1620 Tasting Notes
A sample from Roswell Strange. Quite frankly, I’m scared by the amount of chili there is in this one. It’s not chili flakes, or chili powder, it’s actual rings of chili. I like spicy things, but I just have a feeling that this one might be more than I can really handle. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it a very conservative 1.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a murky brown, fairly typical of mate.
I took the tiniest first sip of this one, because I was expecting to be assaulted by chili. I’m actually pleasantly surprised, though, because it tastes a lot nice than I thought it was going to. There is heat, but at the moment it’s not too strong or overpowering. You can tell it’s chili, but it reminds me more of chipotle than anything. It has a mildly smoky, rich flavour, which combines well with the earthiness of the mate. A bigger sip yields a bit of a burn at the back of the throat, but (again) nothing overwhelming. I think the short brew time helped to make this one palatable!
The last very spicy tea I tried was 52 Teas Mayan Chocolate Chai, and even with a lot of milk that was too much for me. This one is much better balanced, despite the proliferation of chili. Nothing to be scared of after all!
At the moment I’m drinking a sample from my swap with Roswell Strange, which she described as a “mystery pu’erh”. It’s a tuo cha, with primarily green-black compressed leaves, and a couple of orangey patches that might be orange peel? I’m really not sure about that, though. It got a rinse in boiling water, and then an initial steep of one minute. There’s not much of a scent, other than a grassiness reminiscent of green tea, and the liquor remains fairly pale –a kind of golden-yellow. Intriguing.
To taste, this one is a little dank, and just a touch vegetal. It honestly tastes just like a green tea to me – I’d not have identified it as a pu’erh if it hadn’t been presented to me as such (and if it wasn’t a tuo cha). It’s smooth for the most part, although there’s the tiniest bite of astringency right at the end of the sip. There’s also a slightly “dusty” flavour, and a touch of lingering dryness. I can’t say that I either love it or hate it – it’s just an in-between kind of tea to me. I’m probably going to resteep once or twice, and then call it a day.
I’ve tried this one before, but I loved it so much I made sure to pick up another bag before Butiki closed. I’ve been hoarding it a little, but I finally pulled it out today. I wouldn’t want it to lose its flavour, after all! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. I’m amazed all over again at how pretty (and green!) the leaf is, at the size of the buds and their wonderful white downiness. It’s a quality white tea, for sure.
The liquor on this one is so pale, it’s hard to believe it’s tea at all. There’s a very faint yellow-ish tinge, but that’s it. The scent is pure watermelon juice, though, and so is the flavour. It’s pretty sweet, but with the slight “bite” watermelon can have and the perfect sense of wateriness. It’s just spot-on watermelon, really. None of your candy-like, haribo sweet-recalling watermelon flavour here – just natural, fresh tasting, true-to-life watermelon juice. If I didn’t know it was tea, I probably wouldn’t be able to guess.
Every time I drink a Butiki tea, it’s like saying a small goodbye. It’s sad to know I’ll never be able to get this one again once my bag is gone – all the more reason to treasure what’s left.
I’ve been avoiding this one for ages, because frankly I’m scared of it. I mean, bacon. In tea. I must have been feeling pretty brave yesterday evening, though, because I bit the bullet and made this one up for work today. It got the usual SBT treatment – 3 minutes in ¼ litre of boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold water, and then into the fridge overnight. I’m back to being scared this morning.
I took my first sip very tentatively, and was surprised to find that I’m actually okay with this one. It’s mostly maple – and the maple is so strong it’s almost like drinking maple syrup. I love maple syrup, so that’s more than fine with me. There is a tiny hint of smokiness and something a little like those bacon salad crispies, or just bacon-flavour crisps, right in the mid-sip, but it’s fleeting and really just barely there. I’m a little relieved about this, but actually it works rather well with the maple and as I drank more I found myself thinking that I could take it a little stronger. A surprise if ever there was one! On the whole, I’m pleased this is mostly maple. Maple tea I can understand! I had to try this one just for the novelty value, but I’m happy that I ended up enjoying it as well. Wonders never cease.
A sample from Roswell Strange. Apparently I’ve tried this one once before, but I only have the vaguest of recollections so it’s nice to have an opportunity to refresh my memory. I gave this one 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a decent splash of milk. I do love a decent latte-style chai!
To taste, this one’s so creamy it’s almost unreal. I’m sure the milk has helped, but it’s also the vanilla, which is by far the strongest flavour. It’s rich, sweet, and smooth with that characteristic vanilla bean stickiness. The spices emerge mostly in the mid-sip, and stop the sweetness from becoming cloying. It’s a nice balance between the initial hit of vanilla and the warming cinnamon, ginger and clove. The black tea base is pretty perfect – unobtrusive, with no astringency, but with enough body to support some milk, and to avoid tasting thin. Beautiful! This one would make a great cup on a snowy day – I might have to try and source some of this for just such occasions! Yum!
