918 Tasting Notes
One cup of this today. I forgot about it while I answered the phone, so it was relatively bitter by the time I fished the leaves out. Not terribly so, but…you know. I promptly returned to Mariage Freres Earl Grey French Blue. It’s more forgiving of my sluggish back-to-work brain. Maybe next week I can go back to green teas.
First two days back at work, and I have mostly been drinking this. Largely because I forgot to buy any milk, but also because it’s a relatively easy going tea. If I forget about it for a few minutes, it won’t come to harm. This is probably my favourite earl grey at the moment.
I’m going for an adventurous start to the new year, with another neglected Bluebird sample. I’m not so sure about this one. Straight off, the scent is telling me it’s a pu’erh. It’s earthy, kind of compost-like, a little bit…putrid? There’s no mistaking it, unfortunately. I distracted myself looking at the coffee beans for a few minutes — there are at least 6 whole, actual beans in this one cup sample — and then I went back to feeling scared. I didn’t give this too long in the water, because I was worried what it would turn into. The liquor is pretty dark after only a couple of minutes, and it’s quite strongly scented. Fortunately, I can detect some coffee notes now, although the overwhelming scent is still pu’erh.
I waited for this to cool a good deal before taking a tentative sip. It’s not as bad as I was expecting — the pu’erh is actually quite mild to taste, but the smell is pretty overwhelming. Deep breath before taking a sip, then! I’ve tried a couple of coffee flavoured teas before, and they’re not really my thing. Logically, perhaps — if I wanted coffee, I’d drink coffee, after all. I requested this as a sample because I was curious to try a couple more pu’erhs, and it was one of a few fairly limited options available to me. I was also hoping that the strong flavour of coffee would mask the pu’erh a little while I get used to the flavour. That was a good assumption to make, but on the whole I’m not really feeling this one. I can taste coffee, but it’s not a particularly fresh tasting coffee. I am pleased that I didn’t have to dump the cup, though. It’s pleasant enough that I’ll be able to finish it, but probably not one I’d come back to again. Sorry Bluebird — it’s not you, it’s me.mild pu-erh but you can tell it’s a pu-erh and it blends very well with the coffee.
First tea of the new year! I requested this as a sample with my last Bluebird order, and they were kind enough to oblige. I was a little scared of it — an oolong/pu’erh blend isn’t exactly something that makes my heart sing. I’m all for challenging my preconceptions, though, so I gave it a go this morning. After the new year festivities, it’s a pretty ideal choice!
I brewed this fairly conservatively — 2.5 minutes at the recommended temparature (80/175). It’s actually much more palatable than I feared. The first flavour I can taste is ginger, then a hint of orange, with aniseed coming in last. The base teas don’t really distinguish themselves. There’s a hint of earthiness in the aftertaste, but it’s nothing especially bothersome. I actually think this would make a pleasant stomach calming tea after an illness, a heavy meal or a lot of drinking. It’s a cleansing, clean taste, and it feels like you might be doing yourself some good drinking it. To my surprise, this is one I will consider repurchasing with a future order — how’s that for a 2014 start?
This is just about the only cup of tea I’ve had today — I’ve been out for lunch with family, and have only just got back. It’ll be time for more tea soon! This was a good choice, though. I know I don’t drink this half as often as I should — having it tucked away in its box maybe isn’t helping. Anyway, each time I do drink this I’m reminded of how fabulous it actually tastes. A medium-strength black base, with notes of sweet, almost syrup-like strawberry, and an underlying biscuitty nuttiness. Amazing. I’m increasing my rating on this one — I think it’s grown on me!
And another Butiki sample! I didn’t realise I’d stored up so many…
Oolongs don’t tend to be my favourite thing, so I know I’ve kept this one back largely out of trepidation. I probably didn’t need to, though, because the first flavour here is pineapple. It’s fresh, sweet, and very natural tasting. I could smell it the moment I added the leaves to the water, and the taste is just as I hoped it would be. It’s not as sweet or cloying as pineapple juice can be, but beautifully light and refreshing.
I expect that has something to do with the oolong, which brews up to a very pale yellow. This is the second flavour I can taste, after the initial hit of pineapple has faded. It’s not overtly mineral like some oolongs, but is very gently vegetal. It’s a very smooth, almost sikly flavour, and it complements the pineapple well. There is a very slight floral note, almost orchid-like, at the end of the sip, but it fades pretty quickly. I didn’t add any sugar, given that this is the first time I’ve tried it, but if I were to drink this again I’d probably give that a try. I like this, though. Perhaps my oolong hating days are officially over!
Yet another Butiki sample, again from my latest order. I have always loved assam…it was one of the first varieties of tea I tried as a child, and I adore its strong, sweet maltiness to this day. This is a fabulous one. It’s sweet and malty, as expected, but it has rich, almost spicy, undertones. It’s hard to describe exactly what I’m tasting, other than to say it’s wonderfully good. And everything an assam should be.
The lingering flavour is almost roasty, very slightly drying on the tongue. I definitely need to start putting a list of repurchases together before I forget…I’ve tried a good few teas over the last few days that I really don’t want to be without for long, and this is one of them. A smooth, refined assam, verging on compex…it’s going to take a while to get to know it properly, I think, but I can see myself enjoying every sip of that journey. Simply divine.
Another Butiki sample. I’m working through them pretty well now after they sat neglected for a while! I really did want to save them until I could enjoy them, though!
This is probably my favourite of the guayusa samples I’ve tried so far. The vanilla is the first thing I can taste, and it melds perfectly with the mint to form a lovely creamy taste. I get hints of lavander in the aftertaste, but it’s not strong. That’s probably a good thing as far as I’m concerned, as I’m not over keen on heavily floral teas. The guayusa is almost undetectable. I have a bag of Good Morning Sunshine in my stash at the moment, but this is another I’d keep around for times when I need a good wake up tea. The flavour is softer and more gentle than some of the other guayusa blends I’ve tried, but the properties of the base tea remain the same. I love this one — definitely one of the best vanilla-mint teas I’ve tried in a long time.
I woke up with a headache this morning, and knew I’d want a strong breakfast tea to help sort me out. This one came to mind — a sample I requested with my latest Butiki order. I don’t drink all that many CTC teas now, but they do have a place in my stash for days like this. Unsurprisingly, this one stands up to the pack easily.
It’s really strong, bold, black tea. I gave it the 1.5 minutes recommended, and added a generous splash of milk. It’s relatively sweet and malty, and I’m picking up a few yeasty, bread-like notes. It’s just the kind of no-nonsense tea I can appreciate on a morning, perfect for unashamed quaffing. I’ll definitely be adding a bag of this to my next order, to keep in reserve for days just like this one! Another excellent Butiki tea.
Third Butiki sample. I saved this one until evening, as I like to have a caffeine-free drink at this time of day. Coconut has been a bit of a love/hate ingerdient for me in the past, but if any company can pull it off, I know Butiki can.
The dry mix features long, thin strips of dried coconut, along with red rooibos. I brewed as per the recommended parameters, and added a splash of milk.
As coconut teas go, this is a really, really nice one. It’s smooth and creamy, with a slight oiliness, and a subtle but natural coconut flavour. The rooibos base is slightly nutty, and helps to create a pastry-like flavour. I’m not sure what else is helping to build this aspect, but the pie crust flavour really is there. When all of the elements come together (which happens best after a few sips) the flavour really is reminiscent of coconut creme pie. The coconut, cream and pastry flavours are all easily detectable, and it’s sweet and ridiculously soothing to drink. Perfect for a cold evening!