673 Tasting Notes
Better late than never…this blend is almost gone and I’ve been sitting on this first ounce of tea for a couple of weeks without tasting it. Then I saw the notice that only a pound was left so I ordered some more. It’s time to taste and review this Chai!
I’ve been tasting Chai’s lately from various sources, looking for different tastes and flavors, socking a few away for the Fall and Winter. I was sitting at my tea bar discussing this with Eric the other day. "Eric, every Chai I drink either has too much pepper or too much cardamon or the wrong kind of cinnamon that makes the Chai bitter. I think I need to make my own Chai, " I said. “That’s what I do,” he replied. And we both sighed.
Eric works at a tea shop! He’s tasted lots of Chai samples.
The only Chai’s I’ve liked so far are one from Butiki and the Verdant Chai blends.
(Some companies have Chai’s I can’t drink because they add Rooibos which I’m allergic to…so it’s not about not liking them, I can’t drink them!).
This brings me to the sadness of this tasting. An experience of a wonderful Chai that I should have ordered long ago but didn’t.
A Chai that is exactly what a Chai should taste like.
Wah! Sniffle! Stomp my Feet! Tantrum!
I threw the directions for brewing this Chai in smaller 8oz steepings out the window. I DISOBEYED VERDANT’S INSTRUCTIONS! Now I think I have to do a Verdant confession or something. Not sure.
So, what I did was make a whole pot of Chai…(yes I did indeed). I brewed 32 ounces of golden delight…honey spiced glee for me!
I poured 1 cup…warming my whole mouth with saffron and a mixture of cardamon, coriander, sweet vanilla and caramel. Luxurious!
I sipped for a bit…and could not wait.
This was not tea. I had to change how I was thinking about the whole experience!
Suddenly, I traveled to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in India, http://youtu.be/dDY89LYxK0w becoming one of the characters draped in bright flowers. With Hindi music throbbing in the background (which I like), I added cream to my next cup of tea and honey in large amounts. YES! This was the way to drink this CHAI! WOW! Taste EXPLOSION!
The next cup I just added some honey. NO WAY! Nah!
Milk and honey…that ‘IS’ the proper way to enjoy this fine Chai. I’m not kidding. I’m going to steep the leaves in milk…to make the flavors even more silky and creamy and warming and cocoa vanilla.
The cardamon wasn’t overpowering and the chocolate from the Mi Lan was like the ‘Chocolate XXOO Love’ Bar’s produced here in Colorado.
Thick and Rich!
So why sad…wah! It’s gone…when I’m done with my stash…GONE!
I’m requesting a repeat next season from Verdant! This was a treat!
Goodbye My Chai Love! http://youtu.be/RUCiGqAHx4g Monsoon Wedding
Woo Hoo thank you..this is the tea I won from Teave!
One of the things that I never expected when I began my adventures with the Steepster community are the ‘Free’ tea’s.
You know, the tea companies that have contests or sample giveaways and sample trading with other Steepster members. The bonus that makes so many of us able to try a huge variety of tea’s.
I for one would never be able to write so many reviews without the generosity of everyone, and I know you can relate too (I can hear a rumble of amen’s).
Thank you one and all!
The name of this tea matches the tea perfectly. You need to be aware of what you’re doing, pay attention and look at the dry tea. It’s so pretty! There is truly a confetti of colorful fruit and nuts, oranges from big chunks of mango, pineapple, cranberry, peach and flowers. No, this isn’t a dust or fine chop, it’s chunky with big pieces of bright fruit.
When the steeping is completed, the liquor a deep honey peach color with the aroma of cinnamon.
I had to dig around in the wet leaves for fruit…especially the big piece of mango and the cranberries. Chomp!
As much as I love the color and the generous amount of fruit, the cinnamon was all I could taste. If you want a nice cinnamon tea for the Fall and Winter, this is sweet without being bitter and the fruit is yummy.
I’d like to taste the fruit more and have the cinnamon toned down.
Where was the black tea? I searched the basket for black tea. Even in the bag there was little to be found which makes this more of a fruit tea and hardly a black tea.
Don’t get me wrong though, this tastes good. I think with all the high quality ingredients (and these are really good!) they are not shining but being covered up by the overpowering cinnamon. This could be in any companies top best seller list if the fruit came to the forefront.
My rating will be on current flavor.
Ingredient quality rating: 97
Thank you Dhart1214 for this tea sample!
The only Mate I’ve had thus far has been unflavored. When I saw the bag of Chocolate Mate in the samples from Dhart I was intrigued. It sounded like a good combination. Earthy Mate and Chocolate would be a natural.
I steeped the mix for 5 minutes and the resulting brew smelled more like prune or raisin and carob.
My first taste was interesting in the odd meaning of interesting.
