283 Tasting Notes

drank Premium Chai by Butiki Teas
283 tasting notes

I would like to thank Stacy for providing, at my request, a sample of this with my order. As I’m still searching for my chai (I used to say “the perfect chai” but really, what is that?) I decided to try what I hoped was one of the better ones and asked Stacy for a sample.

The spices do indeed blend together nicely. There’s no overpowering clove as was the case with most, if not all, chais I’ve had but I’m beginning to wonder if chais are intended to be steeped in milk. As much as I enjoyed the flavour of this one, it seemed to be lacking a certain something. Maybe a stronger base? But not too strong or astringent. I’m mucking this up. You see, I have never had a chai that blew me away (there was one that came close) so I can’t quite put my finger on what it is I’m looking for. You’ve been there, right? Maybe not with tea, maybe with something else. You’re looking for something, you’re not sure what it is but when you find it, Booyah!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Butiki Teas

This one was definitely made with the intention of using a lot of sugar and milk. After we finish the last of this batch we are looking to work on a new chai but I am having a difficult time figuring out which direction to take it in. I think chai is a little difficult since everyone seems to be looking for something different.


@Butiki Teas — when you have a new one ready I’ll likely be trying. I wouldn’t mind having more to play with. Most ones I’ve had are not even worth playing around with, but this one I like the flavour itself. I think I just need it stronger so I can try playing with the leaf a little.

Butiki Teas

Nxtdoor-We definitely tend to put our brewing parameters towards the lighter side. Glad you are enjoying the flavor.

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I rarely write two tasting notes for the same tea. I’m having this again (and again). I made 16 oz last night using two perfect scoops (DAVID’s) but didn’t resteep till this morning. I used just a touch less water for the resteep, made maybe 14 oz instead of 16. It resteeps really really well.

Also, in my initial note I mentioned there might have been a slight bitterness. If there was, I didn’t taste it this time around. It’s strong citrus and dark chocolate (as the description from Butiki tells you as well). A great tea. I added no dairy this time around. It just messes things up.

Oh and finally bought myself a variable temperature electric kettle. Couldn’t be happier about it. Doesn’t hurt that it’s sexy looking too, with the different colours lighting up for different temperature water. It’s on 50% off sale at Canadian Tire, in case any of you are looking for one.



OMG! And it’s available at my local store! BRB, going to buy a kettle. :D Thank you!


Oh! This looks great! I really wish I had money for it. :p
Maybe for Christmas?

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drank Mango Lassi by Butiki Teas
283 tasting notes

I was so frenzied to order my butiki teas that I failed to notice this one is Rooibos. I was so taken with its name that I just ordered without reading. So … Errr… It’s pretty much sour woodchips to me. All Rooibos taste pretty much the same to me. I think there might be a handful I’ve tried that were different. Most of them just seem medicinal or something.

I only ordered 1 oz so not too bad. Maybe it will grow on me, at least that’s what I keep hoping about Rooibos in general. I don’t want to be missing out on good teas just because I stubbornly refuse to try them. I know someone — won’t name names :) — who thinks life is too short to be drinking/eating things you don’t like, but I say if you keep at it, you’ll like it in the end and your palate will evolve. Right? Right.


Shrug, ok if that works for you. Someone have never experienced a “forced” liking of something previously disliked – maybe not all palates evolve. ;))

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Last night I was torn between drinking this or maple pecan oolong. Maple pecan won so as soon as I opened my eyes this morning I started making this to take to work.

Oh, it comes in the cutest little tin. I’m a sucker for miniature versions of any ol’ thing, really. It’s not like the tin itself is cute, it’s just the size of it that makes it so. I was surprised to find it too, I’m used to the butiki bags. But yay!

The tea leaves are brown and curly with chocolate chips throughout as well as small dried orange rinds. If you touch it, you’ll feel it damp and I realized just now it’s probably from the citrus oils found in the rind. Maybe. It smells exactly like those chocolate oranges from … Who makes those… Terry’s?

Steeped, the flavour matches the aroma, the citrus stronger than the chocolate and yes, the orange rinds lend a slight bitterness. Not unpleasant but if you’re not expecting it you get taken by surprise. So yeah, the flavour is more orange rind than orange juice. Not sure this makes sense but I’m doing my best! If you’ve ever peeled oranges and cooked the rinds for a dessert or whatever, you know the taste I’m taking about.

