854 Tasting Notes


Something magical happens to this tea as it cools. Starting out it’s nothing really special, but then suddenly you get the cake texture and cinnamon orange notes., with just a hint of plum. Even without additives, even despite the fact that this tea is a REALLY old one in my stash – it tastes amazing.

I wonder if it has something to do with whatever flavorings Stacy used? I feel like with the exception of Three Friends, everything else has held up very well to multiple years of storage. I’m making it a personal goal of mine to get through this bag by the end of this holiday season though. It’s great but I don’t want to leave it for another year!

Flavors: Cake, Cinnamon, Orange, Plums

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

For the most part, my Butikis have held up pretty well too, I’d say. Especially considering the bags aren’t airtight. I’d say quality flavourings/teas are the reason. (I just drank some Creamy Eggnog – 2 servings had been sitting in a bag for probably over a year, and it was as good as the first day I had it).

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drank Butterbeer by 52teas
854 tasting notes

I’m on standby for work but I know I’ll be called in soon – it’s a matter of when, not if, in other words.

But until then, I figured I’d make a cup of tea. Audiobooks, card games, and tea. So much more fun than work!

I hadn’t done this one in a while and it’s not really a breakfast tea to me – much more of a dessert or afternoon black. I made it WAY too strong to have by itself though – so creamer went in to kind of tone down the bitter black tea-ness and it’s much more palatable, if a little sweet. It is like a buttery root beer float when made this way. Yum!

In its own way, this is a perfect pre-Halloween treat. And I have plenty to left so I’d better start drinking it while its in season!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Okay, trying anyway, just with less water and for 7 minutes. I’ll take it as a good sign that I didn’t want to be done with this tea yet – this is not like me at all.

Scent of the wet leaf:
Very faint maltiness.

Scent of the steeped tea:
Quite faint as well – it smells like the wet leaf, just a tinge malty and like a watered down syrup.

Much like the 3rd infusion. Yes, the flavor is definitely done here. It is just a weak malty black tea.

Overall this was really unique – I love anything from Hawaii so there was no way I’d pass up drinking tea from there. I don’t think it was necessarily a complex tea, but it was a solid one that I will have no problem enjoying the rest of.

And now that I have logged it maybe I’ll be more prepared for next time!

205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 0 sec 2 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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Scent of the wet leaf:
Baked sweet potatoes (each time it smells like some different version of sweet potatoes, so weird)

Scent of the liquor:
Malt, but otherwise indistinct.

This steeping is lighter than the last, in flavor, in texture (mouthfeel is a lot thinner), and in color. The beautiful aftertaste is much more faint as well. I still have a decent flavor but I don’t think I’d be able to get another steep out of this…

205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Scent of the wet leaf:
Roasted sweet potatoes

Scent of the liquor:
Still sweet potatoes and syrup, though more syrupy and less potatoey. The liquor is a deep red brown.

The notes of grain and bread are still predominant. The best part of this tea so far is the honeyed syrupy aftertaste it leaves behind. I don’t get any real sweetness except way after I’ve already swallowed. This tea LINGERS, like my beloved Dan Cong. There’s no bitterness or astringence either, just…amazing tea in its purest form.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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I know I’ve had this before because the bag is opened, but I did not log it. UGH. I think the main reason I didn’t log it is because Tea Hawaii has TWO Makai black listings on here, and it isn’t clear which this is. The leaves are spindly and black, but not as long as the Assam ones are reported to be, so maybe it is just the Sinesis? I think that’s how I’m going to log it.

(I don’t know and its really messing with my need to have my entire cabinet neatly labelled. This is why I don’t like blends, and unlabelled teas for the most part – I don’t like when things can’t be organized into their own definitive categories.)

Anyway, I’m sending some of this to Sil in a swap so I figured I should fully explore it since I had it out. And each steep is going to have its own tasting note only because otherwise this note would be a BEAST.


NOTE: I used 1.5 g. leaf. Steepster won’t let you record decimal points in the “amount” box.

Scent of the wet leaf:
Cooked sweet potatoes.

Scent of the steeped tea:
Sweet potatoes drenched in syrup. I’ve never eaten this per se but that’s what this smells like.

