1338 Tasting Notes

75

A word of warning: Darjeeling isn’t usually my favorite. I had to try Zen’s offering of Darjeeling though. I waited 20 minutes after I boiled the water to pour over 1 1/2 teaspoons of leaves, because I definitely know I don’t like my Darjeeling boiled. Steeped for close to three minutes. The flavor is okay (again, Darjeeling isn’t my thing!), not something I’d steep up all the time. It’s a bit tangy but also a bit sweet creamy somehow, hints of stone fruit but I like my Darj to have a TON of stone fruit. Not much muscatel. Oddly enough, if I drink a Darjeeling, I’d like it to have that explosion of Darjeeling flavor. This one certainly has more of that flavor than some that I’ve tried though.

The second steep was interesting and different, stronger in flavor, more stone fruits. I would have never guessed to steep it this way: half a mug, 15 minutes after boiling, for quite a few minutes (at least over five.)

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80

A sample from my order a while back. The ingredients sound AMAZING especially as there is no hibiscus or rosehips! I let two teaspoons of this sucker soak for 22 minutes! There isn’t hibiscus so there should be no oversteeping. The scent of the dry leaf is a fruit punch but the taste is pure sugar — it almost seems like it has splenda in it… maybe coating some of the fruit pieces? It’s very sweet sugary syrup. The cup is an off-white color, not red since there is no hibiscus. I wouldn’t necessarily call it strawberry though. It seems mostly apple and pineapple this cup around, but there is definitely plenty other ingredients in the blend. I’d keep this in stock this as a herbal!

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80
drank Smaug Tea by 52teas
1338 tasting notes

Thank you MissB for a sample of this one a while back! There seems to be quite a bit of thought to this one, as I can’t think of better ingredients for a DRAGON inspired tea… the only other thing I could think of is a Dragon Egg pu-erh for a base tea. But this is so inspired: dragonwell green for the base, a bit of lapsang souchong, cayenne pepper and cinnamon! The flavors are minimal, but if they weren’t, the base would be drowned out. I know there is definitely cayenne. My nose tingled while smelling the dry blend. But definitely not cayenne in the level of 52Teas Mayan Chocolate Chai. The cinnamon fits well but the dragonwell can’t really be boiled to get the full cinnamon kick. I don’t really notice a ton of smokiness, maybe a little to give the dragonwell depth. I love the combo in this blend but it just seems to need MORE of that combination.. maybe using more that one teaspoon would help. I can imagine a straight lapsang with cayenne and cinnamon, but I can also imagine I’d be the only one buying it. haha.

Cameron B.

I agree with you on the straight lapsang idea. I really hate it when fandom blends use ingredients only because of their name or color. If I’m going to drink a tea that’s based on a character, I want it to represent that character in its flavors. It seems like a lot of fandom creators choose the easy way out.

Sami Kelsh

What Cameron said. But then I’ve also been known to spend upwards of two months developing the flavour profile of a character, so…

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50

Thank you Dexter for this one a while back! I could tell by the dry leaf scent this one isn’t for me… it smells something like ginger, but I don’t see any ginger listed in the ingredients. It’s a smell that reminds me of allergies or something, dill or pollen. The green base is fine, from what I can taste, but it does seem like whatever that scent is takes over the green tea. Not really much mandarin either. Just not my thing! :D

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84
drank Direwolf Grey by Unknown
1338 tasting notes

Thank you Stephen Hockman for swapping! I’d say I’m a fan of the book, the first one anyway (so many books to read I haven’t read the others yet) and haven’t seen the show. Direwolf reminds me of Jon Snow, who is maybe my third or fourth favorite character in the first book, if only he’d just grow up a little bit. :D

This is a nice enough tea though – I see orange peel, lavender and lemongrass in the dry blend. The taste is a punch of fresh lavender so much so it kind of overpowers the blend. It’s nice lavender though. I’m not sure if there is actually bergamot in this one, can’t really taste it. The black tea is mild. I like it, enough to enjoy the couple of teaspoons I have anyway. For an EG it falls short, but if you forget it’s supposed to be an EG, it’s pretty nice. The second steep was just as good.

