96 Tasting Notes
Smooth, buttery, spinachy, and slurpable, just the way I like my greens. A bit like the mao feng and jade cloud/cloud and mist specimens I’ve tasted, but there’s something about this one that I like even better. (This is the first mao jian I’ve tried, I believe, so my comparison may be lacking.) It’s a solid, unfussy tea that has lifted my spirits without having to pay very close attention to it. The fact that it tastes great even though it’s not super-fresh and I used hard unfiltered tap water makes me like it even more. At only £5 for 50 grams, I predict I’ll be buying more of this in the not too distant future.
Flavors: Butter, Kale
Another night up with an unhappy tummy. This seemed to help a bit, and on top of that was tastier than I’d remembered. I noticed the chocolate notes more, which tasted like very dark (maybe 90%) chocolate that had burnt onto a baking tray, but without the harshness or astringency you might expect. After a few sips the chocolate flavors gave way to wood and roasted grains, while the mouthfeel remained creamy throughout. It’s almost like hot cocoa for grown-up palates that don’t like sweets – I just about fell asleep drinking this. Definitely reconsidering my “I only really like green oolongs” stance now.
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Roasted Barley, Wood
This tea is just not doing it for me. Brewing it with tap water (with the right parameters this time) only resulted in cup after cup of frustration and disappointment, so I finally gave in and tried it with bottled mineral water heated in a pot on the stove. The resulting tea is noticeably better, but still not very good. I definitely wouldn’t use the words “smooth” or “mellow” to describe it – I find it quite bitter and astringent, producing an unpleasant drying sensation in most of my mouth and throat.
I don’t know if I’m Doing It Wrong with the temperature (it was kind of awkward using my thermometer with the low level of water in the pot) or the water hardness or if the leaves age really poorly or what. I really wish I were getting what the other reviewers were getting. At the same time, I can’t really be bothered with a tea that seems so finicky when there are so many others that have given me brilliant results without having to work so hard for it.
I have been very bad and not reviewing my teas. But not entirely bad, because I have been drinking them quite regularly.
I’m having this as an after-dinner beverage, as my tummy is acting up again and oolongs are supposed to be good for digestion. I’m tasting more fruitiness and less flower than last time, and maybe even some honey notes. Not sure if I’m noticing the non-floral flavors more due to drinking a fair number of oolongs since I first tried this one, or if leaving the tea in a clear plastic bag on top of the fridge for a month altered it. Either way, it’s sweet and delicious.
This is really a gorgeous tea. Even with my ridiculously hard city tap water, and with leaves that are easily a year old, it’s still giving me a beautiful cup. First infusion was smooth, nutty-sweet, and extremely slurp-able. Second and third infusions were more grassy and fruity, but still very nice. Fourth didn’t fare so well (it was a bit like swimming pool water with lemon – sorry!) but I couldn’t care less because of the amazingness of the first two. Definitely restocking this one when it’s finished!
Flavors: Grass, Nuts
Sipdown! I used more leaf than last time (probably a bit more than 1 1/4 tsp) in about the same amount of water. I’m smelling & tasting a rather strong genmaicha-esque toasty rice (which I’m enjoying) with a very noticeable metallic tang (which I don’t like so much), neither of which I can recall when I tried this before. Now that this tea is back in stock, I’ll consider picking up a bit more to play around with when I’m in North America next.
Okay, I have no idea what I did differently this time (aside from maybe cooler water and taking care to introduce the water more slowly) but it’s so much better than in my last note. Creamy, beany, and sweet, with no harshness. I’m not paying really close attention to all the flavor nuances, but it’s very pleasant and comforting. Bravo, He family!
ETA: Might have gone a bit too long/hot on the second steep (2 min, 180F or so), because I got a taste of ash again. Currently on the third steep (2 min, 175F, 5-6 oz water) and it tastes predominantly of toasted rice – if I hadn’t made the tea myself, I would have thought I was drinking genmaicha. Very interesting, and tasty!
Thank you Stacy for the sample!
Dry leaf smells lightly of toffee & strawberry, with strawberry aroma becoming more prominent while steeping. Flavor is similar but gentler, with a noticeable hint of ginger. It’s nice enough, but not among my Butiki favorites. Part of that could be my fault, for letting the sample languish in the plastic baggie for months, or using a brew basket that still had the lingering smell of another flavored tea (though I did soak it in 185F-ish water prior to adding the tea to minimize cross-contamination). I’ll give this one another try in the future.
Project Drink Your Greens continues. Although this one looks a lot more like silver needle than any other green I’ve come across – the dry leaf is super fluffy, and it was kind of hard to measure out a level teaspoon.
Boiling water? Well all right, if Stacy says so. The tea didn’t seem to suffer at all – very soft with subtle flavors, like a more vegetal silver needle. The first flavor I picked up was artichoke, and now that I read the tasting notes I notice a few wisps of pea and marine. Most green teas taste to me like some sort of leafy vegetable, but this doesn’t seem to have any element of that, which is a nice change of pace.
I’m amazed how gentle this tea is after 3 minutes in boiling water, with no bitterness or astringency other than some dryness in the throat. It’s one that you have to focus on as it’s pretty easy to overlook the mild flavors, but doing so is a rewarding experience.