3599 Tasting Notes
Thanks Marzipan for the sample, and introduction to another new to me company!
I admit that straight up black/vanilla teas typically fall short for me so I was definitely skeptical by going off dry smell alone this already seemed to have more of a vanilla flavour than most vanilla teas, so I was holding onto a little bit of hope.
For my first taste of this one I went with a cold brew; to my general surprise I actually very much enjoyed this blend. The vanilla was alarmingly strong, especially when you compare it to most straight up black/vanilla blends I’ve been exposed to. It had a lovely thickness of mouthfeel and a rich custard/tapioca pudding vibe to it.
The black base itself was pretty good too; rather brisk but rounded up by the vanilla. It’s funny, I just finished reading Cameron B.’s review on this one and it seems like the only thing we’re in agreement about is that there was a woodiness to this. She found the vanilla weak and the base mild – which is the opposite of what I found. Taste is so damn subjective it’s laughable sometimes.
When Kittenna came up to visit (her family; not me specifically – I just happened to be a bonus!) she brought with all the tea I’ve ordered from Butiki
and the one blend from Verdant in the recentish group orders. That means I’ve had lots and lots of Butiki to try out the last week or so, which I’ve been trying to do among trying everything else I’ve gotten recently.
This is one I was really, really excited about. I don’t drink oolongs nearly as much as other tea types, but I do tend to really like them. I especially really like Stacy’s flavoured oolong. The lychee oolong she has is my favourite Butiki blend, ever, and Flowery Pineapple Oolong probably my second favourite. I’ve found a couple of her oolong that I was neutral towards (grape, for example) but none that I’ve disliked outright. So I definitely had to try this one, and of the stuff Kittenna brought it’s the first that I tried.
The smell of this one is intoxicating; it oozes fresh, overripe raspberries and butter. Very confectionery but without becoming unnatural or fake.
Steeped up, it’s very delicious as well. The raspberry flavour is pronounced without becoming commanding, and tastes both jammy like the name implies and confectionery – like a raspberry danish. I did struggle tasting the cashew in the blend; it was a little more noticeable at the tail of the sip right when the raspberry flavour was fading but mostly it was the “butter” note that carried into the flavour. To be fair, I didn’t get a cashew piece in this cup so I’ll make sure I do in the next one so I can see if that imparts a stronger cashew flavour.
Additional things of note: there’s a floral quality to this blend as well but nothing super identifiable. Also a very green oolong in general I found. But pleasantly so. Ultimately I don’t think I’ll miss this when I’m out because I’ve got a Raspberry Oolong blend from Tea Desire that, while an obviously lower quality tea, is comparable. Same raspberry/confectionery type flavours.
And side note – I feel like I always want to describe floral notes as orchid like; someone should give me more descriptive words for other flower notes present in tea. Sometimes I use lily in addition to lavender/rose, but I feel like I’m repeating the same descriptors a lot of the time.
Thanks Marzipan for the holiday package; I’ve been slowly plucking away at the teas in it. Conversely, I finished the tasty treats in no time at all. The Stroopwaffles were especially good! I honestly meant to share one with Tre, but I swear before I could even blink I’d gobbled them all.
I used both of the tea sachets you sent me in a latte; I was craving milk pretty badly and this was the first tea I pulled from the sample drawer that seemed like it would go reasonably well with milk. I knew one sachet wouldn’t be enough to flavour a 12 oz. mug of straight milk though, so I used both.
Sadly I really didn’t love this one; it was very heavy on the clove flavour which, though I’d normally be ok with it since I like cloves, didn’t work with that much milk. And secondly, there was a weird conflicting dryness to the flavour which was likely from an excess of nut or cinnamon in the blend. I guess there’s also supposed to be orange in this as well but there was no evidence flavour wise to support that claim. Maybe that’s for the better overall though; I can’t see how orange would have cooperated with everything else I experienced.
Sorry Marz; I certainly appreciate getting to try this one but didn’t work for me though.
Flavors: Clove, Drying
I am certainly not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, but you should all still be jealous of the pasta I just made and am very proud of! It’s “Miserable Tube” Tomato Alfredo with Red Onion and Red Pepper, and a maple cheddar “crust” on top. Yummy!
http://www.foodiggity.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/pasta-shapes-for-the-depressed.jpg A helpful image board for people who can’t name pasta shapes.
To finish this one off I made it in a timolino and brought it to work with me. To attempt to cut down on bitterness I steeped it for a slightly shorter amount of it. And, guess what!? It wasn’t bitter this time! Hoo-rah!
