401 Tasting Notes

96

Stacy I hate you. No, I love you. Hate you. Love you. My wallet hates you…but that doesn’t count for anything so only love for you then!

Thank you so much for allowing me to try this oh! sooo very special and unique tea!

BUT! The consequence to that is that I will now have to brake my tea fast ( I « pretend» I’m fasting on tea orders until december, that gives me a false sense of self control, which is truly non sense and pure lie)

I don’t know much about this tea but I was immediately drawn to it when I last visited Butiki’s virtual shelves.

First the shape: surprisingly hard and rigid little green needles. They are shiny, which is odd for me, can’t think of another tea in my cupboard with shiny leaves… Can you?

They almost feel like plastic between my fingers, as if they have a carapace of some kind! The fact that they are so hard makes me wonder how they will ever soften up when brewed.

In the Gaiwan they go!

First steep renders a very light yellow colour. The smell is sweet, almost corn on a cub type of sweetness. The taste is buttery yummy… sweet corn indeed, but strangely, that sweetness collides with some tangling sparks of citrus juiciness. What a pleasant yet very strange feeling that creates in my mouth.

Not to be mistaken with bitterness, it’s more of a tang biting back at you, with refreshing notes, the sharpness of pink ruby red grapefruit comes to mind.

Saltiness emerges out of the second steep. Corn, snap peas, and that tang still very present.

4th steep was pretty much the same…

I forgot 5th steep, left it for more than 4 minutes… That seemed an awful lot considering my tiny gaiwan! Did someone mentioned PEAR? Yes, it’s in Stacy’s description. Well goodbye grapefruit, hello pear! After 4 minutes, of course it’s astringent (which I personaly don’t mind when the taste is so complex and delightful). But the pear is striking! More minerals have also emerged, that makes it «salty pear seaweed» like!

At this stage, the leaves are very soft and plump, they look exactly like Lilliputian snap peas or green beens, if I ever saw some! Could it be that Stacy really got this strange little tea from one of Gulliver’s travel, or did she go pick it up herself in Liliput? Let’s just keep the mystery alive…

You can have a look here: (yeah, that’s my new thing, experimenting with tea photos…As if my life is lacking of tea surroundings!)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/laafeevertee/8182813649/in/photostream/lightbox/

This morning, I fainted when I got up… no big deal, I have a history of that. But I banged my head a little and felt dizzy throughout the day. (Ahh!! I hear you say, that explains the Lilliputian hallucinations!)

It’s a little scary when this situation occurs while I’m alone in the house. But Doberman Dexter came to the rescue and helped me get back on my feet :-) To help me regain my equilibrium, I needed something with special energy, a positive boost that I often find in green teas. Having read some of the reviews (Bonnie’s comment about tea-buzz) I decided it was the right moment to try it.

It gave me just what I needed. It energized me and made the worries and fears go away… I self medicated in an all natural way!

I must order this in a hurry, tea fasting is officialy over! (It never really started anyway)

TeaBrat

Good luck with your self control! :)

TheTeaFairy

Self what??? I don’t know the meaning of such words… :-)

Bonnie

You write with such a sense of delight and adventure, I love reading what’s next…except the fainting and bump. I’ve passed out now and then too. The scariest was alone in the middle of the Mexico City Airport. Nobody came to my rescue either. Fast forward about 40 years and I found out why. The migraines and environmental triggers. I hope you are ok.

TheTeaFairy

thanks bonnie, I’m ok :-)

ashmanra

Love the picture! It really helped to see how unique this tea really is!

Indigobloom

oh dear, I’ve fainted a few times before as well and it is not fun. So glad you had a faithful pet to help you and that you’re ok.

canadianadia

Ouch! I hope your head feels better.
I love your description of the Lilliputian snap peas or green beans.

Butiki Teas

Oh geez, the fainting business sounds scary. Love the picture! I love this tea. I like to put it in my tall skinny glass thermos and watch the needles hang down in the water and one by one sink slowly to the bottom. So fun to watch.

TheTeaFairy

@Ashmanra, Canadianadia, Indigobloom, Butiki: : I took the picture cause I had only a sample of this wonderful tea and thought it looked like artwork in the white gaiwan, glad you liked it! (I know I have no skills in photo shooting, but it amuses me!)
I read Guliver’s Travel when I was only 8, obviously I was too young to fully understand all its subtleties, but Lilliputians made a great impression on me!
The fainting is something I’m used to…The only real danger is to hurt yourself by falling. I usually feel it coming and have time to sit, but sometimes it happens too fast! Somehow, most of the time my dog feels it before I do, that’s why he’s always next to me when I wake up:-)

Helena

what a good puppy!

TheTeaFairy

Yes helena, he is!

TheTeaFairy

Paul, Butiki is probably my favorite vendor at the moment. Stacy is very close to her clientele and as you may have noticed, she is very present on Steepster, interracting with us. Her teas might be a little pricey, but good example of quality over quantity. So many of them are unique, as if she’s on a constant quest to find unusual little treasures :-) And no, I’m not getting paid to say all this, I really mean it !
The dog is amazing, I’m lucky to have found such a protector…sorry you lost one of yours, judging by the name, Bubble must be a little sunshine, loving it :-)

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87
drank English Rose by DAVIDsTEA
401 tasting notes

Tea and Mr. Gill

A few years ago, a very old man came to my office asking for help… his wife Yollanda of 62 years had just past away and he needed help to sort her financial affairs… I remember him standing in front of me, a tall and handsome 82 year old man, and all I could see was infinite sadness in his blue eyes, completely broken emotionally. At the time, financial advice was the only help he requested, but it quickly turned into much more than that…

I became his financial advisor… money was not a problem for him, he had been in his prime a successful business man. Unable to have children, him and his wife had nieces and nephews to pass their wealth to. There was one in particular he was very fond of, Mary, but she lived in the states and he would see her only once a year. Basically, he was a lonely man.

