862 Tasting Notes

drank Ruby Pie by Butiki Teas
862 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.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Love sil’s blend :-)

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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!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Jardin Bleu by Dammann Freres
862 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!

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

yay for crossing things off the list!

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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. :)

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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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.

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.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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. :)


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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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!


Sounds very good!


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

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It’s my Steepster birthday! I’ve been hanging around here for a good 3 years now!

I had another hard night at work – our floor is full of such heavy acuity kids right now I feel like I’m running all night long. Luckily I’ve got a night to recuperate before signing on for 2 more. Plus, it is SO COLD outside. Supposed to flurry later tonight/tomorrow morning, even, though it would be better if it didn’t. Georgians simply don’t know what to do with snow or ice.

So I couldn’t just go off to sleep without getting a cup of tea to warm/relax me. I wanted a black tea, no added flavors but strong. This one I got from Stacy’s Black Friday sale, and since I know most of the flavor profiles of these teas separately, I was excited to see what happened when they blended together.

Followed the steep parameters recommended by Stacy, 3 tsp. leaf to 500 ml. water in the Breville.

This brews up a lighter brown color than I usually expect for a breakfast tea. It’s very smooth and doesn’t need any additives, either, which makes it seem even less of a breakfast tea to me.

Interesting…I think this tea has the lighter texture and mouthfeel of the Darjeeling, while maintaining the chocolate/malt/earthiness of the assam and keemun. It’s kind of throwing me for a loop, actually, that it has such a rich flavor without as much of a body to it.

I will say that I went into this very hesitantly knowing the Keemun was in this blend – I was leery of the smoke. This Keemun is really not smoky at all (phew!) and that was the biggest thing I was worried about so this makes me very happy. I do think its more of an afternoon tea than a breakfast tea, and I also think the chocolate/raisin notes come out a LOT more as the tea itself cools.

Pretty good, but not my absolute favorite blend from Butiki. Still, it was great to try it!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Happy Steepster birthday – to many more!


Hah, I saw this and then checked my Steepster birthday – also three years today! Cheers to us and all the rest!


Happy steepster birthday to you both! :-)


Happy Steepster birthday!


Yay, happy Steepster birthday to you!


Happy steepster-versary! :)


woot! happy anniversary you two!


Happy Steepster birthday!


this tea is better than any cake for a celebration IMO. =0)


@Thanks guys!
@ Uniquity – awesome- happy steepster birthday to you too! Steepster twins!

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A generous sample given to me by Sil! Thank you so much!

Just got in the door from work and it was 25 degrees outside. I wanted to go straight to sleep but first I had to thaw out. With Dammann, of course. Because they are my new favorite thing lately.

Dry leaf smells of the a chemical/fakey caramel and red fruit. I’m sure it will settle out when the water hits it, but this wasn’t something I was too fond of smelling dry.

Steep notes: 2.4 g. leaf, 8 oz, water, no additives, below parameters.

There is still a kind of fake caramel note in the smell. The fruit seems more authentic, though I can’t pick out specifics. Mostly I want to say raspberry, which is unfortunate because I don’t like raspberry all that much.

The taste is a caramel (it does taste a little fake, which surprised me) and then a jammy fruit spread flavor. This has a very thick mouthfeel, it really reminds me a lot of preserves or something. Yep, raspberry jam and caramel in a nutshell.

I do really like how thick and chewy this is…it’s just a darn shame there wasn’t strawberry or cherry in the forefront. For a raspberry tea, though, it’s still pretty drinkable. And it helped warm me up.

Sigh. Now off to bed before going back to work again tonight.

Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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The third of the teas I ordered from Dammann, and a backlog from last night.

(I know that I am the queen of needless verbosity so I’m sorry in advance, but I’m including the backstory to keep it all straight in my head for future reference.)

I am ambivalent about mint teas in general, so this was a tea I mostly ordered for the boyfriend, who goes through Moroccan Mint in 250 g. increments. He really liked the Teavana version (which uses spearmint) but that is needlessly expensive, and then I switched to buying Upton (which uses peppermint) because it was cheaper and we both really dislike the ambiance and price of Teavana.

When I was looking for DF teas to buy I found that this one uses nana mint, a spearmint varietal that is actually what a Moroccan mint tea SHOULD contain. Since we needed a restock anyway this was a no brainer.

Which leads us to last night. The dry leaf didn’t have too much of a smoky note to it, which is good because I prefer less if possible. The mint was also very mild -definitely spearmint, but a little bit shyer.

Steep notes: below parameters, 2 tsp. leaf to 500 ml. water in the Breville, and no additives.

This is a well blended tea in that I taste the mint and the green equally. It doesn’t shout mint and it doesn’t do that cooling trick in your mouth that an overload of mint tends to cause. Nice and muted, and up the boyfriend’s alley. He’s most pleased with it, actually.

As for me, its good. Mint greens aren’t my thing and are pretty interchangeable, but I wasn’t getting it for me in the first place. He will go through it, and that’s all that matters.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

what else did you pick up!

Terri HarpLady

Inquiring minds want to know! :)


Haha- I did this one, the Figue Fraiche and Noel A Venise. I’ve reviewed them all now, and I’m such a slow drinker that 100g. of each of those is going to last a long time.



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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. "


Medford, OR

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