829 Tasting Notes
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!
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
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 AIR – WHAT 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
I’m thinking that sTEAp shoppe teas just do not age well at all. This was surprisingly watery, even with milk and even with pretty big amount of leaf (almost 1 tbsp. to 12 oz. water, when normally you can do 1 tbsp. to 16 oz. water).
It just was thin and bland, which I know is not the tea I’ve had before. There was no fabulous bready notes, no real cinnamon either. Overall a disheartening cup. I’m a sucker for the idea of a cinnamon bun-esque tea and I thought this was it so now it’s back to the drawing board, I guess.
Good thing I kept such diligent notes on my teas – taking the summer off from drinking has made my memory rather short.
But reading the note brought it back – this was the pseudo vanilla tea. The one that if you add sugar turns into chocolate. Which is problematic since I don’t really like chocolate tea.
So I was at least able to avoid bringing out the chocolate notes, though by following my prep notes I got a tea with a great texture (thanks to some milk), but with no flavor. Thick tasting water. Maybe as it cools I will get some more flavor.
And nope. Thick tasting water is all I came away with. Blech. Good thing my sample was done after this, because it is really not for me.
It feels SO GOOD to be getting back into my morning tea routines! It’s like coming back to myself!
Backlog from this morning, and continuing on in my mourning of the Butiki shop closing:
This is the assam that acts like a ceylon, to me. It’s got the rich earthy assam but there is also a citrusy brightness that I love from ceylons. The best of both worlds.
This is a tea I DON’T usually have with milk, just a touch of sugar and even that’s not TOTALLY necessary. It’s my ideal breakfast black – well, between this one and my precious East Frisian blend.
Lovely, and another one I’ll miss when it’s gone…
Backlog from yesterday morning: I liked this tea anyway, but now that I know I’ll probably never have it after my stash runs out I like it even more. It doesn’t particularly evoke cheesecake so much as a rich creamy dairy-esque texture. I always accentuate it further with some milk and a touch of sugar and it is positively decadent.
I should really get daring and add some Bailey’s to it one of these days…I’m sure the irish cream would really pop then, but what if that makes me want it MORE when there is none left to be had? Clearly I’m just in mourning, nothing to see here, move along…
I was blissfully searching through my tea cabinet when I came across this yesterday. The pouch was almost empty, so I went ahead and made an extra strong cup. I had it with milk, no sugar, and it was perfectly sweet and caramelly.
I thought to myself, good thing its from a tea company that I know has been around a while so I can order more soon….and then I read one of Sil’s tasting notes about how Butiki is going to be closing permanently. Cue: record scratch breaking me out of my reverie.
I have been off of here for a while but that is truly sad news. :( I love Butiki teas, but I most especially love this, my perfect vanilla black tea. And I am lucky at least that this isn’t gone yet – time to order it rather than despair at a missed opportunity.
Like I said, a gorgeous vanilla black – and one I’m not ready to say goodbye to yet.
Flavors: Caramel, Vanilla
Backlog: I made this extra strong a morning or so ago. nearly 2 tsp. to 10 oz. water (vs. the directions of 1 tsp. to 6-8oz. water) It brought the vanilla out more, and really thickened the texture to how I like my tea (and of course, milk helped with this).
We’re getting to the point in the year that I somehow always forget about until it comes back – cold mornings not just in feel but in sound. The air is different and when there is a breeze it instinctively makes me want to curl up under blankets. And it’s a perk of night shift I’d forgotten, but: I can do this! I can have slow winter mornings.
I plan on enjoying each one of them, too.
5 months since my last tasting note? Well, that’s embarrassing.
Perhaps more embarrassing is that I have probably actually gone that long without hot tea. I have had buckets of it iced, but putting the Breville on to actually make hot tea? It’s been a glorified water heater for a while. :(
Since I’ve been on here, I have: gotten really unhappy with my job situation (coworkers, great, management and staffing/patient to nurse ratio, not so great), turned 30!, and gone on my first vacation to Europe. I got back from Germany and Austria less than a week ago and loved it. So much so that I had to drink this, my favorite of all breakfast teas, and take some time to remember everything fondly.
So, a little milk and sugar, nutella toast and an Empress Sisi biography on a cold morning? (After catching up on here, of course)? Yes, I think I will.