What’s the relation with tea you are asking? Well, Mr. Gill being lonely started to find reasons to schedule appointments every weeks. It didn’t take long for me to realize that what he was really seeking was someone to talk to about his dear wife…

She had been the love of his life, and it was obvious he had been struggling everyday since she was gone. One day, after our conversation, I realized I was getting quite fond of this old man and made an offer he could not refuse: Instead of finding reasons to come and see me at the office, why wouldn’t he just join me for lunch once a week?

And so we became friends and every thursday for almost three years, we would meet for lunch at a local restaurant. He once told me I was the highlight of his weeks! The thing is we had such a connexion that the gap of generation slowly disappeared. Our conversations were sometimes intellectual but sometimes, they were just fun and foolish! I never took him for less because of his age, and he never patronized me for being younger.

One day, he didn’t show up as planed. I got worried and called his house. He was sick with the flu and didn’t sound to good. I bought some soup and brought it over. It was the fist time I ever went to his place. I remember thinking that for a man of his age living alone, he was pretty neet!

After thanking me as if I was god’s given gift, he asked if I wanted some tea. I realized that we had never really discussed tea together!

I had no clue what kind of tea he was keeping around, thinking tea bags most probably. He showed me where the tea set was. There was a lovely wooden cabinet on one corner of the kitchen I had noticed. On the shelves, there were the most exquisite china bone collectable tea cup sets. They were Royal Albert for most. He told me some of them dated from the time he got married!

He explained to me that being from England, his wife was an accomplished tea drinker and they used to share a good cup together on a daily basis. His wife’s favorite tea was black rose tea. She was having it shipped directly from England every couple of months. He still had a large supply of that tea and kindly offered me to try it. I don’t remember the brand’s name, but the tin was black with pretty rose buds painted on it. The tea inside still smelled quite fresh. He ask me to pick one of the tea cup on display, I chose the Royal Albert with the pretty pink flowers, him the Aynsley yellow set. And we drank our rose tea in our vintage bone china!

It was super tasty and rose tea quickly became among my favorite teas.

When I left his house, I remember telling him that his wife had exquisite tastes and how privileged I felt that he chose to honour her memory in my company by sharing her favorite tea with me.

Sadly, his flu turned into a complex pneumonia. I went to visit him twice at the hospital and the last conversation I had with him was about that lovely lunch we shared together having Yollanda’s beloved rose tea.

He died a couple of weeks after…

About a month later, I had a visitor at work. Mary! The favorite niece! She brought me a box…said her uncle insisted that I should be given what was inside. We talked a little, she thanked me for looking after her uncle. I mentioned to her how special Mr. Gill was to me and how much I would miss him and our lunch dates.

I brought the box home that night, still not knowing what was inside. Mr. Gill had once brought up the fact that he intended on leaving me some money when he would pass. I had to explain to him that it would be highly unethical for me to accept, but mostly, it would put a shadow on the true meaning of our relationship. He understood and never brought it up again.

So I have to admit I was curious about what was inside…

What I found brought tears to my eyes, but also a smile on my face… The vintage china! He remembered the cups we used that day and wanted me to have them! To this day, they have a special display in my house, and I use them on a regular basis. In his own way, Mr. Gill made sure I would never forget him and his dear love Yollanda!

You may have a look at them here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/laafeevertee/sets/72157631994242094/

Now this tea:

Sorry for such a long story, and such a short review, but I felt only that story could truly explain why I love rose tea so much!

It’s one of those tea you either love or hate. Yes it’s typically rosy and soapy! I happen to love that smell, it’s an exquisite feminine tea, with plenty of almost too perfect pretty rose buds.

When I drink it, I see lace and pearls dancing all around me!

It tastes exactly what it smells like, floral, sweet and elegant! The black base is from Sri Lanka, it’s very tasty with just a tad of bitterness.

I will not pretend it’s the most refine tea you’ll ever drink, that’s not why I like it so much. I like it cause it makes me happy, that’s all. It reminds me of happy times.

Thank you Mr. Gill…

JacquelineM

Beautiful story, beautiful tea cups!

Azzrian

Okay now I am literally bawling. Thank you so much for sharing such a vivid and lovely person with us all. I think I just fell in love with him too. <3

softrevolution

What a lovely tasting note. Thanks so much for sharing the story, I really enjoyed reading it. Brought a smile to my face!

Michelle

I have chills. That was a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing.

Bonnie

This is the most beautiful story! What a good friend you were to this sweet Mr. Gill! Thank you for sharing, my eyes are full of tears!

CupofTree

Wow, what a beautiful story, thank you for sharing it.

ashmanra

Sniff. Sniff. I wish I had known him! Maybe there are Mr. or Mrs. Gills out there for all of us.

Ninavampi

Absolutely incredible and inspiring!

TheTeaFairy

Sharing that story was a must for me and what better place than Steepster for that? I hope he’s smiling tonight from above… Thanks everyone, I didn’t know if my writing would portray him as grand as he really was…the fact that it made you smile, brought tears in your eyes, and made you fall in love with him reassures me, cause that’s exactly what he was about, you Steepster friends got that, thank you :-)

Bonnie

I copied and pasted this in an email to my daughter. This sounds like the perfect true Hallmark movie!

Hesper June

Such a beautiful and heartwarming story,thank you for sharing.

TheTeaFairy

Bonnie, I never thought of it this way, but you’re right… we meet lots of people in a lifetime, but only a few will leave a mark. I knew him for only a couple of years, but he made me look at my life in a different way… real life has its own Hallmark moments!

Amariel

Wow! What an amazing story!!! Sadly, I cannot tolerate anything with rose…it sets my head up for a terrible migraine, so I stay away.

