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Recent Tasting Notes
This sample came from TeaTiff! I’ve tried a few pumpkin-ish teas lately, some spiced, some not. So let’s try one more! This tea has an oxidized oolong base, and the leaves are dark grey-brown and twisty. There’s what looks like some kind of crushed orange candy mixed in, but after looking on Stacy’s website I found that it’s actually pumpkin flakes. Dry scent is sweet and creamy but not necessarily pumpkin.
The steeped tea actually smells like pumpkin pie to me, with a touch less spice. Mm… This doesn’t really taste very pumpkin-y to me. It mostly tastes like a whole lotta nutmeg with some cream and a touch of bitterness. There’s a little bit of pumpkin there in the aftertaste, but it’s mostly a spiced milkshake tea.
Flavors: Cream, Nutmeg, Pumpkin, Spices
I can probably count on one hand the companies I get my flavoured teas from, and Butiki is one of them. After reading all the rave reviews of this, I added it to my wishlist and it sat there for a long time until I read about Butiki’s eventual closing.
Somehow a package filled with tea showed up on my doorstep last week. No idea how that happened.
I had a rather hectic week, so I didn’t get around to trying anything in it until yesterday, when I pulled this one out at random. Three teaspoons, 12 oz water at 200 F, and I had dessert in a cup.
One thing I love about Butiki’s flavoured teas is how the flavouring really complements the base tea. I didn’t get much in the way of bananas, but the coconut and buttery toffee went deliciously well with the honey and caramel of the Premium Taiwanese Assam base. And my room smelled like cookies.
I’m very tempted to get more before it’s gone for good. There’s something so comforting about this tea.
I really wanted to try this tea, as it’s the base for butterscotch and hazelnut mocha candies tea, and I was curious as to what the base adds to the flavor. I also think it’s so unusual, brewing up a lot darker than other white teas, and tasting really different. I had a cup the other morning, brewed western style, but I had a hard time describing what I was tasting, so I brewed it up gong fu style today.
The first 20-second steep actually tasted like an almond pastry with powdered sugar sprinkled on top. Nice! The subsequent steeps turned into more of a honey, malty flavor, with maybe a hint of licorice sweetness. It reminded me a lot of those leaf hopper teas, which is super weird, because this is a white tea, right? I’m really glad I gong fu’d it to tease out the notes, and I might even prefer it brewed that way. At least I’ll know what I’m tasting now, when I make it western style!
Oh my, I may just need more of this in my life. I got this with my second last order so I thought it would be wise to take some older ones with me to polish off in Alberta before the new stuff comes in.
Floral notes and super fresh lychee combine here. I’ve steeped this twice all the way through the amount I got and both steeps were always delicately fruity. Sad sip down, this is.
Tea for a cool and gray (finally) morning! There’s a lot going on in this blend: in addition to small, dark, typical Assam-looking tea leaves, there are large strawberry pieces, pink flowers, and an abundance of chocolate chips. I tasted one and it was very creamy and rich, not dry or bitter as I was expecting for some reason. The smell is invitingly rich and cake-like, very strawberries-and-cream with a touch of cocoa and espresso. Now the question of how does it taste? Many teas that smell like a decadent dessert end in tragedy in this department, but this one is quite delicious. The strawberry sweetness is very fresh but not over-the-top, and is tempered just right by the combination of espresso and a light natural astringency from the assam. The coffee fragrance as well as the chocolate flavor gets stronger with a longer brew time, probably due to the chocolate chips melting. And it is a very sweet, inviting sort of chocolatey note that takes me right back to childhood. This tea does have a very rich, almost buttery feel, so it may not be for everyone, but I found that doesn’t detract in this case. And on a final note, it brews up to the most beautiful, soft red color that has me wanting to take a picture of my teacup for the first time!
And now I’ll have to revise my profile so it no longer says I haven’t found a good chocolate-heavy tea yet…
You know, I was almost hoping I wouldn’t like this one. Thus far, I hadn’t found a white tea blend that wasn’t seriously hampered by fruit/floral additions. Could such a thing exist? Well, if anyone could do it, Stacy at Butiki probably could—but I already knew that if I liked this one, I’d want to try some of the other white blends while they’re still available (Lemon French Macaron is calling my name). So that will only add to the problem of too many teas that I’ll be loathe to part with!
