682 Tasting Notes

79
drank Oriental Beauty by Butiki Teas
682 tasting notes

I received this as another free sample with my recent Butiki order. I am a bit leery about the directions (boiling, 4 minutes) but I have faith in Stacy’s judgment. I am excited to try it, though I couldn’t get much aroma from the dry leaf. I don’t know if it’s my nose or the plastic bags, but all my samples were lacking a bit in dry aroma. That’s okay though, because they have been super tasty!

Four minutes in, the liquor isn’t nearly as dark as I had feared. I will admit that I used more water than recommended, but I’m okay with that because as mentioned before, I do seem to like my tea a little different than the norm. I hate bitterness. I’ve got a warm yellow liquor with a sweet aroma, reminding me of florals and sweet fruit (maybe peach/apricot)?

First sips are remarkable. Honey sweetness, floral notes, sweet stone fruit. Even better than the aroma. There is something at the end of the sip that is going a little flat for me but I THINK that is residue from brushing my teeth. It was over an hour ago, but this toothpaste just won’t die!

As I get further in the cup, it tastes like someone put a spoon of honey in my tea when i wasn’t looking. That much sweetness is remarkable for an unadulterated tea. I get the sense of astringency lurking underneath it all, but it isn’t developing, just skulking in the shadows.

I have had one other Oriental Beauty, I think, but I don’t remember anything about it so I can’t compare how to does with others of it’s type. As a stand-alone though, this tea is remarkable! I prefer my teas to be a bit more complex and roasty, but this is definitely a nice tea. If you are an oolong drinker, check this one out. If you’re a black tea drinker like me, it would probably be more of an occasional drink. Yummy though!!

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58
drank Tamarind Pop by Butiki Teas
682 tasting notes

Another from my Butiki order. I couldn’t resist this one, I am familiar with tamarind only in some asian cooking but it is an interesting taste and I wondered how it would go in tea. I made a pot for the beau and myself this evening, and was surprised by the aroma. I didn’t pick up on anything I could call tamarind, instead I found it smelled of vanilla and reminded me of the Caramel Vanilla Assam (in aroma at least). It also reminds me of a monk’s blend I have with vanilla and pomegranate, randomly. Definitely not bad, but not what I expected, aroma-wise.

Steeped, I still just get the sense of vanilla and black tea. It smells like it will be a bit bitter, but I steeped it per directions – 3 minutes with boiling water. Hmm. First sips yield the expected results. Slightly astringent black tea with some vanilla. Not creamy yummy vanilla, but still something that makes me think of vanilla. Nothing says tamarind for me. I added a small piece of rock sugar (also from butiki) but it didn’t really dissolve as hoped, and didn’t change the taste for me. This isn’t bad, but definitely disappointing. It tastes almost exactly like a low quality monk’s blend I picked up once. I will try again to see if I can’t improve on this result, but this was a miss for me. The beau loves it though so if I can’t fix it up he will have no problem drinking it down.

Thinking about it, and I think part of my problem is the tea base. I prefer sweet Chinese blacks that I don’t have to do anything to, where this seems to need some sugar (which I don’t like to use). I will try steeping it more gently next time!

Update: Despite sweetening the rest of the pot, I find it quite bitter. The beau rates this at a 79 but I like it even less as I get further in. Disappointing.

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83

Another free sample from Stacy with my recent order. Thank you Stacy! I don’t tend to go for assams so I left this one behind when shopping but am very excited to try it as a bonus sample. The dry leaf is beautiful, mainly golden and very full leaf. After discussing steeping parameters with Stacy from Butiki I have decided to follow her directions to the best of my ability to produce the best tasting tea I can – and also to stretch the leaf out as far as I can. Accordingly, this got 3.5 minutes with boiling water. Admittedly I used 10 oz of water rather than 8 but I seem to like my tea a little less bold than others. Basically, I will do anything to avoid astringency.

