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Recent Tasting Notes
This is a sample sent to me by IndigoBloom in Sil’s Super Awesome Sample Box. Thanks girls!!
Admittedly, I was having trouble visualizing cilantro in any tea blend. I do enjoy cilantro, & I grow it in my garden. During the winter I grow it in my Aerogarden too. It’s great in salads, sprinkled on chili, eggs, etc., but I’ve never considered it in tea. I haven’t tried the pineapple cilantro yet either, but maybe I should, cuz this is good!
It’s unusually tasty, with the sweetness of mango, the creaminess of the white tea, a pinch of tart hibiscus, & very refreshing from the cilantro. Indigo, you’re a visionary! It’s so awesome that Stacy has the amazing talent of making dreams come true!
Yup, still the best chocolate orange tea ever. This probably comes the closest to satisfying cravings for Terry’s Chocolate Oranges that I’ll ever come without ingesting hundreds of (delicious) calories. I bet sweetening it a bit would make it even more delicious…. but that’s such a slippery slope…
Drinking down my last cup of this so that I can pass the remaining cup’s worth onto Raritea. Due to age, the watermelon flavour has dissipated a bit, but it’s certainly still there, both in aroma and flavour. I opted to try a 1-minute infusion for the dragon well instead of the recommended 2.5 minutes, and I think that it helped to bring out the flavouring and tame the dragonwell a bit. I see that I noted that I should try it with a bit of sugar this time, but I don’t really feel inclined to. I like it as it is. At some point I’ll try Watermelon Xylophone with sugar instead to see how it brings out the watermelon flavouring.
IB – this is actually pretty tasty cold brewed, plus the coluor’s awfully pretty, a pale pink :) Totally running late for getting out of the house today so incoming tasting notes while we’re in transit but yeah. I still prefer this hot, but cold it’s a nice refreshing glass of tea as well. I like how the cilantro and mango come out a bit more in the cold.
I made this cold brew style today and accidentally steeped for 9hrs vs the 3 that I intended.
So while it isn’t exactly bitter, it’s not at all what I had hoped for. Kindof bubblgummy in that standard “fruit” tea way and a teeny hint of Cilantro… Boo!! that was why I commissioned the blend in the first place. I heart cilantro!!
Thus, considering those two factors, not to mention that iced tea is not my fave, this is most definitely on the MEH side of things, but oh well, I accept full responsibility for that.
One day I’ll try again, when I have the time to pay proper attention!! Or when we finally find room in the freezer, I’ll make it iced (double strength over cubes)
Having a few delicious cups of this with dinner tonight. Cilantro in the enchiladas! and cilantro in the tea! that’s pretty much the only reason i did that, plus it’s so very nearly a sipdown lol AND my mango lassi tasting note reminded me that i do have this other mango blend from stacy
I am enjoying the fruity mango-ness of this tea quite a bit :)
Oops, apparently I double-logged this the first (and last) time I had this. Found that empty note and deleted it, and now get to write another!
So this was one of these teas I attempted in the hopes of making myself feel better…. no dice. However, it is quite enjoyable, and I have to say, it’s going down much more smoothly than the Laoshan Black. I probably should have stuck to lighter, creamy teas, in retrospect. Oops.
Anyhow, I couldn’t really remember what this tea tasted like, exactly, but now that I’ve had a few sips, it’s all coming back! I brewed this up more strongly this time, using about 2 tsp of leaf for 8 oz., and due to being distracted by my roommate, it got a nearly 3 minute infusion! Luckily, it survived just fine. The cilantro is definitely quite apparent here as a lovely fresh flavour, and the mango is fairly light, but still noticeable. The white tea base, of course, is deliciously in the background.
I definitely do quite like this tea, even though it’s not one I personally would have come up with myself (cilantro in a tea?!) I can’t wait to try my portion of Pineapple Cilantro Cream next weekend!
I’ve had this with short and long steeps and I love it both ways. Short is great when I know I’ll be around all day, but it’s so very satisfying when I can indulge in a longer one. The depth of the mango and cilantro flavour really gets me! and I’m truly looking forward to making a big batch of this iced, to drink while I read a book on the balcony. Hurry up summer!
Also… Stacy rocks. Very very much!
1.5 tablespoons for 375 ml
Very full flavour. Sweetness of the mango/fruitiness coming through with the great cilantro complement. The tea is thick and brothy.
Second infusion at 4 minutes. The flavours from the first infusion are present but are not as robust. I’m detecting a nutty flavour. A different experience from the first infusion but still very enjoyable.
Third infusion at 5 minutes. Overall flavour toned down quite a bit. Mild white tea taste is primary with hints of mango sweetness and cilantro in background. Would not likely do well past the third infusion.
Thanks to Indigobloom for sharing this with me!
Thank you indigobloom for sharing your custom blend with us! I’ve been wanting to try this forever since i love me some mango. I figure my tastebuds seem to be back to normal so this came out. I have to say, this is pretty darn delicious! I’m not getting much in the way of cilantro but i AM getting the mango and that makes me super happy! Even cold (since i got distracted) this is still delicious!