A sample from Roswell Strange. I’ve not tried many fig teas before, largely because they seem to be a relative rarity in the UK. I think I’ve maybe come across one or two before, but certainly no more than that. I like figs, though, so I’m always glad to have the chance to translate that into tea form! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it three minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden-red-brown; the scent sweet with notes of dried fruit.
To taste (and as I’d hoped) the fig is the real star! It’s so true-to-life, and very fresh tasting to the point of juiciness. It’s hard to describe fig as anything other than “fig”, but I suppose raisin or fresh date come into it a little, although milder and sweeter. It makes for a great mid-morning cup! The black base is very smooth, with absolutely no astringency. It’s a tiny bit malty (although not overpoweringly so), and really just lets the fig flavour shine. This one’s a real winner with me.
A sample from Roswell Strange. I don’t think I’ve tried a tea quite like this one before – it’s a bit of an odd duck. It’s bagged, so it’s hard to see exactly what’s inside, but it looks to be thin, narrorw strands of leaf. Some are red, and evidently Rooibos, but there are also a multitude of other colours; green, yellow, cream, some a pinky-purple. Interesting, to say the least! I gave the bag approximately 3.5 minutes in boiling water, and the resulting liquor is a medium golden-toned yellow-green. This one is truly as unusual as it sounds. The scent is very grapey, so I can see where the muscat in the name comes from. I’m intrigued.
To taste, this one reminds me of nothing more or less than grape flavoured hard candy. It’s pretty sweet on the whole, but with that slightly sour edge grape can give things. It not “muscatel” in the way of Darjeeling – more “muscat” in the way of grape Kool Aid. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but I am pleasantly surprised by this cup. It’s a pleasant, low calorie treat on a summer afternoon!
A sample from Roswell Strange, and another first. I can honestly say I’ve never tried a Lady Gaga inspired tea before! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. I crushed the juniper berries a little, as recommended! The scent of those is so good, and as close to gin as I can get on a miserable Tuesday afternoon. At least I have tea!
The dry leaf is an interesting thing to look at. Twists of Laoshan Green, a generous quantity of whole juniper berries, black, white and brown strands of wild rice, marigold petals, and the odd piece of saffron. Really pretty and rustic-looking.
Brewed, the liquor is a bright yellow-green, the scent beautifully vegetal in the way of wet grass. The green tea is definitely the most prominent flavour in the taste, but it’s sweet and grassy in the way fresh spring green teas can be, with a light nuttiness (I’m thinking pine nuts), and a touch of asparagus. It’s so smooth and buttery, it’s almost unreal. The juniper is also recognisable, coming out mainly in the mid sip. It lingers beautifully on my tongue long after the sip is over, with mild gin-like notes, and just a touch of warmth and sharpness. The toasted wild rice adds a certain genmaicha-like flavour, but it’s really mild and mostly just in the background. It really helps to give this tea depth and body, though! There’s a lot to think about when you take a sip, and a lot to taste. It’s so well balanced and blended, though, that that’s a treat more than anything.
I’m really impressed with this one, and I’m so pleased I got chance to try it – many thanks again to Roswell Strange for providing the opportunity. I’ve got enough leaf left for another cup, which I’m going to make sure I enjoy thoroughly when I’m not at work!
This one is at work with me at the moment, and as one of few black teas I have in my desk, I’m working through it fairly steadily. I’m still not massively taken with it. It’s quite finicky – sometimes I get a pretty decent cup with strong coconut cream notes (albeit mostly in the aftertaste), and sometimes I get a cup of plain black tea. It’s tricky to get right, and I’ve never yet got pie.
Today’s cup starts off as a plain black, but there’s some pretty good coconut right at the end of the sip. It’s not especially creamy today, even with added full-fat milk. I appreciate that this is a reblend, and that they weren’t always so good, but I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed with this one. Coconut, yes. No cream, and no pie. Sad face.
A sample from Roswell Strange. I’m a big red velvet cake fan, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to try a tea inspired by it. I think I’ve only tried one or two before now. I gave this bag 4 minutes in boiling water, no additions. The liquor starts off a beautiful pinky-red while brewing, but ends up more of a brownish colour with a red tint. I do wonder what this would look like with a splash of milk, so I’ll definitely be adding some to my second cup just to see!
The scent of this one is really nice – primarily raspberry, sweet and a little tart. The flavour, though, is more chocolate (in a dry, mildly dusty, cocoa sort of way). There’s also a creamy, almost thick-tasting cream cheese flavour going on, that’s surprisingly flavour accurate in a cool, tangy sort of way. The raspberry from the scent is less prominent in the finished cup, but it is there in the background. I can taste little sparks of hibiscus, but by no means overpowering so it’s not a problem. This is a surprisingly rich, flavourful cup, and I’m enjoying sipping on this while I tidy up a few loose ends at work this afternoon. A definite winner.