Steeped, this is remarkable. I find this very cocoa-y, rich, with some malt but no bitterness or astringency. Basically, it reminds me of a Chinese black rather than an Assam. Very cool! I really like this. This is the sort of tea that could change ones mind about assams. Man. Okay, if/when I do another order, I think I might stock up on this one. I wish a had a little more because I wanted to try it side by side with a couple teas I love from Teavivre, as the taste reminds me of their Golden Monkey and maybe even my long-gone beloved Golden Snail from Harney and Sons.

As I continue in the cup, the cocoa only intensifies for me. This is good drinking tea! This is definitely a bit more expensive than many teas I enjoy, but if I could get this on sale it would be great to have on hand. I will definitely be giving it a second steep to try to squeeze some more goodness out of it.

Kittenna

Have you tried Butiki’s Premium Taiwanese Assam??

Uniquity

I think I ordered it but haven’t tried it yet. I’ve been drinking the samples so I don’t let them sit around and get scent contaminated. Learned that lesson the hard way!!

Kittenna

I learned that same lesson, haha.

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75
drank Congou Keemun by Butiki Teas
682 tasting notes

Stacy included this in my recent Butiki order as a free sample. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t order it, I really like Keemun teas. It must have been an oversight, but I am glad I at least get to try it!

I used my pre-measured sample and steeped for about 4 minutes (as the water at work isn’t boiling). The liquor is a warm orange and the aroma reminds me of sweet baked goods, I almost want to say cinnamon rolls. I get sweetness, black tea and almost a hint of cinnamon. Very appetizing and a little unexpected. I’ve been craving cinnamon rolls for a while, so maybe it’s all in my head. Either way, Mmm!

First sips retain that bakery aspect, I get a sense of yeasty baked goods with some innate sweetness and still something that reminds me of cinnamon. This is all very mild and complemented by the tea base which is flavourful and with a thick mouthfeel but no bitterness or astringency. All good things.

As I get further into the cup and it cools, I get a little less sweetness and a bit more of a bread/bakery taste. It is still good just a little less interesting. I think this is one that benefits from being consumed while hot at least if you’re looking for more flavours.

This was a really nice keemun and one I might stock up on if I were to catch it on sale. I can live without it, but it’s definitely no hardship to drink up. Yay!

Edit to add: Second steep was disappointing. This makes a good first cup but don’t even bother trying a second go roung.

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74
drank Peppermint Patty by Butiki Teas
682 tasting notes

This is the first of my batch of Butiki teas. The beau doesn’t like mint so I was allowed to bring it to work. Yay! This is where I get most of my tea drinking done so it is nice to have new things to enjoy. Looking at the leaf, I have a lot of chocolate chips, lots of peppermint and some fuzzy leaves as well. I am guessing the fuzzy looking ones are marshmallow leaf. Very cool!

Unfortunately the water available to me wasn’t boiling so I am steeping extra long to get maximum flavour. It got 10 or 15 minutes in the end, which is fine by me as I love mint. I have a number of pure mint teas and also a couple chocolate mint teas but I have rather fallen out of love with Read My Lips by Davids (the chocolate is too artificial) so I would love to have a new fave.

First sips are mint but tempered by sweetness, presumably from the marshmallow. Despite the plethora of chocolate chips, I don’t get too much chocolate, it is mostly at the end of the sip. The experience here is much like a mint patty with a bit of residual ‘burn’ from the mint. It is more sweet and ‘rounded’ rather than sharp mint and I am really liking it. I would almost like more mint but I could always add some or try again with boiling water.

So far so good. I don’t feel like I need to have it all the time, but I would definitely rather have this on hand as my chocolate mint than Read My Lips. A win!

EDIT to add: This one needs more leaf and more time than Butiki’s recommendations for my tastes, but is still a solid option. I think that doubling the leaf, leaving the bag in the whole time and potentially adding even more mint could improve it, but that seems counterproductive. Thinking that maybe this isn’t one to re-stock on, since I would have to do some things to it. We’ll see.

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66
drank Love Tea #7 by DAVIDsTEA
682 tasting notes

So it’s been a year or two since I last had this one and I figure my tastes have changed enough that I might feel differently about it. You never know. It’s a bad time that the smell from the bag makes me tummy do little flips though. I find Davids chocolate teas sometimes make me feel a bit queasy. Not good.