Instead it mostly had the flavour of sweet cream. Like, uh. Well, like Sweet Cream ice cream (which has a distinct flavour I’m struggling to describe) but without the ice cream part of thing. You know, sweet cream. And, that was totally from the white chocolate in the blend for sure.
Sadly, it seems to consequence of no bitterness is that I lose the “juice” from the apricot and instead can only taste muddled, lesser stonefruit flavour notes. And as a huge apricot fan, I’m not sure I’m ok with that trade off. I mean, I can sort of fill in the gaps in flavour because I know what it’s supposed to be, but that’s definitely NOT the same thing.
So, a bittersweet sipdown for sure.
Flavors: Cream, Stonefruits
To finish off the last of this older blend I used it in a cold brew; I was hoping that it’d taste like liquid cinnamon buns but sadly it just tasted like liquid cinnamon. Overall it was just too cinnamon heavy/monotone to be enjoyable so most of it was dumped. I feel like, for what was once a favourite blend of mine, this was a very sad end indeed.
I wont be reordering this one; my tastes have changed far too much from when I first acquired it. But, I’ll try to remember it fondly from when I really did enjoy it, instead of how these last couple mugs were.
After getting home yesterday afternoon from my file maintenance shift I made myself lunch and then fell asleep, finally. I had gotten maybe two hours of sleep the night before because I just couldn’t make my body fall asleep so early in the day – and then I had to get up at 3AM to get to work on time for 5AM. Yuck.
Consequently, I ended up sleeping last night for a SOLID 13 hours. So; definitely rested now, that’s for sure. Sadly sleeping so much yesterday means I never got to tell you guys the word of the day! So I can do that now, I suppose. Yesterday’s word was Symbiosis; the living together in close association of two different organisms especially when mutually beneficial. I suppose you could say Tre and I have a symbiotic relationship of sorts.
Today’s word is another new one for me (though yesterday’s wasn’t new): Dross; the waste slag or scum that forms on the surface of molten metal ; waste or foreign matter : impurity ; something that is base, trivial or inferior. This one might be harder to use in a sentence; but the challenge to do so still stands!
But lets get back to the tea itself…
This is my last Octavia Tea blend to try (but not my last to sipdown); and I think I really only saved this one for last because it was so adorable and I liked looking at it when I opened up my sample drawer. Seriously, the little teeny tiny formed mini cakes are flippin’ precious!
I used one of the cakes for my mug of this; if I’m remembering correctly the recommended amount was one cake for 8 oz. but I used one for 12 oz. and after having doing so I can say that two would definitely have been too much tea for the water amount. And sadly, once my cutie pie little tea cake hit the water, it quickly started to come apart. Boo. I mean, I expected it to but it still would have been hella adorable if it hadn’t.
Taste wise this was surprisingly smooth with some very nice, well rounded sweet earth or, rather, loam notes to it. I drank it early in the morning on my way to work, and it just felt very appropriate to be having it as a “breakfast blend” of sorts; the way it was very bold and robust flavour wise to kind of slap me awake, but with a softness to it that kind of apologized for doing so. As for the rose, it wasn’t as present as I expected it to be but it was faintly there contributing a caress of floral flavour that likely added to the overall softness of the blend.
Surprisingly to me, I think this is a blend I would buy for myself. Partly for the taste, which was definitely better than I had anticipated and partly for how aesthetically pleasing it is to look at tiny little heart shaped Pu’Erh cakes – but a lot because of the convenience that the formed cakes provides. I can definitely imagine travelling with one or two of these cakes with me – the convenience of taking loose leaf tea on a trip, but without sacrificing the flavor or quality.
Well, this is the tea that I sort of inadvertently rang in the New Year with. Not that it wasn’t enjoyable; but I was feeling rather sick NYE and had slept through pretty well all of the afternoon and evening. I woke up just in time to make a cup of tea (not looking at the clock) only to realize, half way through the cup, that it was about ten minutes after midnight! Darn.
Last year I started the New Year by making Tea Soda with DT’s Bubbly Blend – you know, champagne tea for the new year. This year the plan was either Jingle Bells from Lupicia (which is a champagne tea) or Strawberry Champagne from RiverTea. Too late to do anything about it now, though.
Actually though, this was a lot better than the first cup I had of it. I thought the honey and graham cracker notes were both still very much present along with the strawberry flavour, but the medicinal/lozenge quality had, much to my delight, seemingly vanished. Also, the less defined currant flavour I experienced with cup number one tasted significantly more like black currants in this cup.
