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Recent Tasting Notes
This. Is. EXCEPTIONAL. Somehow the second steep is even better than the first. My guess is that the base tea is inherently buttery. The flavoring is soft cinnamon and cream. It’s maybe more sweet potato than squash but entirely delicious. I love how the flavor is robust and delicate at the same time – it’s substantial but not cloying or overly sweet or artificial. I’m glad that this has held up so well!
The other day I was drinking my Elderflower Champagne Oolong from Bluebird Tea Co. which I usually like to steep gong fu. Both of my gaiwans were in storage though, so I drank it western style and sorely missed the gong fu brew. Well, today I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I went through my garage for almost an hour before I came across them, and I’m going to have a lovely gong fu session with this tea this afternoon.
Since I really just want to immerse myself in the tea and the gongfu process, I’m not going to be timing precisely or testing the temperature of the water. I have only drank this tea once before and am not a huge fan of greens so it’s really more about the experience than the end result today. I’m using 7g of leaf and my larger gaiwan which holds 125ml of water.
The dry leaf has a strong scent, which is promising as I was worried the tea would be losing flavour. It has a grassy, seaweed-like scent with green vegetable, floral and almost buttery notes. I think I can detect a hint of smoke, too.
First steep, ~5 seconds: The vegetal note in the scent is enhanced in the wet leaf, and it definitely comes through in the flavour of the tea, which is mild and has a distinct green bean or pea note, and some very slight buttery and sweet notes. The smokiness comes through very lightly in a roasty kind of way.
Second steep, ~5 seconds: My mam came into the room while I was pouring this, and she said it smelled like broccoli (lol). I don’t disagree! I was surprised by how sweet this steep is! The green veg flavour is present, and enhanced with the sweetness, which is delicious. This is a very buttery steep. There are some light kelp notes this time around and some grassiness. The main note is of fresh peas, and is actually very reminiscent of freshly popped sugar snap peas. This was quite a dry steep.
Third steep, ~7 seconds: Less sweet this time. The scent is still of peas or green beans, but with more of the seaweed note being prominent. This is noticeable at the end of the sip. The flavour is slightly milder and less vegetal. I’m getting more steamed green beans than fresh sugar snap pea. The aftertaste is very buttery and slightly floral, but the dryness of the tea is starting to coat my tongue. This is probably something I have done rather than the tea itself, but I don’t know how to rectify it. There is a slight spiciness to the tea which I was not expecting.
Fourth steep, ~10 seconds: Scent is more seaweed-like, I can detect floral notes and some earthiness which was not present before. The smokiness is slightly present in the scent of the tea itself, which has been absent for the last couple of steeps. The fourth steep tastes more like the first, only milder and with more smoke. The vegetal note is more reminiscent of spinach now, and the sweetness is more present than the third.
Fifth steep, ~15 seconds: The scent is completely different this time! I know the notes all sound the same but something about how prominent they are changes so much about the steep. This steep was far more kelpy and smoky. I expected the flavour to be deeper, like the scent, but it’s actually very sweet and buttery with only a light smokiness. It’s similar to the second steep – it’s almost like the tea is repeating itself. I got a surprise hint of apple at the end of the steep, which I didn’t expect.
Sixth steep, ~20 seconds: The leaf has taken on a distinct hemp scent now, but the tea is much sweeter even than the last steep, and more delicate. There is still a hint of smoke and green veg at the end of the sip. The apple taste is still lingering but not as prominent as the last steep.
Seventh steep, ~35 seconds: The apple is present in the scent of the leaf now, I’m definitely not imagining it! Liquor is sweet and lightly buttery with not much complexity. Slight grassy notes at the end of the sip. I think I will steep this one more time and then give it a rest.
Eighth steep: ~1 minute: I was going to steep for 50 seconds this time but after the lightness of the last cup decided to steep it for longer and make this the final steep. Scent is mainly kelp-like this time. Tea is lightly grassy, lightly vegetal. No notes are particularly pronounced.
It has been so enjoyable to dig out my gaiwan and just spend the afternoon quietly drinking tea with no distractions, really focusing on it. Green tea will never be my favourite, but this session did exactly what I wanted it to and I enjoyed the tea immensely, despite not being too knowledgeable in the area. The tea itself was very lovely, and much better than many greens I have tried in the past. I know that this is partly due to the method of brewing and in general my overall satisfaction with the experience, but it is mainly down to the quality of tea that Butiki sold. The leaf was truly beautiful, and I pulled out several of the whole, long green leaves from the spent leaf just to admire. Even though it wasn’t my favourite tea ever I am feeling ridiculously happy right now. I’m on a tea high.
[Disclaimer: I am not at all well-versed in green teas, and could be talking complete nonsense. My rating probably does this tea a disservice based on my lack of knowledge and general wariness of green teas. I truly did enjoy drinking it, though.]
Guzzling this one as my dinner gets cold as I didn’t want the soup’s flavours to interfere with the tea. It is absolutely delicious!
