795 Tasting Notes

82

Backlog from a few days ago, at breakfast.

I’m not sure why I’m so sporadic with my tealog lately – some teas I’ll update as soon as I have them, and then others I’ll just…wait a day or so before posting. I even store the little details in my head because it’s just like opening the tasting note box at that moment takes so. much. effort. compared to just storing it in my head.

It makes so much sense, I know.

Maybe it’s just that as far as English Breakfast teas go, this was good, but not “100” good and worth shouting about? Because it IS good – a nice organic black tea that is strong and brisk and bright all at the same time – but it is not the best of its kind I’ve ever had. Especially at the 4 minute mark, where some bitterness starts to creep in as it cools and necessitates some sugar.

I’m thinking 3:30 will work as a steep time when I get around to this one again… same as when I retry the Assam Gold. Less time than I traditionally steep my black teas for, but perhaps that just means I’ll get more mileage out of them in resteeps? I will test that theory when I get around to it again.

As for rating this preparation, I will consider it a solid option, just not my first choice for a breakfast tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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82

Tea of the morning earlier today.

Malty assam, you are so perfect for the morning. I always just melt over the smell of freshly brewed black breakfast teas, and this was no exception. While steeping I went for about 30 seconds less than I normally do for a black tea just to try and have this without additives. I really just wanted nothing but bold black tea this morning.

I could have actually gone about 30 seconds lighter, even, as this was still a bit astringent. It certainly was bold and earthy and chewy and all things a good black tea should be though. I’m sure sugar would have smoothed out the rough edges but for some reason it being all the way across the kitchen just seemed too far to go, haha.

Eh, I have plenty of this to give it another go with a bit lighter hand on the steeping. With the way I’ve been drinking pure black teas lately, I’m sure I’ll be revisiting it sooner rather than later.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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99
drank Peach HoppiTea by Butiki Teas
795 tasting notes

Well this has been a gorgeous Sunday. Reading, tea and a mid-50 degree day in January, with no plans on the horizon. All weekends should be like this.

I picked this tea mostly because it’s one of the few Butiki teas from my last order that I have not tried yet. That and it smelled so temptingly of peaches when I opened the bag that there was no way I’d be able to try anything else. As it is I want time to speed up to summer so that I can eat a fresh one…peaches in season are one of my favorite things.

Once steeped the fresh peach smell turns into banana and peach. Maybe the hops did that? The flavor is sort of bitter banana peach, too. I’m drinking these first sips plain but I’m thinking this might need sugar to help ease the bitter notes…

Ah, much better. The sugar emphasizes the juiciness of the peach that much more and reduces some of the bitter flavor, which I am now realizing is from the hops and not the tea base. For some reason I assumed hops = carbonation. I’m sure it surprises no one when I say that I’m not a big beer drinker.

This is absolutely a fantastic tea though- outstanding with a little bit of sugar. The flavor accuracy of the peach is my favorite part, and I imagine this would be perfect iced in the summer. If it lasts me that long

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Butiki Teas

Yep, the hops is bitter and this particular hops has strong grapefruit notes. Our other beer tea, the hops adds a spicy flavor with minimal to no bitterness.

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66
drank Ruby Pie by Butiki Teas
795 tasting notes

(This is a tasting note of the original version of this blend – from a swap with Sil – thank you!)

This is a backlog from a few days ago… so I’m working on a slightly diluted memory. Mostly I remember the scent of strawberry, the taste of pastry crust, and a prickly sharp texture from the rhubarb. The taste was crust and tart strawberry.

Steeped per the recommended parameters.

I still have enough for more, plus the current reblending of this, so I’ll be trying them both out closer together for comparison sake soon.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
TheTeaFairy

Love sil’s blend :-)

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97

Between having this tea on my shopping list for a while, and seeing that awesome deal on the ceramic teaware, I was not passing up an order from the Tea Merchant. I’m glad I caved, too – the cups are so cute and will be perfect for some gong fu sesisons with my gaiwan, not to mention making some hot green tea to go with soba noodles and miso. Mmm.. that’s definitely happening next weekend, now that I think of it.

Anyway, so this tea was on my radar because I love Earl Grey Creams. While part of me loves trying all the teas, I do so mostly because I want to find the best of its kind and then stick with it forever. I believe this tea is the highest rated EGC on Steepster, but I’ve been trying to work through the huge amount of EGCs I currently have in my cupboard so that when I finally did try this I would have room to stock up.

Dry leaf smell is custardy vanilla followed by the familiar zing of bergamot. We’re starting off on a good foot already – I like more vanilla than bergamot in my Earl Grey.

Steep notes: 2 tsp. leaf, 500 ml. water, below parameters in my Breville.

Once steeped the vanilla becomes even stronger. It is definitely french vanilla, too, because the note of custard is unmistakable. I could smell the steeped tea all day, it is that yummy. Taste wise this bears out – vanilla first, then citrusy bergamot, then a smooth , bright black tea base. This is perfectly balanced for my palate. I steeped for four minutes and ended up using a pinch of sugar but I really think if I lopped about 30 seconds off the steep time I would be able to forgo that. So a note to myself for next time.

Finally, I also have to say that the fair trade/organic label is probably the plus that pushes this into being my favorite EGC to date. This is absolutely going to be my go to from now on. Can’t wait to get into the other teas from my order!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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81
drank Jardin Bleu by Dammann Freres
795 tasting notes

A sample received from the awesome Sil, who came to my rescue when I said I’d never tasted French teas. :)

It’s always hard for me to get an accurate picture of what the dry leaf smells like when a bunch of samples (especially a bunch of fruity DF samples) have been in close proximity to each other. This one just smells like generic fruitiness, but nothing readily identifiable.

