96

Here goes nothing :)

I had requested a sample of this with my last order (which included the newly revered Caramel Vanilla Assam) as I have read enough rave reviews of it and it seemed like a good one to try considering I am working on expanding my tastes by venturing into the formerly scary straight black tea land and also because I thought that tasting the base used for the Caramel Vanilla Assam would be good practice for my unrefined tastebuds. That was the longest sentence in the world.

So I sit in front of my computer with a mug of this to my left (I usually write my reviews on my iPad or if I’m at work, on my iPhone (SUPER ANNOYING, we need a mobile site, Steepster!!), and so first of all it’s nice to be on an actual computer and not have to read this seven times looking for stupid autocorrects.

I’m trying to sip this slowly, really taking time to smell it and savour it as per the suggestions of the tea tasting experts who replied to the recent thread about how to train your tastebuds.

It’s hard to sip this slowly, because it’s really good.
Funny, it reminds me of Laoshan Black but when I tried that awhile ago I don’t think I was ready for it. I ordered the sampler recently so I might be ready for it now! Even if I don’t notice any chocolate/cinnamon notes and such.

My (un)educated guess is the reason these are similar is because both of them have a lot going on. I did follow the steeping directions, 212 degrees for about 4 min. It’s dark and rich, and I bet it would have been good at 3 minutes also.

I have my window open because it’s cloudy but relatively mild, with a nice breeze that feels great after the crappy long Canadian winter… and it cooled my tea down fast, so I just downed the rest. As usual I think the flavours have come out even more as the temperature has gone down. I would love to be able to tell you all about raisins and cinnamon and maltiness and chocolate and honey and all of these wonderful things but I have made no bones (what does that even mean!?) about the fact that I’m not quite there yet.

That’s really irrelevant though. It’s tasty, and you don’t need to be a tea expert to notice that. I want more immediately. Probably not good for my caffeine intake as I’d like to have some matcha later. But take it from a non tea expert that this is good stuff. I’d drink this everyday. I’ll order some next time for sure.

When I have my next cuppa Caramel Vanilla Assam I’ll be able to notice the base more, now that I’ve tasted it on its own. The fact that such a delicious, quality tea was used for the base is half of what makes it so yummy, I think.

If you are looking for something helpful to take away from this rambling review, let it be that this tea is…yummy. And that’s my professional opinion.

Thank you for letting me try it, Stacey!!!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Cavocorax

I’m glad you liked it! And I think you’re doing a good job there trying to train your palette. (Not that I’m an expert – ha – but taking it slow and paying attention seems to be really important!)

Also, I really love this tea. Once I tried it I knew that it was immediately the BEST Assam I’d had, even though I couldn’t really describe why. I also try to resteep it at least once too, just to get the most out of it.

Cavocorax

I’m looking forward to seeing how you like the Laoshan Black when your samples come in too! (Also, I’m looking forward to my samples… Hurry up postman!)

Butiki Teas

whatshesaid-I have a few tasting suggestions for you. I’m not sure if these have been mentioned before. I do tasting workshops. Here are a few general suggestions:

Try slurping your tea. Use a spoon and slurp the tea. This will aerate the tea so the vapors become airborne and to evenly spray the tea around your mouth.

Narrow down the notes. Try picking out the category the note is in first. Is it vegetal, marine, nutty, sweet, fruity, floral, earthy, spicy, sweet, other. There really aren’t that many categories. Once you have that something is say fruity, then you can focus a little more. Ok, its fruity but what type of fruit. Say it’s citrusy. Then see if you can focus on what specific citrus fruit it is.

Drink lots of different teas from different regions. Also, eating a lot of different types of foods helps give you a good basis.

As for the chocolate note. If you would like to pin that note down, purchase a number of teas from different regions where the predominant note is chocolate. Then taste them all at the same time. I tend to think of chocolate more in the sense of dark chocolate and even cacao.

Other notes other than flavors are important too. For instance is the liquor thin or thick, how does it feel on tongue. Is it silky or velvety?

I use these worksheets at my tasting workshops. They are just a simple grid with “appearance” and “smell/aroma/taste” at the top and “dry leaf”, “wet leaf”, and “liquor” at the bottom. They seem to help.

Sorry, this is a bit of rambling. For months, I’ve been planning on doing a blog on tasting but its just a matter of finding time.

Cavocorax

Stacy – thanks for all that info. I’ll have to remember all that for my own notes….

whatshesaid

Thanks so much for taking the time to give me these tips, Stacy! Definitely helpful. I will keep them in mind for next time :)

Cavocorax, I’m also waiting anxiously for my Laoshan Black so I can see where I am with that this time around! Funny how our tastes evolve. Even if I can’t quite out my finger on different notes within a tea I can still tell that what I love has definitely changed over the last few months.

