404 Tasting Notes
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!
It’s about 80 outside, I’m by the pool listening to Bob Marley «could you be loved?» ( how appropriate!) Yes you could, you Luscious Watermelon!
I’m having it more than iced, I’m having it slushed! Got a recipe from David’s Tea newsletter and decided today was perfect to try it… Used a strong infusion and poured in my Vitamix with ice cubes. In replacement of the agave recommended, I added real watermelon already diced and frozen. Blended a few seconds, a dash of lime juice and I was good to go!
I know, it’s not «real» tea, but still comes from an infusion right? and who cares it’s so damn good and refreshing!
BONNIE, I CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR THIS GENEOUS SAMPLE!
Hello Steepster poeple,
So I’ve been a deserter for a while… To sum it up, 2012 hasn’t been very kind to me so far. Worst, it hasn’t been kind to close ones… family.
As many people, I have 2 families: the blood related and the close friends. I have only a handful in the close friend category, and those are much more than a Facebook page in my life.
My close friends are family to me as I am to them… it makes it that much more difficult when such a friend gets kicked out of life forever…
I had no idea when I first joined Steepster how much it would mean to me. Despite the fact that I have a zillion other interests in life, I never felt the need to join a forum or blog. I’m not one to open up to strangers and here I am, few months later rambling about one of the most intimate tragedy of my life… That’s what I love about this community, when I read everyone’s reviews, I see so much more than that… people are genuine and care for each other, and the common ground happens to be TEA. Why is it different than other stuff? My take is, tea is somewhat spiritual, it is linked to lots of different cultures, and therefore, brings people together in a gentle and sharing manner… I think tea is a lifestyle as oppose to a liking. Some teas will give me spiritual moments just like music and art…and just like music and art, some will give me plain and simple pleasure or pure fun! Of course, this Verdant tea falls in the spiritual category and it elevates me today…
Bonnie, I don’t know you that well, but at this moment, I love you! Thanks for sharing this wonderful tea with me, you make me feel special today. You may not be a «family friend», but you are definitely in a new category I’ve created for myself, a real Steepster friend!
Now the review:
As I’m climbing the «Tea ladder» in the most humble way, I have purchased a Gongfu tea set in order to fully appreciate higher quality teas such as this one. Nice elegant white porcelain, no frufrus, don’t want to be a tea snob! Proper equipment will just help make things right…
So this is my first Gongfu brew ever. As I’ve seen in Tea Master David Ducker’s videos, I’m using 1gr. of tea per ounce of water and I rinsed for 1 sec. Then:
1rst steep 3 sec.:
Ok I get it now, this brewing method does make a difference…hello flavor!!! Beautiful amber cognac color, sweet chocolate honey roasted almond taste, I do get them flavors! Each sip renders a gift, creating a swirl of happy in my mouth, happy dance!
Blame my inexperience, I increased the steeping time way too much, should have noticed from the color intensity that pretty much doubled. It probably affected the taste, but not in a bad way, I get the same flavors just in a more bold and malty way. Still very sweet and chocolaty.
The intensity is still big and I now understand how this brewing method can render 15 steeps! I also get a tad of spice. I think the spiciness will escalate in the next infusion.
Because my palate is not as developed yet as it should be for this kind of tea, I find it hard sometimes to clearly identify the different notes. It’s like having a word on the tip of your tongue, your mind knows it, but you just can’t say it! Knowing what essence I should be looking for helps me in my tastings. I know I’m supposed to get some cinnamon at one point, and I get it. I notice the sweetness slowly being replaced by a more mineral taste. Wow, it’s like I’m having a totally different tea now, loving this!
I will continue my drinking this afternoon, this is an uplifting experience so far…I’m very pleased.
Verdant posted that the new supply of this tea will be available early July, so I will wait patiently :-)