Steeped I smell strawberries and cream. It reminds me alot of Marco Polo by Mariage Freres, actually. This is good, because I like that tea a lot.

The taste is virtually all strawberry, with rhubarb present only in the small irritation at the back of my throat. There is a slight tartness alongside the strawberry, but nothing I’d be able to identify as rhubarb. I will say that though it is a tart tea, it still manages to pull of the smoothness that only DF can.

Eh. Its a good tea, I can taste the quality and it stands on its own without additives. Nothing too memorable though. It’s another one I can cross off my list at getting to try, though, so that’s always a good thing!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec
Sil

yay for crossing things off the list!

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95

Found some of this in my locker at work – it was a great tea with my dinner last night.

Since I’ve had it at work so much it is no longer a “relaxing” tea for me at home, if that makes any sense…it triggers work related thoughts and stressors. It is one that I like to share with coworkers and parents who look like they could use something to calm them down, though. It’s nice to feel like I’m helping in some small way.

Sweet and spicy as always…I’ll probably always keep it as my emergency rations for the hospital. :)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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78

This is quite astringent for the low steep time. I mean, it’s definitely a breakfast tea that needs milk and sugar. Which sucks for the boyfriend since he will not drink milk and sugar in his tea. He’d rather just not drink the tea (which is what happened here, sadly).

I do smell the burned chocolate, which was actually a nice scent. And when it was first steeped and I tried a few sips plain, I could taste a distinct chewy breadiness. But then the astringence crept in and made additives a necessity.

So, maybe just 1 minute for the steep time next go around. I really would like to get a flavor profile of this without additives, because those initial sips were quite promising.

Withholding rating for now.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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I think I got this as one of my freebies in the Butiki Thanksgiving sale. That was such an amazing deal, so this is a tasting note for the 2013 season of this tea.

I’m actually still going through all of the teas I got from Stacy – and still trying to go through the fun samples I got from Sil. My unofficial new years resolution is to have at least a cup of tea a day, though, so I expect by the end of January that will catch me up. :)

I ordered this mostly because of how much I loved the Premium Taiwanese Assam, but reading the description of it and realizing how similar it sounded to a dan cong (the most beloved of oolongs for me) sealed the deal.

Steep notes: 4.2 g. tea to 500 ml. water in the Breville, below parameters. No additives.

Boyfriend is working from home today (SO. JEALOUS.) so when I got up and said I was making tea he perked up and asked what kind. I’ve been going for unflavored blacks lately which are his thing, so I put on the Breville for both of us. We are lucky to be at the bottom of the winter storm, but it still apparently feels like 4 degrees (and flurries – quite the rarity in Georgia) outside and so hot beverages are a necessity.

So I know Stacy said this tea was specifically NOT supposed to smell like chocolate but that’s really what I got from the dry leaf. I double checked that it was the right bag and it is, so maybe it’s just the different season. The leaves are gorgeous and spindly like a Dan cong or Verdant’s Mi Xian black.

Steeped, the smell is strangely kind of vegetal. Bready and vegetal. Starchy? Definitely savory. Maybe beans of some sort. There is a starchy mouthfeel and a roasty flavor with it, too. I love the apricot notes from dan cong but sadly, I don’t think I’m getting any here. The taste does linger in your mouth the way a dan cong does, though.

Overall I’m surprised at how savory this is – definitely not sweet, though maybe I need to go gongfu style to get these qualities? I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I’d be with the Western brewing, so I’ll try that way next time. Withholding the rating until I get a better sense of the tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Nightshifter

So interesting how tea is unique for everyone! I tried this for the first time today (Western 2tsp to 8oz boiling water for 4 min) and it tasted totally sweet and thick to my palate. :)

JoonSusanna

Interesting indeed! I’m not sure what I did but I have enough to try again, so we shall see if it was a one off! I’m glad yours tasted sweet – it gives me hope!

Butiki Teas

JoonSusanna-I definitely recommend using a gaiwan to brew this tea. It really shines with short steeps.

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73

I love a good hearty tea when its stupid-cold outside. If it weren’t for tea, I don’t know how I’d survive winter – I’m such a summer girl at heart.

What does this smell like??? It is so familiar. AH! I know – it kind of reminds me of Lao Shan black – the malty chocolate note just overpowers you (in a really good way). It smells sort of like toasted bread/genmaicha, too. Strong in the way I like my breakfast teas to be.

I added the extra bit of leaf (the 1.5 tsp) with the expectation of putting milk and sugar in, but decided to give it a sip plain just to see what it tasted like. This was a wise choice – as I’m thinking it really doesn’t need it. I was expecting some astringency just because that is what breakfast teas do – they are strong to the point where they need additives. So imagine my surprise when I just get this mouthful of smooth, chewy dark chocolate, followed by a bright – ceylon esque finish?

It was pretty blissful, I tell you.

As it cools some of the astringency I was expecting comes in, so I do add a touch of milk and sugar just to experience the change in flavor. I figured I would like it even better, since I do normally take breakfast teas this way, but I’m finding its muting some of the rich distinct flavors I got before. Still good, but its become any generic breakfast tea.

Well, future self, that settles it: a little lighter on the leaf, sans additives (or at least sans the milk) next time. It still gets good marks for those promising first sips though!

Nightshifter

Sounds very good!

Jennkay

Nice! I just had Laoshan Black today, and this sounds awesome- adding to my shopping list :)

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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. "

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Atlanta, GA

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