Butiki Teas

Whatshesaid and Cavocorax-glad my ramblings are helpful.

ifjuly

Those tips are super helpful, Stacy. Thanks for them!

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Comments

Cavocorax

I’m glad you liked it! And I think you’re doing a good job there trying to train your palette. (Not that I’m an expert – ha – but taking it slow and paying attention seems to be really important!)

Also, I really love this tea. Once I tried it I knew that it was immediately the BEST Assam I’d had, even though I couldn’t really describe why. I also try to resteep it at least once too, just to get the most out of it.

Cavocorax

I’m looking forward to seeing how you like the Laoshan Black when your samples come in too! (Also, I’m looking forward to my samples… Hurry up postman!)

Butiki Teas

whatshesaid-I have a few tasting suggestions for you. I’m not sure if these have been mentioned before. I do tasting workshops. Here are a few general suggestions:

Try slurping your tea. Use a spoon and slurp the tea. This will aerate the tea so the vapors become airborne and to evenly spray the tea around your mouth.

Narrow down the notes. Try picking out the category the note is in first. Is it vegetal, marine, nutty, sweet, fruity, floral, earthy, spicy, sweet, other. There really aren’t that many categories. Once you have that something is say fruity, then you can focus a little more. Ok, its fruity but what type of fruit. Say it’s citrusy. Then see if you can focus on what specific citrus fruit it is.

Drink lots of different teas from different regions. Also, eating a lot of different types of foods helps give you a good basis.

As for the chocolate note. If you would like to pin that note down, purchase a number of teas from different regions where the predominant note is chocolate. Then taste them all at the same time. I tend to think of chocolate more in the sense of dark chocolate and even cacao.

Other notes other than flavors are important too. For instance is the liquor thin or thick, how does it feel on tongue. Is it silky or velvety?

I use these worksheets at my tasting workshops. They are just a simple grid with “appearance” and “smell/aroma/taste” at the top and “dry leaf”, “wet leaf”, and “liquor” at the bottom. They seem to help.

Sorry, this is a bit of rambling. For months, I’ve been planning on doing a blog on tasting but its just a matter of finding time.

Cavocorax

Stacy – thanks for all that info. I’ll have to remember all that for my own notes….

whatshesaid

Thanks so much for taking the time to give me these tips, Stacy! Definitely helpful. I will keep them in mind for next time :)

Cavocorax, I’m also waiting anxiously for my Laoshan Black so I can see where I am with that this time around! Funny how our tastes evolve. Even if I can’t quite out my finger on different notes within a tea I can still tell that what I love has definitely changed over the last few months.

Butiki Teas

Whatshesaid and Cavocorax-glad my ramblings are helpful.

ifjuly

Those tips are super helpful, Stacy. Thanks for them!

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Profile

Bio

Hello!

So here’s where I am now. I had jumped head first into the world of teas after Davidstea opened in my city a number of years ago. I gave up coffee and became a huge tea freak. From there I joined Steepster and started ordering teas online like a madwoman (not that anyone here would know what that’s like…)

I was swappin’ up a storm and drinking like 6-7 cups a day and I had this tremendous stash to get through…..then. I got pregnant in Spring 2013 and my baby played a funny little joke on me by turning me into someone who had zero interest in drinking or even smelling most teas. I wanted only coffee all the time which was hilarious because of course you can’t really do more than a cup a day when you’re pregnant.

Anyway. In December 2013 I had my baby girl, and now I’m on maternity leave and though I still LIVE (I cannot emphasize that enough) for my morning cup of coffee (or two…), I am trying to get myself excited about tea again, because I have TONS.

So my mission, which I choose to accept, is to first sip down all the samples I have, sent to me last year by lovely Steepsterites, pre-baby.

Here’s what I love (or I did before, and am trying to again):

Butiki teas in general because the flavours are subtle and not fake tasting and don’t overwhelm the tea base

Harney and Sons Paris is my all time favorite tea.

Mariage Freres and Kusmi are also on my awesome list.

I love creamy earl greys.

Also have an appreciation of oolong.

I have a mega stash of super flavored teas to work through, or I may try to sell them if I decide they are no longer for me. The sip downs will determine!

I love swapping!
Please note my Cupboard contains everything I have including minuscule samples of teas so it is not intended to be reflective of what I have available for swap…

When I rate, it goes like this:

85 -100 = WIN! awesome, I love this and keep it on hand
70 – 85 = pretty darn good but I don’t NEED to own it
55 – 70 = not necessarily terrible but not a tea for me!
30 – 55 = missed the mark as far as I am concerned. Wouldn’t drink it willingly.
0 – 30 = I likely won’t rate this low very often, so if you see it, consider the tea a great big FAIL and probably disgusting.

Location

New Brunswick, Canada

Website

http://whatshesaid.etsy.com

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