307 Tasting Notes
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!
This tea, more than any other I’ve tried, really did taste like pumpkin. And butterscotch, and spices. There’s something about Butiki’s coffee flavoring, though, that tasted off to me. I can’t describe it, but I noticed it in Coffee Ice Cream too. While I didn’t care for that blend, I still enjoyed this one quite a bit.
Thanks for this sample, Cameron B.! This is another Assam I’d been curious about but hadn’t wanted to commit to, since it’s only sold in one—very large—size. It’s strong and malty—though not quite as strong and malty as I’d expected it might be. There’s a strong raisiny note, with a fair bit of astringency thrown in to keep the sweetness in check. This is a nice Assam, but since there are other good options that can be purchased in smaller quantities it’s not necessarily something I’d purchase—4.4 oz. is a lot!