Thanks to Indigobloom for sharing some of this little gem with me! I brewed some up during the day out of immense curiosity, and it was seriously delicious! The cilantro was present only as a delicious, refreshing flavour, and the mango as more of a background than a central note, but they combined for a really nice cup of white tea.
I let the second infusion go for closer to 3 minutes, and the flavours definitely emerged more, so since Indigobloom was generous enough to give me a bit to play with, I’ll try this on the first infusion next time.
Oh Stacy you have made me into a giggling tea nymph! I cannot get enough of this stuff. It is just perfect.
Normally I can’t stand hibiscus, but in this case it’s really added that special something. The mango is sweet, but with that extra punch of tart, it really tastes like mango salad.
And the cilantro. I love it almost more than tea. It is so darn tasty, I could eat it on it’s own with just a little bit of olive oil and lemon.
It’s really hard not to rate this because I would put it way up there, but since this is a custom blend made just for me I’ll have to resist.
The only downfall is that I filled up the tin I saved for it, but still have lots more to fill tins with… which means it will go stale before I can drink even half.
Oh and I need to make it with purified water, since tap water really ruins the delicate white base notes. Bah!
Butiki Teas is having an awesome “Create-Your-Own-Blend” tea contest. I was honored to have one of my submissions nominated by her panel of judges.
You can view the teas and vote here: http://www.butikiteas.com/Contest.html
Here is my submission:
Grateful Castaway’s Chilipaya Sweet Tropical Heat
You, an intrepid tea trader caught in a storm in the Atlantic and blown wildly off course. Your mast torn, you drift for days, surviving by eating dry tea leaves and drinking rainwater captured in your tiny yixing teapot. At sunset, you see a speck of land on the horizon. You feel elated that your journey of hardship is over. However, hunger, thirst, and delirium overtake you and you drift helplessly off to sleep dreaming of better days to come. Hours later, you awake to a hot sun beating down on you. You are on a sandy beach clutching your last tea chest, out of the corner of your eye you spot the remnants of your ship smashed against some nearby rocks. With no tools, and no strength, you cannot access your only source of nourishment-your Nilgiri Frost Oolong tea leaves. Too weak to stand, you contemplate the last hours of your life. Suddenly, a crash right next to your ear! Just missing your head, your tea chest has been smashed open by a falling coconut! Landing within arms reach, you see the coconut has been cracked open as well and you find some of your tea leaves steeping in the coconut shell. Your stomach is not ready for solid food, so you guzzle the coconut milk tea with all your remaining constitution. Invigorated from the unusual drink, you arise and survey your surroundings. The beach is deserted, save for the lone, sparse coconut tree. The island appears uninhabited. You grab the last two coconuts and decide to move inland to search the distant forest for fresh water. It is essential to keep hydrated until the inevitable rescue of the important tea trader occurs. Inside the forest, you find myriad types of ripened fruit within arms reach or on the ground-papayas, mangos, limes, sucking every last drop of juice before you devour their flesh. The sugar rush is intense and you begin to ramble through the dense forest somewhat recklessly, picking up various fruits as you go. You encounter an unusual bush with a pretty little orange-red fruit. You take a bite and experience so much fire down your throat that you drop the fruit and fall backwards, spilling all of your tropical comestibles. Could this be the “hellfire habanero” you had seen mentioned in Magellan’s journals? Uprighting yourself, you frantically grab your coconut milk tea to cool off, only to realize as you gulp that the dreaded firebomb along with your other fruits has fallen into the drink. Strangely, the other fruits seem to tame the “devil fruit” in your tea. Although your throat still feels a little bit of heat, the succulent papaya fuses wonderfully into this serendipitous concoction, soothing your throat and heartburn. You calm down and start to notice the unique flavors. The unusual combination of sweet tropical fruits with the devil heat is amazing! Mangos, limes, habanero peppers, papaya, coconut and tea blending together as one. Papaya, habanero, and coconut are most prominent, but all the fruits are also identifiable separately. You thank fate for bestowing upon you this nectar of the gods as you continue to imbibe. You savor the sweetness and spice without getting the sugar high or burning throat as when eating all those tropical delights whole. Feeling relaxed, a quiet alertness takes over, your senses finely tuned. You see a creek that leads to a lush waterfall. Huge butterflies of every color casually flutter around you. A rainbow of delicate flowers emerges in every direction. Birds and trees of such beauty and rarity abound. You meander down to the stream gathering some crystal-clear water to make a cup of proper Nilgiri Frost Oolong in your coconut shell. As it steeps, you cannot help yourself, you are compelled to start throwing pieces of papaya, mango, lime, and yes, even a piece of that devil habanero into the shell! You ponder your fate while you sip this magical elixir. Away from the frenetic world, alone in this tropical paradise, your fears of survival until rescue evaporate and instead you, the grateful castaway, wonder “Do I ever WANT to be rescued?”
Grateful Castaway’s Chilipaya Sweet Tropical Heat is concocted by a fortuitous melange of Nilgiri Frost Oolong tea from the Blue Mountains of South India, red habanero peppers, papaya chunks, coconut shreds, mango pieces, lime and minute amounts of ginger bits and freeze-dried garlic. Daydreams of tropical paradise included at no extra charge.