TheTeaFairy

Heather, this one SCREAMS roses, so don’t even come close to it!! luckily for you, there are so many other teas out there just for you :-)

Ysaurella

Monsieur Gill était un homme remarquable et sa femme avait beaucoup de goût comme tu le dis, les tasses sont superbes. Ce sont des objets rares qui malheureusement se perdent de nos jours où on nous fait boire dans des gobelets en plastique…
Très belle expérience , merci encore de l’avoir partagée avec nous

Ysaurella

when I turn too much sentimental I always write in French…(!)

TheTeaFairy

Comme tu es mignonne Ysaurella :-) Merci! Ce que tu décris est vrai, d’ailleurs j’adore ton avatar pour cette raison, très vintage! Ok, we have to stop communicating in French here, people will think we’re being rude…or that we are using french cause we’ve been hiding the fact that we are spies! Yes, we are Steepster spies, trying to infiltrate the mysterious world of tea…

Ysaurella

Especially for a “froggy” like me lost in the most famous typically English beverage world ;)

Bonnie

I knew you two were Spy’s! How Romantic! Are you both in the latest Bond movie?

Amariel

Yes, I was close to this one once, and had to pull away very quickly.

Invader Zim

Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing. It brought tears to my eyes and put a smile on my face.

Kittenna

Wow, what a touching story. Thanks for sharing! :)

Steven

Très belle histoire! Je crois que je vais faire mon tour au David’s Tea ce midi! :)

CrowKettle

This is truly moving. Thank you so much for sharing.

TheTeaFairy

thank you all, I had no idea this story would touch so many poeple…

MissSholia

Wow, what a sad and beautiful story

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90

Thanks Stacy for providing this VERY generous sample!

She said this tea was not on her website yet, so with her permission, I will be the first one to review it…

I have tried many assams, as I love bold black teas. Before I «met» Stacy and discovered her «TeaWonderLand» , I had only encounter your regular malty slightly astringent black Assam. Very effective morning black tea that I would go to as a «favourite comfy pair of jean» type of tea…

I am excited about this one, cause I never had a golden tippy assam. Not knowing much about Khongea plantation other than it’s location in India, I did a little research and I’m very pleased with what I found out, and the knowledge added to the appreciation of my tasting.

Stacy will correct me if I’m wrong, but from my reading, this would be a second flush (may-june harvest), the period when the finest Assams are produced with chunky golden tips.

Khongea is one of the highest yielding gardens in Assam, and is often referred to as a model by the tea industry to exemplify good practice in field management, where labor workers are treated fairly and environmental issues are carefully considered.

I love the fact that these issues are important to Butiki, so kudos for that!

What comes to mind first as I’m examining the dry leaves is: tobacco! Short, thin, slightly curly with beautiful bright golden tips. I don’t get much smell from it, so I have no clue what to expect…

I’m using quite a bit (about 2tsp for 10oz), I pour the hot water in my favourite clear glass cup and within a few seconds, the colour intensifies to a point where I decide to stop the infusion at only 90 sec. (I usually steep assams for about 4min!)

Wow! The colour is a dark reddish copper, and as the morning sun comes in from my kitchen window and hits the glass, I see it turn to an almost crimson red !

The aroma is powerful and I can’t wait for it to cool down a bit…or shall I burn my tongue just a little?

Thankfully, the taste is as rich as its colour! Very malty, I get undertones of tobacco and spices with a hint of smoke. It has a sweet finish, so the slight astringency and bitterness I detect are toned down into a non harmful way.

It is said that if Darjeeling tea is referred to as “the Champaign of tea”, a good quality Assam such as this one could be referred to as “the Best single malt Whisky of tea” .

I have to agree. Basically, if I was a smoker (and a little less girly) I would (in a very manly way) cut the tip of a very expensive Havana cigar, and instead of washing it down with bourbon and whisky, I’d have this tea!

Another hit from Butiki, and I can’t wait to experiment a little more with it…

Note: I later emailed Stacy for brewing recommendation and will not be afraid next time to let it steep longer. As she was pointing out, even more complexity will emerge. Thanks to the large sample, I’ll be able to just do that!

Sil

Awesome! LOoking forward to this one!

TheTeaFairy

Sil, I have yet to try a butiki tea that I don’t like…she is one of my favourite tea merchant at the moment! Everything I try from her is a novelty :-)

Sil

heh there are a few from stacy that i don’t love as much as others but overall i think she’s got wonderful teas!

Scatterbrain

REALLY can’t wait to try this one. And I need to get some more Royal Golden Safari, Taiwanese Assam and Gui Fei oolong.

Bonnie

Very thorough and informative review. You did a great job here. I love me a manly tea! Straight forward, strong and with muscles! (If you can’t have the guy, have the tea I guess!)

TheTeaFairy

Scatterbrain, this one will not let you down… I took advantage of the recent low price and stocked up on Taiwanese Assam, which is so far my favourite Assam ever, but this one is pretty close…

Sil

Bonnie! hahaha you kill me! too funny

Now to stalk stacy until she posts this…

TheTeaFairy

Bonnie, thanks! P.S. please don’t pretend you can’t have the guy!

Scatterbrain

@TheTeaFairy, I strongly recommend you try Rishi Tea’s Ruby Black (Hong Yue). It’s another Taiwanese Assam but higher-end and with a lot more complexity. Butiki’s is more simple and comforting while Rishi’s is more of a special occasion kind of cup. It’s 15 US dollars for 30 grams but it’s well worth it.

Butiki Teas

TheTeaFairy-Yes, you are correct. Nice research!

Sil-Hahaha, well its technically available for purchase ($4.75 an ounce). Everything is ready except the pictures and I can’t take pictures until its sunny again (which sounds like it won’t be until Thursday).

TheTeaFairy

Thanks Scatterbrain, will check them out for sure!

