406 Tasting Notes
The accidental pairing of Banana & Keemun
Soooo, being a big fan of The Banana makes me quite critical and hard to please when it comes to recreate its taste.
I have encountered only one banana tea that I truly enjoyed, the others end up tasting weird to me.
One day, I was drinking some Keemun tea while eating a very sweet and ripe banana. I thought, hey! That’s pretty awesome, they taste incredible together!
Then I decided I wanted to have fun and pretend I could make my own blend. I soaked some walnuts in a Keemun infusion then added some mashed banana and a little nutmeg. Beleive it or not, it was tasty! ( but of course the texture was awful, unless you like banana grime floats!)
I started wondering how come Butiki didn’t have a banana tea to offer, cause if someone can do it right, it’s Almighty Tea Alchemist herself, Stacy!
So I emailed her and told her about the accidental pairing on Banana Keemun and my own concoction. Turned out she was already working on a banana blend! She told me she had tried a few blends so far but was not completely pleased with the results, so she gave the Keemun a shot!
The rest is history :-)
So, am I biased when it comes to describing this tea? Of course I am! But the fact that I am is so irrelevant…just try it and see for yourself! It is fantatic!
The dry blend looks amazing as always. Lots of walnuts and pieces of sumptuous freeze dried bananas! I am loving the sweet natural banana taste, and paired with the walnuts, it’s an instant cupboard classic!
I love the fact that the taste of walnut isn’t overpowering. I’m glad she didn’t put any nutmeg, it would be too much. Her Keemun makes it just the perfect base to bring it all together. And it re-steeps pretty well!
Thank you so much Stacy for giving me my perfect banana cup and making me part of that process, it was so much fun! Whenever I have a conversation about customer service, I mention you cause you are the standard in my opinion. At this rate, I think your business will unstoppably bloom, like a big blooming tea flower!
But I hope not too much though…selfishly, I wouldn’t want to lose that proximity you so graciously offer :-)
ETA: Well, this was good while it lasted…but I’m afraid it’s all gone now :-( So long Foxy Roxy, till we meet again. Don’t want to tease too much, but this little tea just got better and better, such a nice and soft creamy bananarama delight, let’s just see how long I can resist another Butiki order!
I woke up with a stomach ache. Too much food for Easter last night, and I don’t eat meat very often. So I turned to puerh to help out. As I was getting things ready, the doorbell rang. Jack, the son of a dearest friend, was at the door. We’ve known him forever and he’s family to us. Says he was in the neighbourhood and wanted to say hi. He’s a troubled 18 year old kid but he has a good heart and I love him. I have my ways with teenagers, they trust me and confide in me. I help in ways I know how. As a true teenager, he usually drops by for two things:
1- Load his ipod with awesome music for free (never a problem!)
2- Money (and I’m hoping he doesn’t ask today)
I ask how he’s doing.
That’s all I’m gonna get.
«Come, I’m about to have some puerh tuocha, want some?»
«????» then a big smirk on his face.
Oh, I get it! It’s in a wrapper half opened… from his perspective, it «kind of» looks like some other substance… He thinks I’m about to roll something??
«No silly, it’s just tea!»
I go through the process. As I’m pouring, I explain what a Yixing is and why I have to rinse the tea first. That part makes him question my sanity.
«as I understand it, you rinse it cause it’s old and dirty?Now why would I want to drink some old and dirty bad smelling tea?»
I know he doesn’t have the patience to listen to the lecture I could give him on the subject so I spare him.
«Oh Just sip it! If you’re man enough that is».
I’ve had this puerh only once, over a year ago, at a time when I could not appreciate it much. Things have changed, though I have only scratched the surface of puerh knowledge, at least I’m past the stage of being scared of it.
This tuocha is big. The first very short steep after the rinse is a dark brown purplish color. It’s so fragrant of leather, I can’t help thinking of horse stables, the smell of heavy duty leather that worn saddles are made of. It’s rich and bold. I get a faint sweetness, reminiscent of ripe figs or dates. Also very woodsy. It’s accessible I would say, a good quality everyday tea.