This was the most fun I’ve ever had since I got into tea.
I had been wanting a Chili-Chocolate black tea for two years ever since TG discontinued theirs. There are others out there-but many are chais (which I don’t want), and some are not vegan and others I’m just not sure about the ingredients.
Enter Stacy, of Butiki Teas, who offered to do a vegan custom blend for me. Because the teas and other ingredients were things that she normally had on hand, she was able to give me some great prices and smaller amounts-less than $4 an ounce for this blend. In fact, it was even cheaper because the deal was for 2 ounces each but she wound up with 2.5 ounces on one blend and almost 3 ounces on the other blend. I’ve paid the same or more for blends that weren’t custom made with lots of personal attention.
Basically, Stacy and I exchanged several messages-she asked what I was looking for in a custom blend and she offered suggestions on bases and ingredients. She also asked for any suggestions I might have. It really felt like a collaboration. Like maybe Larry David was taking your suggestions and writing a Seinfeld for you. After settling on the bases, ingredients and spice-sweetness levels she went to work.
Every few days I would get an update from Stacy-when she blended, when she tasted, additional blending, settling, etc. She even sent me a pic of one of the teas in progress-so exciting! She did all this on her own-not once did I ever have to ask her how things were going-she was SO conscientious. When the teas were done, I even got to name them-it was so cool to see my tea names on the distinctive Butiki Teas labels!
I probably should have let the teas settle a bit, but, they arrived Saturday and it was raining all day, so I couldn’t wait.
This tea has a Kundaly (Nilgiri) base and is loaded with mini-chocolate chips and chili strips hand-grated by Stacy. I couldn’t smell the chili too well so I went with 1.5 teaspoons of dry leaf for an 8-10 ounce cup (you could just use 1 tsp for less heat). The liquor brews and orangish-reddish color and is closer to translucent than opaque.
You can drink this straight, but I feel that a teaspoon or so of brown crystal sugar (rock sugar) brings out the chocolate flavor better and really completes the chili-chocolate fusion. On the sip, I first taste a little chocolate on the tip of my tongue, followed quickly by spicy tingling in the sides, eventually lingering in the back of my throat after the swallow. With the rock sugar, the chocolate taste is there until the swallow. The tea blends in perfectly with everything. At first, I thought the 1.5 teaspoons was a bit too spicy for me-which is not Stacy’s fault because I told her I’d rather have too spicy than not spicy enough. Now, I am getting used to the 1.5 teaspoons and loving the heat. It’s not so hot that you would need to drink something else or eat something to tone it down. However, you might not want to sip too fast as it cools because of the lingering heat. It might not be a bad idea to reduce the spice here 10% or so, but not too much. It’s still good and spicy with just one teaspoon-but it will more likely need a teaspoon of sweetener. Still, 15 calories of sweetener is better than a 300 calorie chili-chocolate bar!
I’m really happy to have Chili-Chocolate tea again and I hope the weather cools down soon because it seems such a great drink for the fall and winter-maybe with a touch of soymilk and some vegan marshmallows.
Working with Stacy has been a great experience-professional, friendly, and responsive. If you have an idea for a tea that no one has, consider asking Stacy about a custom blend. She’s a mad tea-ologist who loves to experiment! She also will try to work within your budget-she won’t tell you that you need a $15 an ounce tea for a base. It could be a great gift idea for a loved one as well. Thanks, Stacy for all your hard work! Hope to do another custom blend in the future.
I can’t really separate the tea from the experience because of the personal service. The tea is really great and the service is outstanding.
Thank you for the sample.
It does indeed smell like a watermelon.
I have to admit that I’m not a watermelon fan (in terms of taste). What? Shocking I know … Furthermore, I associate watermelon flavor with cheep bubblegum. Having said that, this was really nice. It was light, sparkly and very delightful. It would probably make a nice iced version.
Stacy was kind enough to pass along with my last order a sample of the Watermelon Dragonwell that she concocted prior to the creation of Watermelon Xylophone, as I was quite interested in the idea!
The aroma of this one dry was a bit difficult to discern, as the packet was located next to the packet of Cider Guayasa (which smells absurdly good!), so that’s all I could smell. However, once out of the packet I could smell a bit of sweet fruitiness.
Unfortunately, as is typical of me, I brewed up a bunch of teas and forgot about them for a couple hours, so this one is cold now… however I’m rather enjoying it! The dragonwell is light and a kind of green beany flavour, but I can still taste a melony flavour lurking in the background, and unlike with Watermelon Xylophone, it’s coming off a bit more like watermelon than cantaloupe! It’s been recommended that this tea be tried with some rock sugar to bring out the watermelon, so attempt #2 will involve that, but I wanted to taste it on its on first. I’m intrigued by the idea of blends with green teas that lean more heavily toward vegetal as opposed to seaweedy/brothy notes, and this one seems to indicate that it would be possible and tasty to make such a blend! I think the tea would definitely be better with stronger flavouring, but as that wasn’t really an option, it was probably best to go with a white tea, but I enjoy this regardless.
Thanks so much for the sample, Stacy!