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84
Fifty Shades of Oolong…

Lazy sunday afternoon….

Yes, so I am finally reading Fifty Shades of Grey… I resisted all summer long, being constantly hassled by friends: «Oh, you MUST read it, Oh Christian Grey this, Oh Christian Grey that!», I’m telling you, a bunch of puberty high school girls! (giggles)
To the point that I thought for sure this book was overrated, too much fuss and publicity surrounding it.

I was kind of suspicious of an author made famous instantly for writing a few hot and steamy sessions. But my curiosity got the best of me, and I caved in! I will admit that Mr.Grey has something on the collective fantasy world of women… Not highly intellectual literature, but hey, can a girl have some pure entertainment readings once in a while?

So I thought I’d pair this book with a «hot» tea, something sexy of course…

Mmm, some Ginseng love potion?

My first ginseng tea ever…I ordered 100g strictly based on *Roughage*’s review, he had mentioned he could taste Fisherman’s Friend cough drops. I adore them and thought it would be wonderful to find a similar taste in a beverage.

Dark bluish green little nuggets, how unusually shaped they are! I am so curious about them… I brewed the tea in my glass pot in order to watch the leaves doing their dance. 90 sec. They barely opened up, they are rolled very tightly. The infusion turned slightly green, darker than most oolong.

The aroma is definitely oolong, with a twist of…je ne sais quoi…

The taste:

Miaow…This is really fifty shades of flavour! How can I describe it?

I understand the cough drop reference, some kind of eucalyptus freshness surfing in my mouth and tingling my tongue, coating and warming my throat along with the buttery taste of oolong.

It also reminds me of some vintage candy my grandma used to give us, in french, they were called «Boules Noires» (doesn’t translate so well in english, but if you want to know, there you have it: Black Balls)

That’s exactly what they were, little black balls, hard as a rock and as you’d let them melt in your mouth, they would change colours… Lots of fun and very tasty! As I remember, they had a sweet liquorice fresh menthol feel to them and this tea is very reminiscent of that. I am really enjoying this.

Second steep and the leaves are on their way to unfurl, but not completely yet. I know some of you mentioned that the ginseng powder was pretty much gone after first steep, but I still get quite a bit of that flavour. It is more subtle though, and the oolong is more present. This oolong is very buttery, in a baked cookie kind of way.

I don’t know how many infusions I will get out of it, but this is what I’m having for the rest of the day!

It was the perfect choice to pair with what I’m reading at the moment… just like the book, it made me blush a little :-)

Ysaurella

never heard about these famous boules noires in France. We had “boules magiques” an awful enormous hard candy with several flavor layers and, in its middle, to finish a chewing gum.
I wonder how these boules magiques didn’t manage to eradicate all French teenagers by suffocation …it was really a huge ball…

The tea seems amazing (not sure for the book…but Frenchs have Le marquis de Sade !)

TheTeaFairy

@ysaurella: Oh, we had those awful «jawbreakers» here too, that’s what they were called «casse gueules»! that’s literally what they were! And for the book, I know it just came out in french, it is called Cinquante Nuances de Grey, but I’m reading the english version. I’d say not quite as twisted and tormented as the original Le Marquis de Sade! More of a romantic version :-)

momo

Fifty shades of Grey = Twilight fanfiction with character name changes. Really. Someone found her original work and put it into one of the websites that can find plagarism, compared it to the book and it was a 95% match to the original. So. Bad.

TheTeaFairy

@momo: I know I am also one the last woman on earth not having read the twilight series so I’m afraid I can’t compare…But if it is 95% of the same, than I don’t understand the big fuss about twilight either! However, I still find it somewhat entertaining :-)

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100

TEA & NASCAR, the sequel

Oh, if I keep on disappearing like this, you good Steepster people will just forget about me! Please don’t, I’ve got potential I promise!

This time, I will spare you the details of my recent ordeals and the object of my disappearance, too complicated! Straight to the tea story.

It was Mr.Right’s birthday… and I wanted it to be real special.

Heart coming out of your chest special.

Jaw dropping to the floor special.

You get that.

I’ve had to prepare for a whole year and keep my secret. That was tough! The surprise has to do with Nascar. I wanted to offer the gift in the most unexpected way…

I thought of his last Nascar adventure this summer that also involved my Butiki tea order (read my Butiki Flowery Pineapple Oolong review for details). I thought it would be fun to bring tea and Nascar together again. My big passion meeting his!

We celebrated his birthday on Saturday, that’s when I gave him his “fake” gift in order to keep the real thing for this Sunday’s ordinary moment. (I like him destabilized.)

As I’m preparing breakfast, I ask: «Could you bring my Butiki box please? The black one with the golden trim». (I keep identified metal boxes for each tea stores, Butiki has one of the fancy box cause I consider them fancy teas!!)

He hands me the box. «Honey if you don’t mind, please open it and fetch the Premium Taiwanese Assam sample, I’ve been wanting to try it for awhile».

His reply: «If you don’t mind, I’ll let you do that, Too many pouches to go through».

Sigh. What now, he MUST open the box. Period. How frustrating, you have this beautiful scenario all written in your head, and right from the start, you get no cooperation.

Second attempt: «Can’t you see I’m preparing YOUR breakfast? Enough said, be a darling and get me that tea. please».

I get “the look” for that, but sure enough, he opens the box. He doesn’t even pay attention to the VERY OBVIOUS rolled parchment paper sitting on top. Diligent him, he tosses the parchment aside cause he’s taking his “assignment” seriously. He’s looking for a mini pouch of Assam, no interrest whatsoever in that very intriguing piece of paper… totally CLUELESS!!!

«Got it!» he says, victorious. He hands me the pouch and turns around leaving everything there.

????

«Aren’t you gonna put the box ant its content back to its place?»