Thank you Cameron B. for the sample! I’m happy that I got this second cup to produce a better brew than the first, but I honestly don’t have the faintest clue what I did differently to switch up the flavour.
Flavors: Black Currant, Graham, Honey, Strawberry
Thank you to whoever passed this along to me (I can’t remember who; so sorry!). I’m still very much in denial over RiverTea’s closure and getting to try any RiverTea blend I hadn’t previously is very exciting to me.
This one I cold brewed; it came out relatively weak in flavour and watered down and I’m not sure if that’s because I didn’t have enough leaf or because it’s just a gentle/subtle tea in general. There was a nice, light sugar pea sort of vegetalness to this one that provided a nice canvas for all the additional flavours. It was mildly floral – I would have guessed something like orchids but I suppose it was the rose. The apple was present, but very light – kind of like that fleeting taste of apple you get when you nibble on an apple skin.
No almond/nut notes present here for me.
I don’t want to say I was disappointed with this one because I did enjoy it, but there wasn’t a whole lot going on for me, and so if RiverTea was still open this isn’t one I’d be exploring any further if that was still an option.
Had this one To Go back near the end of December when I popped into Tea Desire to check and see if they had any deals on their teaware following Boxing Day – 15% off; still couldn’t justify getting the Dragonfly themed teapot I wanted, though.
It kind of amazed me that after over a year of trying different teas from Tea Desire I still hadn’t had a cup of this one before: after all Pineapple is a favourite flavour of mine, and I am usually super quick to try a Pina Colada tea when a company offers one (although admittedly I’m finding the pairing less exciting than it used to be). So, I finally had it. I actually asked for a small, like I usually get when trying a tea for the first time, but the associate gave a large, on the house – which was very nice and unnecessary.
Sadly a small would have been more than enough; I really wasn’t impressed with this one at all. I thought that though the pineapple was very sharp and piercing in flavour, which was nice, there was this very thick buttery taste that greatly dominated the flavour of the cup and seemed to carry into the mouthfeel as well. Not a nice, confectionary sort of butter taste either, mind you – but a sort of oily, “low quality” movie theatre butter type thing? Like when crazy people get a popcorn with three or more “layers” of butter. It drove me absolutely crazy working at the movie theatre and serving people who got more than two layers of butter on their popcorn. The most I personally ever sold was nine layers – and I could feel the butter oozing out of the bottom of the bag. There is such a thing as too much butter.
Actually though; the way this is buttery really brings me back to the Nina’s Paris version of this (I think it’s called Cancer, if I’m remembering correctly) which had the EXACT SAME butter problem. Pretty sure it’s from the coconut – but not sure why I’ve only experienced it with this one and the Nina one. Rooibos base was also relatively woody in a low quality kind of way.
Glad I tried it and now know pretty definitely that this one just isn’t for me.
Flavors: Butter, Olive Oil, Pineapple
Thank you MissB for the tea, and all you lovely Ontarians, Kittenna especially, for getting it to me.
Even wrapped in tinfoil this one still manages to make its presence known. It’s very, very aromatic with a really ripe papaya/mango smell accented by a bouquet of citrus notes. To me, it seemed obvious that the best way to prepare this one would be cold brewed.
After a long, probably close to twenty hour, soak I strained the leaves for this one and sat down to enjoy it. Taste wise it was very strong and lively with many fruit notes contributing to what was, overall, and explosion of tropical flavours in my mouth. Impressively, what was most present to me was the papaya. And I say impressively because papaya has a relatively mild flavour to begin with: it’s almost like watermelon in how watered down the taste can be. This was very concentrated and lovely. And following that powerful papaya flavour was the almost equally strong duo of pineapple and mango. Something about those two flavours matched together can make almost anything they’re in undeniably, almost over the top tropical tasting.
This one also has sweet blackberry leaves in it; personally I associate sweet blackberry leaves with a very rich “from concentrate”/puree type flavour. To further clarify, I think that whenever they’re added to a blend they don’t necessarily have their own flavour but they amplify the flavours of everything else in a blend ten fold. DAVIDsTEA also likes to use them in their herbal blends: Pink Passionfruit and Sweet Apple Cider both immediately come to mind. They just an a relatively “over the top” vibe to tea that I really like.
tl;dr If it wasn’t obvious, I was really happy with this tea and very impressed overall!