420 Tasting Notes
A generous sample Stacy sent my way with one of my recent orders, so nice! (:
As usual, very pretty blend with big bright whole raspberries. This brews up surprisingly bright. I was also surprised that the raspberry is a zingier, fresher, tart (but not too tart) one, not so much the jellied goo inside some chocolates. As usual the smell is relatively subtle but lovely. The chocolate is not as creamy as in some teas, and Stacy’s right that it’s rather a woody cocoa sort of thing (like the powdered cocoa you dust truffles with!). All around, each main component here is not what I assumed it’d be—but then, I should stop being surprised at Butiki teas as they’re just about always unique and innovative in execution! This isn’t a super sweet creamy candy bomb, more for lovers of fresh raspberry flavor and dark cocoa. Citrus and cinnamon notes you say? Yeah, I get that (the cinnamon especially in the scent as you drink), helps to set it apart from the type of profile I was assuming and adds to the feeling of fresh fruit and wood.
Got a little nervous about the clove in this one given that recent incident with Sleepy Hollow Chai, but this was pretty good! No one element is super strong or off balance with the rest, and it’s not wimpy either. I don’t know that I’ve found my perfect all-purpose chai yet (I love Townshend Tea’s Dark Forest Chai because it tastes like an old fashioned cinnamon sugar cake donut, but sometimes that’s not what you want when you want chai, y’know? It’s its own thing), but this is one of the better ones I’ve tried so far this year.
Another one from the gift tin my real life tea buddy sent me. :D We had it for afternoon tea with amaretti cookies. Crunch crunch!
This one has a mysterious element in the smell that goes well beyond DT’s usual creamy chocolate aroma. It’s not exactly floral or musky, but similar. Hard to pinpoint. It makes it seem more like a fancy little grown up salted caramel bon bon than sugary sweet kid candy. I wish I knew what it was! That layered aroma lasts through the entire thing too—at the bottom of the cup it comes back full on, impressive. The taste and body are a little wan relatively, but that’s usual for these heavily fragrant dessert blends. I’m glad I have enough to enjoy this a few more times. Might make it a bit stronger next time and add milk, see what happens.
This is pretty good! Banana is hard in tea—it’s so easy to have it topple off into “candy runts” fake sugary territory. This banana is sweet, but never runts-sweet. I like the way it interacts with the coconut and yes, even the chamomile (I’m guessing maybe the chamomile is what keeps the banana-coconut combo from becoming beachy plasticky cocktail mixer flavored). The lavender is light enough you might not even register it as such; it just gives everything a soft, cleaned up backdrop. I like how this is sort of a light, gentle tea, not uber sweet or heavily creamy. It gives the impression of a freshened up banana, again avoiding candy territory. I’m not madly in love with it but it’s probably the best banana tea I’ve found so far.
Had for afternoon tea with R. My non-Steepster bestie tea buddy sent me a lovely tin of this along with other DT favorites as a surprise holiday gift, hooray.
This does a good job of being exactly as described, gooey, sticky caramel and marshmallow, not just straight up sugar but true marshmallow scent and flavor. It’s cute too, full of cute silver balls and sprinkles and caramel. When you want a sweet treat, this could hit the spot.
I love the way this one smells dry and steeping. Very very ripe to the point of musky pear, and lots of mysterious, sexy floral honey perfume (you have to be on board with honey’s true smell beyond sweetness; other notes about how it’s amped up honey but separated from honey’s sweetness are spot on, as is the copy description of syrupy floral Middle Eastern desserts but without the spices). Smelled so good I was anxious to try it, impatiently tapping my foot for it to finish steeping.
The finished color is a surprisingly dark rich pretty red. The tea base has a slightly raspy, woody texture (fitting given fresh pear’s texture) and the pear and honey flavor is toned down (the aroma remains heady and strong though). I like this. It’s not as straightforward or sweet as Joy’s Teaspoon’s, more musky-floral and complex. Also a clean finish, reminiscent of pear’s clean-sweet aspects.
Also had last night during the movie. This smells quite accurate; I like it more than the David’s Tea version which I tried excitedly at the beginning of my newly rekindled tea fanaticism in January and found pretty disappointing (and also weirdly oily). That said, it is quite sweet by the end of the cup (hi sprinkles), which isn’t really a true complaint as Red Velvet is a terribly sweet thing. Makes me realize maybe it’s not really a flavor I actually want many cups of for tea. Anyway, better than David’s, maybe just not my thing in general as a flavor. The things you learn about yourself!
Tried this last night while watching A Little Princess (I’ve been on a holiday season “feel-good classic movies from my youth” bender before bedtime). This was quite enjoyable—it really does have a sweet carrot flavor (it takes a while to emerge; it built up enough to be quite noticeable around the middle of the cup), and you even somehow get cream cheese icing (!). It does taste rather sweet especially by the end of the cup. But I was pretty impressed; carrot cake seems a hard thing to pull off, and somewhat unusual.
This was a very generously sized sample Garret managed to throw in somehow at my request in the midst of holiday madness. Mandala’s customer service is top notch!
This has all those malty smooth qualities good starchy Chinese black teas possess, but also aspects of legacy-style breakfast teas in that it’s strong with the merest hint of breakfast blend astringency and a woodiness that emerges at the end of the sip and builds gradually. A nice everyday-type morning tea, the sort of thing you could replace a mandatory cup of coffee first thing-type habit with. Its subtler charms come out the more you drink it. It has a sweet cleanness in the aftertaste that’s unexpected and a nice counterpoint to the upfront smooth starchiness. I enjoy these “go-between” type teas that have parts of both worlds in the basic black tea market.
ETA: Forgot to say earlier too that this is a very pretty leaf, long and unbroken, lovely both dry and steeped. I just seem to extra appreciate that quality in brisk morning teas because it feels so relatively unusual and overlooked, unnecessary in the haze of caffeinating oneself. It always makes me smile though when I encounter it.
Another Nina’s from JustJames! Finally have some alone time tonight to get a headrush from all these goodies, yay. Thank you!
This smells pretty good dry and steeping; it’s light and creamy, with a little more orange than chocolate (makes me think of a creamsicle but with a fresher orange component), all soft and sweet, unlike the fresh-zesty-candy-sit-up-and-take-notice intensity of a Terry’s chocolate orange (and hence unlike Butiki’s Three Friends). The texture is wonderful, so creamy. It really does feel like a well done creamsicle tea to me. There is chocolate but it’s not the intense kind; it’s light and, I keep using this word over and over, creamy. It comes out more in the finished tea’s flavor and nose-right-up-to-the-cup aroma than while steeping. I’ve yet to find an orange creamsicle tea I like or many at all period (I don’t count Butiki’s because of its unique tangerine flavor, which is a plus not a minus but hence doesn’t place it in the “creamsicles from my childhood” category), so this is a pleasant surprise. Everything fits well together and I like how the chocolate doesn’t steal the show from the orange or cream at all, plays just right with it.