Here it comes, I get the Gee whiz, you’re so bossy this morning!» comment.

It’s OK, I’m willingly taking the heat, totally worth it.

He takes the parchment back in his hands, and it finally dawns on him to ask: «What’s this?»

«Well, I don’t know, maybe you should open it and read what is says!»

Now I get the suspicious look and he starts unrolling. About time! I’m not kidding, his mouth literally opens and stays that way for at least 15 seconds! Happy me, that’s what I was aiming for!

«Is this for real?Do not mess with me woman, tell me this is not a joke»

«Happy birthday mon chéri. No joke. You are going to the Daytona 500 opening race in february. Oh, and by the way, it’s VIP. VIP week end, VIP pass, Fan Zone included. And I think it is mentioned somewhere that you are going with your Nascar body. I’m sure you’ll miss me, but I’m sitting this one out, that’s how much I love you».

Yep, I’m sacrificing a couple of days at the beach in order to give him the ultimate experience. I’m not a race chick, what can I say? In order to live the moment to the fullest, I feel he needs someone by his side who can also fully appreciate it… His best Nascar body!

This moment will stay engraved in my mind forever. Can’t underestimate someone’s passion for something. Yes, he’s getting older, but his heart is the one of a 10 year old right now.

Later, I had my Assam. Well deserved I’d say!

I was very curious about how it would compare to Butiki Organic Assam. I followed the recommended steeping of 3 min.

Oh my, wow! What is this? First, I must mention how interesting the wet leaves are. They are much larger than other Assams and are fully opened after first steep. I couldn’t help examining one, it has the texture of tender steamed spinach. They smell divinely of chocolate and cinnamon. They rendered a deep orange amber liquor.

First sip fills my mouth with sweet potato, dark chocolate and cinnamon. Bam! So unexpected from an Assam, so sweet, as if a few drops of maple syrup had landed in my cup. But, no, it’s natural goodness.

Oh my, I could have this all day long. It’s hard to compare to some other teas cause I feel it is totally unique. But if I have to, I’d say it resembles Teavivre Monkey Black for its very chocolaty distinction.

Organic Assam is closer to your regular big bold breakfast tea, which I also adore for these specific reasons. But this is taking me somewhere else!

Oriental exotic sweet and spicy notes, awakening all my senses. I wish I had more, I would brew it a little stronger. As it cools down, it gets a tad astringent, and I can taste the raisins that are being mentioned. I’m not a big fan of hard liquor, but for some reason, I would pair this hot beverage with a splash of rum on a cold winter day!

Looks like this one is making my must have list.

In conclusion, I love surprises, in any shape or form. This tea was a big surprise and was perfect for the occasion, thanks agains Stacy for thinking I would love it, you were spot on!!

momo

Love the surprise! Also very jealous because I am missing out on my favorite race this weekend to attend (Petit Le Mans) to work that night! Also love the way you did the surprise. It’s always fun to make them work for it!

Hesper June

Wow! You are awesome!

Butiki Teas

Wow, awesome gift! Very creative way to trick him. I bet he was very surprised. That’s so cool that our teas were part of the trickery and that we get a fancy box. This is one of my absolutely favorite morning teas. I let it brew for like 5 minutes, love my morning tea extra strong.

TheTeaFairy

@Momo: oh, I recognize you! haven’t been on Steepster for awhile, guess I’ve missed on why you’ve had to change your identity. Hope it’s nothing serious!
For the surprise, well with him, I have to be creative, and the way to go about it is through simplicity cause he’s naturally suspicious. That’s why I did it the day after his actual birthday when he wasn’t expecting anything else!
P.S. hope you don’t miss on too many races because of work schedule!

TheTeaFairy

@Hesper: He’s the awesome one, that’s why I don’t mind going out of my way for him, he’s worth it :-)

@Butiki: Believe me, you deserve the fancy box! This one is on top of my list, can’t wait for a longer and stronger steep!

momo

Good :) Just a little thing with my job happened, kind of creepy but hey I’ll change my internet identity to have both fun on here and make money.

Bonnie

What a great romantic story…sigh…he should sweep you off your feet and repay you with unending flowers, kisses and cups of tea. Tell him grandma Bonnie says he should learn to make you breakfast in bed! Romantic! (maybe he does this already…your Mr. Right!) I love this!

TheTeaFairy

@momo: oh, work related, that’s a tricky one. whatever happens, definitely keep the fun around!

@Bonnie: you’ve seen his picture, he is what he looks like: a great guy! As for your comment, I will make him read it, breakfast in bed next week end sounds great! Too bad cooking is not his thing, oh well, he’s not perfect! We’ll have him stick to cup of teas, flowers and kisses!

Ninavampi

Love your story!!! It was totally worth it! :)

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82
drank Organic Assam by Butiki Teas
401 tasting notes

So this is the first tea I choose to have out of order #2 from Butiki.  Yes,  2nd order within the last 3 weeks… Evil Temptress Stacy is to blame for making her teas so incredibly irresistible! 

Just as I was thinking that instead of reasoning myself on order #1, I should have gone for the 75$ purchase at once in order to save on shipping, I got an email from Stacy advising me that a free shipping promo was coming for labor day week on the following Monday.  Since I was missing on that promo cause I had ordered too soon, she offered me to choose another tea free of charge, that equaled the shipping price.

Now, that’s how you keep clients around for a long, long, time!  I chose Exotic pear which does smell fantastic, but this morning, I just had a too strong attraction to Assam… 

I love Assam, I  do like my tea bold and robust, after all I am a Canadian woman! ( comment directed at tunes&tea for his Canadian Breakfast review, lol).

I know this type of black tea is not loved by so many, it is often very strong and can be astringent, but that’s something I seek in the morning as a breakfast tea…

I went 1 minute over the recommended steep of 4min 30sec, and still,  the astringency is close to inexistent. What a nice mellow Assam! It makes me wonder if this is a first or second flush,  I’ve read that second flush Assams are sweeter and less bitter. 

