705 Tasting Notes
Yes, I still have some of this left. Yes, it’s gotta be two years old. Yes, it still smells amazing in the bag, and even better steeped. The aroma reminds me mostly of Laoshan Black with rich cocoa notes and a big yummy smell that wraps you up and reads you a book while you listen to something awesome on vinyl in the background. Wait, that’s what I wish was happening.
Honestly, I was scared of this for a long time because it contains some puerh. I know and love the LB and the Yunnan and the big Red Robe, but that puerh was just scary. Now I am diving into the world of pu and trying to learn to like it – because man do I ever want to like it.
In this blend, I find it takes a backseat to the black teas. The yunnan and the LB make a tag team that dominates the pu and oolong and leaves you with delicious honey sweetened cocoa that is smooth and drinkable the whole way through. No bitterness, no astringency, and nothing but good feelings. This was nothing to fear – now I am only dissappointed that it isn’t available any longer. It works well western style, but I think it would shine with a gong fu session in my gaiwan.
The end of the sip is really developing more and more big red robe flavours. It seems to hide under the other bold teas and then when they burn out you get the oolong. Very nice! As it cools, I think I am starting to get more of the pu but I don’t remember ever trying this particular pu on it’s own so I can’t tell if it is taking over or if the melding of the other awesome teas is just turning into something bigger and better.
The pu definitely takes over as it cools and you know what? I don’t mind. It is a totally different taste experience from the start but it is good the whole way through. Extremely interesting.
It’s like the Hulk. Only I didn’t make it angry.
Follow up on my first note. Hot, this is extremely dissatisfying and way too sweet. The beau made up a pitcher yesterday of cold brew iced tea though, with equal parts of this and lemon myrtle. This way, it is actually really tasty and does remind me of pink lemonade. The lemon myrtle increases the lemon flavour and helps to drown out the sickening sweetness. We had it in the fridge for about 12 hours and the hibiscus didn’t take over but there was a tart edge from the myrtle and the hib. This is a much better way to use this up. I don’t really like iced tea a whole lot (I prefer water) but this is a definite improvement and the way to use up the rest of it, for sure.
Iced, this could be a 75 (would be higher if I didn’t have to mess with it so much to make it drinkable. Why is there so much sweetness?!?!?!)
Another from my recent Butiki order. This one smells AMAZING in the bag. Seriously one of the best smelling teas I have had the pleasure to smell in a while. I get some sharp sweet fruit notes that almost tickle my nose but I am loving it. Smells more like candy than fruit, but if it’s to mimic pie that makes sense too as pies tend to be loaded with sugar.
Boiling water, 3 minutes. The steeped aroma is indistinct sweet berry with some cinnamon. I think the cinnamon is what I was I was picking up on as sharp in the dry leaf. This aroma is completely different, but still delicious. First sips yield sweet creamy berry flavours with a soft cinnamon smell mixed in. The taste really lingers after the sip and builds as you get further in the cup.
Nothing really screams pie crust here for me, but there is something tempering the sweetness and the spice. It’s creamy, almost like strawberry pie with vanilla ice cream melted on top (minus the crust). So pie filling. :) As the cup cools I get a bit of astringency developing, but it isn’t too much. I really like this one, I just need to remember to drink it quickly to maximize on all those gorgeous flavours. While I don’t turn to flavoured teas very often anymore, this is one that is worth having on hand. Very VERY nice.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.