Well, this one is in fact pretty good. The blend consists of silver needles and pink fuzzy amaranth buds, and has a fresh, juicy watermelon scent. The brewed tea is almost colorless, with that same watermelon flavor, sweet but delicate and not excessive. The good thing about this tea is that once it’s cooled and steeped for longer, the natural fragrance of the white tea itself comes through—honey-sweet, vegetal, and distinct from the melon flavor. It’s a very “cooling” tea, somehow, and there’s almost a hint of mintiness to it. In fact, a good comparison for it would be to an after-dinner mint instead of a sugary dessert, it’s very nice as a palette-cleanser tea. (And after all, watermelon often serves the same purpose at restaurants in China during the summer months!) So now, time to think about what else I want to try…
Today was a work at home day, which means I get to have a puerh session while I work! Yay! I was really excited to try these. I mean, so convenient! Just drop the little disc in your gaiwan, or in my case, my mini tawny dragon teapot. No mess! The discs are so compacted, and one side has a line indentation through the middle that makes it look like pill. My puerh pill for the day! When wrapped, the gold foil makes it look like a piece of chocolate. I actually was confused when I opened my Butiki box! Ha!
The dry disc smelled sweet and nutty. I did a 15-second rinse, but the disc was still really compacted, so I decided to let it rest for a few minutes. That kinda steamed the tea and the leaves started to wake up. Then I did a 20-second steep and right away, it was dark and lovely. Wow! The scent was sweet and roasty, like a roasted oolong. The taste was roasty too, but smooth. I did a crapload of steeps and it just kept going. For probably the first 5-10 steeps, I didn’t dare increase the time longer than 20-seconds because it brewed up dark each time with lots of flavor. Towards the later steeps, I increased the time by a lot, but it stayed smooth, sweet, and nutty throughout. This seems really unique, as I haven’t had a puerh that tasted like a roasted oolong before. It seems like the everlasting gobstopper of tea, so if you like sweet, roasty, nutty flavors, definitely check this one out! I’m glad I picked up more than one disc! Maybe I’ll do just one more steep…!
Another lovely offering from Butiki. This one is a mixture of black tea leaves of various sizes, mostly very dark and twisty, with a few green leaves and golden frayed ones. It’s hard to believe from the aroma that there’s nothing but tea leaves in this blend, there’s such a bouquet of varying kinds of sweetness. The tea brews up to a clear, golden amber color. The flavor is malty and sweet, with a rich, complex feel and a lingering fuzzy finish that almost resembles a “golden” Yunnan black tea. There is a floral yet starchy-sweet undertone as well, and a note of roasted nuts. Overall, there’s a lot going on here without being overwhelming, as it is quite smooth and light except for the breakfast-tea-worthy caffeine kick. Wish I had more of this as well!
Big thanks to Cameron B for including this in her swap!!
I don’t have much to say other than I really, really enjoyed it, through and through. Wonderful dry aroma. I could even smell the creaminess. Excellently flavored, too – it was like drinking actual cantaloupe juice warmed up. Bai Mu Dan is a great choice to for a base tea. Barely a grassy note, and it’s light enough for a flavoring that is so light itself. Also, the Helichrysum flowers are a lovely addition, a contrast the colors of the Bai Mu Dan.
I’ve wanted to try this tea for a long time, since it always seemed to float to the top of popular/recommended teas here on Steepster, and finally ordered some last week. I’m very sad that Butiki is closing, but glad I have the opportunity to try some of their creations.
And this tea, well, all the rave reviews are totally justified in my opinion! The blend has visible coconut pieces and flower petals, and the aroma is of fresh, natural-seeming coconut as well, which I’m a big fan of. I was expecting predominately coconut in the flavor as well, but there’s a nice surprising complexity to it. There’s banana, and when have I ever liked banana? The answer is never—until now! The flavors blend together smoothly like a banana coconut cream pie, and it’s not too sweet, not at all artificial, and perfectly cozy with a nice smooth base. This tea really restores my faith in flavored blends, if it had been lacking in the first place, and I’m sad that I didn’t order more. But I wouldn’t want to be the person who bought out the stock of it either, haha.