Don’t get me wrong, it might be softer than most Assam I’ve tried, but it’s still very bold with lots of character! 

It is full bodied, nice big dark amber color, rich cocoa feel, malty and sweet with no bitterness.  I have mine straight, but  I have no doubt it would sustain milk and sugar and not get lost in them.

I’d say that if this type of tea normally scares you, this is the one to try.  

Conclusion: Although I can handle a strong black tea, I love that this one will satisfy that need but will also offer a tender, softer side in addition. 

At a special price of $2.80 for one once, I only wish I had ordered more!

In my order, I also got a sample of Taiwanese Assam, can’t wait to compare the 2, the description is mouthwatering!

ashmanra

Lol! She’s a lumberjack, and she’s okay! A la Monty Python! :)

TheTeaFairy

You got that right ashmanra!

Azzrian

This sounds excellent! I like my morning teas as you do as well.

TheTeaFairy

Yep, Azzrian, Nothing like a strong tea early in the day, and this one accomplished its duty really well this morning!

Fjellrev

Mmm, Assam. I’m totally going to try this out if I ever get around to making an order.

You must also have buttered scones with tea. :D

TheTeaFairy

Incendiare, buttered scones would be delicious for sure. However, for me Assam is more of an “egg & bacon” type of tea :-)

Fjellrev

haha oh no I definitely agree. It’s great with very savoury meals. I was just making another reference to the Lumberjack Song.

TheTeaFairy

Hahaha! Sorry Incendiare, I missed out on that one! I just thought you might have some British roots or something :-)

tigress_al

Yep! Canadian women like strong black breakfast teas!!
I also have the premium and want to compare to this organic assam version. I look forward to your comparison!

TheTeaFairy

tigress, I also look forward to read yours :-)

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95
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
401 tasting notes

2nd review…

As I woke up this morning, before I had this wonderful tea, I asked myself a question:

IF…  there was only one tea left on this earth, what would I want it to be?  

IF… I had to choose only one tea that I would have to drink for the rest of my life, which would it be? 

There are several ways to ask the same question…bottom line, for me the result is always the same:  VERDANT LAOSHAN BLACK.

Why was I asking myself this question? Well, I just bought a new tea book, and this is how it opens:

«Tea is a friend of meditation, keeping the heart immerged in profound tranquility.  Tea is wings of imagination, lifting  people above the mundane world while remaining clear minded, getting people nearer wisdom rather than losing sanity.»  

Could the meaning of tea be expressed in a better way? 

Why do these words hit home for me? I have to quote myself from a previous review: «Tea protects me from insanity, people around me know, tea is my religion, a sacred temple, an escape, a source of inspiration and meditation».

When I wrote that, I meant it, of course but it was several months ago, and I had never tried a tea of exception such as this one. I now come to the realization that not all teas can make you feel this way…In retrospect, I now understand that the true meaning of my own words comes alive with this tea. 

I don’t know if what I’m trying to say comes across clearly enough.

See, I don’t really have a rating system, I go as I feel at the moment I write my review.  From now on, in order to give a rating of 100, a tea will have to make me feel the way it is so beautifully written in that first page of this new tea book of mine.

Laoshan black does…

Having said that, I hope there will never be only ONE tea left on this earth! What a sad vision :-(

Indigobloom

this will never happen!! we must take care of our planet… so that there is always tea! (and everything else of course:P)

TheTeaFairy

Indigo, thanks for mentioning that, taking care of our planet…

Bonnie

I know from all I’ve learned about Laoshan Village that the He family would be pleased that you love the tea they grew to share with you. You understand how special it is and have made the connection beyond the flavor in the cup. This only can happen when you are tranquil and still. Taking time with tea is hard at first in our hectic society but worth the effort.

TheTeaFairy

As a matter of fact, I respect this tea so much, I will have it ONLY if I know I have TIME or it…As you mentioned, there’s real people’s labor behind this tea that we must be thankful for.

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81

Ode to Butiki tea:

As a free sample it came,
From Stacy, that was her name

Black Ceylon mixed well with some spices,
Those flavors go straight to my senses.

Plump Pumpkin-Cream sweetness,
Renders so much “yumness”!

Clouds of cinnamon, nutmeg,
More, Oh! More, please, I beg! 

What, why, is this not a Chaï?
Oh well, then I’m mystified.

Such as, it brings comfort,  
Pure bliss moment, too short!

So please honey, stand up, 
Just pour me one more cup !

The end.  I get it, not Baudelaire material… but still an honest effort from TheTeaFairy.

Bottom line:  me like this tea! 

Helena

if Stacy made a pumpkin chai what would I order from David’s Tea? as I have no doubt hers would be better :D

TheTeaFairy

Yes, it probably would!

Bonnie

Because? She used no artificial flavorings… Nada! Nothing! Nunca! Nill! Rien!Whooptee do!

Mélissa

This sounds fantastic.

TheTeaFairy

Spot on, Bonnie!

TheTeaFairy

Mélissa, I strongly recommend you to add this one on your next tea shopping spree:-)

Dylan Oxford

Haha, awesome

Mélissa

Oh I just bought it. You convinced me :)

Hesper June

Love it! both the tea and the poem!

Azzrian

Great poem!

tigress_al

Funny poem!

Butiki Teas

That poem made me smile :)

TheTeaFairy

That was fun, thanks poeple for your encouragement in my so called «poetry»!
@Mélissa: glad you caved in!

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87

THANK YOU STACY FROM BUTIKI FOR THIS PRE-RELEASE SAMPLE!

So I got this as a free sample from Butiki in my recent order…a handwritten note from Stacy said: 

«brand new Watermelon Xylophone which has not yet hit our website!» 