I’ve only tried Butiki’s blackberry flavouring in this tea and Blackberry Lime Guayusa, but it is lovely and authentic, and why wouldn’t it be? Stacy did flavourings so well. There’s just the right balance between the flavour of the blackberry and the tea, which is also delicious. It’s paired very well too, and I really do think that the honey note of the sansia, which is very prominent, helps to give a sort of ‘cordial’ impression. I can also taste a brandy note as described but it melds in with the tea and the blackberry so well that I can’t be sure if it’s flavouring or part of the natural tea, which is a huge compliment in my eyes. I added a teaspoon of sugar as per the recommendations and the berry notes became more pronounced as did the ‘cordial’ aspect, but the black tea is still shining front and centre, and has only a little astringency. Stacy had such an eye for detail when it came to blending teas, I’m constantly impressed with everything she created.
I came across this happily while I was organising my sipdown box today (yes I do that), and realised that thanks to Janelle and VariaTEA, who both sent me samples I had almost finished with, I had enough left over for one final cup with Stacy’s recommended 1.5 teaspoons of tea if I combined them both.
Reading through the notes for this one it seems to have been a lot of people’s first foray into the wonderful world of Butiki, and I think it was mine too. That was some time ago now, though, and I’m quite surprised I haven’t written a note on it yet. Though the tea has lost flavour over time (I’m going to stop saying that now because seriously, after a year away from Steepster this is true of almost all my teas, sadly) it is surprisingly not all that different to the way I remember it tasting when it was fresh, a couple of years ago. The first few mouthfuls had a disturbing cinnamon flavour which I’m blaming on myself storing it next to Della Terra’s Cinnamon Diletto, but luckily this faded as I drank and the main flavour was that ever-present cantaloupe. I’m not sure I got the floral and vegetal notes which Stacy mentioned from the base tea, but that I think is likely from the age, since I think I remember tasting the floral notes more in previous cups. The cream I don’t necessarily get, and never really have – to me, this is really more of a straightforward cantaloupe tea. I added half a teaspoon of sugar which I hoped would bring out the creaminess but it didn’t really do anything much. I’m afraid I don’t love it anywhere near as much as everyone else seems to, though I have enjoyed every cup I’ve had. This is NOTHING to do with Stacy, obviously, and everything to do with the fact that as I’ve mentioned in reviews of other teas I just don’t like cantaloupe. The flavour is spot on, but it’s just mimicking something I don’t choose to eat – in fruit salads and melon medleys I always leave the cantaloupe. A sad sipdown because it’s another Butiki tea gone forever, but beyond that I can’t say I’m going to miss it. I’m so sorry to everyone who loves this tea, it’s just not the one for me.
Dry leaves dark and smell syrupy and fruity. Reminds me a bit of a heicha I’ve had. SO thinks it smells like coffee beans. I do a rinse and then a steep.
First steep tastes kind of coffee-like and a bit of smoke. There is a bit of sour stonefruit in there for me. I am again reminded of that heicha. SO gets vegetal, which she’s not a fan of. She also picks up on the smoke, which she doesn’t like in tea. Roasty notes are there, but I’m not really getting chestnut.
The smell of the liquor transforms after the first steep. I honestly don’t really have the words to fully describe the smell or flavor that I get from this point on. It is drying on the back of the tongue and throat. There is definitely some camphor, some tobacco and there is a nice, focusing cha qi that I was definitely not expecting.
Of course, this is not a true puerh, and I wish that there was more information about it, but since Butiki is no longer around, all I’ve got to go on is what was posted here. All-in-all, this has been a very interesting experience that I will have to further explore in the future!
Flavors: Coffee, Pleasantly Sour, Roasted, Smoke, Stonefruits, Tobacco
I got this in my closing down mystery box from Butiki, but since I already had some plain honeybush in my stash at the time I’m just now getting around to sipping it down. Not too much to say about this one; it’s your typical honeybush—very woodsy and a little bit sweet. Like drinking liquid cedar chips, but not in a bad way. I feel petty neutral about this tea. It’s fine in a pinch when I need something caffeine-free, but I definitely prefer some of the flavored honeybush blends I’ve tried to the plain version.
I swear I’ve already logged this one. But anyway, yet another sad Butiki sipdown (though by no means the saddest). This is such an odd blend, but it works pretty well. I never tried it with sugar or salt, but straight it’s quite sweet and heavy on the apple and cinnamon. Those flavors don’t entirely go with the green base, which is pretty vegetal, but it’s a decent blend all the same—and certainly a unique one. Only Butiki…
Currently drinking this for my sinuses are all blocked, but a chai-like tea sounded like it’d be good for my current situation. Everything coming from the tea is subtle—subtle notes of cinnamon, clove, and vanilla (?)—and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s going on with the flavor. Perhaps it’s an old sample, so the age of the tea is present with the brew. There’s potential here, but considering Butiki Tea is no longer around, I cannot give an accurate rating/review. I’m happy that I was able to give it a try at least once, though.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Vanilla
Thanks to Tea Pet for this lovely blend. No doubt it has lost some flavor in the years that I have been hoarding it. I made the last bit in my Breville for optimum enjoyment. The first steep was mildly flavorful but pleasantly pumpkin spicy with some heft in the base. The flavor grew stronger as the brew cooled – pumpkin, cinnamon, and cream. For the second steep, I added some pumpkin agave syrup from DavidsTea. The result is sweet, creamy, and gently spicy. The earthy base keeps the agave sweetness from being overly cloying. I now see that the brewing instructions recommend a rinse, which I totally didn’t do, so I probably messed this up. Harrumph. Still a nice cuppa!