The snozzberries smell like snozzberries! Er, I mean raspberries. Which is pretty good, and a little bit of cocoa. There is more of the berry in the flavour, but I do get the chocolate notes as well. Towards the end of the cup, more of the base tea comes out. Which is very good, as that is the Kundaly I’ve gotten to like so much. Thanks Mandy for this.
Flavors: Berry, Chocolate, Cocoa, Raspberry
This tea is a winner. It smells as nifty as it tastes. How is that you say? How can something smell or taste nifty? Try this tea, with its toasty coconut and creamy banana flavor, its deep black tea and caramel tones, and you’ll find out. :)
Flavors: banana, Caramel, Coconut, Tea, Toasted
Another Butiki sample from my order. This one definitely doesn’t look like as many hops that were in the Rhubarb Ale sample I tried the other day. I love this base in the Tamarind Pop tea even if isn’t the most flavorful. It’s a unique base that I could crave once in a while (unique – must be a Butiki tea.) I’d have to try it on its own to be able to tell what it tastes like. This one is nice – the base tea, peach flavor (a few pieces in the infuser) and the hops balance themselves out nicely. The hops are still slightly bitter… maybe giving the cup character but maybe just isn’t my thing. The color of the cup even looks peachy. The peach makes me miss the lovely peach oolong Butiki once sold… one of my favorites. So many lovely teas I was able to try (a LOT of them samples that I always appreciated!) I wouldn’t mind trying this blend without the hops. Also, this blend was created by Azzrian (and Butiki)… wherever has Azzrian been?
Steep #1 // couple min after boiling // 3 1/2 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min
Usually when reviewing a tea from a company I would pull out my camera and notebook and log it for review on my blog, I am making an exception with this tea since Butiki is going away :( and all of my tea logging stuff is packed up for my trip tomorrow. Since I played packing tetris with my stuff unpacking it would be a giant pain. I hope you all forgive my more freeform rambling today. I was giving a sample of this tea by my tea-bro Lion after making noises about wanting to try it, so thank you for that! The aroma of the really dark curly leaves is really quite rich and sweet, lots of fruity notes going on here with an underlying mineral note as well. I am specifically picking out plum and a hint of peach.
I decided to go gongfu for this one (probably my last until I get to PA) and as the leaves rehydrate themselves I begin to see the purple tones shine through, like the purple of a plum skin. The wet leaves have a slight fruitiness to them, but they are also kinda odd, I am picking up notes of loam and green beans, it is reminding me of something from my childhood that I can feel tickling around at the back of my head, but I cannot put my finger on it. The liquid is sweet and warm, like cooked plums and freshly baked snickerdoodles.
The taste is somewhere between the smell of the leaves and the smell of the liquid. It has a creamy mouth feel with a distinct gently spiced cooked fruit, but there is also a loamy quality and green bean brothiness to it. The finish is a bit sharp, similar to the sharpness I get with a heavily mineral noted Wuyi.
Steep two! Only time for one more before I have to go run last minute errands, including getting new shoes since mine totally fell apart. Bleh. Yum! Second steep is still quite buttery, but it is all fruity plums and mineral with a touch of spice. It is pretty mild though, I fear that as soon as I put the cup down I kinda forget about it, which is tragic. I like it, though I wish there was more there.
Steeped a few cups of this today. It’s such a interesting blend… I love the idea of an orange-chocolate tea, but I haven’t tried many yet. The orange in Three Friends is delicious, very sweet—but with just enough sharpness to make it stand out among the other flavors. I can smell orange and chocolate very clearly here, both in the dry leaf and once it’s steeped. They smell “real,” if that makes sense—no artificial sweetness, which makes them feel richer and more present.
The taste has a lot of orange flavor, with chocolate notes beneath it, and a sugary creaminess from the marshmallow. For me, the black tea base has strong honey notes, with a touch of malt. It seems to be on the lighter side, for a black. (I was a little surprised I didn’t get any cocoa notes from the tea itself, for whatever reason… Might explain why I found the orange flavor to be stronger than the chocolate.) This is a really sweet tea, even without anything added. For my second cup, I let it steep for four minutes. The honey notes became even more prominent, giving it a kind of orange/honey/cream flavor. Delicious, even though it’s not quite the balance of orange and chocolate that I expected!
Surprisingly, I think I prefer this tea with honey or sugar—even though it’s already so sweet. A little extra sweetness seems to help all the different flavors blend together. This is a fun tea, really unique and delicious. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the rest of my tin.
