703 Tasting Notes
My husband won the Oolong sampler from Teavivre in their recent giveaway and it finally arrived on Friday. Therefore, new tea! Whee! He was obsessed with trying this one first because he loves the idea of monkeys picking tea. He was very disappointed to learn that it is highly unlikely that a monkey touched these tea leaves, but he got over it.
I am not much of a Tie Guan Yin fan but hubby is, so between us we should have a balanced review. I still don’t care for greens or green oolongs but I sometimes see the appeal. This is actually being paired with a fairly brisk breakfast of scrambled eggs with vegetables so hopefully it doesn’t get too lost.
I followed the Western style instructions from Teavivre’s website and steeped the 7 gram packet at 100C for one minute. This yielded a light smelling liquor that has what I think of as a fairly typical TGY taste. It verges on being astringent but it doesn’t really develop. I was worried about the boiling water, but it does work. I am not getting any of the peaches and cream I usually get from this sort of tea but I don’t know if these leaves aren’t like that or if the water muted the flavours. This is a perfectly enjoyable cup though. Lightly sweet, nothing grassy or “green.”
The second steep at 2 minutes tastes much the same. The hubby says it is like a light green, and doesn’t find much of a difference between the two. He seems a little disappointed but I reminded him that gongfu would have given him a bigger variety of flavours but we were lazy. Ah well. :)
Will report on further steeps later. For now, it is groceries and then a return to GTA V and reading and crosswords and Supernatural and tea and lovely Sunday afternoons at home.
Wow. I LOVE black currant flavoured things and have asked Davids off and on for over a year to make a good black currant tea. When cocoberry came out I was excited and then horrendously disappointed. When I contacted customer service to share my belief that cocoberry was an abomination they consoled me with the promise of currant affair. With that in mind, I bought a 50 gram bag on faith that a tea with so few ingredients couldn’t possibly go wrong.
For once, I was very right. I steeped this 5 minutes with a hefty amount of leaf and while hot this was a beautiful currant tea with just the right level of sweetness. Unfortunately it become overwhelmingly sweet as the cup cooled BUT I think that was a factor of over-leaf and over-time. This is one that doesn’t need a lot of time or leaf to become a really powerful brew. Others may like the cooler cup best but as someone who doesn’t sweeten her teas, it is a bit much.
In general though, I love this. I am already considering getting more to have an at home and at work stash. I did have a few coworkers complaining of a weird smell though so I might have to take the work stash home. :( Two thumbs up for a currant tea done right!
Oh my god, this tea is amazing. THIS is what I wanted every time I opened up a new Butiki tea. I wanted to love them as unwaveringly as so many on here do. So far, only the Ruby Pie has been a re-buy for me but this tea is fantastic. I always thought I didn’t like assam. Clearly I just had the wrong ones. This is caramel and cocoa and honey and rich but not bitter with a wonderful lingering smoothness that has a sweet edge like I’ve had some premium chocolate.
I tend to fall hard for Chinese blacks but this has a caramel sweet note that I may not have ever experienced in another tea. Especially in contrast with the disaster that was my previous tea of the day, this is phenomenal. I can only hope that future cups taste as good as this, because this is nectar of the gods right now. I don’t tend to rave about a tea, but this one deserves it. A+! This could usurp Black Dragon Pearls as my favourite black tea.
Now to keep slurping. And re-steeping. And slurping some more. Mmm!
This might be a new record, 12 ingredients AND natural and artificial flavouring. It does include black currants though which I adore so I am giving it the old college try. Initially, the aroma is very pleasing and berry-ish but then I get the bitterness of the coffee bean coming through, combined with the mate which also lends a bitter note.
Steeped for 5 minutes (Whoops!) this has an aroma very similar to the dry tea. Unfortunately I am at work and was called away on rushes so it has cooled half an hour before my first sip. I am a bit leery of the multiplicity of smells and presumably tastes in this one, but I persevere! This is lukewarm at best and tastes like smoky coffee to me. No berry, no anything. Arguably this would be a very mild coffee but I don’t drink coffee. Ever. Gross. The smoke is staying in the back of my throat and trying to choke me. I gave it a second sip but I can’t give it any more. This is disgusting. Yuck.
This is one I picked up a few months ago and am finally getting to. I decided not to open all my teas at once but instead to focus on a couple at a time. I have done some Butiki sipdowns recently so I get to open some of the remainder. I was very interested in this as I frequently think I want a good vanilla tea but they often come off coconut-y rather than caramel-y. I hate coconut, so that’s a BAD thing. I figured with caramel right in the title, this couldn’t end up with a coconut note.
Unfortunately, the smell of this one comes off as more coconut than caramel to me. It also smells like it might be bitter, which seems unlikely given my steeping parameters (perhaps 3 minutes, less than boiling water). I am not much of an assam drinker though so it could just be the bold assam making itself known aromatically. Let’s hope. It certainly smells strong with a sweet note underneath it all that has me hopeful.
Luckily, this tastes a lot more gentle (but still full and smooth) than it smells. I don’t get any coconut vanilla taste and there isn’t any bitterness from the assam. Instead I get a full bodied black tea with some caramel notes throughout. No sweetness, but no bitterness either. The tea is present but not dominating. Yet, at least!
The aroma is such a strong factor here that I enjoy it best when the cup isn’t too close (I really do find the smell so strong it is almost off-putting) but it is definitely drinkable. I think that it might be improved by a bit of sugar, I might try that sometime if I remember.
For me, this one is good but not a knockout. The disconnect between what I smell and what I taste makes for a weird drinking experience, even though it is tasty in the end. Not the best tea for me, but definitely good quality!
EDIT: Wow, I am the only one who wasn’t totally blown away by this one. I feel left out. Maybe next time!
