221 Tasting Notes
This is another dear departed favorite from Butiki. It’s strong, and very malty—heavy on the Assam—with just a hint of sweetness. This is my kind of black blend, and I’ll be sad when I finish up my stash (though unlike some of my other Butiki favorites, I have a feeling I’ll be able to find a suitable replacement eventually).
This is one of my favorites from Butiki’s close-out extravaganza. The first taste is tart plum, followed by a sweet, cakey flavor—I rarely pick up on baked-good notes in tea, but I do with this one. There’s a nice brisk base to round things out, and, weirdly, the whole effect kind of reminds me of bread. I’m glad I picked up two packs of this one, and glad I still have one left to savor.
I didn’t care for the Sansia black base on its own, and it didn’t work for me in this blend either—it was just too strong on the honey. With this one, I mostly got the base, with occasional hints of syrupy berry peaking through. It was very sweet, likely due to the Sansia, and probably would’ve been a nice blend for those not weirdly averse to honey-tasting black teas.
This one went heavy on the grapefruit and the brulee—I’ve never had grapefruit brulee the dessert, but I imagine this came pretty close to it. The creme part was missing for me, but there was enough going on without it to keep me satisfied. The assertive base and bright pop of citrus made this one a nice, brisk morning cup.
This is a very old sample, from Rii I think, and it may have deteriorated some while it languished in my tea basket. Anyway—at 2.5 minutes, it came out slightly astringent, even bitter. I think the base is a sencha, and it overtook the tart plum flavoring (though there was a great plummy aftertaste, and points for natural-tasting fruit flavor). I decided to try what was left of my sample as a cold brew, and I’m glad I did. The plum was more prominent, and the base smoother and less assertive. While this wasn’t one of my favorites from Lupicia, it was very pleasant iced, and I’m glad I had a chance to try it.
Dry, this smelled just like strawberry yogurt. Steeped—after a quick rinse—it smelled mostly like smoke. The flavor tended toward a happy middle ground, with an initial burst of smoke followed by a fruity aftertaste. I didn’t get anything resembling cheesecake out of this tea, but I liked it well enough even without that elusive flavor note—I’ve had a couple of blends meant to evoke cheesecake of one kind or another, and none have delivered. Anyway, I did enjoy this one quite a bit—it reminded me of Russian tea, with cherry jam.
This was an odd blend—mainly fresh, juicy cantaloupe with an aftertaste of espresso. The flavoring was quite strong, and I couldn’t really appreciate the nuances of the Giddapahar base underneath. I did get that faintly astringent note I enjoy in Darjeelings, though. Cantaloupe’s not honestly one of my favorite fruit flavors, though I like it well enough, but Butiki’s cantaloupe was so true-to-life. I think it stood better on its own, without the espresso, but I’m glad I got a chance to try this unusual tea.
This tasted very woody to me, not like coffee—let alone ice cream—at all. It was faintly creamy and a bit sweet, but that was about it. This one was a real disappointment to me, as I’d been blown away by Butiki’s Rootbeer Float and was expecting more of the same honeybush magic with this one. I can’t quite describe what rubbed me the wrong way about the coffee, but it unfortunately kept me from enjoying this blend.
This has that typical green oolong profile, but it’s not as flagrantly orchid or honeysuckle (or whatever that note I can’t stand is) as some. It doesn’t taste super milky or creamy in comparison to other green oolongs I’ve had, but it is very smooth. It almost reminds me of some Chinese greens in its hints of nut—mao feng, maybe? Given my bias against green oolongs, this is much nicer than I thought it would be (though still not something I want to purchase). I think I got this from someone at one of the NYC meet-ups, back in the day.
Dry, this one smells like coconut sunscreen—not the most auspicious of beginnings! Steeped, though, it’s PTA with a delightful hint of toasted coconut. I don’t get much banana, but that’s okay. I still have a bit of this one left, but given coconut’s tendency to go soapy I’m thinking I better drink it up soon. I’ll miss this one!