1388 Tasting Notes
Another Butiki sample I’ve been saving for a day when I’d have time to appreciate it. Today is still that day, apparently! While brewing, this one smells deliciously like an almond sugar cookie, or a biscotti. It’s sweet, biscuitty, with the mild, nutty, marzipan scent of almonds. It’s also another of those rare dessert teas that actually taste like they smell. On first sip, I can taste almonds. They’re reasonably delicate, but definitely there. A sweetness slowly develops, making me think of a biscuit or a cookie — something bakey, anyway. It’s possible to taste the black tea base at the end of the sip, but this is something I like. It is tea, after all, and it’s a nice counterpoint to the flavouring. It’s like drinking a cup of fine black tea and eating a sugar cookie alongside, only without the calories. Another one I’d definitely consider repurchasing — fantastic flavouring and a great choice for drinking without milk or sugar.
This was a sample with a previous Butiki order. It’s been sitting on top of my sample box, waiting for the right moment. Today I finally gave in. I followed the recommended brew time and temparature, and was rewarded with a medium brown liquor that smells sweetly of chocolate and raspberry. It tastes almost exactly as it smells, which is definitely something to love in a dessert tea. It’s quite rich, and the taste lasts a long time in the mouth. Very much like a raspberry truffle, in that respect. The chocolate is the first flavour to develop, then fresh, slightly tart raspberry, finishing in combination. There’s a little bit of black tea peeking out in the middle of the sip, but I think that actually helps to create the “truffle” aspect, giving the chocolate an almost cocoa-like edge.
I’m glad I saved this for a time when I knew I’d be able to sit and enjoy it, because it truly is delectable. Definitely one I’ll be repurchasing with my next order!
A sample from KittyLovesTea This isn’t a new one to me, but as the first White Peony I ever tried, it will always have a place in my heart. For that reason alone, it’s nice to have a little bit more of it. Time and experience have taught me that this isn’t the greatest white peony — the leaves are more black-brown than green, and certainly don’t resemble the picture Adagio use on their website (or the one on here, for that matter). The characterisitc white peony taste is still there, though — delicately floral, sweetly hay-like, sometimes slightly woody and nutty. I know now that there are better ones out there, but I still remember this with fondness.
A surprise holiday sample from Sil! Even the thought of this tea makes my mouth water, so I gave in and allowed myself a cup last night. It’s pretty good. Definitely more truffle/chocolate than almond, but I can detect a smidge of almond flavour as it starts to cool. The chocolate is dark, with a dry, cocoa-like finish. It really is reminiscent of eating a truffle! My only real sadness is that the almond is a little hard to find. It is there, but it’s buried pretty deep under the chocolate and black tea flavours. The black tea is a little astringent, but nothing terrible. I enjoyed this more than I’ve enjoyed most dessert-type teas in a while — perfect for early evening sipping!
A sample from KittyLovesTea. I have a migraine at the moment, so I’ve not really been drinking much tea today. Mostly just sitting in the dark feeling ill, irritated, and bored. I’ve perked up a bit now, though, and decided to look for something fairly simple from my box of swap teas. This one looked like a contender, so I went for it.
I actually don’t think I’ve tried a Lady Grey before, or at least not that I remember. Interesting, because I actually really like this. It tastes a bit like orange sherbet, or one of those orange cream ice lollies. The orange flavour is most prominent, followed by the black tea base, which is smooth and delicious. My brain isn’t up for much in the way of description at the moment, but there’s not much else to say except I’m really enjoying this. Lady Grey is one to investigate in the future! Thanks again to KittyLovesTea for sharing this with me!
One of my leaving presents from my last job was a box of Teapigs, and I’ve just got around to starting them now. The first one I chose was Spiced Winter — it’s seasonally appropriate, after all. It’s one I pretty much always enjoy, too. The red base is slightly woody, but the orange, cinnamon, and clove spicing more or less covers most of that up. The flavours work together in any case, so it’s actually a pretty successful rooibos to my tastes. It’s probably not one I’d look to keep around other than at Christmas, but it’s a nice caffeine free Christmas tea, and beautifully spiced to boot. An enduring Teapigs winter favourite!
