1658 Tasting Notes

85

Another Butiki to keep my company while I sort my cupboard out. Electronic and real, that is. I fear my actual cupboard count is going to be over 250 by the time I’ve finished, which puts me far away from being under 200 again. One day I’ll get there (but it won’t be soon, because I’ve got three more orders headed my way. Bad me.)

Anyway, the tea. I used 2 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. It still feels odd to do that to a white tea, but I trust Stacy’s judgement in these things. I really enjoyed White Rhino when I tried it plain, so it’s great to have a little bit more albeit flavoured this time. I made no additions for my first cup, but I’ll probably try it with a little crystal sugar next time just to see.

The intial flavour of this one is butterscotch. It’s quite strong and sweet, although not nauseatingly so. It tastes like melted butterscotch chips, of the kind you sometimes find in cookies. A little bit like Werther’s Originals. There’s a darker undertone that really is kind of mocha-like. A little chocolatey, with a hint of coffee bitterness. I think that helps this one to stay just on the right side of sweet for me, and it adds a real depth of flavour and a degree of complexity that most flavoured teas just don’t have. I’m not getting much hazelnut, but I can’t say I’m really missing it. The butterscotch-coffee-chocolate play off is more than enough for me.

The White Rhino base is, of course, amazing. It does a great job of supporting the flavours, while providing a complementary sweet maltiness with just a touch of floral. It’s almost thick-tasting, adding just the right kind of caramelly texture. This one’s a real treat, and it’s another I’ll miss from my cupboard once its gone. Lovely, lovely stuff.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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75

Dragon Well has become, to my surprise, one of my favourite green tea varieties. I used to think I didn’t like green tea, but I’ve been persuaded over time by some those I’ve been fortunate enough to have tried.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/10/17/organic-dragon-well-green-tea-canton-tea-co/

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

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90

My second Butiki of the day. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, and probably I should have allowed myself to start it earlier. I’m pleased that the flavour hasn’t deteriorated, though, so no harm done. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk, but no sugar for my first cup. I’ll probably try that next time so that I can comprehend the difference.

Initially, the flavours I detected were strawberry, with a hint of dark chocolate lurking in the background. The strawberry is so fresh, ripe, plump, and juicy – spot-on in terms of flavour accuracy. If anything, the chocolate seems to heighten these qualities – it’s a combination that works really well. As my cup cooled, I was gradually able to taste the coffee, which slowly increased in strength. It combines beautifully with the chocolate to create a real mocha effect, with the strawberry providing a high note of clean sweetness over the top. I could also taste cake, and a creamy vanilla that really put me in mind of frosting. This is a fabulous dessert tea; totally decadent with clear flavours. I’m sure I’ll never find another to beat it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Nutmeg Cream by Butiki Teas
1658 tasting notes

I too have joined the Butiki sipdown bandwagon. I think I’ve hoarded long enough now, and I really want to enjoy what I’ve got left before the flavouring disappears. This was today’s choice. I wanted a good, strong wake-up tea because I’m feeling so tired this morning it’s almost unreal. The base here is a blend of Indian black teas, including an Assam, so I was pretty sure it would do the job.

It did, and it’s totally delicious to boot! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. I can immediately taste cream, with a hint of warming, fragrant nutmeg spice. It reminds me of Christmas. The flavouring here is the kind that works with the base teas rather than against them, so it’s possible to taste their sweet, malty, mildly chocolatey characteristics, before the nutmeg/cream flavouring begins to develop. It’s a really nice, well rounded cup.

It makes me sad to think that I’ll never be able to get any more of this, but such is life. It was limited edition at the time anyway, so I can’t really mope. Instead, I’m going to focus on enjoying the rest of my bag. I’ll probably try and save a cup for Christmas Day, so we can say goodbye properly.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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100

This is the reblended version of Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha, from the “new” 52 Teas. I knew, instantly, upon opening the pouch that I was going to love this one. The scent coming off the dry leaf is just amazing – pure, creamy, marshmallowy wonderfulness. This looks to be about a 50/50 split between toasted rice and green tea leaves, but there’s also a fine coating of matcha on everything that makes it look rather different from its forerunner. There are a few shreds of marshmallow root also. The green tea leaves are fairly fine and spindly – some are long (around 2cm) but the majority are fairly finely shredded. I’m interested to see how this one works out! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a bright yellow green, the scent toasty with an underlying sweetness.

To taste, this is pretty spot-on marshmallow treat. There’s a toastiness in the initial sip that’s perfectly reminiscent of the crispy rice base, followed quickly by the sweet, creamy, almost thick-tasting flavour of marshmallow. The green tea base is mild and fairly unobtrusive. I get a flash of it every now and then while I’m sipping away, but it really doesn’t interfere with what is, essentially, a sweet, dessert-like flavour. I wasn’t sure what the matcha would contribute, but I think it adds a mellow sweetness that works well here. It’s certainly not as grassy as I feared – indeed, grass really isn’t a feature here at all!