A much better experience than the first time I had it! I knew nothing about puerh and had done no homework. As I remember, I over steeped and the taste was revolting! Took me a while after that to start experimenting with any puerh. But I now find myself liking it more and more. There’s just so much to explore!
As for Jack, well, he just spitted his in the kitchen sink. Not his thing apparently!
The only word that came out with the tea was «Gross!». We laughed!
After the fun puerh tasting, he asked for the usual iPod refill. I was so relieved that the money issue was left alone.
Means he’s doing well this time. Sober for the last 45 days. Longest time since he was 16.
He’s not giving up. Happy fun little moments like this morning have been rare between us in the last two years and I will cherish that. Happy tea day…
ETA: This afternoon, Jack and I had this tea again. We’ve had a few tea sessions since that day, and to my disbelief, he asked if he could try the «gross spitting tea» again! (his words, not mine!) I said yes, but only if he’d promise to keep at least one sip in this time.
Not only did he drink many Gongfu shots, he actually liked the last ones as they were getting weaker. I think tea is becoming a project to him and that’s what I had hoped for…it keeps him away from other stuff that’s bad for him. Thanks to this little tuocha, we had once again a terrific time together! For that alone, I am grateful…
Thank you so much Stacy for letting me try this jewel of the mountains!
On this beautiful Easter Sunday morning, I needed the perfect tea. Time to open this coveted oolong sample.
Over the past year, I have developed a profound love for Oolongs. It has emancipated my palate by offering me an infinite range of variety and possibilities.
One thing I love the most, is the anticipation it creates each time I try a new one. Oolongs are so different from one another, on so many levels. (I realize this is fact for most teas, but I find it to be particularly true for Oolongs.)
It goes from the % of oxidization, the roasting process with the aged ones, the way it is rolled, the way the leaf unfurls, the climate it is grown in, all the way to the insect that will ignite the sweetest defence mechanism. No surprise that Oolong is on my list of this world’s greatest wonders!
Gungu brew will allow me to experience all its subtleties.
The look: beautiful unbroken leaves that unfurled rapidly. The infusion is bright yellow, almost phosphorescent, it is worth pouring in clear glass to appreciate all its nuances.
The taste is so sweet and delicate. The fragrance brings the image of a rare and fragile flower, a unique gem timidly revealing its splendour. One sip and I’m transported in altitude, at the top of the highest unattainable mountain peak. If I could take a bite out of a mellow fluffy cloud, I’d imagine it would taste just like this tea.
It is slightly vegetal, fresh notes of flowers and citrus. It is exquisitely balanced by a sweet buttery mouthfeel that lingers for a long time.
Not long enough though, cause I feel sadness when it’s all over after 6 steeps…
The fact that Mr. Right unapologetically salivated all over it (sorry for the mental image, it happens on very rare occasions) helped in my decision to immediately place an order with Butiki!
Happy Easter everyone!
Who said white teas had to be bland?
The smell of the brew: I get lost in it, tea drunk at first sniff! Oh, I could just bathe in its holy water!
It has a round texture, feels like a cloud of pudding in my mouth!
Of course, I can’t deny the freshly cut hay, it dominates this first infusion. It’s sweet and slightly flowery. Beautiful pale yellow nectar. I’m slurping it like there’s no tomorrow, thinking my 4oz Gaiwan is way too small, I’d rather have a gigantic pot of this! But as they say, with great patience comes great rewards!
Brings more sweet, honey like flavor with hints of citrus and melon in the background. I can see this being an excellent iced tea.
The later steeps are still sweet, but they also kick in with a peppery aftertaste, nice addition to the already complex symphony of flavors, it gives it a second life. It’s definitely very potent.
In conclusion, this is white tea with an attitude , some kind of a white boy with a James Brown swag signing «I got soul!!»
To me, Earl Grey is the father figure of all tea. A solid dude that you can rely on at all times.
Always there to support you, loving you and hugging you when you need to. Keeping things simple and comforting cause you know exactly what to expect.