If I was a hard liquor drinker, I could pick out a whiskey that this tasted like I’m sure of it.
I just stopped and went to the Georgia Tea Company Website to read the ingredients because of the odd taste (non-listed on the package).
UH OH…ROOIBOS!…I’M ALLERGIC TO ROOIBOS! (Good thing I only drank 1/3 of the cup so far! And the rest of the package will go elsewhere! I know Dhart had no idea!)
Anyway, the ingredients are: mate roasted, rooibos, cocoa bits, barley malt, coconut rasps, cinnamon, cloves, flavoring, cornflower blossoms.
Even with cream and sweetening this didn’t taste like chocolate. When you look at the ingredients is there any wonder?! It could have been good!
A heads up to all tea companies. If you call a tea ‘Chocolate’ and nothing else, it had better taste like ‘Chocolate’. Also, PUT THE INGREDIENTS ON THE LABEL! People like me have allergies!
So I didn’t write a story this morning with this tea, I soap boxed.
Happy weekend to all!
Hi everyone! I’ve been AWOL….Absent With Out Leaves yesterday and today (until now) doing TASKS mostly. I rarely disappear.
My daughter’s house is getting new carpeting. They’re house is 3500 sq. feet and even the bathrooms are being tiled so everyone had to get out!
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH 8 KIDS AND NO HOUSE?
I know, because yesterday, they came to GRANDMA’S!
And I went to a Greek (yummy food) dinner about schools being built in Northern Kenya (I talked about tea at dinner…obsessively!)
AND….I put together a hardwood desk with bookshelves on both sides and a keyboard shelf ALL BY MYSELF! (I put the shelf sliders on backwards the first time).
I now have a proper place to write instead of the dining table (which has caused me a fair bit of pain this year).
I was so exhausted by 5pm today that I stopped by Happy Lucky’s Tea House and asked Eric for a pot of this V98 Puerh that they have in big baseball size tuo cha’s.
There was a Friday evening concert in the Plaza a block away this last warm evening. People were wandering in and out of the shop ordering iced tea’s until concert time. Then things got quiet. I was dragging…a real mop at the bar. I needed CAFFEINE!
Eric steeped my pot of Puerh at 30 seconds and the first sip was smooth, sweet without bitterness or earthiness. I thought about a sweet mushroom flavor but couldn’t remember what kind, and at first there was a sense of furry redwood bark in the texture. I thought about bread but this is such a common taste comment in Puerh reviews that I stopped myself. Was this bread? No. A cracker like a saltine but without the salt…a water cracker. Yes.
Towards the end of the first pot, when the Puerh became almost buttery, I added a bit of raw sugar and loved the flavor of a just cracked Cream Brulee crust.
I asked for the leaves to be put in a Gaiwan to steep for 3-4 minutes. I wanted to taste a strong brew.
The liquor had a touch of purple around the edges and the aroma was
blackberry and a sweet wet mulch.
When I took a sip I was so amazed at the smoothness and lack of bitterness for such a long steep. Everyone tried some because they had never tried steeping it that long either.
This is one of those everyday tea’s that (as the previous reviewer stated) would be a great beginner Puerh. It would be hard to mess up.
I certainly perked up and I’m back!
Thank you Stacy (Butiki) for this sample tea!
…..we all know how good Stacy is at creating tea’s that
not nasty and artificially flavored…the really special tea’s that we love! Shhhhh, listen up!…..
…..This one is my favorite Butiki Tea Flavor of all!)
I want a pound of this tea already. I ONLY HAVE A SAMPLE! STACY!
The wet leaves had the softest aroma of green beans and sweet grapefruit as though the clock had been turned back and Spring was here once again.
I had just enough tea leaves for one precious mug full.
I took a sip of the pale yellow liquor and was amazed at the restrained taste of the grapefruit next to the more robust but smooth savory bean flavor. This was a juicy tea.
I added a little sweetening (as Stacy suggested) which brought more of the grapefruit flavor to the forefront, still perfectly complimenting the savory base flavor of the tea.
I used to make a grapefruit salad years ago with ruby grapefruit, carefully removing segments of ice cold fruit from it’s membrane, then mixing it with chopped avacado, salt, olive oil and lemon. The acid and sweetness of the grapefruit with the smooth creamy avacado were perfect compliments to each other. (It was an 1980’s popular California salad.)
This tea embraced that idea of combining crisp grapefruit and the creamy savory tea in a similar way. It worked really well!
There was that Umami thing happening in my mouth when I added some sugar (but without the bitterness, and the sour was just the normal grapefruit tang).
Yes, this was/is the best flavored tea in my Butiki book! It hits all the marks for me! Bravo Stacy!!!
Thank you Terri Harp Lady for this sample tea!!
