666 Tasting Notes
On the first day of Christmas, 52 Teas gave to me…Smaug!
This isn’t a new tea to me; I have a pouch on my desk at work, and have been finding it very warming and enjoyable on cold days. I’m glad I got chance to try a different batch of this tea, though, because it’s slightly different from the bag I currently have. For starters, the liquor once brewed is much paler — a very light yellow-green. The green tea is the more prominent ingerdient, too. The cayenne and cinnamon, while present, are very much in the background in the initial sip, and only really emerge as a warmth at the back of the throat upon swallowing. The version I have at work is much stronger, and the liquor is much darker. I did notice that the dragonwell leaves are much smaller and paler than the leaves in my other bag — possibly that has something to do with it! I guess that’s tea for you, anyway! I have to say that I like both versions — and it’s always nice to have a little extra of an old favourite around. A great first tea of Christmas!
I’m not sure whether my tastes are changing for good, or whether it’s just because I’ve been ill, but I think I might be starting to enjoy plain teas a lot more than the flavoured ones I used to adore. There’s something about flavoured tea that just seems to have stopped appealing to me. Whereas once upon a time I would have chosen a flavoured tea without hesitation, these days it’s teas like this one that are more likely to jump out at me.
As oolongs go, I could really start to like this one. I was very hesitant about trying it, because oolongs haven’t generally been my thing, but I’m glad I gave it a chance. I like the fresh, delicate flavour this tea has. I’ve one more cup left, and it’ll be sadly missed when it’s gone. I think it’s highly likely that this one will make it on to my repurchase list, though, so hopefully I won’t be bereft for too long.
My first sip of this tea reminded me of Cinnamon Roll Honeybush. I’m not really surprised, because they do have copious amounts of cinnamon in common, but it was a little unexpected. For some reason, I was expecting French Toast to be more savoury, but there you go.
The main flavours here are cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter. They all come out equally well, and create a smooth, sweet blend with absolutely no astringency. I drank this one straight after Pancake Breakfast, so while I can appreciate the similarities, what I’m mostly detecting are the contrasts. This blend seems a fair bit sweeter to me — possibly it’s the butter/brown sugar flavour combination, which is putting me in mind of cake mixture at the moment. The cinnamon helps to turn this back into French Toast, but the whole thing is far more dessert-like than I was expecting. That might just be my misconception, but I was anticipating a breakfast-type tea, and this doesn’t really fit my criteria for that. It’s nice, and it certainly smells really lovely brewing, but I think on balance I prefer Pancake Breakfast.
The first time I tried this I was a tiny bit disappointed. I was expecting pancake flavour, and I wasn’t really getting it. I’m not entirely sure how I was imagining that particular flavour would manifest, but there you go. Sometimes my expectations are unrealistic. This was one of the last flavoured teas I drank before embarking on my latest bout of the flu, so I think maybe that had something to do with it. I hardly drank any tea at all last week (a combination of being ill, coupled with being manically busy in my new job), so I’ve returned to it today with a fresh palate.
This time around, I like it a lot better. It has a strong, natural maple flavour, and that in itself is making me think of pancakes. It’s such a strong and well defined flavour that I could almost believe I’d added actual maple syrup to a cup of black tea. It’s a rich and satisfying taste, anyway, and absolutely perfect as a breakfast or wake-up tea. My only niggle is that the black base is a little astringent, but that might be my fault for leaving it sitting while I switched my computer on this morning. I’ll have another cup later and report back. At the moment, though, I’m really happy with this one.
I had my first cup of this yesterday, but didn’t get chance to log it. I’ve not tried all that many oolongs before, largely because I believed for a long time that they just weren’t my thing. I’ve since had some successes, though, and so I’m trying to be a bit more adventurous.
