513 Tasting Notes

100

Backlog. The other day, I was having a pretty crappy day, so instead of digging into any new teas, I decided to steep up this tea that I already love. It was a little smokier this time around, but smoky in a good, charcoal sort of way and not in a tobacco kind of way. I generally do not like teas with smoky notes, but it just works with the roasty, warm flavors of this tea. Plus, resteepability is great. I’m so glad that I ordered more of this before it’s out!

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88
drank 1994 Aged Bai Hao by Butiki Teas
513 tasting notes

My second order from Butiki has arrived! And I am beyond excited to dig into everything. I started off today with this oolong. I prepared it according to the instructions with the rinse and all. In my opinion, the hot tea tasted sweet and a bit like raisins. It reminded me a lot of the 1991 Da Ye Aged Oolong from Butiki. I only got more chocolate-y notes as the tea was cooling down. These tastes seem to diverge from the majority opinion based on a quick browsing through others’ tasting notes on this tea. I may try this one in a makeshift gong fu style next time to see if this changes. Oh, and I also resteeped it about three times Western style before it started to lose too much flavor. Perhaps I will even do more of a side by side comparison with the 1991 oolong. I’m loving my adventuring into aged oolongs so far!

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93

Sipdown (92)! It’s a very sad sipdown of one of my favorite straight blacks ever. At least I was able to enjoy the baked bread, malty goodness of this one last time without any snafus. Plus, I knew I needed to start getting in my sipdowns before my second Butiki order arrives. Goodbye Yu Lu Yan Cha, hopefully not forever!

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78

Backlog. Using my handy dandy variable temp kettle, I was able to steep this one at a nice low 175 F. I’ve had problems with bitterness with this tea in the past, but the low temp really seems to get rid of that problem and even introduce some sweetness to it. Mostly it’s a big punch of vegetal and some grassy flavors, though. Not my favorite flavors, but it was quite nice to have this evening.

Edit: Oh, this is my 500th tasting note! If I had known, I would have done something a little more exciting.. I guess I will just have to speed up my journey to tasting note #600!

carol who

Congrats! 500! :)

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78
drank Afternoon by Fortnum & Mason
513 tasting notes

Backlog. I had this tea this afternoon because I was being indecisive and this blend is literally called afternoon, haha. I think I was a bit careless with my preparation today because it was a bit bitter and cardboard tasting. This isn’t necessarily one of my favorite black tea blends, but I think it’s just a nice standard cup. I think it would be nice with some milk or sugar, but I don’t generally add anything to my tea, so I may need to experiment with that in the future.

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100

Backlog. I had this tea yesterday because my stomach was feeling a bit queasy and sensitive, so I had to go for my favorite roasty comfort tea. I have to say that it really did help. I even resteeped a couple of times but had to stop myself because it was getting a little late in the evening. My stomach is feeling a bit better today, so perhaps I will venture out to other teas…

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92
drank White Rhino by Butiki Teas
513 tasting notes

Oops, I did a really bad thing. Or maybe a good thing? I was sipping on this gloriously malty white tea this evening when I decided that I must have some more of it before it’s gone forever. I guess a lot of other people had the same thought because it’s all gone! Eek! So then I went into panic mode and ordered a bunch more teas from Butiki before they could have a chance to run out. I guess I won’t be participating in Black Friday sales this year… but it’s totally worth it to stock up on Butiki teas!

Anyway, I’m always on and off about white teas, but this white tea has been consistently on the good side for me (other than my very first time with it). I’m trying my hardest not to reach for this one too often now that I know I have to ration it out to last longer. I’ll really miss this one when I’m out (which hopefully will not be for a while!).

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76
drank White Cinnamon Sage by Tea Forte
513 tasting notes

Today is a rainy Halloween in California. I’ve already seen some trick or treaters floating around downtown. Adorable. So when I got back home from being out in the rain, I needed a nice, warm cup of tea. I had this sample sent to me by another Steepsterite who I can’t remember, but thank you!

Anyway, as soon as I opened up this package, the cinnamon and sage scents hit me like a brick. My first thought was that it smelled like a Christmas candle. Actually, I would love to have this as a holiday candle. After steeping it up at a low 175 F, I can confirm that it does taste exactly how it smells and how it is described: cinnamon & sage. I think the cinnamon was more prominent when the tea was piping hot and the sage slowly came out as the tea cooled a bit. Normally, it wouldn’t be my pick of flavors for a tea, but in this almost wintry weather, it’s actually quite nice to cozy up with. I’m drinking this while watching Parenthood on Netflix, so it’s turning out to be a nice, cozy afternoon all around.

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86

Let me preface this with a note that I’m not the best at distinguishing specific tastes and such, so bear with me. So, after falling in love with the 2003 Four Seasons, I decided to break open my other straight oolong from my Butiki order. Thanks to my handy dandy new variable temperature kettle, I was able to steep as directed on the package (180 F, ~4 min). The first time steeping, I was still pretty sleepy from waking up earlier than usual, so my thoughts were limited to “yummy leaf juice.” But it actually did taste very leafy, if that makes any sense at all.

Later in the day, when I was much more awake, I resteeped the tea and really started getting a hold of more concrete flavors than before. My initial thought was that it smelled and tasted like raisins. So I went to the Butiki website to see what was listed there, and I could slowly pick apart the buttery, honey, and mineral notes as well. I’m not sure that I’m getting much chestnut, but it could totally just be that it’s there and I just can’t identify it as such.

Anyway, it was a very delicious oolong. I wasn’t as over the moon about it as the 2003 Four Seasons, but I can definitely appreciate the clean flavors and warmth of this cup. I will definitely treasure what I have left of this!

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100

I just have to say.. OH MY GOD. This tea is heaven. Lately, I’ve been trying to get through my sipdown box, which consists of a lot of teas that I’m on the fence about. As a result, I’ve forgotten how it is to completely be in love with a tea. It’s roasty and has a charcoal note without being too smoky. I even resteeped it several times without the flavor fading at all. This tea seriously deserves a perfect rating in my book. I think I may have to put in another order with Butiki to grab some more of this before it’s gone forever!

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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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