2995 Tasting Notes
I’ve been putting off writing this tasting note, just ‘cause this is one of my all time favourite Butiki Teas now and it’s so complex, and nuanced and different than anything else I’ve had that I worry I wont be able to do it justice by writing about it.
So, instead of trying to do that I’m just gonna break this down into something much more simple though perhaps a little apathetic: jot notes. I think those brief snippets of information, like I normally write for myself anyway, will help me break this tea down in a way that will do it more justice than writing paragraphs.
- Three Western-style infusions
- Would’ve done more but Tre knocked the leaf off the counter onto the kitchen floor
- Dill, Butter (good, ‘fresh churned’ butter), and Wet Wood/Bark are the strongest notes
- That’s throughout all three infusions
- First infusion had a slight acidity to it
- Something kind of like apple cider vinegar? It was a slight sharpness
- Which I really experienced on the sides of my tongue
- (I know ‘flavor mapping’ is widely discredited, but I really did get that sensation)
- This flavor was majorly dulled in the second infusion, and not present in the last though
- Other notes: Roasted Peanuts/more generic nutty notes, toast, barley, and smoke
- Second infusion was the best overall
- All three were fantastic though
Bought some coconut milk to try lattes/matcha with, because of how much I ended up liking the cashew milk. I thought this might be similar. This was the first time I decided to test the water with!
It’s interesting; I really like the soft, silky consistency of the coconut milk. It’s not as thick as cow’s milk, but not as thin as cashew milk. It’s got a subtle coconut flavour that I think will add nicely to some teas – such as this one.
The licorice is very nice, a little more of a softer flavour when paired with this coconut milk and I can appreciate that. It’s different. Since this one usually comes off very bold and mono flavoured the decrease in licorice intensity and lovely mellow coconut undertones are perfect. It’s a great late night treat to curb those sugar cravings, too.
I’m excited to test the coconut waters with some other teas too!
Week #5 of Tea 103:
This week in class, the reading has to do with tea and food pairings but the cuppings are fairly unrelated to that. Again, there’s eight of them so I did half today and I’ll do the other half before class on Tuesday.
The first set of cuppings was a Mao Jian and a Sencha – the idea being to notice some of the differences between steamed Chinese greens, and pan fried Japanese greens. I don’t like green tea much, so this pairing didn’t excite me – but it wasn’t awful. The Sencha was very ‘trademark Sencha’ with the marine/seaweed notes. The Mao Jian (which was possibly the first time I’d tried one?) was interesting; very sweet and grassy, but kind of a rough, bitter aftertaste. A little… Meh.
The second pairing was the same oolong one from last week – so I wont elaborate on it again, but suffice to say it was still amazing.
I passed along most of this tea in swaps, and then gave the last of it to Chef Darcy since he’d been asking for a recommendation for a solid everyday black tea – and I kind of specifically said that about this one, and then never seemed to get around to drinking it. So for me at least, this is a sipdown and now the remainder of my 50g has been passed along to a home where it’ll get drank more quickly.
I finished this off as a latte; it was something different to do with it. Even with the amount of milk in it, I found it had a dryness/astringency to the mouthfeel that was odd and disconcerting but I think I may have over steeped it and that’s the root cause of that whole unpleasant mouthfeel. Regardless, the taste was spot on! It was a bit of a dry cinnamon flavour mostly, with nutty and malt notes and a sweetness to the finish that reminded me of brown sugar! Mmm!
Also; something I found really cool – when I first got this tea I only had a foggy idea of what the grading meant and where the region within assam was and I’ve definiely, in those short three months, learned so much about both! It’s very cool being able to go back and see old tasting notes and track the progress I’ve made.
I’m slightly sad to see this tea go; but I learned a lot from it so I’m thankful for that.
Ok, so I probably tried this a stupid way for it being my first time having it since the naunces of flavour were lost. I’ll definitely revisit and make sure the next time I try it is slightly more proper and done in a way I can break down and taste the specific flavours of the tea.But that said this was incredibly fun and tasty, and really what I’m getting at is…
Recently, I received a cookbook themed around matcha as a gift – there are actually quite a few recipes in it that I want to try out (a huge part of why I redeemed my free 50g on fancy ass matcha from DT) but since my cooking skills are crap the easier for me to make was salted matcha popcorn! So basically:
2 tsp of matcha
1 tbsp of butter
1 tsp of salt
All melted down and mixed together and then sprinkled/splashed over some fresh air popped popcorn! Holy balls it was such a pretty, gorgeous bright green colour! The taste was surprisingly great too; I actually don’t like salty food that much (cripes; pretzels are my worst nightmare) but it worked with the popcorn/matcha because it was like a very seaweed/kelpy vegetal snack but light and fluffy! Seriously, it was a strange juxtaposition overall but very tasty! I half believed after trying this I wouldn’t want to again but I’d totally revisit this!
Matcha popcorn and a movie night? Sign me up!
Holding off on rating until I can rate the ‘pure’ tea.
I’ve decided to stop hoarding the leaf for this blend, and just work on sipping it down.
Vanilla bean, vanilla custard, vanilla cake… Vanilla everything!
