471 Tasting Notes
The news on my IPhone is that it’s still resting in its bag of rice. I’m so unbelievably tempted to dig it out right now and see if it’ll turn on, but seeing as I’m not going to the Apple store until tomorrow anyway, I’m probably better off postponing that particular brand of heartbreak.
Before I review this tea, let me just say how disappointed I am that I only got enough for one sample (the good news, however, is that it’s apparently good for multiple steeps, although that remains to be determined as I’m a steep snob, it would seem).
I was dreaming about trying this tea while I was at work this afternoon. I was supposed to be focused, but I was exhausted and so obviously my mind wandered. When I got home, the first thing I did was rush over and inhale the scent of the leaves. I was greeted by an immediate burst of florals: it was very similar to walking in a lush, green English garden at sunset (you know, because I’ve been in a million of those…except that I haven’t, but it’s what I’d imagine “The secret Garden” to smell like). Someone earlier said the tea was somehow reminiscent of a time gone by, that that rang true for me, even just by smelling the leaves. I, too, instantly thought “Victorian era.”
So, hopes high, I brewed this up. I used one teaspoon with eight oz of water as recommended, and steeped for slightly longer than four minutes. I added in a touch of rock sugar before I even took my first sip, as I don’t try and really kid myself about whether or not I’m going to like sugar or not, and my gosh…I can’t even. I felt as though I was drinking the epitome of peace. I was pretty much drinking tranquility. As I sipped this tea, I imagined (quite vividly in fact, which may indicate my current state of sleep deprivation) that it was talking to me. If this tea could talk, it would say: “Great things await you, my precious girl. But you must be patient.”
Nothing says “Hang in there, little one. There is so much beauty in this world” like this cup of tea. I know I sound dramatic and ridiculous, but I’ve always maintained that scent and taste are so intrinsically bound up with so many other associations—memories, hopes, emotions, deep longing, times we want to remember, times we want to forget. I don’t know if I’ll always be in this wistful a mood when I drink this tea, but it’ll certainly get me pretty darned close.
So, what it tastes like. I detect jasmine, although it certainly isn’t overwhelming as it might be in a solo jasmine tea. There’s also..well, the violet and the calendula (not sure what that is, exactly) and the oolong, and I can’t really tell which is which, but I think that’s the beauty of Butiki: the tea tastes as though it was just supposed to taste this way, and not as if someone laboriously toiled away in some factory trying really hard to make it taste a certain way. It tastes of roses, jasmine, other flowers; it tastes, quite frankly, of effortless grace. Absolutely 100% adding this to my next and near future order.
Had this tea again this morning. I used three teaspoons in about 12 oz of water, and added in some cream and rock sugar. Before sipping, I inhaled the warm steam wafting up from my mug. I actually caught a few whiffs of henna, and it brought back a lot of memories from my own childhood (my family is Pakistani, and we used to put Henna on our hands for holidays and weddings and such, and it has such a distinct smell). This smell wasn’t entirely henna, but I certainly picked up on it.
First sips revealed the funnel cake I was expecting, and the cup was gone in no time. I resteeped the leaves for my timolino, and left them in for even longer this time because i’m always afraid the second infusion is going to be significantly weaker. I don’t really quite know how to do second infusions properly: do you add more leaf? infuse longer? infuse at all if strong cups are your thing?
Anyway, I’m going to try this tea at work today and see how it stood up to the same amounts of rock sugar and milk for the second infusion. Either way, delish delish delish.
ETA: I think I prefer the first steep of this tea, so likely won’t be resteeping in the future. Just to confirm though, I’ll try the first steep in my timolino tomorrow. And hey, there are other butiki teas I’ve got to get around to trying as well :). Today is one of htose days I wish I had two timolinos, because I’m exhausted at work and could really use another bucket of tea so that I can power through.
Today actually started out quite wonderfully, and to its credit, only one bad thing happened.
I woke up with all sorts of tea-related intentions. I’d saved my tea leaves from the first steep of my Taiwanese wild mountain black from yesterday, and intended on having a second steep for breakfast, but that was not to be had, as my fiance needed me to rush out to the grocery store to get some sugar for the broccoli salad he was making. By the time I got back, our friends were about to arrive for the picnic we’d planned, so there went that idea. I popped into the bathroom for a much-needed pee break, slid down my jeans (don’t worry, that’s as x-rated as this gets) and heard a splashing plop as something fell into the toilet. I lazily wondered what it could possibly be, and began to inwardly curse whoever had left something on the back of the toilet that was obviously too close to the edge.
Then the realization set in. It was my IPhone. It had fallen out of my back pocket, where I had stupidly, idiotically placed it minutes earlier. Needless to say, I’m never going to do that again. I dove into the toilet, scooped it up, and began to frantically wipe it off and flap it all over the place. Voiceover (the text to speech software on all Apple products that make them accessible to blind people) was still talking, but the sound was incredibly muffled and crackly, and my heart sank further still. There’s a dread in this world that only came to fruition when people started dropping phones into toilets or puddles or bath tubs or what have you. it was like, a legitimately diagnosable condition.