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96

Thanks so much Dinosara! The dry blend smells like a coffee cake —or some sort of spicy cake. The flavor is the same! This one is so good. I love the ripened pu-erh in this blend. Plenty of orange peels, but somehow the orange flavor isn’t there as much you’d think. This is almost like a chai with a pu-erh base but somehow the flavor is much sweeter. Maybe because pu-erh has less of a bite than black tea. I used two teaspoons with increasing temps on each steep. Even by the third cup the pu-erh in the basket barely looks unraveled so I went with a fourth… a hint of a bit less flavor but still tasty. This is your spicy cake pu-erh and it is glorious. If anyone doesn’t like theirs, I’d buy it.
Steep times: 2-3 min, 4 min, 8 min, 10 min

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95

One of my Butiki samples! I probably would have bought this one anyway before trying… it just seems like my kind of thing. I’d definitely go to Butiki for all my guayusa blends!

Steep #1 // 25 min after boiling // 3 min
I don’t like to use such a hot temp for the first steep of guayusa or yerba mate, so I’m not really following Butiki’s instructions on this one. I think oversteeping might be why most people don’t give those two bases a second chance. The first steep is really for the flavors, the second is the caffeine kick (and the flavors!) I wish the lime and the blackberry was stronger in this blend, but what flavor is there is good. Sweet dark blackberry with a tangy kick of lime.

Steep #2 // 10 min after boiling // 3-4 min
The flavor of the guayusa makes itself much more present,and I love that flavor. The blackberry and lime are still there. This blend is pretty unique and I’d certainly pick some up with my future order!

Cheri

I really like this one. It’s one of my favorites.

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81

Another one from my order! Another lovely ripened pu-erh! I’d compare this to the other that I’ve already tried, but this one seems to have slightly less of a punch. Still a coffee like pu-erh, but lacks the depth of my favorite pu-erhs. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough to steep temps though. It was also all of the crumbs from when I broke the tuocha into pieces, so I imagine the flavor doesn’t get stronger than this. Three nice steeps though and the third had the same level of flavor as the first cup did… just not as much as I would normally like!

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99

I’m sure everyone enjoyed the break from my avalanche of tasting notes while I had the Butiki traveling teabox. haha. This was certainly the first tea I wanted to try once the teabox was traveling again. MzPriss sent me a few things even though I’m eagerly awaiting her teabox that seems like it only has the best teas!

THIS tea is the highest rated on Steepster and well deserved. It’s better than I expected, and I expected greatness. I haven’t given a tea a 99 rating in a while. I used 2 1/2 teaspoons. I was able to get three really nice steeps by waiting for the first cup after boiling a few minutes, the second a couple minutes, the third just boiled. This is exactly my sort of tea. Just look at those flavor notes. I had to check the ingredients list to make sure there actually wasn’t chocolate of any kind. There isn’t. I realize that this is a Yunnan Dian Hong blended with a Fujian, but this is the kind of flavor I look for whenever I try Verdant’s Laoshan. I’ve only tried steeping one teaspoon of the Laoshan though – maybe I should try 2 1/2 teaspoons at least once. This actually tastes like melted chocolate though. With some crunchy vanilla beans. I can see how WP compares this to cherry, but I wished there would have been more of that flavor. The third steep was still very good, but it seemed more like sweet potato than chocolate. Absolutely none of that cedary oversteeped flavor. This blend is absolutely amazing and I would love to try everything that WP ever blends!

Cameron B.

My sample recommended half a tablespoon, which would be 1.5 teaspoons… Their website says the same thing. Maybe yours was written in error?

Tea Sipper

OH I must have read it wrong! I’ll change it in the tasting notes so no one tries steeping that many teaspoons. It was really good at 2 1/2 though. :D

Cameron B.

Yeah I bet it was! :D I’m an overleafer generally.

TheTeaFairy

I also use close to a tbsp per cup! I just can’t get enough of that taste…

MzPriss

:D I overleaf as well. I’m glad you loved it so much. It’s hard not to love. And it just keeps getting better. The vanilla keeps infusing the leaf and it gets yummier and yummier and smoother and smoother. It’s the middle of the night (sigh) but I think I need to have some of this right now.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hehehehe :D I will not be held responsible for you guys getting zero sleep!