And on top of that mouth watering vanilla flavor, this cold brew had a lovely soft floral quality, honey notes, and a subtle graham/woody flavour from the rooibos base. This leaf might be somewhat older, but that hasn’t changed the wonderful flavour yet! I’d still like to try more teas with tonka beans in them though; I think they’re the key to this wonderful ‘triple threat’ vanilla flavour – but I can’t be sure if I don’t have something to compare with.
Old leaf; but not spent leaf.
Week #4 of Tea 103 PT2:
These cuppings are from last Tuesday, I just felt too tired after class to break them down here on Steepster after going over them more in depth during class. Remember, the “theme” for the week was ‘pairs’ – so the last two pairs I had to cup were a lightly and darkly roasted oolong, and a 1st and 2nd flush darjeeling.
Starting with the oolongs; I think this was my favourite of all four cuppings that week. Both the light and darkly roasted oolong tasted absolutely phenomenal! The lightly roasted oolong was one I’d done during a previous week and my observations about the taste were basically the same thing. Umm, notes on that here:
Obviously, the visual difference between the light oolong and dark was the most noticable; from dry leaf appearance (beautiful forest green twisted leaves to a more mulched up, flaky roasted brown) to the infused liquour. The taste contrast was huge too; the darker oolong actually reminded me a lot of Butiki’s 1991 Da Ye Aged Oolong just not quite as nice but it had those wonderful petrichor, wood/bark, butter, dill, and roasted peanut notes I get from the Aged Oolong. Not gonna lie; that kind of tea could maybe be a bit of an aphrodisiac for me. Screw chocolate and wine!
The oolong pairing was the one I got to discuss in class too; so my teacher and the other students got to hear me wax poetic about oolong in probably just slightly too much depth for too long a time – but damn that pairing was wonderful. For exam week next week we have to do a presentation comparing and contrasting a ‘pair’ of teas (could be the Ceylons, Kenyan Teas, Darjeelings, Oolongs, or Chinese and Japanese Green teas) and this is the one I’m leaning towards doing, though I think it might be the ‘obvious’/easiest one just because of how drastic the difference is.
The last pairing for the week was the 1st and 2nd Flush Darjeeling; and to be honest I know Darjeeling teas I supposed to be very prized, but I just didn’t like this pairing. In fact, it was my least favourite of the week. However, I think I also learned the most from it – I wasn’t aware not all Darjeeling has that ‘praised’ muscatel note to it, and that’s actually a trait associated with 2nd flush Darjeeling. Visually, I don’t think I’d be able to differentiate the brewed liquor from one another but I was impressed with myself that I could tell the difference between the dry leaf: the 1st flush had greener leaf than the 2nd flush. Honestly, I thought I was reading into things too much with that observation but after the cupping I read the ‘follow up’ notes we had and that was the correct visual indicator, so go me. The first flush was my least favourite of the two (though not by much) – according to the readings from class most people find it to be the ‘superior’ flush of Darjeeling but the simple floral and mildly earthy flavour kind of bored me. The 2nd Flush was very raisiny – probably why I didn’t like it much either to be honest. That favour just doesn’t appeal to me. It also had some acidity, and a note that made me think of rye bread.
Also got more details about the blind cupping we have to do next week: this time I’m allowed to see the steeper liquor (I wasn’t for Tea 101) but I have to identify more than just the generic tea type: I actually have to pinpoint the variety and what makes it different. So, basically, I have to be able to say “Kenyan CTC” or “High Grown Ceylon” and not gonna lie I’m slightly stressing. I just hope my palate is good enough to pick up on the subtle differences.
Finally found a way to drink this that I don’t totally hate! In a last ditch attempt to make this a redeemable tea I added a few splashes of milk to the liquor post steeping, and it did wonders for pulling all of the flavours together.
The butter flavour from the oolong base, which has been my biggest complaint, was a lot more masked/muted and with the thicker, creamier mouthfeel because of the milk it felt a lot less oily and weirdly scummy and more appropriately thick. In fact, it kind of made me think of someone just beginning the process of churning butter – before it had gotten all thick, but was still just slightly viscous. The peach notes feel less ‘floaty’ too, and instead of being painfully juxtaposed to the creamy butter notes there’s a smoother bond where you’re transitioning from creamy, buttery and milky oolong to a more creamy, sweet peach flavour. No obvious disconnect between flavours.
This is 100% an improvement!
Today’s word of the day is… Vigilant!
Vigilant is defined as: “watchful to detect danger; awake and alert”.
Cold brewed the rest of my sample; it was like creamy orange sherbet with a fresh minty finish! I’m so happy I decided to revisit this one for the nostalgia! I absolutely wont be getting another larger amount of it like I did last time ‘cause then I’ll reach that point where I’m drinking so much I’m sick of it – but it’s a tasty tisane to have every now and then.
I got new glasses today! Well, sorta – I picked out new frames today. Two sets actually; one has black sides and a clear plastic front and the other is more of a gradient going from black to electric green from top to bottom. Both a sort of chunky, plastic style. I can’t WAIT until they’re ready to get picked up. I haven’t had new frames since Grade 11 or so; which was almost four years ago? I’m definitely a different person than I was then, and my glasses, which are an every day accessory should reflect that.