Anyway, it’s now submerged in a bag of rice, as the powers that be suggest that’s the best way to drain all the water from the inside. I have very little hope, but we shall see. I know I don’t need to tell you guys just how much I depend on my phone.
So I made myself a cup of this tea (using the perfectea maker by Teavana that I picked up on Friday!), and it succeeded in lifting my spirits right up. it’s such a light-hearted, lovely-tasting tea; it’s sort of like owning a pair of lime green pants—how could you possibly feel feelings of sadness when looking at them? It tasted as perfect as always, and it’s absolutely 100% a tea I’m going to keep in my life for as long as possible. I’m also excited because it’s a white, which means I’ll probably be safe drinking it in the evenings or at night (does anyone know if there’s much caffeine in it?). As usual, I had my splash of cream and some rock sugar.
Anyway folks, there’s my story. A bit of heartbreak for sure, but also a wonderful, uplifting cup of fairy tea and my spirits are comforted. Oh, and we also upgraded to a queen-sized bed, complete with one of those memory foam mattress toppers, so we’ll probably have a great night’s sleep as well (and I perhaps may not wake up with an elbow in my face and a leg haphazardly flung over, like, my ear).
Wow. Let me begin by saying that I wasn’t exactly sure if I’d like this tea. It smelled quite tea-like in the package, and i had a bit of a tricky time getting spoonfuls of it because the long leaves don’t really lend themselves to squashing into a teaspoon, so I was all worried I’d do it all wrong and mess the whole thing up. I powered on though, and then paced around my kitchen nervously as the tea steeped. Nervous because I wanted to like it so badly, and also because I’m convinced that I somehow screwed up the caramel vanilla assam I’d tried earlier.
So I took my first sip of it straight, which I probably shouldn’t have done because I typically don’t take any teas straight (especially black teas), and it tasted really good, but I just knew it would be revolutionized with some cream and sugar. So, in went some rock sugar and a splash of cream, and i just…oh my god.
it was like drinking funnel cake, complete with the warm, dry pastry funnely bits and the powdered sugar on top. It legitimately tasted exactly like that. And there’s just something so amazing about how you feel once you’ve had your cup—it’s as if your insides got a massage, or more like a long, lingering hug from someone who “gets it”. Melodramatic much?
Anyway, this has qualified as one of the teas I’d like to take with me to work, although I’m going to have to ration it until I place my order, which I imagine will have to be fairly soon as it’s like, dependent on harvesting and stuff. Oh you leafhoppers you, you’re welcome in my tea anyday!
Another win for Butiki! Go Stacy!
It’s been a good day, and I just wound it down by enjoying some peppercorn goat cheese on rice crackers, and washed it all down with a glass of fairly strong red. Delish.
Good night, everyone!
When I opened this package and inhaled, I smelled a lot of butter. Actually, it wasn’t all that unlike opening a package of popcorn! Not to be at all deterred though, I went to prepare it.
I tried my first cup with a bit of cream, and for some reason, I couldn’t really detect the caramel and vanilla notes. I stirred in some rock sugar and that brought them out a bit, but it certainly was not an “in your face” caramel or vanilla.
I made a second cup and steeped a bit longer this time, only adding in rock sugar (as I worried that the cream addition had muted the flavours slightly). I enjoyed it, that much is for sure, and I’ll certainly be happy to finish up the sample, but I don’t know if i’ll be ordering this one (which is slightly sad, although to be honest I already want like a million ounces of the cantaloupe and cream so my bank account may be heaving a sigh of relief). This was also my first experience with an assam (even an assam base), and I still haven’t made up my mind about it. I think I’m just used to my black teas being really strong.
I may use more leaf next time—the great thing about Butiki teas (it would seem) is that they are very open to experimentation.
Wow, talk about an elaborate routine just to get things right in the timolino. I don’t know if you guys have read my posts about how I don’t think the basket is deep enough, so I’ve decided to just brew all my tea in a regular mug and then pour it (using a funnel!) into the tim tim. well, that’s all well and wonderful, except that I just chugged the entirety of my tea in one massive gulp right now because it lost so much heat.
Sooo! next time I do my routine, it’s going to involve popping the mug into the microwave before transferring.
Anyway, onto the tea itself. I’ve been playing around with it a fair bit—this morning I added cream and a spoonful of brown sugar. I actually prefer brown sugar to white in this tea, but I still don’t know that I’m crazy enough about the tea to restock (especially with companies like butiki on my mind).
So, pretty decent cup this morning, but it was too cold (my fault) and just kind of missing a “wow factor” for me. I should also add that I’m not a pumpkin fan in general though, so that likely taints my review somewhat. Ok, time to actually make myself useful at work. Have a great Friday, everyone!
I can’t believe how much I love this tea, I just can’t. Not because it isn’t amazing—quite the contrary, in fact.
It’s just that to date, I have never found a white that I’ve liked. “Well kc, how many whites have you tried?” you ask, logically.
“oh me? I’ve had one white. But I really, really didn’t like it.”