MzPriss

It’s not your fault Brenden. We just don’t sleep. So when we are not sleeping already in the middle of the night – we have to be really picky about middle of the night tea. Sadly middle of the night came extra early last night :( but I have ALL the good tea so :)

TheTeaFairy

Oh no, sorry you had another bad night MzPriss….mine wasn’t very successful either so I finished my book and drank tea, the perks of sleepless nights :-)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Oh, insomnia…no good. Have either of you tried Kava Kava?

MzPriss

Awww sorry Fairy :( I SHOULD have finished my book. I got up and cooked.

@Brenden – I use valerian sometimes. Aren’t there some liver issues with kava?

TheTeaFairy

Thanks, but my insomnia is related to stuff that plants can’t do anything about unfortunately….but I’m working at it, some day I will get my beauty rest :-)

Tea Sipper

I shouldn’t have been posting tasting notes on this one in the middle of the night! It could certainly replace a chocolate dessert though. I’m sorry you guys aren’t sleeping. :/

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hmm, haven’t heard of liver issues, but possibly! Luckily I don’t generally have trouble sleeping since I started cutting out caffeine at 9pm. :) haha

MzPriss

@TeaFairy – we shall overcome and we will sleep :)

mj

I wish I could share my sleeping ability with you two :-(. I am a champion sleeper. I fall asleep pretty much instantly and left to my own devices, I’ll usually sleep about ten hours a night. But I also don’t drink caffeine after about 6 and that helps a lot.

MzPriss

I’m so jealous…

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I’m very thrilled to have had a try with the Butiki traveling teabox! thank you for starting the box! I will be writing everything for the Butiki samples in this one LONG tasting note, since there aren’t any tea shop/company names. Hopefully this teabox will educate me on the differences between some teas. I’d really like to be able to tell the difference between autumn/spring and first/second flush Darjeelings. I think the only thing missing from the box would be at least one of each sheng/shu pu-erhs for pu-erh newbies to compare. I’m not enough of a fan of raw pu-erh that I have more than one teaspoon in my possession though. I’ll be trying some of the same type side by side, especially if I want to try both.

BLACK TEAS
+*Kenyan Orthodox* – 4 min after boiling // 3 min steep
I’ve tried a couple amazing Kenyan teas before. This one is good. Hints of plum and cherry that I associate with the few I’ve had. Not too much flavor, but I love the flavor that is here. Also, tomato soup, but I wish it would leave the plum and cherry alone.

+*Assam – India #1* The leaves here LOOK like the Hattialli I love from Butiki, with a ton of golden twisty leaves, but though the cup is dark, it is very difficult to even figure out with this tastes like. Definitely not like the Hattialli that I could find so many flavors. I don’t think I’ll ever taste another tea like that one again.

+*Assam – India #3* The leaves here are much darker than #1. The flavor is also darker, but still very sweet and mellow like #1. This one has plenty of that dry grass flavor.

+*China Keemun #2* A decent black tea but it lacks all of those keemun characteristics for me. I’ve had many great keemuns lately though.

+*Kenyan CTC* I accidentally left this to steep for more than the minute I wanted. I expected undrinkablity but it actually wasn’t that astringent for a usual super-strength CTC. Just like rye bread. A nice CTC.

DARJEELING
I’m using one teaspoon of each Darjeeling but not filling the mug to the top as I usually do. I know some Butiki Darjeelings suggest two teaspoons, so maybe not filling the mug will make up the difference. I’ve also recently found out that Darjeelings are usually ruined for me with boiling water. I guess it depends on the Darjeeling.

+*Darjeeling India Autumn 2013 #1* 27 min after boiling // 2 min steep
Very squashy, which is fitting for autumn I guess! I haven’t tried this sort of tea yet. Second steep: half mug // 4 min after boiling // 2 min – completely different cup and not oversteeped so I’m still not sure what temp Darjeeling should be steeped at.

+*Darjeeling First Flush #4* 14 min after boiling // 3 min steep
I think first flushes just aren’t my thing, unless I’m steeping them wrong. The flavor is just not that great for me… what flavor there is anyway. This happened with all the first flushes I’ve ever tried. If anything with this teabox, I guess I learned which type of Darjeeling I like better!

+*Darjeeling Second Flush #6 & 7*
Maybe second flushes aren’t my thing either! These weren’t much different from the first flush, but there was slightly more flavor. But I’m not really inspired to steep a second cup OR even finish the first.