Fearing the worst but hoping for the best, I picked up 10 grams of this blend. I tend not to like the cinnamon used at Davids, but I could hardly resist a black tea with apple and vanilla. I always want a good apple tea, so I will try them even when one or two of the ingredients has me leery. Dry, this smells of mulled apples, cooked in their juices with some spice. I made homemade applesauce yesterday with cinnamon and a bit of sugar, and this smells like it but with a bit more kick of apple.
Steeped, I am mostly getting the dry musty smell that I find typical of DT’s cinnamon. I don’t know what it is as I enjoy cinnamon at home in things and find it appealing, but Davids’ cinnamon always smells like old scented wood rather than what I think of as cinnamon. No tea or apple aroma, nor any sweetness or vanilla. Sipped at 3 minutes it was quite weak, so I am steeping longer to try to tease some taste out of this one.
At closer to five minutes, this smells about the same but finally yields a bit of taste beyond the musty cinnamon. I can’t taste the tea but there is a vague flavour overall. Not necessarily apple, vanilla or sugar. Those notes are all drowned out or mixed together into a mess I can’t untangle. As it cools I get more of the apple, but this is a tea I would prefer to drink hot so that doesn’t exactly help.
I have enough for another cup but at the moment this doesn’t impress me at all. I feel as though it could be greatly improved with a better cinnamon or a stronger tea base. Or maybe even more of the theoretical apple and vanilla. Heck, even putting some sugar in here would probably help (given the name). I won’t be re-buying though as at this point in my tea drinking life, a tea that needs help isn’t a tea for me.
I thought I had this one before today, but I must not have logged it. I sat down for a gaiwan session with the beau on this lazy Sunday afternoon. I’ve already made some applesauce and need to start on bread and soup soon. I LOVE cooking Sundays, and they are only improved with good tea, good company, and ideally a good book. I dug out my tea feet, they desperately need a session. I water them so rarely that they soak it up as quick as they can. Greedy!
The dry aroma is very sweet and subtler than other Shus I have kicking around. Steeped the aroma is familiar barn – wet hay, damp wood, leather and earth. I used to be very turned off by this smell but it has come to be appealing to me over time.
I did a ten second rinse and first steep of 20 seconds at 90 degrees. This is lightly sweet, actually very light in general. None of the earth/leather/hay taste comes through. Pretty mild. Second steep at 30 seconds, 90 degrees. This tastes like it smells, almost a bit too strong in flavour but not aggressive or bitter. Nice. No astringency at all. Marvellous!
Third steep is 30 seconds at 95 degrees. Hoping for more leather, earth and damp wood. This is a black tea drinkers puerh, I think. I love black teas and that is what has led me to pu. This one is a nice transition tea. I love the lack of bitterness but still intense flavour. Anyway, third steep closely mirrors the second. Bold wood, leather, earth. No sweet, no bitter.
Fourth steep of 45 seconds at 95 degrees is very similar to #s 2 and 3. Still no bitterness, but bold earth, wood, leather are all present.
I don’t know that I will get to more today, so I had better save this. Signing off!
Someone left these at work for others to drink and I decided to take one. I rarely drink teabags but I like to try apple teas so here I am. I don’t understand what chocolate is doing in this tea but I am giving it the old college try. I don’t see any chocolate in the bag, mostly rooibos with an overwhelming aroma of cinnamon and some dust. Presumably cinnamon dust.
Steeped, it smells kinda sour. It’s gross, but almost like vomit. It’s very pungent. This does not smell good. I have had a couple roobois blends to tails up on me that way in terms of smell. I’ll just give myself a few minutes before I try it.
Once I got the guts, it’s not too bad. I don’t taste anything like that sour note and I don’t get anything chocolate either. Mostly just cinnamon/spice and rooibos with a hint of apple. Certainly nothing to write home about. Honestly, I’d give it away too. I’m not finishing the mug. Kinda blechy without being outright disagreeable.
I prepared this one again today with more leaf to try to bring out some of this wonderful flavour that everyone else is getting. This was a definitely improved cup, with a natural honeyed sweetness and some spice notes that reminded me of cinnamon. I also had a bit of a crust taste, like I was drinking a flavoured tea rather than a ‘plain’ black. This is definitely a lot better than my last lackluster cup so I am increasing the rating a bit but I still object to the price. It is good but luckily for me there are others I like better.
At the end of the sip there is a hint of lurking astringency but it never really develops. I do know it is there, waiting. It is hard for me to balance the leaf to get enough to make this flavourful without it going bitter. Maybe a bit less leaf and a bit more time next time. I might have 2 or 3 cups in there still.
Here is another older one that I have brought to work in an effort to sip down. I am not a fan of green tea in general but some of the fruity blends with sencha aren’t too bad. I remember when we bought this it was marketed as similar to something else we liked at Davids – but I can’t for the life of me remember what that was anymore. This was stored in the zip pouch it came in and still has a lot of aroma, a mix of sweet and tart fruit, almost like dried cranberries if that helps.
Hot, it was lackluster. The green tea was very mild (that is a plus) but so was the fruit flavour. I am not a huge fan of plums so I wasn’t over the moon about the flavouring idea, but it didn’t taste like anything plum to me. Just generic. Where this really shines though (and very unexpectedly) is cold. I had a bit left in my mug which became room temperature and that is very flavourful . Again, not plum, but much more flavour than hot.
I do not tend to like iced tea but that could be the way to use this one up. I am leery of cold brewing green teas as I understand them to be finicky and I do not like astringency at all. I could certainly make a pot of this hot and put it aside to cool though. I might take it back home to do that with as I think the beau would really like it that way.
Bonus points for iced tea options.