I received this and my other samples from Butiki Teas a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had the time until now to properly sit down, steep and review them so I forced myself to put them to the side until they could be paid attention to. I’d like to thank Stacy right away for sending these teas to me – They are all exciting smelling! When I first unpacked the teas, they all smelled strongly of mint, so I separated them to avoid any contamination in smell or flavour. Since I’ve taken so long to get to them, they are all cleared up, and now the only smells I get from this dry leaf are sweet grape and oolong. Its reminiscent of David’s Tea’s Through The Grapevine in grape smell – Surprisingly strong, but you still know you are smelling a tea. The grape flavour is more of a ripe purple grape, if you can picture that.
For steeping, I used all of my two cup sample, since the beau wanted to try it alongside me. I ended up using my new glasses, so it was approximately 1 tsp tea to an 11 oz glass, but I figure that is close enough. I am terrible at water temps, so we boiled it and then let it cool for about 5 minutes. The instructions suggested a steep time of 4 minutes, so that’s what we went with for the first steep.
The leaves expanded very rapidly…they’ve taken up the better part of the pot in only a few minutes. It looks like someone threw a bunch of spinach in my tea! The liquor is a warm yellow with a hint of green, and the smell is lightly grape with a strong oolong/vegetal tea smell. I smell a sweetness as well, but definitely a vegetal odor. Goes well with the spinach association! : )
First sips provide a hint of a spicy sweet taste, reminiscent almost of a mild cinnamon sugar, with grape in there somewhere. I might be saying grape because I know it’s there.. The vegetal smell is there in taste, but it’s sort of hiding. I notice it, but it seems to move around on the tongue, so it’s never strongly vegetal. It is balanced nicely with the sweet grape flavour. The initial taste is unusual, not something I’ve encountered before. I definitely enjoy it, but it’s a little confusing.
I’ve saved the leaves for further steeps, I will try to update this post with my thoughts on further steeps as I have them later on. As the cup cools, the strange cinnamon sugar grape smell becomes stronger at the beginning of the sip. It is almost floral…but I am terrible with identifying floral flavours. We have a flowering tea that was a semi sweet/spicy flavour that is similar to this. Maybe jasmine-esque? Don’t get me wrong, the grape is still the dominant taste in this, it just isn’t like eating a bunch of grapes straight up, it’s as if they’ve been sweetened or are maybe a bit over-ripe. Really yummy, if you’re interested in sweeter teas. I’m sad that my sample is gone, but looking forward to future steeps!
EDIT: Second steep retained the depth of flavour…Really enjoyable, thoguh the grape has muted slightly, it is still there in all of it’s sweet glory. I gave this steep about 4 minutes as well.
The third steep sat for about 7 or 8 minutes and still had some of that sweet grape flavour, but had lost most of the distinctive flavours. I could probably keep going on with smaller cups, but I think I’ve pushed this to it’s lovely end. Thanks again, Butiki Teas!