795 Tasting Notes

93

My Butiki order got here! (It was here Saturday but then my front office “lost” it so I only just got to tear into it today…the joys of apartment living).

I got SO. MANY. TEAS. My self imposed limit is 75 and I’m sitting at 84 currently thanks to a recent sort-of-swap and this. It ended up being something like 20 new teas after everything got counted up. I wanted to try a Butiki one this afternoon but they all sounded so good that I literally had to just blindly pick one out of the box. And that’s brought me here.

Steeped following Butiki’s parameters and served with no additives.

The scent of the dry leaf is straight up caramel. The sweet, chewy caramels are what immediately comes to mind. That makes me very happy, as I love those things! I also get hints of the Premium Taiwanese Assam, so the end result is a nice malty caramel scent.

This is a nicely sweet tea even without the additives. The caramel is the strongest flavor, but the Taiwanese assam plays really well with it. The vanilla comes out as a buttery note that really compliments the other flavors well.

Well, this is off to a great start…now to try some more!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
caile

It’s always hard to choose which tea to try first out of a new bunch! Sounds like you picked a good one!

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70

Advent calendar, day 15.

The smell of this dry was herby and medicinal. There was orange, but also a lemongrass note (probably the verbena and/or lemon balm) and lemon grass is my sick tea so this doesn’t make me super excited.

I don’t know what it is about drinking sick teas when you’re not sick, but…

The top scent once steeped is orange, then that medicinal herb. Maybe it’s chamomile? I don’t know but I could do without it. Not really any floral notes, but I don’t mind. I don’t like drinking flowers, as a rule.

The taste is very much lemongrass. Maybe an orangey lemongrass, depending on the sip. It is quite soothing, and I imagine it would be a great sick time tea – but I have one of those from Upton and its cheaper and stateside.

As always, glad to try it, but this won’t be a tea that I order.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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79
drank All Citrus by 52teas
795 tasting notes

Really? I’ve not logged a tasting note for this?

I am doing a slight cleanout of teas (since I am now WAY too far above my 75 teas or less rule) and found that this one has zero notes. I drink it exclusively iced, using my typical iced tea brewing parameters and sugar ratio (1/4 cup sugar to 1/2 gallon of tea).

The citrus is a nice addition to a black tea, but these flavorings do fall a little artificial to me. Especially now that I’m drinking all the orange Dammann flavorings, which manage to seem so natural. It’s not as bad iced but I could see it maybe being a tad too fake if I tried it hot.

So, iced it is, for the duration of the pouch. Back to cleaning out the tea drawers and figuring out what I can send along, and what I need to throw out…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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86

This is another super generous sample I received from Sil! Thank you so much!

I’m even more excited about this blend because of how much I fell in love with Noël à Venise from Dammann…that has had me craving a vanilla lemon tea. This one doesn’t have a black base, but it’s French and smells heavenly, so I am happy to use it as a substitute in the meantime. (BTW, Sil, I totally sent that shopping link to my boyfriends’ parents so I’m thinking that I will be getting some Christmas tea thanks to you! You really are my Steepster Santa!)

I don’t actually get much scent from the dry leaf, though I think it’s because it’s so delicate that a lot of the fruitier teas it was shipped with have overtaken it. None of that has carried over to the steeped tea, though, which I am drinking sans additives and after steeping at the below parameters.

Whereas Noël à Venise was more lemony, this tea stresses the vanilla first and foremost. That’s a good thing here, as the white tea is very light and needs some heaviness if it’s going to boast of being a winter tea. The vanilla manifests as a heavy sweet cream note with a slight lemon tang on the swallow. This is not a cold dark blizzard kind of tea. It is the liquid equivalent of waking up to a sunny cold morning and seeing the ground blanketed with snow.

I am not a white tea drinker normally but it does work here. This is my first Fauchon tea and I am impressed. Too bad my bank account isn’t going to be with all those foreign transaction fees in my future, haha.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 45 sec
Sil

I don’t like white teas most of the time but this one is pretty good. Glad you’re having fun with them :)

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67

Advent calendar, day 14.

Per usual, no additives, because the tea doesn’t need it. Served with German Pancakes for a really awesome Sunday breakfast

The dry leaf definitely smells like cough syrup. It’s the cherry flavoring, I’m sure. Anyway, I have learned not to put too much stock in their dry leaf scent because it always turns out okay once the water hits. I will say this, though – the pink flowers in this blend and the white tea leaves looked absolutely beautiful while steeping. I’m not a particularly visual person (auditory learner, don’t know how to accessorize a room to save my life) but I had to stop and watch for a while just because of how pretty it was.

Yup, the steeped tea has a beautiful clear, pale yellow liquor and a slightly more natural cherry scent. Taste wise the cherry is at the forefront ant it surprisingly a fruity, bright pie cherry flavor. I excepted the spices and more of an almond cherry, but I prefer this so I’m not complaining. I guess there’s a hint of cinnamon trailing behind the cherry notes, but again, it’s more like pie filling than anything else.