Kind of light, actually. I treated the steeping directions of “1 cup” as 8 oz. but maybe I should have gone with a cup as being 6 ounces and added leaf accordingly. I think I’ll add in a bit more to make it 2 g. tea for 4 oz. water and see what happens.

Hmm, as I’ve been drinking this I get this interesting taste – like if bread were condensed into a thick syrup. It has a lovely honeyed texture but isn’t overly sweet. Maybe what I’m thinking of is malt syrup, even though again, it’s not something I’ve had to even know what that is?

There is a sweetness in the aftertaste but the tea itself is mostly what a good, hearty bread would taste like. No bitterness or astringence at all. Well, on to the second steep…

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Uji Shincha #4 by Kettl
854 tasting notes

I was so impatient for this tea to get here! Ever since I was informed what japanese region produces the mineral/seaweed profile I have been wanting to really try it out for myself. So I ordered this from TeaWing.

The dry leaf is very small and dark green, like pine needles. There were lots of broken bits, too. The scent was really pretty standard japanese sencha/green, so no surprises there. It came in a vaccuum sealed pouch and the recommended steeping was at 170-175 degrees for 45 seconds for the initial infusion, with 1 g. tea for each oz. of water. I steeped it in my gaiwan (so 4 g. leaf was used).

1st steep: 45 seconds. This does give me the ocean breeze taste I remember from Obukucha, though its missing the saltiness. It is actually rather sweet, and brothy. I drank this down really fast, but was kind of disappointed in the lack of saltiness – there was almost a sense of drinking miso broth with the Obukucha that I would have loved to experience again. Maybe I still will?

After steeping, the leaves, which were small and dark green, expanded and turned bright green. There is a definite note of nori/seaweed in the wet leaf, which is leaving me very excited to move on to the next steep…

2nd steep: 1 minute
And I ROYALLY botched it! I couldn’t drink this infusion – it was TOO bitter and astringent to go down. Note to self: 1 minute is way too long! I hate that I had to learn this the hard way, but down the drain it goes.

3rd steep: 45 seconds.
Got a little gunshy after the spectacular failure that was the last steep so I shortened the steep time back to 45 seconds. The infusion is still a bright green, and little bits of leaves keep making their way from my gaiwan to my cup. This steep is still bitter but drinkable, at least. Spinachy seaweed is all I’m tasting, with that underlying bitterness. It’s not bad, and I’m going through it pretty fast just so I can get to the next iteration of this tea…

4th steep: 45 seconds.
Bitterness and watery tea. I have well and truly botched this. :(

Well, on the bright side, I still have a little less than 100g. to play with and I know what NOT to do next time. The first steep of this certainly did have potential and I will withhold the rating for now, seeing as I broke the tea.

I know I’ll be trying it again soon though!

4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Tea of the morning. I had to get up and be somewhere for work (8 AM is for the birds, says this night shifter) and I needed something STRONG. So, 2 tsp leaf and 8 oz of water + creamer was the answer.

Today’s cup was heavy on the vanilla and not as heavy on the bergamot, which was fine by me- it’s my preferred flavor balance, actually. And I have a lot more of this left than I thought so I better start drinking!

Flavors: Bergamot, Vanilla

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

man….8 is laaate lol


When your day starts at 5:00 PM normally you would totally feel it, too, haha. Seriously – I don’t even know how you morning people do it!


That’s funny. I have to get up at 5 am every day to make carpool and work for hubby and myself. I thought that was brutal!

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The Butiki website says there’s still some availability, so I may bite, because this tea, this fabulously unassuming tea, has become quite a staple for me at breakfast time.

I mean, it tastes like soft caramels. How could it not be awesome?

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I’ve had this so many times, and it’s gotten to the point where it really doesn’t matter how I make it – with or without milk, with or without sugar – it gives me great results each time. As long as it steeps for 4 minutes, you will get a good cup of tea.

Tonight’s was without sweetener with some biscuits and honey before going into work. The milk brought out buttery maple notes and I drank it down pretty fast – but no time to have another cup as work is calling. Ugh. In a perfect world I’d have all the time in the world to drink tea all day….

Flavors: Butter, Maple Syrup

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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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. "


Atlanta, GA

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