Steeped a little over 3 minutes, I have a brown liquor that smells of chocolate strawberries and liquer. So pretty much the same impression as always. The chocolate actually smells a bit more cocoa-y and not as sweet as I remember. Probably for the best.

First sips are dark and richm but with a sense of sugar underneath all that. I get dark chocolate and some cream. The strawberry has muted with age but I still get the chocolate strawberry smell. Or maybe just chocolate cremes, but either way it’s okay. Nothing to write home about and maybe a bit of struggle to finish but I’ll give it the old college try. I have some old tea that REALLY needs to be finished up. If I added it all up, I probably have a couple pounds of way old tea. Yikes.

EDIT to add that I am gifting the rest of this to a coworker! Schwing!

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82

This is a sample I bought in my last Teavivre order. Or one of the free, I actually don’t remember which. Either way, it’s new!

Dry, this leaf has a powerful smell. The more I inhale it the stronger it gets, but I am having trouble naming the aroma. Something reminds me of fresh herbs, like my basil with some honeyed cocoa as well. There is a note of something sharp like lemon zest as well. It is interesting and appealing, though more complex than many others I’ve been drinking lately.

I used the full 7 g packet in my 14 oz mug with 90 degree-ish water (from the tap at work), though it was way more leaf than I usually use so I only allowed it to infuse about two minutes. The steeped aroma yielded more honey and cocoa than the sharp herb and citrus smells from before.

The liquor came out a warm yellow, and provides a much lighter taste than expected. It is still very present and enjoyable, just not as bold as anticipated. I get some honeyed sweetness, and a bit of a tingle on the tongue that reminds me of those initial herb and lemon aromas. It is nice and dark and really quite appetizing. I think the second steep on this one with more time will really be impressive. This is a good balance of leaf/temp/time/water, I’m glad I might I made the right call for my tastes.

I don’t get any green or grassy flavours from this (that’s important for me). The cocoa has largely subsided as well and as I get deeper in the cup/it cools I find the citrus sense is really developing. It is pretty interesting but I don’t think I will stock it regularly since I already have a couple roasted oolongs I enjoy. This is a really nice one though, maybe I will alternate between this and the big red robe?

Edit to add: After reading the other tasting notes I could see grape/currant/grapefruit in lieur of what I was picking up on as citrus-y. Someone else also mentioned IPA and I totally see that. Now that this cup is almost gone, I am really digging this one. Might be a contender for a future order, I’ll have to see what the beau thinks of it. It’s also a great deal at $12.90/100 grams. Okay, I’m putting it on the shopping list, even though I won’t be ordering from Teavivre for a few months.

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70
drank Phoenix Oolong by Boutique Teas
682 tasting notes

I am sipping on this one today while at switchboard. It arrived unexpectedly yesterday – I had won a Sororitea Sisters contest a few months ago and the prize was meant to be this tea. After a few months I gave up on it, but lo and behold! It looks like it was shipped on May 20th, so it took a little while, but such is the price of being Canadian. :)

I do not know a whole lot about oolongs other than that I prefer roasted ones. This one looks pretty dark in the package with long thin twisted leaves. I thought it was a roasted oolong but it steeped up surprisingly green. It must be somewhere in the middle, maybe? Anyway, I have an amber liquor which has strong sweet and floral notes, like peaches and flowers. The taste echoes the aroma quite strongly with a bit of astringency lingering on the sip (my fault as I thought it was darker!) It is quite nice and surprisingly unassuming. It doesn’t reach out and grab you but when you pay attention it is an experience to enjoy. I would prefer it to be a bit darker but for what it is I think it is an excellent oolong, just not the best one for me.

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49

I got a sample of this one on my Teavivre order a month or two back and am finally taking a moment to enjoy it. I am using the whole packet which is a bit much for my tastes but not nearly enough to split into two cups at work. Ho hum.

The dry aroma is light and sweet, seems floral and with some fruity notes but once steeped it comes across as astringent and bitter in aroma. Very reminiscent of standard bagged black tea. Darn you slightly too large sample!! I even decreased the temp and time to account for it. We’ll see how it tastes.