This is my first official note for White Rhino though I’ve tried something called “Kenyan White” in the Butiki teabox that I eventually learned was this tea and I’ve also had this in the Hazelnut Mocha candy blend. I was wondering why the Hazelnut blend tasted so different from the teabox base. I looked up my tasting note for the teabox and it says I waited a half hour after boiling to steep when the instructions for the Hazelnut say to use boiling water. I would never guess to use boiling water for a white tea. To me, boiling didn’t ruin the leaves but it didn’t taste right to me.. it kind of had a plastic flavor… no justice for those lovely leaves! I feel like I ruined my sample now, and that was following the parameters. So I waited a half hour to steep these leaves again. A loose two teaspoons, as this one is tough to measure. Gold and black wiry twisted leaves, sometimes connected like a wishbone! The flavor is much better this time around than the just boiled Hazelnut. If you order this one (or the Hazelnut), I suggest trying to steep it both ways. The flavor is like sweet lemon with a syrupy texture, hints of hay. No fuzzies! It definitely seems like the tea has MORE flavor after waiting a half hour to steep. As a white tea, this is my favorite, but if I’m comparing to other teas like black tea or oolong, is it really that amazing? I guess I was just so surprised that a white tea could be this nice. Three steeps were pretty consistent with flavor though! This is such a unique white tea as I can’t find any Kenyan white teas that look like this anywhere but Butiki. I wish some other tea shops would find some of the sources for Butiki’s teas! This will be another sad loss from Butiki.
Steep #1 // 30 min after boiling // 3 min steep
Steep #2 // 20 min after boiling // 4 min
Steep #3 // few min after boiling // 4 min
This tea is off the chain! I’m no stranger to lapsang souchongs as a fan of smoke, even hits-you-in-the-face-ashtray smoke teas. This is, I’m pretty sure, the best smoke tea I’ve ever tried. It doesn’t shy away from that intense smoky quality that distinguishes LSs from other mildly smoky-hinting teas, BUT there is a splendid sweetness at the end of the sip that sets it apart, and so much wonderful complexity in between—I could be hallucinating but I swear I get nuttiness, chocolate, and a little bit of fennel. Ever so slightly woody feel without being so noticeable as to veer into, say, Darjeeling territory. So many LSs are blunt instruments, the sort where you don’t feel bad using up some ground up for meat-free smoke rubs for roasted veggies or whatnot to give them a grilled flavor. I wouldn’t think of wasting any of this one on that though—too subtle, too many worlds inside it. Fantastic.
A sample from my last order. With this one, I maybe, just maybe have tried all of their guayusa blends from Butiki except for the plain. I guess I requested this as a sample for just that reason! They’re all delicious – all upper 90 ratings from me (except for Killer’s Vanilla which has an 89 maybe because it just isn’t my thing)! I’ll be especially sad when Butiki is gone because I really don’t see many other tea shops with guayusa at all. I’d really like to stock up with an order at some point but I don’t have too much in the tea budget, especially as I wanted to place a Bluebird order for some time now.
Anyway, this is the usual amazing guayusa. No actual apricot as far as I can tell, but the flavor is there (not overpowering, but noticeable). It pairs very well with the guayusa, though I seem to say that with every Butiki guayusa blend…maybe because Butiki KNOWS what to pair with guayusa. I don’t know how natural an apricot flavoring it could possibly be, just added to the leaves. I like the other guayusa blends just a bit more though.
Steep #1 // 20 min after boiling // 4 min steep
Steep #2 // 15 min after boiling // 4 min
I’m only on steep #2 but YUM! This is really good shu. There is a unique sweet/nutty note that I don’t get very often from shu puerh. I know I’ve tasted it before but I can’t remember where?? Mouthfeel is extra luscious with no musty notes. Very toasty, rich and satisfying.
I will definitely be ordering more of these discs when the new blends are up on the website. Definitely hits the spot! :D
I don’t know how this tea has flown under my radar until now, but wow it’s great! I’m on my second steep of it, and the mailman only brought it a couple of hours ago.
I do get almond cookie from it, but a little more too. It’s not like the almond cookies I have had in Asian restaurants, it has more of a spice to it than those. Cinnamon for sure, maybe something else. I’m really digging it today.