How cool is that???

Made me feel so special!  I asked her if she would want me to add it in order to review it or wait for it’s official release.  She graciously provided the ingredients so I can do a proper review. 

The tea is pretty, what isn’t pretty about silver needles?  Also, blended in are some cute pinkish purple Globe Amaranth petals.  Now I had to google that!  Call me ignorant, but I had no clue what they were;  

«an all-time flower-gardening favorite. It seems to have it all — it thrives in hot conditions, it blooms nearly nonstop, the interesting pom-pom flowers are great for cutting and drying, and it attracts butterflies. Plant globe amaranth and then step back to watch it thrive and add continual beauty until frost.».  Well I need to get me some of those!  

She had also written on the note some thoughtful recommendation for brewing instructions: « we highly recommend adding sugar to that tea or waiting until the tea has cooled down significantly»

Hummm…  I rarely add any sugar to anything.  And not trying the tea while it’s hot?   Ask a girl NOT to do something and what will she do?…

…I had it hot, with no sugar… Common, I didn’t intend to have it all this way, just have a sip out of curiosity!

It was very delicate, as a good silver needle.  But not much flavoring going on, I could barely detect any watermelon.  A slight flowery taste emerging, but that’s about it.  

Conclusion:  got to listen to the maker and add sugar.  I added about 1/2 tsp of pure coconut sugar and I let it cool down for a while. The taste:  she knew what she was talking about… Watermelon?  Oh yeah!  Just like magic, the sugar brought that flavor out, all of a sudden, it’s juicy and luscious. Not in a bold in your face kind of way, but as a real watermelon squeezed juice, as if you just did that, squeezed a large wedge of watermelon over  a fresh cup of silver needle.  There’s also that flowery taste that lingers in your mouth…Feels like a summer reminder, already taking a step back and inviting autumn to take over…

I’m in love with Butiki, I feel as if I never had «real» flavored teas before!

Now why is it called Watermelon Xylophone? I know it’s most probably far from the truth, but here’s my interpretation:  first, the needles do remind me of the long keys of a xylophone.  And just like a xylophone, the taste escalates and explodes in a beautiful ascent!

I feel so honored I got to try this! 

momo

Oh my gosh, this just made me more excited for this tea. I can’t wait to order it when it’s out!!!

TheTeaFairy

I know!! I’m still not over the fact that I didn’t order Flowery Pineapple oolong…now I have another reason to re-order from them, as if I need one…Not funny, soon I’ll be facing bankruptcy because of severe tea addiction!

Butiki Teas

I love your guess for why the tea is called Watermelon Xylophone. Much more poetic than how it came to be. :)

Sugar is really needed for this blend or at least it needs to cool. If I had added the dried watermelon the natural sugars could have enhanced the flavors but I couldn’t find a suitable watermelon that met our standards. I searched the web but did find an amazing dried watermelon on nuts.com. Yum. Sort of like a natural watermelon taffy. Unfortunately, it had to much moisture to be added to tea.

Sil

Awesome so glad you got to try this ahead of time. I’m actually tempted to try it now as I wasn’t before since I usually don’t like watermelon flavored things. Really looking forward to the grapefruit one.

Bonnie

Very nice. The fact that you too time with this tea and explained everything is so good. Sugar can be important sometimes but not always to the taste in tea. Also, the tea mixologist knows what they’re talking about!

mpierce87

OK you sold me. I must have this when it becomes available. :-)

Fjellrev

I’m liking the name of this. :)

tigress_al

Sounds yummy! Nice preview

TheTeaFairy

@Butiki: can’t wait to find out the real story behind the name:-)

TheTeaFairy

@Sil: Yes, I think you should give it a try, the more if you’re not a big fan of watermelon since it’s not a Jolly Rancher type of flavoring!

@Bonnie: I’m learning about putting sweet in my tea when it’s needed. Don’t hate me for it, but I’m not much of a sweet tooth. The only sweet I usually get is from fruits (lots of them!), dark chocolate and dessert tea! What I’m now getting is that SOMETIMES, sweet (when added in the right amount), enhences the flavor as opposed to mask it. This tea was a good example of that:-)

Butiki Teas

TheTeaFairy-Should have the story up on our blog today. :)

Butiki Teas

Watermelon Xylophone has officially hit our website! :)

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92

STACY FROM BUTIKI, THANK YOU FOR THIS SAMPLE!

First order with Butiki came on Friday.  But did I know it came on Friday?  No I didn’t!  And why didn’t I know?  Cause Mr. Right was having a bad case of Nascar fever, that’s why!  ( Nascar week here in Montréal.)

See, Mr Right is in charge of picking up the mail everyday (We live in the country and don’t get mail delivered at the door). 

 I don’t know if some of you are like that, but when I have tea on it’s way, I become very anxious and kind of obsessed with cheking the mail…rings a bell? sounds familiar? So before I left for work Friday morning, I asked:  «Honey, before you leave for the race, could you please make sure you go pick up the mail?»  

What I’m thinking is «Oh! Please Tea God, make sure my tea has arrived so I may have a heavenly tea week end!»  (don’t laugh, you all know THERE IS A TEA GOD, so don’t pretend you never pray for him!) 

Of course Mr Right said:  «I will go for sure, don’t worry.» And I beleived him.  I trusted him. No reason to doubt him.

When I came back home Friday night, there was no package on the kitchen table. Oh well, I thought TEA GOD must have been too busy for me…

So I was a Nacar widow for the week end…every year he spends Nascar week end at the race track in Montreal with my broher.  They have a men’s week end, with men’s food and men’s beverages that won’t incude tea of any kind. (so they thought…) 

On Saturday night, Mr Right calls to check on me.

He’s having a blast. 

Happy for him, really.

He asks why am I not more enthousiastic for him. ( I usually am…)

I tell him about my anticipation and then my dispointment for not getting the tea.

