, and the darker green tea base (composed of rolled pellets).

Brewed, the liquor is a medium yellow, and smells primarily of rose. To taste, it’s sweeter than I expected. Rose is the main flavour, but it’s almost as if it’s a sugared petal. It’s not too perfume-like, just delicately floral. The pistachio flavour is mild, and emerges mostly at the end of the sip. It adds a creamy, gentle nuttiness to the overall sip, and it works well with the lightly vegetal green base. There’s a slight astringency to this one, but it’s not overwhelming. Just a dryness at the back of the throat post-sip.

I’m not always the biggest fan of floral teas, but I liked this one a lot more than I was expecting to. It actually reminds me of Turkish Delight! Another wonderful tea, courtesy of the wonderful TTB!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp
Dustin

That sounds pretty delicious!

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95
drank Graveyard Mist by 52teas
1293 tasting notes

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I’ve tried this one before, but it’s been a long term favourite of mine, so I took the opportunity to reacquaint myself with it. It’s just as good as I remember – creamy marshmallow and sweet, refreshing peppermint, all on a clean, slightly vegetal green base with just the tiniest edge of smoke. There’s no more evocative tea than this one. It’s misty graveyards on a dark night all the way. Still one of the best flavoured greens I’ve tried.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Mom's Apple Pie by DAVIDsTEA
1293 tasting notes

From the EU TTB – Round 3

Apparently I’ve tried this before, although I don’t remember it. This was another pick from the EU Travelling Tea Box this afternoon, and it accompanied the first of my Christmas present wrapping. All warm and cosy! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees. It smells just like apple pie straight out of the oven. It’s hard to believe it’s tea and not actual pie, but there you go.

To taste, it’s just as good. The first flavour is apple, understandably, and it’s a baked, mushy, slightly starchy tasting apple. Next comes the spicing; a hint of cinnamon and clove. Finally, and a little fleetingly, there’s the buttery flavour of freshly made pastry. The combination is perfection – I don’t think you could get closer to apple pie in liquid form than this! Utterly delicious, and a great autumn/winter tea!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Qi Hong Maofeng by Nannuoshan
1293 tasting notes

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I’ve never come across a black maofeng before, so I knew instantly that this was one I was going to have to try. The dry leaves are very fine and curly, like small pieces of wire. They’re black, dark brown and golden in colour, and so very pretty to look at! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.

The resulting liquor is a medium golden-brown. There’s a light maltiness to the beginning of the sip, which is sweet and pleasant. This then opens up into a deeper and slightly more bittersweet chocolate flavour. I’m thinking dark chocolate with a reasonably high cacao content here, but it’s not at all dry tasting. The end of the sip brings a mild smokiness. I’m not usually a fan of smoke flavours in teas, but I don’t mind it here. It’s not overwhelming at all, just a gentle counterpoint that works well with the other flavours.

I’m enjoying this one a lot, and I’m pleased to have had the chance to develop my knowledge of Chinese black teas a little further. A pleasing cup.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
donkeytiara

i have a sample of this in my cupboard….it just moved up the list…. :)

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65

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I’m still a relative beginner with Pu Erh, so I figured trying this one couldn’t hurt my education. I’ll admit to being wary of it still, but I find myself less scared with every cup I drink. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2 minutes in boiling water.

The resulting liquor is red-brown, and smells quite strongly of…manure. I’m coming to accept that about pu erh, although I can’t say that it makes for the most appealing introduction. Fortunately, the taste is milder than the smell. This one comes across as rich and earthy (compost, almost), with a hint of orange lurking in the aftertaste. The orange is natural and sweet tasting, and offers a juicy, refreshing counterpoint to the base pu erh. I’d even go so far as to say it’s a combination that works well.

I had hoped the orange flavour would be stronger, but I’m glad for what’s there. As I sipped away, I started to really enjoy the flavour, and to wonder what I’d felt such trepidation about. I believe I will get there with pu erh one day, and this was another positive step on the road.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

From the EU TTB – Round 3

Sweet is the key word here. It’s a little odd, because it doesn’t smell sweet while brewing. It smells of pumpkin, with a touch of spice. That’s probably why I wasn’t expecting the instant hit of sweetness I got when I took my first sip. It only took me a moment to realise that this has stevia in it.

Subsequent sips, once I was expecting the sweetness, were actually okay. The pumpkin flavour is pretty accurate, with that distinctive smooth, almost savoury “squash” flavour. The spicing is relatively mild, but well blended, and helps to connect the sweet overtone of the stevia to the savoury pumpkin. I went back to the kitchen and added a bit of milk, and that helped things along still further. NOW it’s pumpkin pie filling!

I wasn’t at all sure about this one at first, but I warmed to it as I drank it. It’s a very pleasant autumnal tea, but you’ve got to be down with sweet. Fortunately, that’s okay with me.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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90
drank Caramel Spice by DAVIDsTEA
1293 tasting notes

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I love mulberries. It took me a while to work that out, but this is the third mulberry tea I’ve tried recently, and now I’m sure. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions. It smells gorgeous, as in “fill the whole kitchen” gorgeous. Rich and caramelly, a little citrussy, a touch of cinnamon. Very seasonally appropriate, although I’d drink a tea that smells this good all year round.

Fortunately, it tastes equally good. It’s almost like drinking a cup of hot liquid caramel. Perhaps because caramel is one of my favourite things, I’ve always found it hard to find teas that replicate the flavour accurately. Maybe I’m a little fussy, but no worries here. This one ticks all the boxes. Caramel is the main flavour, but I can also pick up a citrussy flavour that’s almost reminiscent of clementine, and a fairly delicate smattering of cinnamon in the background. The cinnamon here reminds me of Glitter and Gold, although that’s a completely different flavoured tea overall. The caramel here is definitely the star, and that’s how it should be. A yummy pre-bedtime treat on a cold evening!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Kittenna

Ommgggg this one’s so good, and has been discontinued for no good reason. Jealous! (I have a bit left, but not much!)

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90
drank Ye Sheng Hong Cha by Mener
1293 tasting notes

From the EU TTB – Round 3

This morning’s pick from the box. I’m on a roll with Chinese blacks at the moment, so why not continue the theme…

I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions. This one reminds me quite strongly of Butiki’s Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black. It has the same stone fruit/honey notes that I loved so much, although I would say that the flavour is a little more muted here. That might be my fault, though. Possibly some experimentation with leaf quantity and/or brew time required.

Anyway, the initial sip is gloriously sweet and malty. It’s such a smooth tea, with absolutely no bitterness or astringency, and in a way it’s almost juicy. That works well with the gentle apricot note I’m picking up, and with the light honeyed sweetness that rounds off the sip. I love teas like this, and I’m pleased that my appreciation of straight blacks seems to be developing over time. There’s no need for flavoured tea when there’s plain tea this good in the world!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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25

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I’m not usually a fan of oolongs, but I’ve not much experience with Tieguanyin, so I decided to give this one a try. I used 1 tsp of leaf and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. While brewing, the scent is strongly oolong – very roasty – with no orange or spice that I could discern. There are a generous amount of orange peel pieces in the mix, so this came as a bit of a surprise.

To taste, I’m picking up mostly oolong again. The liquor is a golden yellow, and the taste is roasted and a little smoky. It’s very, very smooth, though, with no bitterness or astringency at all. There’s a tiny hint of orange, but it’s very faint, and rather waxy-tasting. I’m not picking up any spice at all.

I’m a little disappointed with this one. I’d have liked more spice/orange from the flavour, maybe a slightly milder oolong. Sadly not for me.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 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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