I sweetened it and it was really good, however the creamer I added was a mistake. Won’t do it again. It was vanilla creamer and it just confused things, maybe even enhanced the citrus which I was not shooting for. I was going for the creamsicle effect but failed on that account. If you’re into adding dairy, don’t add it to your cup, just pour off a bit and try it that way in case you’re not a fan. Especially since it is quite good without milk/cream, it would be a pity to wreck it.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec

Yep, I think its Terry’s!

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drank Ruby Pie by Butiki Teas
283 tasting notes

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drank Maple Pecan Oolong by Butiki Teas
283 tasting notes

Tonight I was reading how Tealizzy practically stalked her mailman for her butiki package, and she got it in the end. I felt some sort of envy, knowing my package is on the way but not in my hand. I didn’t stalk my mailman because I am not home during the day, but let me tell you that refresh button on the USPS tracking was getting tapped so often I thought I maybe was crashing the system.

For three days the message was the same: “customs clearance”. Today when I got home from work I saw that same message. So I did my thing, made dinner, took a bath, put on my PJs and then when I was reading a steepster note my eyes glanced over to the USPS open tab and thought “what the hell, let’s see again”. I think my eyes popped out a little bit when I saw “delivered”. So in the middle of The biggest loser, in my pyjamas! I jog over to the mailbox and get my stuff!

You know when you can’t heat the water fast enough? Yah. The kettle was on before I even opened the packages, before I even decided what to have. I couldn’t even drink it fast enough. I was like some person in the desert finding an oasis.

Tonight it was between “three friends” and this.

I am pretty sure it is by far the most flavourful butiki tea I’ve ever had. But then again, remember I’ve just been in the desert so take it with a grain of salt. And the tea is plenty sweet, no need to add anything. Large chunks of nuts are in there with the leaves. I didn’t fish for anything, I stuck my spoon in there and when I dumped the contents in the pot I saw them and …“whoa”. Amazing. I was kinda skeptical, thinking there will be a flavour behind the base. But the base takes the backseat and lets the maple and pecan really come out. Great.

I want to add creamer to it but don’t want to wreck it. Maybe for the resteep.

Ok, I’m happy tonight! (Also, this is probably the longest note from me you’ll ever read)

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 15 sec

Haha! This one is one of my favorites! She’s so good with flavor, it’s like the leaves just naturally taste that way! I’m not usually home either, but on furlough because of the shutdown. :P At least there was tea to look forward too!

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Sipdown! Not that I’m counting them or anything, my cupboard is nothing like most of yours’ , but I try to keep the ziploc baggies to a minimum. I gifted a little of this to my dear friend dexter3657 and some of it found its way back to me for a try. Thank you, Dexter3657 .

I didn’t care much for it the first time, but I had enough left for a 10 oz cup so I took it to the cottage in case the mood struck. And that it did, what with pumpkin pie for dessert and all… I made a maple whipped cream to top the pie with and I added some to my tea to make it more enjoyable. Without it, I found it a little brisk and a little bitter when steeped with near boiling water for just over 2 minutes. I usually do most black teas 3 minutes but I was timid with this given the previous experience.

Brews a nice caramel color, you’d think it’s earl grey not cardamom black. There is definitely cardamom flavour, large pods can be found in the leaves, but as I said, I found it a little too brisk for my liking. Glad to have tried it, the name makes you want it. And it did go with the pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canucks!

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Pumpkin Spice by The Tea Haus
283 tasting notes

Yes, don’t like it this time around either. I added brown sugar and creamer. It’s alright, tastes a little like “glitter and gold” which I totally hate, but this is not as heavy on the ginger and clove. I kinda feel like I wasted my drop of cream and pinch of sugar on this.

I think I also need to stop equating "pumpkin spice " with “pumpkin”. But you know, when Starbucks gives me the pumpkin spice latte, that actually tastes like pumpkin, one could see how I would have an expectation of other things called “pumpkin spice”. Mais non.

I think booze clouded my judgement originally and rated it higher. I’d drink a 70 but I can’t say I’d drink this. Bump.

adagio breeze

I’m noticing quite a few things called “pumpkin spice” that have no pumpkin component. It’s really annoying – can’t they call it something like “autumn spice” so they don’t get our hopes up for something pumpkiny?

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drank Red Velvet Cake by DAVIDsTEA
283 tasting notes

I’m running terribly low on Florence and SoHo Blend but I can’t place another tea order for a while. So tonight I remembered I had this one, a pretty close second to those teas if done right. And the beauty of this tea is that it is so easy to replenish just by walking into the store. No shipping, no nothing.

