129 Tasting Notes

10

Ew. Just ew.

I got some of this in a swap with QueenOfTarts. The smell was absolutely overpowering. Sickeningly sweet. HEAVILY scented of grenadine, in a way that makes me think of the sugary syrup that bottled cherries float around with, and I mean in a BAD way. Warning bells ringing before I even started boiling water.

SO I start steeping it. I pour boiling water over the leaves and the syrup smell intensifies. No tea smell that I can tell…at first. About two minutes in, I catch a whiff of black tea. And it smells bitter, pungent and cutting to my nostrils. I worry even more. I just knew I should have used a lower water temp. I pull the leaves out a bit early (about 3min 30) and stir in a touch of sugar. Take a sip. Wait, then take another. Add more sugar. Sip. MORE SUGAR. Sip. SUGAR AND MILK, OH GOD, IS THERE ANY SAVING IT?!

The answer is no. I couldn’t doctor it in any way that made it palatable. I had to dump out the whole cup after unsuccessfully trying to shove it onto my friend. The grenadine flavor was cloyingly sweet, like fruit punch concentrate. The tea base was strong and bitter and unforgivingly in-your-face. I couldn’t take it.

I wasn’t sure if I should even write a review or not. Buuuut I felt guilty.

I might experiment with cold-brewing or try it again at a lower temperature. Then again, that experience was horrific enough to frighten anyone away forever. I don’t know if I have it in me.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to try it QueenOfTarts. I wish I had nicer things to say. ):

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
QueenOfTarts

Oh no! I’m sorry you didn’t like this one.

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Got this in a swap with Veronica! (You’re the best, THANK YOU!)

First sip, I fell in love. Nutty, roasty rice flavor, a very present green sencha flavor, then right when I was starting to wonder where the marshmallow was…BAM. Completely took me by surprise and completely floored me. It started with this faint creaminess, like a slow, soft hum. It built up gradually until the flavor completely covered my tongue. It reminded me of biting into a rice krispie bar. Absolutely sweet, delicious, and surprisingly potent.

The green tea was a touch bitter. I accidentally went over temp with my water. Sadly, I couldn’t finish my cup because of this strange pervasive “soapy” taste. What on earth? I don’t know if it was because there was residual soap in the cup, if it was because of water temperature, contamination or WHAT. I’m so upset with myself.

I refuse to blame the tea.

No rating until I try it again. I’ll be waiting anxiously for a re-blend.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Nuts, Vanilla

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84

Yes! My shipment came in today!

And OH MY.

The smell…I couldn’t stop smelling the bag once I frantically ripped apart the envelope it came in. It’s SO GOOD. Exactly like banana pudding. I could see little pieces of coconut and huge pieces of banana through the clear front of the bag. There seemed to be a greater measure of toasted rice to green tea, which worried me at first. (I’m not a big fan of genmaicha. I have to really be in the mood for it.) No instructions on the bag, so I guessed the temp to be on the hotter side of “green” and let it steep for three minutes.

I waited, waited and waited…giving the cup a good sniff every fifteen seconds or so. I couldn’t smell much past the toasted rice. Maybe a hint of banana but it was very faint, especially compared to the sublime desserty-banana aroma that drifted out of the bag.
First sip was very similar to the smell. A little disappointing, but I expected the banana to be muted compared to the base. First impressions can be deceiving. I waited a few minutes, hoping that the banana-coconut flavors would emerge at a lower temperature. I was right! First I get the roasty, nutty element of the rice, followed by a very definite banana flavor.

[I’m going to interject here that’s it’s not the flavor of a ripe banana. I don’t really like ripe bananas myself. I prefer bananas that are still slightly green and firm, and not very sweet. While the banana flavor of this tea isn’t a ripe banana, it’s not quite a green banana either. It’s close. It’s very “fresh” tasting…but also mildly sweet. I’m not sure how else to describe it. Maybe someone else can illuminate this for me?]