As it cools the white tea becomes a little harsh/astringent but that may be the effect of the nuts becoming more prominent in taste as well. Either way, I prefer this more when its warm but there isn’t much left to drink up now.

Eh, it was good for a one tea bag attempt, but I’m not really clamoring for more.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

what is a German Pancake ?

JoonSusanna

Kind of a more eggy, crepe-like pancake that you bake in the oven. They’re super easy to make. Here’s the recipe I used: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/12/loopy-breakfast-goodness/

Terri HarpLady

I’d like to come up with a gluten & dairy free version of these :)

Ysaurella

Thank you :)

OMGsrsly

I’ll know in about half an hour if they work with coconut oil, almond milk and 50/50 almond meal and tapioca starch… I hope they do! I used to make them all the time.

OMGsrsly

Pretty good, but not perfect. :) I devoured it anyways. These flours brown really fast, so keep an eye open. Maybe 15/5 instead of 20/10.

JoonSusanna

I find that even with the regular flour I can only do about 20 minutes total. I must have a really hot oven. :) But I’m glad that it worked for you- those substitutions are good to know!

OMGsrsly

It was more custardy than crunchy. I remember the wheat flour ones being kind of crunchy where they browned.

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64

Well, at first today started off awesome because my Butiki order was out for delivery early. But then I was sad because the mailman delivered it to the front office, which closed before I got home. That sadness didn’t last for too long though, because next to the delivery notice was a package from Sil! A really generous package, too- it’s like a European tea invasion in my apartment. :)

It couldn’t have come on a better day – it was rainy and cold out and we’d been out in the weather for a few hours so a warm cup of tea sounded perfect. The boyfriend wanted tea too, which kind of limited me to this one as he doesn’t do any “crazy” flavors.

He also doesn’t do milk or sugar, which in this case made the tea a no go for him. I went a little conservative on the steep time (the recommended parameters are 3-5 minutes, and 4 minutes is what I usually go for with black teas) but WOW. Astringence city! It has that beautiful earthy black tea smell and it certainly stood up to milk and sugar but I like my black teas to be drinkable either way, and this is definitely not something you can drink plain. Not the way I brewed it, anyway.

I should have enough for one or two more cups (see: Sil and her generosity) and I’ll try to bump down the time even further but as it is, I can’t see this competing with Frissy, my most favorite breakfast tea. I loved being able to try it though – it’s officially the first Fortnum & Mason tea I’ve ever had!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Sil

Missed seeing this note…..try 2.5 mins and just slightly under boiling…this is NOT my fav breakfast blend but it’ll do in a pinch. Bellocq has a wonderful breakfast blend I got to try via fuzzyp. :)

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64

Sample sent with my Dammann order. The name of this is so much fun. I think ‘coquelicot’ is now my favorite word ever.

I have to admit I’m very intrigued from the description of this tea. Poppy? Biscuit (I’m assuming cookie-biscuit more than, say, dinner-style biscuit)? Marzipan? These things just don’t compute.

The smell of the dry leaf is very strong. Like, pull yourself back immediately because it’s overwhelming strong. On second (further back) sniff, I get syrupy cherry and cookie. This is really highly reviewed on here but I’m not quite sure how I feel about it so far.

Steeped at below parameters, no additives.

Brewed tea smells much the same, if less strong. A lightly floral cherry/raspberry sugar cookie. I don’t get strictly marzipan but I imagine this is because the nuttiness blends in with the cookie notes. This is just how it tastes, too… unfortunately, I don’t enjoy raspberry and that is probably why I am not overly in love with this.

The quality of the blend, like all Dammann teas, is outstanding. The tea has a great texture, the base is perfectly complimented with the flavoring. Apparently poppy tastes like raspberries in my mouth, though, so I won’t be buying more.

I will, however, try to work the word ‘coquelicot’ into conversations as much as possible…

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
gmathis

And, for us rubes out in the country, how to you pronounce coquelicot properly? Instinct leads me to COKE-lee-coh. Am I even close?

JoonSusanna

You are correct! I don’t know why but it’s just so much fun to say!

Terri HarpLady

And the question I’ve been meaning to ask: what does it mean?

JoonSusanna

Haha, it refers to the red poppy flower in the ingredients. I actually love it even more because it’s remarkably similar to a nickname my little brother invented for me – and I have red hair. He was quite ahead of his time, really. :)

greenteafairy

I think “coquelicot” is also my favorite (French) word ever.

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95

It is mostly Dammann December up in my tasting notes, but I did actually have something different yesterday for breakfast.

I’m still trying to hold steady to my no more than 75 teas rule, which presents a problem as I have a huge Butiki order coming in, and a need for all the Dammann teas. So, cleanout time has been commenced. This is not a sipdown but I only have a cup or so left and wanted something holiday-y and rich so it fit the bill.