Sipdown! Enjoyed the last two cups of this while watching Death Comes to Pemberly last night. I’m still pretty in awe of how much this actually tastes like Christmas cake. It’s fruity, rich, almondy and sweet. Just like the real thing! The snowflake sprinkles and light sprinkling of irridescent glitter make it look seasonal, too. My favourite of Bluebird’s Christmas teas, and a sad sipdown. Hopefully it returns to grace my cupboard again next year!
On the twelfth day of Christmas, 52 Teas gave to me…Sugar Plum Shou Mei!
I’ve enjoyed the 12 Teas of Christmas sampler again this year — it introduces me to some teas I missed during the year, reminds me of a few favourites, and provides a new and unique treat for Christmas day. As soon as I scratched the label here, I was excited to try it. I actually only got around to this one early last night. It wouldn’t be Christmas without family troubles, and it’s been pretty grim so far. I’m glad I’ve had this box to keep me going, in a way. It’s cheered me up when nothing else has. Anyway. I’m going to promise myself that next year will be different, and say no more about it.
So. The tea. I’ve never tried a sugar plum before…is there even such a thing? I imagine it’s a crystallised dried plum…a prune, then? I let the water cool and gave this about 2.5 minutes, maybe a shade over. There’s very little plum/prune flavour, other than a generic sugary sweetness. There’s a hint of it lurking in there somewhere, but it’s by no means obvious. My first thought would be to try a little sugar, although I’m pretty sure it’s sweet enough already. Hmm. The white base is nice, though. Very smooth, slightly floral. Mostly, though, I can only taste sugary water, which is a bit of a disappointment. It smells so nice dry, too! One to experiment with a little more, perhaps.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, 52 Teas gave to me…Napalm Ferret!
This is one I was interested to try this year, but which I ultimately kept away from due to the cayenne pepper. I like 52 Teas Smaug, as the cayenne in that is quite gentle, overall. I really did not like Mayan Chocolate Chai, though (what a disappointment that was!), and I was worried my experience would be similar here. I’m glad to have the opportunity to try it, though.
The cayenne is quite strong. It catches the back of my throat on first sip, although there’s not quite enough of it to really burn. I like spicy things, so possibly we will get on after all. The banana is a very clear flavour, and that I like. Frank is good at banana, and it tastes natural and sweet here rather than artificial or candy-like. It tempers the cayenne a little, too, cutting off some of the sharpness of the spice and rounding out the sip with sweetness. I’m not really getting cinnamon, or green tea — the cayenne and banana almost completely mask those. I did brew this quite conservatively, though, mostly out of fear, so possibly a longer brew time would bring those flavours out. Something to try next time.
On the whole, this isn’t one I’d look to restock. I can’t help but think that a banana cinnamon tea with a green base would have been more to my liking, but then it couldn’t be called Napalm Ferret. I don’t mind cayenne, but it seems pretty unnecessary here. All of the other flavours have to compete with it, and naturally they ultimately lose. This is undoubtedly an interesting tea, though — and a brave choice for a Christmas box! Totally unique, great name — there are a couple of things to love, at least.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, Della Terra gave to me…Figgy Pudding!
I didn’t get chance to drink this one yesterday, so I’m a bit belated with this note. It made for a wonderful breakfast treat this morning, though! I’ve not had a fig tea before, I don’t think, although figs are something I’m really fond of. I was making ice cream this morning while brewing this, so it had a good 4 minutes to brew. I added a splash of milk because the liquor was pretty dark by that point.
It works really well, I think. I almost want to say that this is my favourite tea from the box, but I’d have to go back and think about the others first — I feel like I’ve forgotten a few when making that assertion! It’s one of my favourites, let’s say. The fig flavour is strong, rich and heady. There is something puddingy about this, and it does put me in mind of Christmas pudding, in an odd sort of way. Texture and mouthfeel, I suppose. I love the flavour of warm fig here, though. It’s makes for a really fabulous, and slightly unusual, Christmas tea. A welcome break from heavily spiced blends, too! This is one I really would consider keeping in my cupboard around Christmas — it’s not one I’m going to forget in a hurry, that’s for sure!