It is a good chocolate tea. Not astringent but a little on the weak side if you get stingy with your leaves. I go slightly over the recommended about of 1.5 tsp / 8 oz . I do sweeten it but only because it is my dessert and I am going for sweet and decadent. It is plenty sweet on its own, as everyone who had it has already noted. Maybe one day DAVID’s will make a good chocolate tea but without all the sprinkles… This looks really gross if you let it cool in your cup or pot. I mean, a good ring of sludge sets in. Other than that, no complaints.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Maybe one day Dexter3657 will come and make me pu’erh and I will at once understand everyone’s awe at this and I, too, will marvel at its deliciousness. Until then, dexter3657 should stop sending me pu’erh samples for they are wasted. Wasted.

Dry leaves smelled fishy to this novice. I rinsed longer than I should have probably, just to get rid of as much as I could. Then I steeped, multiple times. Now I have to caution you that in this case tea tasting does not equal tea drinking. First steep, wood. Second steep some sort of sea water. Third steep much of the same. And on it went.

Where is this cream, chocolate and berries?!? Where’s the caramel?

The moral is this. I shall no longer try to drink pu’erh until I have detailed steeping instructions, and maybe someone who knows what they’re doing next to me. Cause, like with most recipes, just reading the instructions doesn’t always mean everyone can have yummy results.

Dexter3657 thank you so much for showing me I am not ready for pu’erh, much less for Mandala.


Haha at least you tried!


Sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your experience with this tea. But we at Mandala have way more teas than just ripe style pu’er. I am wondering if you have had the opportunity to try raw style pu’er tea. It is an entirely different tea. Many raw style pu’er purists do not care for ripe at all. Raw teas are alot of fun and they are the type of pu’er that really ages (if stored well) – 10, 20 years is far from unheard of. A completely different experience with aroma and taste (and energy, too) than that of black style pu’ers.

I’d recommend giving raw tea a shot. My biz partner, Jamie, is all about the raw style pu’ers.

I’m also curious about what you are using for water when you make your tea. This can have a HUGE impact on aroma, flavor and overall experience.

Thanks for the write-up!!



Garret, thank you for your comment and advice. I have only tried your silver buds raw pu’erh, again courtesy of the generous Dexter3657. You’re right, that one did not taste so frightening as the ripe one, but I would in the future like to get to a place where I am able to enjoy both. Unless the taste for one means you don’t care for the other. I don’t know.

As for water, since you asked, i know you will cringe but I use tap water. The water where I live, north of toronto, is quite good when compared to other regions. I use spring water at the cottage and while I can taste the difference, I have to say it is not always for the better. For the financial bracket I’m in and the amount of tea I drink, purchasing bottled spring or filtered water is crazy talk.


How in the world did I miss this tasting note? I’m really happy that you tried it, you don’t have to love it – but this is AMAZING Pu’erh – IMHO If you don’t like this, you just aren’t going to like ripe pu’erh. Yes the raw is different – and yes you can love both. Wow fishy – me thinks that if you find this fishy you should just be happy with the experience – and don’t go playing with the cheap icky stuff (now that’s fishy).
I don’t think you can do this one wrong, that’s why I sent it to you. I’ve steeped this at temps and lengths that would probably make lots of people cringe – it always works for me. Shrug, dunno I love you don’t have to.

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I started drinking loose leaf tea in the spring of 2013 (why do we feel compelled to mark the date of tea drinking somewhat like addicts counting their sobriety days?)

Never been much into tea before. Growing up in Romania, tea was something mom made for you when you were sick. As an adult, my hot beverage of choice has been coffee, both flavoured and regular. I’ve recently stumbled upon Teavana and DAVIDs TEA and quickly got addicted to the latter. Then came steepster and all else followed.

Formerly a mathematician and insurance adjuster, I gave up the corporate world and am now a professional chef. I drink wine and sometimes cheat on it with tea.

I lean heavily towards flavoured black teas. I’ve started to crave the occasional straight oolong and green but so far unflavoured black teas leave me unimpressed.

I’m learning so I drink them all. Am even introducing myself to pu’erh. So far I can do fine with the sheng cause frankly, they don’t taste like pu’erh to me. The shou is another story.

Note*: The virtual cupboard does NOT contain any of the samples I hold since most of them are one-cup quantity.

Note**: My partner, our home improvements, gadgets, mortgage, travel, wine and food have budget priority over tea.


Toronto-ish, Canada

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