796 Tasting Notes

93

SIPDOWN. :(

The Butiki website says there’s still some availability, so I may bite, because this tea, this fabulously unassuming tea, has become quite a staple for me at breakfast time.

I mean, it tastes like soft caramels. How could it not be awesome?

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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98

I’ve had this so many times, and it’s gotten to the point where it really doesn’t matter how I make it – with or without milk, with or without sugar – it gives me great results each time. As long as it steeps for 4 minutes, you will get a good cup of tea.

Tonight’s was without sweetener with some biscuits and honey before going into work. The milk brought out buttery maple notes and I drank it down pretty fast – but no time to have another cup as work is calling. Ugh. In a perfect world I’d have all the time in the world to drink tea all day….

Flavors: Butter, Maple Syrup

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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100
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
796 tasting notes

I brewed this the western way, which tends to work out really well for me. (See parameters below for details on that) No additives. I don’t think I’ve ever put anything in this tea, actually. It seems like it would be sacrilegious to do so, almost.

The first steep is mostly Toasted bread. No cocoa notes. Well, there are some cocoa notes in the wet leaf, but not in the actual liquor. The dry leaf smelled like raisin bread. What a fantastic smell!

The first steep definitely has a bitterness to it- I’ve mentioned it before but its a kind of blackened toast taste almost. It paired really well with my cinnamon toast breakfast – the sweetness of that cut the bitterness of the tea well. And every sip is different – some are heavily loaded with that burny flavor, and others are more fresh baked bread. Faint notes of cocoa sneak into the periphery every once in a while too. I love chameleon tea where each sip is different but amazing in its own way.

It’s the second steep that really shines though so we’ll judge the way this tea has aged by that particular iteration. Second steep time is six minutes. Cinnamon brownie! YESSSS. There is still an underlying baked bread note separate from the cinnamon/chocolate taste, too. Oh Lao Shan black. Still quite lovely even though you’re pushing 18 months to 2 years in age.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Burnt, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Toast

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Sil

courtney introduced me to a tsp of cacao in my LB and every now and then i still do that for extra delicious tes!

Terri HarpLady

I still haven;t tried that yet, but I love this tea as is :)

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100

UGH. I got the flu vaccine today (I have to, for work) and usually every time I get it a get a little sick, since that’s what a vaccine is. It’s definitely setting in a little – I just feel… off and my sinuses feel like they want to be congested, and I have a headache on top of that. Pffth. I HATE that this happens, and that I effectively have no choice but to subject myself to it every year.

Anyway, so I’m not in a great mood tonight and I knew that called for a special tea that always makes me happy. One of my old faithfuls. This one, with its lemon creamy goodness, was definitely it.

I had it without additives as usual and it was fabulous. This tea really shines as it cools down, which, since I’m a slow drinker, works out well. I’ve been spending most of the day looking up french tea companies on Steepster and trying to sort through the many blends they all offer. WHY isn’t there just one big superstore where I could buy each companies wares at once? That really would be so lovely.

Because seriously, if a hallmark of french teas is delicate, natural flavorings of consistently good quality like this one, then I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get to this point.

Flavors: Cream, Lemon, Vanilla

Preparation
2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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92
drank French Toast by 52teas
796 tasting notes

Today’s cup has no milk or sugar in it and is surprisingly sweet and decadent on its own. I mostly taste cinnamon and bread and smell syrup, but it puts itself together and really is very accurate taste wise.

The mouthfeel is rich and there is no bitterness whatsoever. I have enough left for one more cup and am pleasantly surprised by how well it has held up to time – this pouch is well over a year old but if anything tastes BETTER than when I got it!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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82

45 teas in my cupboard with this sipdown, guys!

I haven’t seen a number this low in a while and it is INVIGORATING! My cupboard is so clean! There are even more teas that are close to a sipdown. I don’t even know myself anymore.

This is a solid breakfast tea, even though I’m drinking it at 1 AM. My body doesn’t really notice caffeine so it doesn’t matter when I drink my black teas. Tonight’s cup is without additives and distinctly reminiscent of a Ceylon – bright and surprisingly not as astringent as I’ve alluded to in my past tasting notes. I make iced tea A LOT in the summer and do so by bringing water to a boil, adding the leaves and then cooling it down – and right now – this scent from this cup – is exactly what I’d smell when it was freshly brewed. Vaguely malty and citrusy, almost like bits of sunshine trapped in a liquid.

Ceylons make me so happy.

Based on my experience with this tea right now, I would definitely recommend. I have my favorite breakfast tea from Upton, but if you like Ceylons and you need a good breakfast tea that is strong and bright – this is your blend.

Absolutely hits the spot tonight.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Sil

Amaaaazing! Go you for getting your cupboard in order!