Served with milk, no sugar. 2 tsp. to a 10 oz. cup.

The milk always helps this get more of a pudding-y texture. It is quite fruity with some good bread notes, a hint of spice. The sips aren’t consistent, some more flavorful than others, but it did give me a cozy holiday cup to celebrate that I will be off work for 5! whole! days!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec
JustJames

were you able to make this work??!!! i tried a million times!

Sil

75 teas… i’ll be there someday..maybe. Goal for this year was to get to 150 and stay there…next year maybe i’ll aim for getting to 100. heh

TheTeaFairy

Sounds great! The first thing that comes to mind when I get days off coming is : think about all the teas you’re gonna have!!!
(Sil, you’re dreaming! Down to 100, really??? Lol!)

Sil

haha teafairy…hey i managed to get from 350+ down to 150…

TheTeaFairy

Sil, That’s a MAJOR accomplishment, don’t let me take it away from you :-)

Sil

haha not to worry tea fairy! I just think i’m finally figuring out what i like, what i love and what i’d just like to try and move on with in terms of tea. My worry now is that i’ll start collecting puerh and it’ll be 100 teas and 100 puerhs lol

JustJames

@TheTeaFairy and see, you’re far kinder than i am….. i’m gearing up as we speak to send her stuff and boost that number. i’m not as nice as you.

Sil: puerhs and the de loup? lol.

JustJames

AND MATCHA!!!

Sil

haha i’m not sure i ever need to buy matcha again at the rate i’m struggling to get through what’s in my cupboard. I DOOOOO really want to place an order with MF and theodor…but i have to wait until next week when i get paid to see what my bonus is. I’ve already decided if it’s over a certain amount, i’m doing it!

JustJames

so exciting! i am chock full of justifications….. but i think i’m going to have to cool my jets a bit. well, who knows, maybe i’ll get money for christmas, lol!

TheTeaFairy

James you’re wrong, I can be a mean Fairy, watch your back now, lol.

JustJames

muwahahahahahaha =0)

now that just makes me like you more!

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75

Advent calendar, day 13.

I am loving my little routine of getting up and trying new teas every morning. Such a fun little present to myself. I’m also loving all the different “Noel” blends. It brings me to their website every day, making lists for future orders. Honestly it seems as though they have enough teas to where I could make my own advent calendar for a year. I’ve never once felt inclined to visit France (despite loving the language, and wanting to see the rest of Europe), but now I know I’ll have to stop in just for the tea alone.

Steep notes: No additives, below parameters.

Black and green blends always make me nervous about steep temperature, but I’m less nervous since the Dammann teas seem incapable of bitterness no matter what you do to them. I don’t think I’m getting jasmine in the dry leaf, but I’m not good with florals. I am definitely getting pineapple, maybe mango. The tea, as usual, is not immediately discernible in the scent.

Steeped, the pineapple is 100% at the front of the taste. Surprisingly it’s the green tea that follows right behind, but I think it’s a perfect counterbalance to the sweetness. As it cools it takes on a more tropical flavoring, which I guess is the mango peeking out more. The very, very last sip was all passion fruit/guava. No floral (no biggie, not my thing anyway), and the black tea base is its typical mild, unassuming self.

I liked this – can’t say I would buy more, because green/black blends aren’t really my thing, but it was awesome for an unexpected, one teabag treat.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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100

Advent calendar day 12. Well for me it was, anyway. The 12th day was empty and it must have slipped down into the row below (I could feel two bags) so it is either the 12th or the 24th day. I’m waiting to post this until I know for sure because I don’t want to be the girl who spoils the surprise. :)

I could tell from the description I was going to love it. I mean, lemon is one of my favorite things. Creamy lemon with a black base? Yes, please.

The smell of the dry leaf was PERFECT. Lemon and vanilla were what I got, mostly. Like an EGC but with lemon instead of bergamot. Given how much I love those two flavors I should really have thought of buying a blend like this before now. I will have to check and see if such a thing exists from other companies.

The steeped tea smells just as heavenly as the dry – the tang of lemon and creamy notes are just still strong. And the taste- well. I have been overall very impressed with most of the Dammann Freres teas so far but this is my hands down favorite. Buttery vanilla (I guess this is what they describe as toffee) and a sweet, Meyer-esque lemon and actual detectable soft black tea base? SOLD.

I take it back, I don’t actually care if any other company makes something like this. This is the blend I want and I want a lot of it, right now. On my shopping list it goes…

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Sil

you’re probably going to hate me..
http://www.cadeau-deco-vendome.com/en/christmas-venise-100g-dammann-christmas-xml-727_780-3000.html

shipping is only 8euro, making it pretty inexpensive to order from them..though now that i think about it, you probably got the calendar from them..but anway, they have it haha

OMGsrsly

With all these amazing tea descriptions, my shopping list is exploding.

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Profile

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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