Basically, I’m in a tea depressed mood. There, I’ve said it!  

 Oh-oh… I sense a discompfort at the end on the line.  silence.  never good.  

Then, the bomb:  «You know, when I picked up the mail yesterday morning before leaving, there was a small package.  I didn’t really look at it, sorry.  I just remembered now, I forgot it in the car…ooops…»

Words are sinking in….  forgot it in the car… forgot it in HIS CAR!  Been sitting there, in the heat wave for almost 2 days, can’t be good!  I try to compose myself, I have a nervous twitch going on, but I manage to maintain a hint of normalcy in my voice.

«Honey, you know, heat is not the best thing for tea… and why did you think I was asking you to pick up the mail on Friday?  Why am I usually so anxious to get the mail?  TEA… yes, my love…TEA. You should have guessed.»

To his defense, Nascar is as much of a passion for him than tea is for me. ( well maybe not quite AS MUCH, but close enough) 

So compassion sets in, and my love for him releases the tension.  

A simple «Can you get them for me and put them in a cool place until you come back?»

 leads to  «Ok, now can you open Pineapple oolong and descibe how it smells for me?»

And so he did for all the pouches!  We had «phone tea» together and we loved it:-) 

He then told me he had too much beer and was contemplating the idea of making a cup of Orange Creamsicle!

Yes, he ended up having my heavenly tea before I did!  Both NASCAR GOD and TEA GOD working wonders for him this week end! What can I say, he’s a very deserving dude!

He came back this morning, a little ashamed of himself, but the tea was preserved! 

I had to try this one right away!  Mr Right said on the phone that it smelled just like pineapple Lifesavers. That’s exactly it!  Mmmm…the taste is so pineapple and natural! I haven’t indulged in a good fruity flavored tea in a long time.  This one is spectacular!  Exotic and creamy…but the taste is light and refreshing, with an all natural sweetness at the end. The oolong is a good quality one, does make a big difference.  Too often, the base tea is of a lower quality in flavored teas.  Butiki, from what I’ve been reading on Steepster, never does that. Those pineapple chunks are so fragrant! And the calendula buds make this blend so pretty! In fact, I find all teas at Butiki are pretty. As if Stacy blends them with all the care and love she thinks they deserve. She probably does!

This one is a hit, and I will definatly order it next time. 

I have to mention the incredible service I received from Stacy.  She made me feel so welcomed as a new client!  I loved the attention and the special samples she so graciously included.  Sets apart from competition, just love a vendor that makes you feel special :-) 

Thanks again, can’t wait to try the rest of my bunch! 

Butiki Teas

“Phone Tea” gave me such a good laugh. Thanks for the compliments :)

Bonnie

Oh this was such a wonderful and fun review to read. I hope you write more. I want to see the movie version of this TEA/ NASCAR relationship with the accent and all which I wish I had. All beautiful and charming and magical!

TheTeaFairy

@Butiki: yes, our «phone tea» session was a lot of fun, great way of getting a good description! As for the compliments, they are well deserved!

TheTeaFairy

@Bonnie: thank you, what a nice compliment coming from you! The movie would be boring I’m afraid…regular folks with regular lives! But we always try to put the fun in it, especially when going through rough times…I WISH I could write more! Couple of vacation days coming my way, stay tuned:-)

momo

I love when tea and racing can come together! There is actually a tea from a company in Singapore, TGW or something like that, called Race Day! The only place in North America with it is over in Vancouver and they want waaaaay too much for shipping so I am waiting for the day I make it to Vancouver to get it.

Sil

That sounds fantastic! I love that he would have “phone tea” with you :)

TheTeaFairy

@Sil: yes, he’s funny that way!

CupofTree

It was such a joy to read this. Thank you for sharing :)

TheTeaFairy

@Amanda: on the contrary, I would never have mixed the two! But I know your likings for racing, so you obviously have more experience than I do with combining tea with cars :-) Hope you get to try that tea soon, sounds like you’ll have to come and visit us here in Canada!

TheTeaFairy

@CupofTree: Thanks! Always nice to share a story here:-)

tigress_al

Lol, your story made me laugh. Tea tells a story on its own…“the Nascar adventures of Flowery Pineapple Oolong.”

TheTeaFairy

@tigress: hahaha! Love the title, now that could be featured as a movie title, maybe Bonnie was right in her comment afterall, should I present the idea to Pixar for their next animated car movie?

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Profile

Bio

I am French Canadian, so please forgive me if my English is not always perfect!

My relationship with tea in a nut shell:

I’m married to straight Blacks. I have torrid love affairs with Oolongs. My BFF are Greens. I socialize more and more with Pu’erhs. I have distant White acquaintances that I visit once in a while. I party with Flavored!

Love Steepster, a place for tea lovers, where you learn and share with others…

About me:

I am a free spirit, I let people be who and what they want to be and expect the same in return.

Books! I love French and classic literature, but also modern and pretty much anything that captures my attention.

As tea and books, music is something I can’t live without! From Bach to Nirvana, my ears know no boundaries…

Art is food for the soul…I consume lots of it.

Animal and nature lover, I will never let a fury friend in needs.

I’ve been drinking tea for as long as I can remember. But since I’v joined Steepster, my tea knowledge has emancipated exponentially.

Drinking tea is a sensorial experience. The name in itself “Camellia Sinensis” lingers the promess of an adventure for the senses…

As for my rating system, well it’s pretty much inexistent…Since I don’t write many reviews, I try to focus on the good stuff and will usually review teas that left a big impression on me.

Not a big «swapper» but if we do get to swap together, you’ll remember me, I live up to my Fairy reputation :-)

I love taking tea pics, here’s my Instagram:

http://instagram.com/theteafairy

Location

The Laurentians, Canada

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