This Earl is a very good illustration of that. Not all Earl Greys are created equally, they often are unbalanced, bergamot kicking a little too strong.
The balance on this one is perfection! The bergamot is done just right in a non bitter way, leaving plenty of room for the excellent assam base to shine through. It’s creamy without any vanilla flavouring addition.
This is my go to tea of the morning when there’s no time for fuss, knowing I won’t have to compromise on the quality.
Thank you Teajo for giving me a good Papa Earl to rely on :-)
ETA: since I wrote this review a few months ago, I have almost gone through the 2oz I bought…Today, I lost count of all the gongfu infusions I made. I’M IN LOVE WITH THIS OOLONG!!
Last Thanksgiving, I won Stacy’s contest for a Gaiwan of my choice. I was super excited and chose one especially for oolongs cause it’s 8oz and it leaves plenty of room the leaves to expend. She knows how happy I was, thanks to her, I am no longer part of those whiny people who “never win anything”! I also bought from her a clear glass cup and saucer that I enjoy using almost everyday, here’s a few pics of both:
Thanks again Stacy, love the Gaiwan, excellent quality and so pretty!
Now the tea. First aged oolong for me. Tommy the Toad’s raving reviews made it impossible for me not to buy it. Thanks Tommy, this is now one of my favorite tea and has helped me relax and focus lately.
Smoky ink black lustrous nuggets, they look like magic pebbles!
The rinse is super caramel and honey sweet with a faint mineral taste. ( yeah, I can help tasting my rinse, sometimes it turns out yummy like this one and it would be such a waste to just throw it!)
1rst steep: OMG! What? Really? Ahhh. I need more, this is so potent!
Fruity, slightly woody, strong burnt caramel. I also get buttery macadamia nuts, I get coffee, there’s so much going on, wow!
There’s also a very interesting texture to it, it feels like a silk ribbon in my mouth.
The smell of the wet leaf is very pungent, an acre smokiness that doesn’t reflect in the taste being so smooth.
The 2nd steep is still honey like, but loosing a bit of its sweet intensity, leaving room for those burnt roasted notes that are trying to emerge more strongly.
What is that “je ne sais quoi” everyone is trying to describe? It reminds me of that honeycomb crunchy toffee my mom used to make out of corn syrup and baking soda. It had a strong taste of sweet burnt caramel and a mineral aftertaste that came from the baking soda, put in there for one reason: create a chemical reaction that made the preparation look like a volcano in eruption! A pan full of lava, how cool was that?
Funny, cause in my adult life, I’m not a huge fan of sugar and desserts, but I have so many vivid childhood memories related to them! Maybe some shrink could explain that?
3 tsp Gungfu style will render about 10 steeps, all better than one another. Just like Tommy says, this tea is “Liquid Love” and is good which ever way you decide to brew it!
Because it is equally as good as it makes me feel, it well deserves a 100 rating!!
There’s something whimsical about this tea. The dry leaves look so pretty and unusual, I’ve never seen this rolling method, very different from oolong.
Before they go for a swim, I take some in the palm of my hand to observe them… they look like little silver grasshoppers about to jump!
I’m always in awe of the craftsmanship that goes into hand rolled tea. I can’t help thinking about ancient times and how luckily for us, some traditions are still anchored and necessary, too extraordinary to die…
They smell very sweet, promising a real treat when infused.
I’m using about 3 gr in a small clear glass gaiwan.
I won’t be describing infusion time cause as I’m getting more experienced with gongfu brewings, I have developed a sense of knowing what’s best for me, so I increase time as a «feel and smell» technique rather than a fixed time parameter. The purists might say I have this all wrong, but it works great for my own tastebuds! However, this method would have been such a disaster on my first gongfu session a couple of months ago :-)
The first steep renders a delicate sweet and floral taste, paired with a «not in your face» grassiness. What a nice morning buzz that is! Unlike oolong, the leaf almost opens up immediately, eager to reveal its splendor to the world!