This is so good. There’s that signature Darjeeling herby/grassy thing going on, there’s apricot and citrus, plus a lot more that I’m struggling to pinpoint. It’s very smooth for a Darj, with virtually no astringency. I so wish I could restock this one, along with some of Butiki’s other fabulous teas. I know there are plenty of other places sourcing fine Darjeelings, but I so miss having Butiki as my one-stop shop!
Shana tova! In the spirit of Rosh Hashana, I opted for an apple tea. Two, actually. Time for a caramel apple blend showdown! I’m pitting A Quarter to Tea’s Caramel Baked Apple Oolong against Butiki’s Caramel Apple (also an oolong). Who shall emerge victorious?! I am posting this note under both teas, so apologies for clogging your dashboards.
QTT Caramel Baked Apple
The scent of this leaf is sweet cinnamon, but there’s no cinnamon flavor in the sip. Instead, it’s all soft, sweet baked apple. No caramel flavor either, even after adding brown rock sugar. There is a sort of rocky note here which reminded me of Butiki’s Caramel Apple. That’s what inspired this taste test in the first place.
Butiki Caramel Apple
The scent of rich caramel wafts out of the mug as soon as the hot water hits the leaf. The caramel apple flavor here is spot on. It’s sweet, crisp, perfectly candy apple. The flavoring also melds nicely with the rockiness of the base tea. I actually find that rockiness off-putting on its own but the sweetness rounds it out and makes it pleasant. No need for sweetener here!
Both of these teas are quite tasty. The Butiki has a stronger caramel flavor and tastes more crisp. By contrast, the QTT tastes more like a baked apple pastry (which, to be fair, is implied in the title). Each tea hits the spot in a different way. I’m glad to have both!
After discovering that I actually don’t dislike all white teas (thanks to a profound experience with a midnight white), I am now getting into silver needle tea. Which, admittedly, I like less than midnight whites. But they are now becoming enjoyable to me whereas before I drank white tea and assumed it was all a big trick and the joke was on me for buying a tea that tasted like the water I brewed it in.
So this tea… When I first poured the water over the dry leaf to steep it, it gave off a very weird dry/old grassy type scent? That is not completely accurate but my brain was not able to place exactly what it was but “dry/old grassy type scent” is in the arena. It wasn’t pleasant. But a funny thing happened. As I was down there sniffing over and over again, trying to place the scent, the scent changed on me. It opened up into a little more of a sweet, semi floral fragrance.
The first steep (1 min) yielded another oddity. The only two things I can think of while sipping is that it tastes like sweet corn and apple jacks. As gross as that combo sounds, this actually works to make a semi-sweet and silky liquor. Very interesting.
Subsequent steeps stay in this same vein, at least for the next 3. This is a tea that, with a limited experience with silver needles, has me intrigued for more.
Flavors: Apple, Corn Husk, Sweet
Having actually had a lemon macaron before in France, I had high expectations for this.
Butiki hits the mark. So lovely and light and refreshing; clearly a good white tea base too. I also appreciate that this is very, very old and has been sitting in my cupboard for a few years. Added flavouring diminishes with time so I imagine a fresh blend of this would send me to heaven.
And I don’t even usually drink white teas.
Gadzooks! Despite its age and having moved with me at least twice before I finally tried it, this is an astonishingly good tea. I picked it out of my cabinet because I was in the mood for a good green but sencha felt like too much work. I thought it was a green based on the name and some vague memory, but the leaves are rolled into tight little balls like an oolong, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. After brewing this in my glass gong fu teapot (2 tsps, 4 oz, boiling water per instructions, 90 seconds), I let it cool for a bit while I read the new Black Panther. Has anyone else been following this? It’s quite interesting, though I have some qualms about the way it seems to be using the trope of man-hating lesbians (hint: there’s really no good way to use this trope, especially when those are the only LGBTQ+ people in the storyline). Anyway, I was engrossed in the book and absentmindedly reached for the tea. And this tea is so good that it knocked me out of the book. I barely even have tasting notes because I gulped it down so fast. It’s green and vegetal and glorious. Green beans with a hint of sweetness that lingers on the palate. Ever so slightly dry, but in a way that fits with and accentuates the vegetal notes. Just… wonderful. I’m reminded that Stacy had a knack for finding great straight teas in addition to her serious blending talent. We miss you, Stacy!