862 Tasting Notes
WHOA. I had seen the new changes on the site last night but this is my first time logging a tasting note. I repeat: WHOA.
I’ve been here for three years and its the first real layout change I remember so it’s probably going to take a minute for my eyes to adjust, haha. But I do like the streamlined look and the font change. Once I get my bearings a bit more I will be fine.
As for the tea: the dry leaf scent is pleasantly milky caramel – not overwhelming at all. I really like this about Butiki teas in general – all of the scents and flavors seem very natural and balanced.
I used my Vanilla coffee creamer on it since I figured it wouldn’t hurt the flavor (since the tea is so strongly vanilla itself) and I’m getting a sweetened milky caramel tea that is to die for. A nice little afternoon dessert, if I do say so myself.
Flavors: Caramel, Vanilla
Yay! If I can get a few more down I may possibly be able to order some Earl Grey Cheesecake and Peanut butter cup black! I better spend most of my day drinking, which was what I was planning on anyway so yay again!
I remember how bitter this was from last time so I bumped the time down to 3 minutes, which I almost never do with black teas. I also found some of the Nestle Bliss creamer (only sugar and milk and cream as ingredients) so I wanted to give that a try in this to see what happened.
Hmm… By itself the flavor is a bit mellower but still bitter. I also think I’m getting some flavor contamination as I’m picking up some fruity notes which shouldn’t be there :(. Yeah, even at three minutes this is still a blend that requires additives.
So, a splash of creamer it is! This solves the astringency problem well but now I feel like I’ve lost the tea-ness of it. I don’t think there was any winning with this one for me: it’s undrinkable plain and not quite strong enough to hold its own at the minimum steep time. I’m glad I got to try it but I’d much prefer Uptons East Frisian BOP for my breakfast.
On to other teas then!
Sooo close to a sipdown. Just one more cup that the boyfriend will likely finish as he likes it too.
Ugh, I can’t believe that this was really the only tea I had during Atlanta’s Frozen Fiasco of 2014. In my defense, I wasn’t really home all that much – duty calls regardless of the weather (and inadequate highway infrastructure) when you’re a nurse. Eh. It’s done now.
I have one more day of work tonight and then I’ve got a few days off to catch up on school and tea drinking. I sooooo can’t wait!
This still needed a bit of sugar even at the slightly reduced steeping time. Still a bit astringent, so I imagine next time I’ll go down another 30 seconds and see what happens.
It’s a good breakfast tea, but not as wonderful as the East Frisian that I consider my staple.
Things I’ve discovered about this tea -
1.) It is better as it cools
2.) It tastes horrible in my Klean Kanteen, likely because of the fact it stays hot for so long.
I still prefer it with no sweetener and milk, but I imagine it would be tasty that way. Once you get it at the right temperature, it is lemon and vanilla heaven. I am so glad I splurged for it.
So- I only go to Starbucks when I’m meeting this one friend of mine.
She’s a coworker who was my mentor at work for the past year, and it became our thing, monthly ‘mentor’ sessions that turned into ‘vent’ sessions. I remember when I first started working with her that I felt we were such a terrible fit for each other – I couldn’t do anything right and she just seemed so different from me, so loud and outspoken.
Then my first year ended, that whole official mentor relationship ended…and we still do our meetings and just talk.
So I had this tea yesterday and it was good, but I can’t really tell you much about it because I didn’t drink it with the intent of paying attention to it. It was more sweet than spicy, and I have better chai’s in my cupboard at home. But it was tea, on a cold morning, and I’ll take it.
All my pretty Verdant teas just seem so intimidating to me, sometimes. Or I don’t want to waste them, or something, so I end up hoarding them. Hence why there such big gaps in my tasting notes. I love drinking them and should do so more often. This is my official reminder to myself.
I steeped this western style yesterday (1 tbsp to 8 oz. water), and the rich scent was almost overwhelming. It reminded me of a dark rye bread – grainy with the savory unsweetened cocoa note. This steep is always really strong and it never did tone down into sweetness. That’s what the second steep is for.
Really the second steep has always been my favorite. Thats the one where the chocolate turns sweet and the bread note combines to create brownie in my mouth. I know from experience that I can get more out of the leaves but…this steep is always best.
I suppose if I used less leaf I could probably turn that second steep into the first one, but I do love that savory to sweet transition. It’s like dinner to dessert. All in one cup.
Seriously. I’m going to try that trick where I leave this by my Breville and see if the convenience gets me to drink this more. Because I really, really should.
I keep having this, most likely because it’s just sitting by my Breville and the easy choice in the morning. This is not a bad thing. :)
I just had this with a spot of milk this morning (no sweetener) and it was still creamy vanilla with a bit more citrus of the bergamot. I guess sugar drowned out the citrus?
Anyway, there really is no way to mess this up. Its good whatever way you make it. All teas should be like that…
Dry leaf: Soft, feathery. This is truly one of the most unique teas I’ve encountered in the tactile sense. Notes of sweet potato, cocoa, and malt in the scent.
Preparation notes: 4 g. leaf in my cute little gaiwan and served in my new Tea Merchant cups. I need to post a picture; it was quite the “squee” experience.
Steep one: 10 seconds. Starchy, honey, peppery, in that order. A sweet spiciness and thick, velvety mouthfeel. Honey brown/amber liquor. Sweeter even as the cup cools down.
Steep two: 15-20 seconds. Liquor is a darker brown mahogany. A cocoa note shines through while the cup is still hot. Less honeyed, more straight starch (white potato and not sweet potato). Savory and brothy notes after the cocoa faded out. As it cools, honey fades back in and sweetness returns. Only the Golden Fleece.
Steep three: 30 seconds. Slightly lighter liquor, caramel sweetness in the smell. This steep tastes like the leaves initally felt – fuzzy and soft. Cocoa in first sips, then caramel. Surprisingly a lot weaker in flavor. Will lengthen the next steeping to see if I can fix this.
Steep four: 1 minute. Sweet honey notes, still weaker than I’d like. Sweet potato in the flavor so far.
Steep five: 3 minutes. A red brown liquor but weak flavor. Starting to become a bit astringent.
….I did all those steepings in one afternoon, and saved the leaves to come back to today.
Steep six: 6 minutes. The dry leaf smells really sweet – sugar and vanilla. This is a cocoa heavy steep but it wasn’t just my tastebuds yesterday – this is weak. I’m kind of dumb, though, and didn’t reduce the volume of water in my gaiwan to concentrate flavor. This is starting to be noticeably bitter – will reduce the steeping volume, lengthen the time, and give it one last shot to see what happens.
Steep seven: 12 minutes. Nope. I think the leaves have been spent. It’s just bitter at this point. I really should drink my stash of this down before it gets any older because I think at this point age is the problem. Sigh. Oh well, this is why I’m focused on trying to drink down what I have.
Even spent its miles above so many teas though!
A sample from Sil – and a welcome tea back into my cupboard!
This is the best strawberry tea ever. Perfect without milk or sugar (though not bad with), it is smooth strawberries and cream on a strong black base. I imagine there may be other “red fruits” in there, maybe a bit of raspberry is noticeable if I think about it? And its more the velvet texture of raspberry than the taste, because yuck. Raspberries are gross.
Yum, I am glad to have a few cups of this left to enjoy!