970 Tasting Notes

60

500th tasting note!

This is also my last Butiki sample, although I’ve no shortage of Butiki teas to be trying so it’s not too sad. This is probably one of the most distinctive white teas I’ve tried. I definitely get green bean in the initial sip, and then quite a heavy floral. There’s something slightly nutty in the aftertaste, too. It’s very smooth, for all that, and has a very light liquor colour, but the tea itself tastes weighty and substantial. That’s not something I’m really used to encountering in a white tea.

I’m not sure that this is one I’d want to keep around all the time — the combination of flavours is just a little too odd for that. It has shown me how unique and varied white teas can be, though. I’m really looking forward to trying some of the others in my cupboard, now!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 45 sec
Sil

grats on hitting 500!!

tigress_al

Congrats on 500 notes!
Personally, I love white teas!!

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85

Sipdown! Another sample from the Teapigs box I was given when I left my last job. I’ve had this one before and really enjoyed it, but it works better in a smaller cup than the one I had to hand. Relatively sweet, caramel flavoured loveliness. The rooibos is quite woody, but tones down well with some milk. I can’t believe this weekend is almost over, but there you go! Sherlock tonight!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
TheTeaFairy

You Steepsterites makes me want to get into Sherlock…hummmm, it is on Netflix, is it not? Something to think about :-)

Sil

Tea fairy- it is WELL worth the time spent watching. And each season only has 3 episodes of 1.5 hours. So they’re like mini movies :)

TheTeaFairy

Ok, you sold me…I think I will start tonight :-)

Sil

yay!!! let us know if you like it or not haha

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80

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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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75

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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10

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.
Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Anna

I want to try more pu’erhs, too. They can seriously range all the way from horrifying to delectable. This is a flavoured one I loved:

http://steepster.com/clareborn/posts/196900

Sil

mmm i second puerh gourmand. You might also like lupicia’s chocolate/strawberry puerh and there’s another one i can’t for the life of my think of right now..

Anna

Ugh! This website will be the death of me. Okay, FINE, Sil, adding Lupicia’s choc/strawberry to the shopping list.

Sil

be warned it’s more flavoured than puerh…whereas i consider puerh gourmand to be puerh with some flavour…if that makes sense.

Anna

It does make sense. Either way, you’re evil.

Sil

if it makes you feel better i now have a cart built at lupicia, though i will do my best not to “buy.”

Anna

That makes you even more evil, because I can’t get Lupicia tea here and it makes me want to cry. They only ship in/to France, and I won’t be in the US until March. Patience. Patience is a virtue.

Sil

they don’t ship to canada…i have to beg my tea mule to bring it up for me heh

Anna

Okay, I feel better now. Shared tea pain is lessened tea pain.

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60

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?

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

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90

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!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90

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!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Fjellrev

Yay, glad you found an oolong you like!

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100

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.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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100

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.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

It’s my favourite too!

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 25, and I live in Norwich 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’ve also never really tried pu’erh, and that’s something I’m just starting to explore.

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

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

Norwich, UK

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