Luckily I don’t get any astringency in the sip, but neither am I getting a whole lot else. It’s black tea. Maybe some light floral behind it all, but nothing impressive. I am getting a lot of Red Rose associations here. It is drying my mouth a bit so I guess it is astringent, but at least it isn’t bitter.

I was hoping this might be a replacement for Keemun Mao Feng from Harneys which I loved but this didn’t do it for me at all. Oh well!

EDIT to add: Wow, am I the lone dissenter or what? I love black tea but this was a disappointment. I wonder if it was mislabelled or maybe a weird batch as there was no cocoa and nothing I typically associate with keemun. Weird. I know the sample wasn’t very old either.

Kittenna

One always has to wonder when they’re pretty much the only person who doesn’t like something… but sometimes it happens!

looseTman

did you follow TeaVivre’s recommendations?
- Gaiwan 3oz Tea: 5g 6 steeps: rinse,15s,30s,45s,1m10s,1m40s,2m10s 90ºC/194ºF
- Teapot 8oz 1-2tsp(7g) 3 steeps:1m,2m,3m 90ºC/194ºF
http://www.teavivre.com/keemun-fragrant-black-tea/

kOmpir

It was good to me, but not worth the price (IMHO).

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34
drank Pink Lemonade by DAVIDsTEA
682 tasting notes

I tried a sample of this in store and found it way too sweet. Nonetheless, the beau talked me into picking up 50 grams. We made it hot last night (I still don’t really like iced tea) and it was, once again, way too sweet. Davids, you need to cut back on coconut and stevia. Like now. The beau enjoyed it (though he preferred it cooled) but I would be happier to never taste that much sweetness in a ‘tea’ again. I am considering adding some lemon myrtle or maybe a bit of a tart tea to try to bring it from sugar water to lemonade but for now it is just an unnecessary sugar bomb. I should have known better.

Sil

so glad to see this since i was nearly tempted to look into this one. now i don’t have to!

KeenTeaThyme

Yikes! I wanted to try this one too. I had hoped the stevia would balance any tartness but it seems like it overwhelmed it!

Aimee Popovacki

i still don’t get why mango has to be in pink lemonade ha ha..

Uniquity

This is one the rare times that I actually wanted MORE hibiscus. How strange is that?!

Aimee Popovacki

mmm you know what, with that combo of ingridients.. i could see that!

Nicola

Definitely wasn’t too sweet. It had a tartness to it. Your taste buds are off!

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Profile

Bio

I am a lover of many things, but my passions include my records, tea and books (not necessarily in that order!) I embrace local food and good cooking as much as I can, and place great value on time with family and enjoying the bounty of nature. As of January 2014 my husband and I finally moved to the country to be closer to family and continue our journey in a family home. We have been wanting to do this for a couple years, so we are very excited to follow our hearts. We also have a wonderful kitty named Emma that is the princess of the house.

I am drawn toward good Chinese blacks, enjoy some herbals and the odd roasted oolong. Greens and whites can make me nauseous, but I will have flavoured ones on occasion. While I don’t yet adore puerh, I am giving it my best effort. Chamomile and coconut are the devil though, I wish they didn’t exist. Mint has been a particular favourite of mine since childhood, and I enjoy both flavoured and pure teas though unflavoured blacks are tops for me.

As for ratings, I try to only log teas once or twice because I drink a lot of the same ones repeatedly. My rating is based on my perception of the tea at first tasting and is adjusted if anything notable occurs in subsequent cups. I may also factor in the price and customer service but try to note that when I can.

81 – 100: WOW. This is the cream of the crop.
71 – 80: This is a solid tea. I enjoy it, and would recommend it to others, but may not repurchase.
61 – 70: Just okay. I can drink it, but it doesn’t stand out to me. May try again to improve.
41 – 60: Bleh. Might finish it, but it’s not to my taste OR just doesn’t impress me at all.
0 – 40: No thank you, please. Take it away and don’t make me finish the cup.

Location

Canada

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