406 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!
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 :-(
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!
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!
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!
Thank you Bonnie for this sample!
A few months ago, I received many generous samples from Bonnie and have only reviewed a few of them, sorry about that…
I was honored to try my first tea from her beloved teashop, Happy Lucky’s, she also included a nice cardboard disk from them that gives you all their brewing instructions and addresses.
She had promised she would send a Lapsang Souchong that she thought I might appreciate, as I had expressed the fact that they kind of scared me, just like pu’erh did…
First and foremost: the smell! Ahhh… sweet fire camp hickory, charcoal broil mixed with floral fragrance from the pretty dried jasmine flower buds and juicy bite from the orange rinds .. People at your teashop are genius for thinking of putting these together…as they say, opposites attracts!
Not to think that this is in any shape or form a jasmine tea cause it’s not! The Jasmine is obviously overpowered by the smoke and it is to be expected, but it’s role here is simply to tone it down an completely blend and vanish to create a perfect balance with it’s sweet flowery perfume.
I’ve had only one souchong previous to this one, and it was so harsh and bitter, I thought I would never have it again!
This is showing me all the possibilities, and I’ll be willing to try more of them… I have to say that as breakfast tea, it’s magnificent!
The best part is that I have enough for a few more cups!
Happy to be back! (Once more, I’ve had to unplug from Steepster for awhile… (My dad was sick again, so I’ve spent most of my time with him at the hospital)
It’s ok, not beign the most active member here, I still greatly enjoy following poeple and their reviews. Even if I have to disappear from time to time, I always come back!
So I’ve had «regular tea» for the last few weeks, not having enough time to indulge in «special tea» such as this one. Tonight is special…I have a date with myself! I’am alone in the backyard, it’s nightfall, and I can hear the owl’s chant, whooo, whooo, very close by…The woods are in my backyard, so I get lots of wild life sounds, and from time to time, wild life visitors. I love all my visitors, they sometimes just pass by, or they stay for a couple of days. Today, we had a red fox sniffing around. It stayed a few hours under the bird feeders, hoping for a snack.It’s been raining a lot, there’s a wonderful vegetation and earthy smell out here tonight, so fresh and warm at the same time.
I have brought the cast iron kettle outside to keep my water hot, along with the gaiwan. I will write this review the old fashion way by the candle light, in my tea notebook. Not kidding, a real paper notebook, with a real pen, with real ink. I realized lately that I barely ever «write» anymore, using the electronic devices all the time. I’ve missed that feeling… See, in French, (my first language) I write a lot! It’s a habit and a necessity for me. I write everything and nothing. I think in one day, I probably write more than I speak! To write on paper just feels like reading a real book after reading a thousand digital ones! It feels right again…
Back to the tea. I’m following Verdant’s instructions. A few seconds only for big flavor. I will not pretend I can review this tea the way others have. Although I can always identify some of the notes, the experience for me is more about the way it makes me feel than about the actual taste. I don’t care much if I can’t get the « cinnamon» or the «avocado». And I’m not saying that in a pejorative way, au contraire, I do admire people for being able to do that so well in their reviews and I thoroughly enjoy reading them, but it’s just not my main concern when I try to describe my tastings. However, I think it’s fun when I find exactly what has been described, I guess sometimes it’s just more obvious than others…
Anyways, I get so many different notes in one sip of this tea, it would take a lifetime for me to identify them all!
The first infusion was a burst of sweetness, yum! Chocolate and honey for sure… it’s so warming, it surprised me in such a pleasant way.
As the other infusions evolved, it got closer to oolong than black tea for me. I find roasted nut along with ripe fruits and light spiciness. Even after many infusions It’s very intense and slightly astringent.
I can’t write anymore than that, sorry… I’m too chocked up by the pure bliss it is giving me, and the night is just too beautiful not to get my full attention…The perfect tea for the perfect moment… I will type that on Steepster later when I get back in…
Thank you for that, Verdant…
Love getting tips from Steepster people!
I like to try different methods and decide afterward if it’s for me or not. After reading Charles T. Draper’s review on having this cold brewed, I had to try it!
( can’t believe I can actually relate to a real life «Draper» guy other than Mad Men Don Draper! What can I say, just can’t get enough of that show!)
Ok back to tea, I’ve been experiencing a lot lately with cold brewing, AmyHo had told me the reason she makes her iced tea this way is mostly cause it’s easy…hey, I like easy too!
Charles had recommended brewing it for 3 days…ummm, It got me thinking that patience not being one of my strongest attribute, it would be a tad too long for me so I had to try it after 1 day… it was OK, but I got some kind of metallic after taste along with bitterness that I wasn’t fond of.
So I waited…NOT patiently! but it was well worth the wait! This stuff is really good, and I can appreciate all the different nuances a lot more. For me, the crisp cold temperature amplified the nuttiness I usually get from the hot brew. Strangely, the bitterness was gone and replaced by some refreshing citrus notes that I thought complemented very well that nuttiness and oolong’s natural creaminess. I was very sad to see my jar empty and made another one right away! Now, I want to try more oolongs and greens this way, I have couple of jars waiting in the fridge!
To TEAVIVRE, I must say I have yet to try one of your tea that I don’t like, they never let me down!
(My 2nd review of this )
This time, I come prepared to «match II» of TheTeaFairy V/S Matcha Matsu!
I brought to the table the proper ammo, fool me once, never twice (hopefully):
- variable temp kettle: check!
- extra large bowl: check! (the golf green kitchen counter experiment has been done before, see previous review)
- No witness zone: check! (confidence level not on high, did lose big chunk-o-pride in round 1)
So we meet again… inoffensive looking green powder, but oh so lethal if not handled with care!
Matcha, here’s the deal: If you don’t want to end up exclusively in my morning smoothies, you better show some cooperation… I paid some big bucks for you, time to show some love and let me drink some decent liquor!!!
I must stay focused, take a deep breath… start whisking, gently this time. No frantic motion. I’m master of my matcha. Oops, a little slip creates some green juice escape…it’s ok, don’t panic! No one said it had to be perfect, I will happily settle for bearable.
Alright now, stop!
Let’s see what we have… looks like matcha, nice froth going on, opaque but not muddy… hum, is there hope for me?
Shall I dare taste it? Can’t help a vivid memory from resurrecting, how bitter was my last cup of this? Oh, trust me, VERY! It almost made a hole in my stomach! This time I followed tips from fellow Steepster and used a lot less powder.
Well this is a different tea now, It’s actually drinkable! Can’t say I’m in love with it, but I see myself having it again.
Hard for me to compare since this is the only Matcha I ever bought…if I compare to the ones I’ve had at the sushi bar, I come to the conclusion they eighter use higher grade Matcha or some kind of sweetener cause I don’t find that sweetness in mine. It’s very grassy, and still a tad bitter, but not in a harmful way this time!
For obvious lack of experience with matcha, once again I will not rate this until I have tried couple more, it wouldn’t be fair.
But I’m glad I gave it a proper shot!