Anyway, back to the tea. Toasty rice, then banana, then a very soft creaminess that’s a little like vanilla. It’s more of a texture than a flavor…just this soft, full, silkiness. I think I’m catching hints of the coconut. A little cream. I wish it was stronger, honestly. The flavors descend in intensity as they descend in order. I’m not getting much in the way of crusty, vanilla wafer goodness but that’s okay. It makes a very good cup of banana tea with a hint of sweet coconut.

While not what I expected, I drank a whopping seven cups of this today. (: It resteeps well. Second brew was 4 minutes, and the third was for 6 minutes. (I tried coaxing a fourth out of the leaves with 8 minutes, but the flavors were too subdued for me to enjoy it. No banana or coconut or green tea. Just rice.) Out of the three steep times I think the second was best. The silky vanilla-coconut elements stepped up and the toasty rice stepped back. There was greater balance in that cup.

The entire time I was drinking this I kept wondering how it would taste with a black tea base. I’ve never had it before, and I enjoy black tea much more than green tea. What’s a girl to do? Cast a guilty look over her shoulder, get back online and place a hasty order for Banana Pudding Black…which is exactly what I did.

I’m glad that I liked this tea so much since my recent experience with 52teas (Cherry Cheesecake Green) went so badly.
Shudder.
I’m sure time will help meld the flavors nicely. Note that sugar brings out more of the banana-pudding-ness of the tea.

Preparation
2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Veronica

Banana Pudding Black is awesome. One of my favorites from 52Teas, and my favorite banana tea, hands down.

kimquat

I’m so excited for that one to come in! I’m already halfway done with the genmaicha version. Looks like I’ll be needing more VERY soon. (:

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40

Eh. Mostly I’m getting cherry flavored, watery green tea. Not cough syrup cherry, but not real cherry. It’s like the slightly sour sweet cherry topping you get on cheesecake. Sadly, no cheesecake flavor that I can tell. That’s a real disappointment. The tea base itself is very blah. Doesn’t stand out very much.

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This isn’t bad. I’m getting a light coconut flavor in the background (which tastes more like coconut creme pie—artificial coconut flavor—than actual coconut, let’s be honest). At the forefront there’s white chocolate, a creamy, thick flavor that reminds me of chocolate mousse. They work very well with the tea base. I’m tasting more green and white tea than anything else. It’s smooth, the way the flavors meld, though there is a touch of astringency at the end of each sip. (Might have been my fault because I goofed the water temperature.) I’m actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I’m not sure I would buy it again, but I can see myself reaching for it when I’m craving something desserty and can’t bring myself to drink the other teas I’m scrimping and saving.

Thanks for the sample marzipan!

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72

This tea has a very distinct, fresh pumpkin flavor to it. I’m getting the texture of firm fruits that give under your teeth, like peaches, plums, mangos…meaty fruits. The tea base is vegetal and a little bitter, but I intentionally overleaf when I brew. That might have something to do with it. I’ll try brewing with the recommended amount next time. Anyway, I’ve had this tea a few times before sitting down to write, and I haven’t noticed much about it that says “milkshake” to me. I get the pumpkin and a green, vegetal taste that follows soon after, but no milkshake. There’s a slight creaminess after the initial flavors that hit my tongue, but it’s veerrrryy slight. I don’t think anything is wrong with my tastebuds. ): Ah, well.

