1042 Tasting Notes
I’ve liked the Taiwanese black teas I’ve tried so far, and I’ve been getting along quite well with Butiki’s leafhopper teas also. On the strength of these, I requested a sample of this one with my last Butiki order. I’m drinking it at work today, and it is DE-LIC-IOUS. I followed the recommended parameters, and gave this one 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a golden brown, and smells sweet and malty.
To taste, it’s wonderfully bready. I’m talking fresh baked bread right out of the oven. It’s also highly malty, with all the sweetness that entails, with a note of caramel in the smoothness of the aftertaste. I can also pick up on the oak and plum notes mentioned in the description — they add a slightly savoury twist to an otherwise sweet cup, and end each sip beautifully, lingering a little on the palate. The star flavour here for me, though, is the initial hit of bread. It’s so clear and intense, it’s actually making me feel hungry! Definitely one I’ll be picking up with my next Butiki order!
I requested this as a sample with one of my most recent Butiki orders. To be fair, I probably should have gone with a whole bag (because I knew I’d probably love it). Maybe I was hoping to give myself an excuse to place another Butiki order? Hmm. I wonder whether that was it. Anyway, I rather like guayusa, particularly for work mornings as the high caffeine helps to get me started. I generally need all the help I can get waking up!
I almost followed the recommended parameters for this one — I used boiling water, but only left it 5 minutes rather than 6. I pretty much always under do my guayusas on time, because I don’t like the earthy base to come through too much and either cause astringency or overpower the flavouring. 5 minutes is fine for this one to my tastes.
I can definitely taste blackberry – it’s very juicy and fruity, and wonderfully sweet; not at all tart or sour as actual blackberries sometimes can be. I can also taste the guayusa peeking out a little bit — it’s earthy and a little “green” tasting (but in a good way, like wet forest, rather than composty). I don’t mind being able to taste it a little, as it actually works well as a counterpoint to the sweet blackberry. I can’t really detect any lime, which is a shame, but the blackberry is such a great, clear flavour that I don’t really mind.
I’m a fan of Butiki’s guayusa blends. My favourites so far have been The Killer’s Vanilla and Good Morning Sunshine. It’s hard to say where this one sits on the scale — about equal with the other two, I think. Perhaps it’s time for a repurchase?!
I’m not sure why this one has gone neglected in my cupboard for so long. One of life’s mysteries, I suppose! The first sip reminds me of Bluebird’s MojiTEA, only with a stronger and deeper flavour. I think the difference is partly in the base tea — this is black whereas the Bluebird is green. I also get lemon here and lime in the Bluebird, but both have the distinctive herbal-hay-citrus flavour of lemongrass, and both are drinks to be sipped in the sun! Bluebird on the beach, and the WP in a sunlight dappled forest on a warm spring day. I love that WP teas are so evocative. It’s obvious that a lot of thought and care goes into putting blends together, and that they’re inspired by strong, distinctive memories or occurences.
I used 1tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. Cautious, I think, but I like starting small and working upwards, especially with teas I’m uncertain of. The liquor is a golden brown, and the main flavour is, surprisingly, pine smoke. In my initial sips, I was picking up mainly lemon with a hint of citrus from the lemongrass. It was quite light and and very fresh tasting, with a strong hint of mint. Successive sips seem to build the flavour to more of a darker intensity, which is where the pine and smoke notes come out. The mint remains in the aftertaste, and offers a refreshing counterpoint to the heavier, more resinous flavours.
I’m not usually a fan of smoky teas, but this is another surprise hit with me. I think perhaps because the smoke is so well done in WP teas — it’s integrated well, never overdone or heavy handed, and it always sits well with the mood and atmosphere the overall cup is trying to generate. I think I’m officially a WP convert!
I’m becoming less afraid of pu’erh teas as time goes on. I wasn’t at all convinced by my first two, but as I’ve tried more, I wrinkle my nose less and less when I’m drinking them. Surely a good sign! I don’t have many black teas with me at work at the moment, so I pulled this out as a reasonable substitute for a cold, dull morning. It’s my first week back at work after my week’s holiday, so it’s been busy and stressful and more or less completely awful. A good strong tea is just the thing I need.
I was cautious with the leaf and brew time of this one, for a first try. I used 1 tsp and added it to boiling water for about 2.5 minutes. I figure I can always work upwards from here, but I wanted to break myself in gently. The liquor is a golden red-brown.
The main flavour is definitely earth. Damp, composty earth. There’s also a hint of smoke, although it’s not overpowering. It puts me in mind of a bonfire on a damp autumn night. There’s a coolness towards the end of the sip that’s making me think of mint, or menthol. That, too, is fleeting, but pleasant all the same. I’m not really getting any of the berries or sweetness mentioned in the description, but I guess a longer brew time with more leaf might bring those flavours out. Other than the liquor colour, I’m also not picking up any rooibos. I can’t say I saw any amongst the dry leaf, though, so perhaps my bag just needs a good shake! What I will say is that this is such a pretty tea. The red safflower petals make such a distinctive contrast with the dusky black-brown leaves and black-red elderberries. I like that they were inspired by a red fox in a forest, too — very atmospheric!
I’m looking forward to experimenting with this one a little more — varying leaf amounts and brew times until I find a balance that works for me. I’d never have thought a smoky pu-erh would be a tea I’d find myself enjoying, but there you go. This one has obviously been put together with such care that it’s hard not to like. A surprise hit :)
Sipdown! This is perhaps the only other Mighty Leaf I would consider keeping around, purely because it tastes so deliciously creamy, and it’s warming and comforting. Not that today is cold, but my mood isn’t particularly sunny right now. I don’t usually like jasmine, but it blends in well here, and doesn’t taste too heavily floral. The orange is the real star! A lovely morning treat :)
Sipdown! My second afternoon cup, and a very enjoyable final encounter. I love the slightly heady, floral, gin-like element the juniper contributes. It sets it apart from pretty much every flavoured black tea I’ve tried so far. Yummy AND unique — what a combination! Thanks again to Memily for sharing with me!
Sipdown! Today’s mid-afternoon cup. I liked this one well enough, but it’s not one I’d repurchase. It has a tendency to get a little bitter at times, although usually it’s deliciously creamy and fruity. I was spoilt by 52 Teas Raspberry Cream. If i ever find another tea like that, I’ll be in heaven. Until then, my search continues.
Sipdown! I finished this pouch off last night, and a sad occasion it was. I’ve been clinging to the last remnants of this pouch for what feels like a long time, but since I’m off work and in the mood to enjoy things, I figured I was allowed to finally finish it off. It came out well — sweet, almost jammy blueberry, a hint of sourness that could be cream cheese, and a fleeting taste of buttery pastry. Divine!
Sipdown! First cup of the morning, and one I will miss. I think I’ve said it before, but it’s one of the only Mighty Leaf teas I’d consider keeping on hand. There’s a hint of chocolate, but the main star is the sweet, delicate lychee flavour. The black tea base is smooth and unobtrusive, and allows it to shine beautifully. A delicious morning treat!