“So, out of all the one white teas you’ve tried, you liked a grand total of none?”
“That’s right—hated all of ’em.”
But this is unlike…well, anything. It’s delicate, and yet simultaneously so satisfying. Often, delicate means weak (ok stop, you sound like a broken record-we get it, you like strong teas)—let me finish! this time though, delicate is just…well, it’s like a hundred little tiny pink fairies with graceful, tiny limbs and intricately designed wings all having a tea party in your mouth.
Yes, tea fairies. In your mouth. Pink ones.
Those of you who’ve had this tea will know it’s true. and for those of you who haven’t, seriously, I implore you to give it a try. I’m like, emotional about this.
Oh! so this time I made it in my perfect mug from David’s tea, and so it was about 12 oz of water, a dash of cream (which only made it creamier and more amazing, though I swear I could have this tea fifty different ways and never get sick of it), and a touch of ordinary white sugar. I also used about 2.5 tsp of leaf because of the higher water volume, and steeped for four minutes instead of the three and a half. I wonder what an even longer steep time will do to it!
Oh man…the possibilities!
Well, my introduction to the world of Butiki did not leave anything to be desired, and I’m surprised I’m saying this, because I’m not typically even a fan of white tea!
But this was different. I didn’t know a tea could simultaneously be delicate and flavourful—until now, that very concept seemed to be an oxy-moron—I shied away from any tea that was described as “delicate” because I associated delicate with a weak and overly watery mouth feel.
I’m really excited to play around with this tea. I added the tiniest bit of sugar to intensify the melon flavour, but wonder if I’d like it even more if I add a drop of cream and a bit more leaf. It’s definitely unlike any other tea I’ve had, and I’m really excited to continue playing with it. To date, it’s the only white I’ve liked! oh! and I simply cannot figure out how on earth Stacy managed to make this tea taste creamy, but it absolutely does, despite my not having even added a drop. So thanks, Stacy, for this great introduction!
If you’ve enjoyed this particular tea (and really, why wouldn’t you?) how do you take it?
This was my first “real tea” that wasn’t an offering by David’s tea, so I was pretty excited to try it.
Despite a steeping mishap this morning (those always seem to occur, despite all my hopes and preparation), this made a pretty decent cup. Given that I don’t quite yet have the vocabulary to really describe tea, I have to say that it definitely tasted “black”, a bit woody, and appropriately strong. I added in a bit of sugar and milk, but this did not at all detract from the smoothness of the tea, and its very, very slight astringency actually lends itself to being a really good tea if you aren’t even in a “tea mood”.
But then I made it to take to work in my timolino and found that it wasn’t nearly as strong. I attribute this to the fact that there’s simply more water, plus I don’t like the timolino’s steeping basket nearly as much, as I don’t find my teas to be as flavourful in the travel mug—how do you guys prepare tea in your travel mug differently from the way you prepare in a cup? any recommendations for keeping the flavour strong? should I shake it a great deal to help things “circulate”?
In other (amazing amazing) news, I received my butiki order in the mail yesterday! I am over the moon about this, and can’t wait to try them!
Wow. Well hello there, chamomile tea disguised as delicious pistachio and cream. Wow wow wow.
You know, there’s being misled because the tea smells amazing in the package, even more amazing as it brews, and then the inevitable let-down as you take your sip of subtly flavoured water, and you hopefully swirl your tongue around your mouth, trying in vain to like the tea that you had such high hopes for.
This wasn’t even that.
I don’t even know what happened, to be perfectly honest. I actually followed the instructions for a change, and didn’t even add any milk or sugar as I typically do. I’d actually had this iced to go when I had my David’s tea episode the other night because they had like six iced pitchers that hadn’t been used and didn’t want to waste it. Cold, it tasted delicious: creamy even without milk, and very refreshing (I can imagine really liking it in the summer, actually). But hot? just wow. If you don’t like chamomile, stay far, far away—the base hits you hard in the face, and even a tea-idiot like me could pick that up. On the flip side, however, if you like chamomile, you’ll be wrapped in a robe made of chamomile, complete with an accompanying pair of chamomile slippers, and just for good measure, there’ll be a CD softly playing chamomile-flavoured music in the background (this tea will make you believe that such a thing exists).
So, here’s the plan. I’m not giving up yet, especially because I know there’s a flavour profile lurking in the depths of these leaves that I just need to coax out. So here’s the plan. I’m going to double up on leaves next time, and head over to my good ol’ buddy cream, and I’m hoping that’ll temper the chamomile down epically. I was muttering this exact plan to myself actually, and my fiance overheard me.
me: “Hmmm, I can fix this right up. If I just double up on leaves, add in a buttload of cream, that oughta temper the chamomile right down. Yup.” )(I followed that proclamation up with a self-satisfied grunt)
Him: “Darling, you’re not, like, renovating a bathroom! you sound as though you’re deciding which walls to knock down, how much dry wall to use, and which landscaping company you’ll be calling in next!”
So yes, it was quite the experience. Kind of a disappointing day in the world of tea, sadly.