First let me say for all you people on the East Coast…I hope you are dry and well…drink tea and hunker down! The wind and rain on the news looked fearsome! My prayers are with you all!
I live in that la la land called the ‘Mountain Time Zone’. (Hey, that makes me a Mountain Mama doesn’t it!)
There are probably few people who can name any States that reside in this Zone (and a lot of people don’t even know there IS a Time Zone other than Eastern, Central and Pacific (I know Hawaii and Alaska have there’s too!)). Up here in the Frontrange with the migrating birds (they’ve started to arrive), I’m waiting for the temperature to drop. 80’s are better than the high 90’s of Summer…but I want FALL!
I do Spring Cleaning and Fall Cleaning. Today, I took down anything that looked like Spring and Summer and began the transition. I changed my floral arrangements, pillows and throws first. I’m sure that will change the temperature outside in the same way that washing my car makes it rain.
My morning tea today was this Parisian Breakfast that Terri sent in a swap. It was an easy choice. It had the word “Breakfast” in it.
There were little bits of orange rind (without pith) in the dry tea
which was a pleasing aroma.
The liquor was dark and very strong. (Not the kind of tea that I would drink plain.)
My first sip, tasted of vanilla and orange but again, it was strong. I was sure this blend was meant for milk or cream.
I added sweetening and cream which brought the tea to where I believe it’s intended to be enjoyed alongside a fresh crossiant or buttered roll.
As the tea cooled there was some astringency and I didn’t taste any cocoa or chocolate during my tasting (curious). Vanilla, yes…lots of vanilla and some light orange.
A pleasing little tea, not spectacular but good with sweet buttery bread.
There have been a lot of Butiki Tea’s reviewed today.
Is there a Butiki full moon or something? Hey Stacy, what are you cooking up now?
I have to confess that tonight I watched the (awkward moment)
Finale of “So You Think You Can Dance!” Can I see a show of hands? Who else has watched the entire 9TH season with me? Fess up!
Right before the Finale began, I made a whole pot of Almond Indulgence and settled down with my tray of tea, a mug, cream and sweetening. I WAS READY!
I told Stacy that this tea reminds me of Apple Pie. I don’t know why since it’s an Almond tea but I think of Apple Pie when I taste it. In fact, this tea only needs a nudge of spice and it would make a great Chai. (Thinking about it and scheming I filed that thought under: Future Experiments with Tea.)
My favorite way to drink Almond Indulgence has been with cream and sweetened. I love it this way. I’d like it steeped in milk too. (Note to self…“Try milk steeping.”)
Feet up and mug in hand, I watched the results of the last show of the series. What creative choreography and gifted young dancers. They’ve inspired me. The Arts have always inspired me.
Does it matter that I can’t dance like those young, strong dancers.
I dance with them in another way. I soar in my spirit with every lift, bending and spinning or rising up light as a leaf on the wind, my feet hardly touching the ground.
The abandon that I still remember from earlier days, my younger years… playing a classical piece on the piano or putting my fingers on a canvas, creating thick, emotional strokes in the oil paint.
You never forget abandon. And you enjoy observing the joy of it in others your whole life.
Maybe I’m the only person who has had a negative experience with a tea and then avoided all the tea’s like it from that point on. But, I don’t think that’s the case.
I’ll bet you that most of us have a tea or two that we go blech…and that’s it for us. It could have been a Pu-erh, or a Lapsang Souchong, or a Black Tea or Rooibos. Whatever it was we didn’t like that one tea and mercy be, just like a child with cough medicine, I AIN’T GONNA DRINK ANY MORE!
My ’ain’t gonna drink any more’ was Keemun. I had one from a great tea company that curled my hair and my toes and made me shiver in a bad way. BLECH! No thank you please!
Time passed. Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Sun Up and Sun Down.
A little over a week ago, I was looking at Butiki Tea’s and saw the Keemun’s (shiver). I trusted Stacy’s taste in tea. Hum. “I’m no whimp, afraid of a tea. I should give Keemun Tea one more try,” I said to myself. So I ordered this Congou Keemun.
Whatever possessed me? But OK, I could do this.
I made a whole POT of tea, careful NOT to over-steep (3 minutes).
The liquor was dark and savory but sweet smelling without a heavy maltiness.
I opened the lid on the teapot and really smelled the tea full force. Wow! Gravy! Steak and mushrooms! I couldn’t wait to taste the tea!
My first gulp was sweet! That was unexpected! Then tingling, slightly malty, floral flavors rose from the savory base playfully weaving around melding and separating at the finish.
There was smoothness and no astringency in every phase of tasting, and the body of this tea was higher than medium weight(which was best for additions).
I added a bit of sweetening and cream which was not only delightful but the additions didn’t HIDE the flavors in the tea.
As the tea cooled, the floral taste became an almost bergamot flavor.