Second infusion is a little more grassy and crisp, but still sweet . It’s delicate it every possible way, but yet, it gives such burst of flavour. The leaves are now fully opened, I think they are the most perfect leaves I have ever seen. No trace of discoloration on ANY of them… Full, beautifully twisted and unbroken, tender uniform green color, that’s got to tell you something about the way this tea is cared for when harvested…
The later steeps added more bite to the taste, tickled my tongue just a little :-)
I come to the conclusion that this embodies everything I love about green tea in one package. Like a fusion of my 2 favorite greens…
… Pssst…trying not to alert the Paparazzi Tea Press, but I think Mr Dragonwell got married to Mrs Sencha and harvested this Curled Dragon…mmmm, really wonder who it got its curls from!
Happy New Year to all of you! (Better late than never!)
The past few days, it seems that every time I’m about to sit, relax, and enjoy some time on Steepster, something happens! Today was no exception… As I was prepared to write this review I heard a loud weird and abnormal sound… looked out the window…and saw chaos! Our supposedly 4 season solarium had just collapsed under the snow! What a mess! What can I say, it’s been snowing every second day around here since the beginning of December, we just can’t keep up with it!!! On a positive note, we’ve been having lots of fun playing outside during the holidays and it makes us feel very cozy inside!
So, finally, my review of this tea. Since it wasn’t on Steepster yet, I’ve just added it with Teajo’s permission and will be the first one to review on it.
The smell of the dry blend is mesmerizing, yum, so berry-chocolaty! Very promising, my hopes are very high! But I try to keep expectations at a reasonable level, disappointment is often following olfactory ecstasy. Got to keep it real folks!
I steeped as recommended. Wow, heavenly aroma, couldn’t wait for it to cool down! I’ve tried many raspberry teas from larger flavoured tea retailers, and for me, something is always either missing, or shouldn’t be there. But I’m happy to say my quest for the perfect one is officially over, this one is the bomb!
This tea is hands down the best raspberry tea I’ve ever had! And so naturally tasting that is. I’m a big fan of raspberries, I could eat them all the time. To all raspberry tea lovers out there
(and I know there’s quite a few here) I’m telling you people, you have got to try this one!
You know what I like the most about it? It tastes exactly what I spent my money on: a black tea, complimented by raspberry and chocolate flavourings. Bonus: all natural! There. Could it be any simpler than that? Apparently, it is not that simple cause I don’t know how many times I have had flavoured teas not tasting what they were advertised for.
This one is done just right!
Real raspberries are sweet, but a little tart at the same time. I get some of that!
Chocolate is expected to add some decadent twist to the cup. I get some of that!
But what strikes me the most is the tea base. I get lots of that! The richness of full body and fresh full leaf Assam! I am totally under its spell!
See, what I like the most about tea is…tea! I will enjoy a good dessert tea once in a while, but too often, I can’t even identify what the tea base is, cause, well, it’s completely overwhelmed by the other stuff…I understand that there’s a market for that, and that people enjoy having those «desserts» minus the calories. I do too, I have plenty of them in my cupboard! But to me, it’s such a reward when I find the flavours I expect to find, with no fuss, just the bare essence of it.
Teajo seem to care a lot about the ingredients they put in their teas, and they seem to have an understanding of what differentiates a good flavoured tea from superior one: the tea itself !
I’m glad I was able to discover them through their big Thanksgiving sale, I am very impressed so far by their products, but also by their personalized customer service. Thank you Piccolo :-) I will be a returning customer…later that is, I do have to drink tons of tea I already have and keep up on New Years resolution to spend less on tea orders… (no worries, I never keep my resolutions!)
Nothing but sadness and sorrow tonight… That monstrous tragedy that occurred today in Connecticut has left me horrified. The disappearance of all those little innocent children and their mentors has crated a void on this earth that nothing will ever be able to fill.
My heart goes to all their families and close ones…I can’t even begin to imagine the pain they now have to endure…
I just turn to this tea whenever I feel helpless and need to be reminded of the true meaning of life. I desperately needed the reassurance tonight, that if evil does exist, so does greatness and beauty. This tea is proof of that.
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