526 Tasting Notes

87

Sipdown (97)! And a backlog. I just noticed in my previous tasting note that I didn’t think that this breakfast blend was all that special. I still agree that it is a pretty straightforward breakfast tea, but this time around, I got some subtle smokiness in there that I didn’t taste before. That smidgen of smoke actually intrigued me a bit and is the reason I’m gonna bump up the rating a bit on this tea. Like I said in my previous tasting note, I do have quite a selection of breakfast blends, so I probably will not be reordering this one any time soon. I did very much enjoy it while it lasted, though!

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97
drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
526 tasting notes

Another backlog. I had a really intense on site interview the other day that I had to get up earlier than usual for. Basically, I met ten people in the span of 5-6 hours, one at a time. Yikes. Anyway, I woke up that morning really feeling like I needed a solid black tea to drink. I probably should have reached for one that I had tasted before, but I decided to take a risk and steep this one. I’m actually so glad that I did, though, because this tea was delicious.

Most of my favorite black teas are actually Verdant’s straight blacks, but this one is definitely a contender for a top spot. It was nice and malty, perfect for mornings. Yet it was also sweet and potato-y. Overall, a pretty complex variety of flavors all deliciously blending together into this one cup of amazing tea. I’m definitely glad that I made that second Butiki order or else I would have missed out on this!

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92
drank Imperial Keemun by Steepster
526 tasting notes

Okay, so I have a bunch of teas, old favorites and new discoveries alike, that I didn’t log in the past five days or so, but I’ll just add tasting notes for the new teas that I tried. I pulled this new tea from the T&C TTB with no expectations really. It just sounded like something I wanted to try out. As it was steeping, I started smelling the smokiness of the tea, which excited and worried me at the same time.

As it turns out, I was right to be excited. The smokiness was well matched by the boldness of the black tea. Plus, it was not the tobacco type of smoky that I don’t care for. It kind of reminded me of when I was up in a cabin in Tahoe with the pine trees, fresh snow, and general foresty nature smells all around me. For that reason, I think this was the perfect winter tea for me. Unfortunately, there was only one serving since it was from a Steepster Select box originally. I did save the leaves and resteep the next day, though, and it was still wonderful. A big thumbs up for this one in my book!

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Today’s first pick from the T&C TTB. People on Steepster seem to really love this one, so I gave it a go for myself. Something must have gone terribly wrong because for some reason, I got a whiff of something that smelled like egg? And then after that, I just couldn’t get the thought of egg out of my head while I was drinking the tea. I did definitely taste the malty flavor everyone talked about, though. That was nice, but the whole time I was too distracted by the weird egg smell that I don’t think I appreciated this tea much. I won’t leave a rating since no one else seems to have had this problem, but I think I’m a little too scared to give it a round 2.

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78

I grabbed another tea from the T&C TTB this afternoon. This one steeped up to smell and taste more like apple cider in the sense that it’s a cooked apple taste rather than fresh apple. For some reason, the smell of it bothers me a little, but I’m really enjoying the warm apple taste. There is also something perhaps a little minty about the tea that I like as well. It’s a nice enough tea, but I probably wouldn’t get this for myself because the smell is still a little off to me.

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77
drank Gavati by Handmade Tea
526 tasting notes

I pulled this tea from the T&C TTB today. When I opened the package, it was confusing to look at because I didn’t realized that it was a blend of black/oolong/herbal. Despite my confusion, I went ahead and steeped it at about 185 F for 3 minutes. Even though I am usually not a fan of lemongrass, the lemony flavor went well with the green oolong in this tea. I couldn’t really pick out any black tea in either the flavor or the smell of the tea. Perhaps it was just the teaspoon that I scooped out happened to not have so much of the black tea? Anyway, I can see this tea being good for when your throat is feeling sore. I’m glad to see that I can actually enjoy a tea that contains lemongrass.

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drank Indian Nimbu by Harney & Sons
526 tasting notes

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100

Backlog. After walking around on a chilly night without a warm enough jacket, I decided to steep up a household favorite for my family in the evening. I have to say that all the people I have served this tea to have really enjoyed it. It’s such a nice, roasty, comforting tea, and I love sharing it with other people.

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94

Another gem from the T&C TTB! I think I’m gonna swipe the rest of the sample for myself, actually. I steeped this one this morning while looking for a nice wake me up kind of black tea (190 F, ~3 min). While this was a hair less bold than I would want it to be, it made up for it by being so clean and smooth. The malty flavors were there without any bitterness and only a tiny bit of astringency. I can see myself reaching for this one in the mornings when I want a reliable cup of tea to start the day off.

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85
drank Baked Ali Shan by Butiki Teas
526 tasting notes

Well, I was intending to have any more tea tonight, but then my mom demanded requested some, so of course I was willing to oblige. I brought out this green oolong from my Butiki order because it has been a while since I have had a greener oolong. I was absolutely in love with them for a while, but then something about my tastebuds suddenly changed and there was this new flavor in there that I didn’t enjoy so much.

Anyway, on to this oolong. As it was steeping, the leaves were unfurling so beautifully. They were seriously perhaps the most whole leaves I’ve seen for an oolong after they unfurled. The tea was sweet and smooth with a bit of vegetal notes as well. I still taste that weird dampness that I can taste in other green oolongs with my messed up tastebuds, but it wasn’t too strong in this cup. There didn’t seem to be anything earth shatteringly different about this green oolong, but I do appreciate it and loved just watching those full leaves unfurl in my clear teapot (aka one of the best teaware purchases I’ve ever made).

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Bio

I’m a California girl temporarily located in Boston for school (brrr). I only recently got into teas because I’ve never really liked coffee (too bitter), but I have been a daily barley tea drinker since I was little.

Through some timid tastings and exploring, I so far like:
-Japanese green teas (genmaicha, hojicha, sencha, etc)
-Oolongs! (Most kinds except formosa and dan cong so far)
-Straight black teas
-English Breakfast teas
-Fruity teas (peach, apple, strawberry, other berries)

NOT a huge fan of rooibos, matcha, heavily artificial tasting teas, or anything gingery or peppery, but I’m trying to keep an open mind and taste everything that I can!

I’m trying to sample more straight teas and have been having pretty awesome discoveries so far. Thank goodness for sample sizes!

My tentative rating system:
90-100: Woohoo! I’m loving it, and I’m definitely restocking when I get the chance and/or crying when I’m out.

80-90: Yum! I’ll try to restock if it fits in my budget when I run out.

70-80: Probably would not buy again, but it was nice enough to finish the cup.

50-70: Would not choose this tea for myself if given the situation, but would not reject it if someone offered it to me and would gulp down politely.

50 or less: Nope. Don’t care to taste that tea again, sorry!

I’m always down to swap, so send me a message if anything in my cupboard is calling your name!

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