75
drank Strawberry Oolong by Butiki Teas
300 tasting notes

This smells so beautiful steeped; very light, floral and perfumey – it took me a while to figure out what it reminded me of, but then I realized it’s those floral wreaths that are on sale from carts all over Bangkok. I get absolutely nothing resembling strawberry.

In the cup, the flavour is very subtle, but the aftertaste matches the scent perfectly. I’m enjoying this tea a whole lot, party as the base tea is a gorgeous, buttery oolong, and partly as I love those wreaths and it’s such a treat getting to drink one.

As has gotten to be the case with Butiki teas for me, the flavour isn’t what I expected, and much less present than I generally prefer; I tend to like those punchy, in-your-face Mariage Frères and Lupicia greens best.

But, as always, I’m surprised by how much I’m getting to enjoy the high-quality base teas and the clean feel of the steeped liquid. These are true artisan teas, and I feel really privileged to have a chance to try them out and expand my horizons. (Happy new year, Stacy!)

[From my Butiki order to Santa Clara, October 2013.]

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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I’m going to try all the teas.

Then I will choose a lucky few perfect specimens, and we will live happily together in my tea cupboard.

Forever.

  • * *

2014

This year, all bets are off. I am going to drink both peppermint and chamomile and possibly suffer a little. But it’s okay – it’s for science.

I’m doing Project Jasmine, Project Peach and Project Unflavoured Green.

In terms of flavoured teas, Lupicia and Mariage Frères have become my massive favourites, and I have learned that Dammann Frères/Fauchon/Hédiard and Butiki aren’t really for me.

The O Dor, Adagio and Comptoir des thés et des épices are all on this year’s I’d like to get to know you better list.

2013

Getting back into tea drinking last fall, I was all about rooibos. This past spring has been all green tea, all the time, with some white additions over the summer. Currently attempting a slow, autumnal graduation to black teas. Oolongs are always appropriate.

The constant for me, flavour wise, is the strong presence of fruity and floral notes. Vanilla is lush, as long as it’s not artificial. Peach, berries, mango. Cornflower, rose, lavender.

No peppermint.

No chamomile.

No cinnamon.

Ever.

  • * *

My ratings don’t reflect the ‘What does this tea do for me?’ standard, but rather my own ‘What would I do for this tea?’ scale.

100-90
My absolute favourites. Teas I would travel for – or, in any case, pay exuberant postage for, because they simply have to be in my cupboard. Generally multi-faceted teas with complex scents and flavours. Teas with personality. Tricky teas.

89-80
Teas I wouldn’t hesitate to buy again if and when I came across them. Tea purchases I would surreptitiously weave into a travel itinerary (Oh! A Lupicia store! Here?! My word!).

79-70
Teas I enjoyed, but don’t necessarily need to make any kind of effort to buy again.

69-0
Varying degrees of disinterest and contempt.

Location

Rome, Italy

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