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92

The dry leaves are gorgeous to look at. I often will pluck a leaf out of the bag and turn it over in my fingers, marveling at the color and the fine golden dust it’s covered with. The color of the tea liquor ranges from a mellow gold to a light amber. It’s definitely malty—but it sits lightly on the tongue. There’s a smooth, silky feel to the tea liquid. Sweetness lies at the end of each sip, like caramel, and lingers soon after. Sort of like a light perfume. It doesn’t coat your tongue, but it definitely builds and leaves this clean, sweet feeling behind. Sooo hard to describe. It’s delicate and complex. I prefer to drink this tea in the evening. It doesn’t really have the punch of a strong black tea I would drink in the morning, or middle of the day. I dare say it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. Later steeps bring out more honeyed, chocolate notes coupled with a full, juicy freshness. Simply lovely. (:

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Honey, Malt

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78

This one has a very strong and very distinct toffee-caramel aroma! I was worried for a moment that it would be too strong when brewed. Nope. There is a nice balance between the B/C/T flavor and the mild, but decent base tea. No astringency that I can tell. (I used a 3 minute steep.) Each sip leaves a lingering buttery sweet feeling in my mouth. It’s almost sticky in the way that toffee leaves a stickiness behind. It’s not a very complex tea. Very one-dimensional. But the tea base and flavoring works well together—and it’s enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. (: I might try adding milk to this the next time I brew.

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Cream

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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92
drank Hello Sweetie by Butiki Teas
129 tasting notes

Absolutely wonderful! The banana and coconut are very light, natural additions to this tea. There’s a slight fruitiness that I attribute to the Assam. (I haven’t had PTA by itself, so I can only guess.) The dry and wet leaves smell SO GOOD. Crazy, dessert-y cake good. The tea base is very mellow, no astringency, which I would have expected from the 4-minute steep time. I’m glad I was wrong. Creaminess creeps in at the end of each sip. The second steep tones down the fruity tropical flavors and brings out buttery caramel toffee goodness. Yeeessss. I’m in love. I’ll need to be careful to ration it out until my next Butiki order. (:

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Got my Butiki order in today! Aaaahhhhh! This one was included as a sample! I was really, really tempted to buy a 1/2 oz of it with the rest of my order BUT, knowing how finicky I can be about white teas, I held off. It was sitting prettily right at the top of the box. When I picked it up I smelled lemon candy and faint sweetness. Brewed up, it smells very similar to the way the dry leaf smells. I definitely agree with other posters—the flavors meld much better at cooler temperatures. The citrus backs off and becomes more soft. It was more tart when hot, but as it cooled I was able to discern more creaminess and pastry-like flavor. Like a very lightly sweetened cookie. Or, like a macaroon. (: I enjoyed my cup tremendously but I don’t think I’ll be getting any more for myself. It has nothing to do with the quality of the blend and everything to do with my dislike of white tea. A little too light for my taste.

Bravo Stacy!

EDIT: Now I find myself craving this tea. Guess it’s going on my next order after all. :P

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Bio

I have been drinking tea all of my life, but I have only been drinking loose leaf since 2013. It has been a journey! I’m amazed at how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I have met such lovely, sweet individuals on Steepster and am so glad to have become a part of this community.

My cupboard is reflective of the teas I have on-hand. (Though, of course, not quantities.) I’m always up for swaps so if you want to trade teas just send me a message!

I love, love love pure black teas. Definitely my favorite. I also quite enjoy white teas, puerh, and darker/roasted oolongs. Matcha is a secret love that I neglect too often. I try to stay away from flavored teas, but I do enjoy a well crafted blend. I drink dessert teas on occasion—usually when I’m craving something sweet. It’s a mood-driven decision. Things I (usually) don’t like: green oolongs, rooibos, artificially flavored teas, straight greens.

Rating System
90+ The very best! Teas that I always need in my cupboard!
85-89 Teas that I enjoy immensely and will try to keep around.
80-84 Makes a very pleasing cup. I will enjoy drinking them, but won’t necessarily try to keep around. (There are exceptions.)
70-79 Decent, but could be better.
60-69 Mediocre.
40-59 Gross. I might still try to finish the cup.
39 & under Undrinkable. I probably dumped this cup. Depending on the specific rating, I probably threw the rest of the tea out as well. It’s basically me saying “I hate it” with varying intensity and inflection.

Some of my favorite tea companies are:
-Whispering Pines Tea Co.
-Verdant Tea
-Mandala Tea
-Butiki Teas

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