The dry leaf consists of tightly rolled dark green pearls. They scent is very “green” and mineral, but the tea itself is relatively subtle to taste. It’s also mpre floral than I expected. I can definitely pick out the honeysuckle note, and there’s also something reminiscent of spinach, and a slight butteriness. I can detect some of the “mineral” flavour that I’ve previous disliked in oolongs, but it’s not too dominant here. I don’t mind it so much when the overall flavour profile is one I can get behind.
I don’t have much of this left — maybe two cups worth. I’m not sure at this stage whether it’s something I’d repurchase, but it’s definitely one I’d keep on my list of oolong possibles. It’s not that I don’t like it, just that I don’t really feel I fully understand oolongs as yet, or my tastes in relation to them. I’m pleased to have tried this one, though. It’s an unusual combination of flavours, but palatable all the same. Butiki really do rule when it comes to tea!
I must be weird, too, because I quite enjoyed this one. I went against the grain, brewed it strong and added milk, but that’s my perogative.
It smells like a zesty, citrussy lemon dessert. I still have the cup beside me now, and it really is beatuifully lemony. There’s a shaprness there, but it’s not too sharp — maybe the milk has helped to take the edge off some of that — I certainly think it adds a creaminess which suits this tea well. In any case, I don’t find it at all fake or reminiscent of cleaning products, but that’s just me.
Again, the black base was pretty good. Very smooth and unobtrusive, no astringency. I really would like to find some of these for the summer. I honestly think they’d be great iced. Another choice pick from the UCAS Conference!
UCAS training day today, and Lipton was once again the only tea supplied. There were a fair few to choose from, though, so not too disappointing. My morning tea of choice was Forest Fruits. I thought it would be a fruit tea, but apparently it’s a flavoured black. That’s fine by me, but a little unexpected.
I added the bag to almost boiling water, and gave it about three minutes. The scent while brewing is really lovely — quite strongly fruity and very sweet. I do like sweet things on a morning! It was pretty dark in colour, so I added a splash of milk.
It came as a surprise to me when I actually liked it. The fruit flavour carries over really well into the brewed tea, and it retains a natural sweetness. The black base tea is smooth and not at all astringent, and the flavour isn’t dull or chemically as I half expected it to be. This is actually one I’d consider keeping around, if there was a place nearby that stocked it. I think it could be quite pleasant iced in the summer. A surprise pleasure!
I feel awake enough to write a proper note this time, although I did almost fall asleep on the bus for the second day running this morning. It’s so warm and cosy, and so cold outside. Not fair! Anyway, I started the day with a cup of Mariage Freres Earl Grey French Blue, which I’m never going to drink with milk again now. I’ve moved on to this for my second cup of the morning – it’s enough to make me glad I didn’t buy milk this week. I don’t need it with teas as delicious as these!
Dry, this smells soooo nutty. There are a generous amount of actual pistachio nuts among the green tea leaves, too. I gave this about 2.5 minutes in water I’d left to cool for a while, and the liquor is now a pale yellow-gold. It smells of pistachio nuts – as if you’d just opened a packet – with a faint vegetal undertone.
The real treat is in the taste, though. It’s creamy, nutty, sweet, grassy awesomeness. I keep forgetting to replenish my crystal sugar supply at work, but I’d love to try this with a piece at some point. I have a feeling it would just augment the creaminess that little bit more. It does taste remarkably like ice cream even without, though. I think it’s the way the creaminess and the nuttiness work in combination. Even though I’m drinking this hot, it’s somehow still living up to its name! If I can manage to save some of this until the summer, I’d love to try it iced. If not, I guess I’ll just have to buy another bag! My stash is short of really great greens, so I can’t see myself being without this one for long. Another great (not to mention unique) Butiki experience!
Tried a cup this afternoon, but I was focusing more on my training notes than I was on the tastes, unfortunately. I know, priorities. I was surprised by how creamy this tastes, even with no additions — I definitely get ice cream! The pistachio flavour was there, too.
I’ll write a better note once I’ve had more of a chance to really focus on the flavours. I think this is going to be a love, though…