I was starting to become a little disillusioned with flavoured teas, but this one has encouraged me to keep trying. When they’re good, they’re brilliant, and this one is a prime example. It’s also inspired me to look up 52 Teas again – I’ll be buying more of their creations on the strength of this one alone. If you were a fan of the original Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha, you’d be a fool to overlook this reblend – it’s just as good (possibly even better!) I’d also recommend it to fans of sweet, dessert-style teas – this one’s a real (marshmallow) treat!

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

That does sound good. I didn’t pick any up because I tend not to like green tea, but maybe I will if it’s ever reblended.

Sil

jealous… this was one that i totally wanted to buy

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100
drank Brown Sugar by Tea Leaf Co
1658 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking quite a lot of Oolong recently, and some of it has really challenged my assumptions about the variety. I thought for a long time, for example, that I didn’t like Oolong at all. Then I realised that mostly what I don’t like are dark or roasted oolongs, but lately I’m even beginning to wonder whether that’s true. Mostly because of teas like this one!

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/10/16/brown-sugar-organic-oolong-tea-leaf-co/

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

That does sound delicious.

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75
drank Anji Bai Cha by Nannuoshan
1658 tasting notes

I’m drinking the last of my sample of this one at the moment, and I’d forgotten how lovely it is! It’s such a light, delicate green tea – perfect for people like me who spend a fair amount of their time thinking that they don’t even LIKE green tea. This is clearly not true – I’ve discovered a lot of green teas that are perfectly palatable, and some (like this one) I’ve really enjoyed. This one verges on sweet, to my tastes, and reminds me of sugar snap peas. There’s a more savoury element underlying, which really helps to give it some depth. It’s kind of vegetal and green beany. Totally yum. Another thing I enjoy about this one is its sheer smoothness – it really is almost buttery in terms of mouthfeel. I’ll miss this one now that it’s gone from my cupboard, and it’s one I’d purchase for myself if I ever get to the stage when my cupboard is under control enough for me to have “staple” teas of any kind. Until then, this can be a delicious memory.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Red Fennekin

Teas like this (with that smooth, sugar-snap pea flavour and texture) are amongst my favourites too! They really are so delicious.

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60
drank Mango Party by Wize Monkey
1658 tasting notes

The packaging of this one didn’t give much away – only the name (Mango Party), and the fact that it’s a test flavour. It’s a bagged tea, but in an unbleached, sizeable bag so there’s plenty of room for leaf expansion. No complaints there. I did a little digging around, and discovered that this is, in fact, a coffee leaf tea. This isn’t something I’ve ever tried before, so it piqued my interest straight off.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/10/14/mango-party-coffee-leaf-tea-wize-monkey/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Nichole/CuppaGeek

I was curious about this one. I liked the other blend I tried of theirs.

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55
drank Organic Oolong by Buddha Teas
1658 tasting notes

Oolong has historically been my nemesis, although I have to say at this point that I’ve only ever tried loose leaf oolong with one exception (Teapigs Tung Ting Oolong, which is pyramid bagged). This oolong is also bagged, and in fairly small, square paper affairs that really don’t look like they’ll provide much room for leaf expansion.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/10/15/organic-oolong-tea-buddha-teas/

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

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65

The last of my Doctor Who fandom blends. It’s nice to have a change of pace from Earl Grey, because I feel like I’ve been drinking a lot of that this morning. This one has a decent, solid base of Irish Breakfast, with cinnamon and orange flavouring. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

For the first few sips, I could only really detect the sweet, caramel-like maltiness of Irish Breakfast. While nice, it’s not quite what I was expecting. Successive sips reveal some cinnamon, although it’s nowhere near as strong as I thought it would be. It lurks in the background, and only really emerges fully in the aftertaste, where it contributes a warming feeling and a hint of spice. The orange, I feel, is almost completely lost. I get the odd citrussy flash, but nothing I’d really be able to pin down as orange if I didn’t know that’s what it was supposed to be. Possibly this one has lost a little of its flavour, although none of the other blends in my sample box have, so I’m thinking it was perhaps a fairly mild blend to begin with. It’s pleasant enough – straightforward and easy to drink, not too in-your-face like some flavoured blends can be. I was hoping for more of an orange/cinnamon play-off, especially as its cold out today, but I’m happy enough with how this one turned out. It’s probably not one I’d repurchase, but I’ll have no problem finishing up my sample tin. Sometimes a fairly simple, reliable black tea is just what I’m after, anyway.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 28, 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 my 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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