This experience was nothing like my first Blech Keemun many months ago. This Keemun tasted great!
Stacy and Butiki changed my mind!
The point, try another brand or another type of tea to see if you like it a different way. All Lapsang Souchongs and Pu-erh’s and Keemun’s are not equal. Find someone who you trust or who knows about that type of tea and ask for advice. Try again and see what you think.
I liked this Keemun! It’s complex and has some of the characteristics that I remember loving in wine (yes WINE) when I worked for Fortino’s Winery back in 2003. Savory mushroom and floral notes with levels of flavor that are earthy and bright at the same time. Really nice!
Thank you Stacy for this tea sample!
Who says you can’t have dessert before dinner?
Are you nuts? I’m nuts! Actually, I’m CRAZY about this new tea!
My favorite nuts to bake with are PECAN’S and my favorite syrup is MAPLE and my favorite beverage is TEA and you roll them all together in one cup and I’m done for!
Oh, this is buttery too.
The flavor is very good and sweet enough without adding anything,but I know Stacy. These darker tea’s are best with some raw sugar rocks. Yes! Really the best!
I’m going to try adding a little Lapsang Souchong on a cold day to this tea (make it smoke).
Oh, and drink it alongside a grilled cheese sandwich, YUM! How about alongside chicken…yes, really good….almost like chicken maple pecan waffles but without the calories.
Speaking of calories…I won a Pecan Pie contest during Black History Month (for my kids) and the calories, ugh!
Pecan pie flavor without the calories, brilliant! The prize goes to you Stacy and did I mention there are REAL pecans in this tea?!
You did an awesome job again Stacy girl. I think we girls need a night out! (OK some guys can come too…)
Another naturally flavored, handcrafted with love tea!
Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng Dragonwell Green Tea has arrived!
It seems like this tea present (more than purchase) will be arriving today (and the rest of this week) in households across North America and then around the World. ANTICIPATION!
I didn’t hesitate and went to the Verdant website, transferred all the information about the tea to Steepster so that we could review our Dragonwell together as it arrives.
Next, I read ‘How to Brew’ which I highly, HIGHLY recommend!
I chose the tumbler brewing method with 5oz. tea leaves, and luckily I had a gallon of Spring water left in the frig.
The quality of the water is very important with this particular tea.
With the tumbler method there was no straining of leaves, no timing of steepings and no worry. The process was very relaxed.
The leaves were jade green, very flat and had a fine white powder on them.
Following the brewing instructions carefully, I filled my tumbler and began blowing the leaves out of the way… sipping what looked like clear water.
That was fun.
I had to take off my glasses…the steam blinded me!
The sight of swirling green leaves and steam was beautiful.
Like the humid mist in the rain forest, I began to sip and think about green winged dragonflies, pure peridot colored leaves,
leaves swirling around like a school of fish.
I kept my eye on the level of the water in my tumbler and pushed the leaves away from my mouth by blowing on the leaves.
As the water level reached the lower third of the glass, I would fill it up again with water.
Blow on the leaves, sip, blow on the leaves, sip, pour in more water, blow on the leaves and sip.
That was all.
At times my technique of blowing leaves away and sipping had all the finesse of a whale sifting plankton. Some got caught in my mouth.
The flavor of the tea was savory soybean. This was the clearest, purest of pure flavors. No astringency, heat or bite. The sweetness was so subtle you hardly noticed.
The taste was soft but still rich and the mineral quality was like laying under a cool waterfall with the smell of wet granite and calcified rock.
As I continued pouring, the water turned pale green, and there was a bit of peppercorn heat.
My forehead became ‘tight’. Hum, I was aware that the tea was letting me know it’s potency. A well adorned object of beauty with hidden powers.
The last time I went swimming in the deep sea was 5 years ago in Kauai. The spot was off some enormous, jutting mountains (you might remember in ‘Lost’ or ‘Jurassic Park’) that go straight up and then straight down as jagged points back into the sea.
There in Kauai, the light penetrated the crystal water so deep that I watched small, flat, silver fish coming close to me then dart away. There was coral, giant marbled green rock…fern-like plants waving softly as though a gentle breeze was moving past them.
That is what I was thinking when I was drinking my tea. About the rocks, fish, sun and water, and the slow gentle movement of living things. I thought about me in the middle of it all floating.
When I finished my tea, I went to the cupboard, took down my small bottle of toasted sesame oil and put just a few drops on the tea leaves with a few grains of salt. (I could have added these to a salad but wanted to taste them as they were.)
They were delicious! Really, really good!
I can’t wait to hear the tasting adventures everyone else has with this tea. What fun, and what a pleasure to have this rare Dragonwell available to us.
This tea was elegant, refined and pure.
Thank you Mrs. Li for sharing your treasure with us!