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73

This was the perfect tea for tonight, being October and all. There are a lot of the heavy spices and then there’s also a good pumpkin flavor as well – though it needs milk and sugar to help out the flavors.

Texture on this one is thinner than I’d like, and its watery even with whole milk added and a slightly higher than recommended amount of leaf. But it’s a decent seasonal choice for a midday cup of tea.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Pumpkin

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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96

I can’t believe I’ve had this tea for so long! It’s going on three years now and since I was cleaning out my cabinet I had to try it to make sure it was still good.

I used the 185F for 4 minutes parameters on this and it WHOA was it ever astringent! But it was also sweet peach and roasted grain, the way it’s always been. Still great quality, so maybe I’ll get on the ball and DRINK more of it!

Preparation
3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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86
drank Kabuse Sencha by Obubu Tea
796 tasting notes

So, by mistake I overlooked a response to a tasting note I wrote about Steepster Select’s Obukucha from earlier this year. I was swooning about the briny seaweed notes in that tea, waxing poetic about how it is exactly the taste profile I want in a Japanese tea, etc.

The reply, written 8 months ago, would have saved me A LOT of searching for flavor profiles. Turns out that the salty mineral taste I seek is Uji region specific. D’OH. So I ordered some of that, but in the mean time I have like 5 other senchas to get through before they lose their freshness. This tea, which I got from the Obubu tea club earlier in the year, is one of them.

Brewed at the hot water steeping parameters ( 5g. tea for 6 oz. water @ 212F for 30 seconds), I opened this and the dry leaf smelled immediately of sweet buttered spinach. It looked like jade green grass clippings, so, quality sencha in other words.

Now that I know that sencha varies by region I’m that much more fascinated and interested in picking up the differences for myself. This is an earthy sencha – in that it gives me no marine/seaweed characteristics whatsoever. It is grassy, and again, that sweet, buttery spinach is what I taste. It doesn’t have what I necessarily consider to be umami, but it does have just a touch of astringence when it cools. Overall its a sweeter sencha, and a solid one if salty brothy senchas aren’t your thing.

Also, it pairs quite well with seaweed salad and udon noodles. I can speak from experience :).

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Spinach

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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83
drank Mauka Oolong by Tea Hawaii
796 tasting notes

Well today was a much needed “clean up the tea cabinet day”. As evidenced by this tea, which was unlabeled in a tea bag and OPEN TO AIR (I know- I have no idea what the heck I was thinking either).

I only was able to find out what it WAS through going through past tea orders and looking at the other packages that came with it, and then remembering that I had a coworker who said to me, one day “I think I like oolongs” and well, that must have spurred me giving her the bag with the label/steep instructions and keeping the small amount (OPEN TO AIRWHAT WAS I THINKING??) to get around to eventually.

Ugh, so that was forever ago and I don’t hold out much hope for this sample that was way too pricey to have treated so callously.

The dry leaf didn’t smell like much of anything (gee, I wonder why) but once steeped according to Tea Hawaii’s directions (3 minutes, 208 degrees) the aroma of both the amber liquor and wet leaf are surprisingly nectary/honeyed, a la my beloved dan cong.

First sips are honeyed and grainy, but then there are unmistakable flowers. Honeyed floral notes – if ever I doubted this was an oolong these flavors have convinced me. I normally don’t like floral flavors but it works here. It walks the line between a lighter black tea and brings in the florality of the green oolongs but is its own self. Maybe the fact that it is Hawaiian grown vs. China grown is what makes a difference? I swear the floral character is different – honeysuckle and hibiscus vs. jasmine. Given my love for all things Hawaii, it doesn’t surprise me that I would prefer a Hawaiian oolong if given the choice.

So yes, this is a good tea. Even as weakened as it was – I liked it. I am glad I got just a sample of it though, as I don’t see myself reaching for it regularly. Quite fun to sip on as I work on making heads or tails of my poor neglected tea closet…

Flavors: Flowers, Honey

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I have not had any teas from Hawaii, and that is just criminal, this seems like quite the intriguing tea!

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Bio

I have come to the point (as of October 2014) where quality in tea is more important than quantity. Especially because I’m a seasonal tea drinker where hot tea is concerned, and a SLOW one to boot. I generally don’t resteep only because I’d be here all day if I did, though I do break out a gaiwan from time to time.

I adore French teas in practically every iteration, Japanese Sencha (specifically from the Uji region, as they offer the most seaweed flavor), and Dan Cong oolongs. I am trying to focus on plain teas and so companies like Verdant, Upton, and Butiki are on my favorites list.

When it comes to tea, I feel like the 10th Doctor says it best:

“Tea! That’s all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. "

Location

Atlanta, GA

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