OOLONG
+*Dong Ding #1* 1 tsp // 25 min after boiling // mug 3/4 full // 3 min
No idea what temp to brew certain oolongs. I remember the Mandala milk oolong was a completely different tea brewed at just boiled or waiting around 20 minutes and I know with each oolong it’s different. Ooooo….I could try waiting 20 min for the first steeps of oolongs and then just boiled for the second steeps. I think this one brewed correctly though. The dark leaves of this one were bundled much bigger than the second Dong Ding. The flavor is like roasted chestnuts. Smooth but with a tiny bite to it. Second cup: nice as well.

+*Dong Ding #2* 1 tsp // 25 min after boiling // mug 3/4 full // 3 min
The leaves of this one were smaller bundles than the other Dong Ding. I wonder if that is why the brew was slightly darker. The flavor is stronger as well. More bite. Second steep: even more flavor but it also reminded me of kerosene for some reason.

+*Tie Guan Yin China Oolong* 15 min after boiling // 2 min
I should have went for the parameters of my favorite tie guan yin but I realized that 15 min after boiling (just boiled, 2-3 tsps.). The flavor is lighter and it isn’t a flower garden like I expect from a good tie guan yin, but this is good. Buttery, kind of more like a milk oolong.

+*Tie Guan Yin Traditional #1* 15 min after boiling // 2 min
I’ve already learned that smaller bundles and darker color means more flavor. This happened in both oolong tastings so far. This one also has something that tastes like kerosene again. Hopefully my tastesbuds aren’t like this now, but I honestly never loved roasted oolongs in the first place.

+*Mei Shan Taiwan #1* 25 min after boiling // 3 min
I don’t think I’ve ever had a Mei Shan oolong, at least that I’m aware of, so I had to try this one. The oolong are the biggest bundles I’ve ever seen. This has such an odd flavor that I don’t normally taste in oolong. It’s kind of like tomato soup but also tangy like some other fruit or vegetable. Not floral, milky or peachy like other oolongs. The cup color was light like an oolong usually is though.

+*Mei Shan Taiwan #2* 25 min after boiling // 3 min
The bundles with this one are slightly smaller and darker than the other Mei Shan. This one had a tomato soup flavor too, so it wasn’t just the other one. I guess it’s the characteristic of the Mei Shan. Interesting! The second cup had a really nice floral flavor to it I really liked.

+*Champagne Oolong* 15 min after boiling
This certainly is a flavor I haven’t had before. Very unique. I can’t really describe it but it’s sweet and it does have a creaminess to it. Really good.

+*Oriental Beauty Oolong #1*
I’ve had one kind of tea like this before. It supposedly had bergamot in it, but now that I’m trying this one, the base tastes like it has a sort of bergamot to it already. I wouldn’t guess this is an oolong looking at the leaves.

+*Ali Shan* I tried two of the Ali Shans but I’m not sure if either one was different from the other. It tasted like if a ton of different oolongs were mixed together – not very distinct flavoring.. hints of floral when it cooled. That’s too bad because I think these were the first Ali Shans I have tried.

+*GABA oolong #1* 10-15 min after boiling // 3 min
I’ve never tried a GABA. It’s supposed to lower anxiety, but I don’t think it helped mine. This looks like a roasted/charcoal oolong. With darker bundles with tinges of red. The flavor is so interesting, definitely not what I expected from these types of leaves. To me, it’s like the acorn squash that gets cut and half and baked with brown sugar and butter. Those are the flavor notes: tangy squash, butter, brown sugar. I like it.

+*Wen Shan Bao Zhong #1* 10 min after boiling // 1 min steep
Hmm.. this tastes very similar to the Bao Zhong I tried from Butiki a couple years ago! It’s very nice – light and buttery. The leaves aren’t actually bundled like a typical oolong. The leaves are long and twisty.

+*Milk Oolong #1* I wouldn’t say this is a very distinct milk oolong, and I certainly couldn’t guess it was a milk oolong in a blind taste test. I don’t think anyone should use this one to say if they like milk oolong or not.

GREEN
+*Bolivia Green* 35 min after boiling // 2 min Not sure if I’ve ever tried a Bolivia green, but this one is sure interesting. Some of the green leaves are actually compacted together… I haven’t seen that before. The taste is certainly distinct but I couldn’t even say why, so I’ll leave it at that. Good though.

+*Bi Luo Chun #1* 30 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
This one is really nice. Super creamy breaded corn, as all the green teas seem to be to me. Good thing I love that flavor.

+*Bi Luo Chun #2* 30 min after boiling // 3 min
Even though the leaves look pretty similar, the taste on this one is much different. Weaker flavor even with a longer steep time. Seems tangier. Not terrible but the first is amazing.

WHITE
+*Chinese white* 32 min after boiling // 2 min
The leaves here are all so different! The scent from the cup is lemony. The flavor is nice but not extremely distinct. Hints of lemon and cream. Must be like a bai mu dan.

+*Bai Mu Dan #1* 30 min after boiling // 2 1/2 steep
This one is kind of pickley. Not really my thing. The leaves look really nice though. Reminds me of confetti. Not the best bai mu dan now that I’ve tried some nice ones.

+*Kenya White #2* Little sickles going here – not much flavor and a lot of fuzzies in the mouth. No flavor means the fuzzies aren’t worth it. Not a fan.

+*Kenya White #1* 30 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
This is surprisingly the winner in the teabox for me! A WHITE TEA. My least favorite type of tea! It also figures, that this seems like the rarest tea of all, only nine results for ‘kenya white’ in the Steepster search and none of them look like this one. The leaves actually look like a black twisty Yunnan with plenty of gold. I certainly haven’t seen a white tea like this before. But the flavor that results from these leaves is definitely a white tea and possibly my favorite white tea. It has hints of lemon but the best thing about it is the syrupy texture. Not at all like those fuzzy white teas. This is the texture I wish all white teas would have. The cup of the color is a darker yellow. Two really nice steeps. I really wish Butiki would have sold this tea, or at least one like it.

OVERALL I’ve learned:
+First flush darjeelings, not my thing.
+I should look out for Kenyan white teas and GABA oolongs. I really liked being able to try a few different oolongs I haven’t knowingly tried before.
+Wow, two year old teas taste way better than I think they would. :D
+This teabox was a fantastic experience – also better than I expected! thank you so much!

Courtney

Great note! The kerosene oolongs sound bizarre. But the GABA one sounds intriguing. White Rhino shocked me, and sounds similar to the Kenyan White you tried here – I wasn’t expecting a white tea to rocket to the top of my favourites list.

Tea Sipper

thanks for reading that book. haha. Thank you for mentioning the White Rhino because that definitely looks like the tea I tried. Shopping list! :D

Courtney

Yes! I love convincing others on White Rhino. I hope you enjoy it as much as you did this one. It sounds really similar.

Kaylee

White Rhino is fabulous. I’ve never had another white tea quite like it.

Butiki Teas

The White Rhino was in the box. Only a few of our current teas made it to that box and they were Kenyan teas.

Tea Sipper

Ah, good to know! I had a feeling something that good would have to be in Butiki’s stock.

Butiki Teas

So glad you enjoyed it! :)

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Bio

Hi! I love tea and trying new ones – it adds a bit of variety to my day! Books, music, TV & movies are my thing… and tea, of course.

Some of my favorite teas:
teavivre.com
zentealife.com
butikiteas.com
fusionteas.com
theteamerchant.net
steepcityteas.com
bluebirdteaco.com
justea.com
singleoriginteas.com
joysteaspoon.com
dellaterrateas.com
adagio.com
52 Teas – zoomdweebies.com
tealux.ca
goldenmoontea.com
tealiciousllc.com
whisperingpinestea.com
verdanttea.com
steapshoppe.com
thenecessiteas.com
Specialteas

Most of the teas listed in my cupboard are actually sample sizes. I don’t really have 2,000 ounces of tea around here! I was bored one day and found out that most of them have only one teaspoon left… maybe two. But I like keeping them in my cupboard list for reference to what I could be sipping. Usually, I write tasting notes once for each tea. I’m still drinking them, just not writing tasting notes each time!

My dislikes: hibiscus, ginger (unless in chai), charcoal type flavors

My ratings:
95-100 – Super awesome deliciousness favorites
80-95 – Also pretty delicious
65-80 – Pretty good
40-65 – Okay
1-40 – Probably won’t want to sip it again

I’m planning on being a Steepsterer as long as there IS a Steepster, so if you’re not hearing from me, that means something happened to my health… if you know what I mean. :D

Happy sipping!

Location

USA

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