364 Tasting Notes

82
drank Crimson Horizon by Butiki Teas
364 tasting notes

Not much leaf left of this tea now, enough for one more session and then I’m out. As a British tea-drinker, I have a long-cultivated respect for a strong black tea which can take a beating with milk and sugar (not that I take sugar). This is certainly that, and really hits the spot when I wake up in the morning wanting tea but craving caffeine, and not having enough patience to let it brew for more than a minute. At only a minute steeping this tea is so brisk and strong that milk is pretty much necessary, at least for me. It’s one of the few loose black teas I take with milk at this point, actually. Even brewed Western style, I can get a good 4 or 5 cups out of this by steeping it slightly longer each time, with the 5th cup only going for 3 minutes to get it to perfect strength. It’s such an easy cup of tea, and it never steers me wrong.

I’ve been reading some of my old tasting notes, and at one point called my favourite Rington’s bagged black tea my ‘Old Reliable Willow Rosenberg of teas’. I’d like to think that this tea is Willow Rosenberg 2.0, circa season 4-5, if there are any Buffy fans out there. But I mean who wouldn’t be a Buffy fan?

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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61

Sipdown 127/395

Okay so this is a bit of an atypical one. For a start, I am like 80% sure I wrote a tasting note on this tea a couple of years ago when I had a big tub of it. Not only is that not showing up, but the tasting note section is entirely blank, yet it says ‘10 tasting notes’ at the top of the page. When I click the shortcut to view the 10 tasting notes, it just takes me right back to the bottom of the page where it states that there are no notes on this tea as of yet. Super bizarre… Another thing is that this is an instant tea. High in sugar, and sure it contains black tea, but it’s dehydrated and granulated and not exactly what most people think of when they hear ‘tea’. Still, that’s what it’s called and it does – at least in my mind – qualify as tea enough to be written up on Steepster. It’s pretty tasty! Don’t judge me, guys. So here’s the thing; I had a lovely day trip to Durham today with my boyfriend and his mam. It was lovely but freezing, and on the way back we stopped into a pub and I had a glass of mulled wine. It got me into the Christmas spirit and warmed me up, and when I got back home I wanted a similar drink to keep up my internal warm fuzzies, but I also wanted tea. So here we are. It fits the bill. The sugar is enough to temper the tart fruits, but not overpowering and there is some sourness which I don’t mind. I don’t know that I can pick out the individual fruit flavours – I probably would have just said ‘berry’, but the box says apple and strawberry. It’s nice!

Preparation
Boiling 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92
drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
364 tasting notes

Sipdown 126/395

Marzipan sent me a load of this a while back after I fell in love with a sample I’d had, and I’ve hoarded the last ~1.5 cups worth since it’s hard for me to get David’s over here in the UK. I made the rather poor decision to try to stretch this out by making a pot of tea with the leaf I had left, so now instead of having 1 delicious mug of goodness I have a whole pot of underleafed, sad, watery tea. The whisper of Pumpkin Chai is still there, but it’s mostly cloves and hot water. Dang it, why did I do that? This will be an eventual purchase for sure.

Preparation
2 tsp
mtchyg

I used to do that to myself as well. Especially with the teas that aren’t typically good for brewing gongfu style. Then, I decided to just use extra leaves in the last pot rather than save just enough for one cup. It usually works out better. But it is a hard habit to break for sure.

Nattie

That’s a good idea, I think I’ll have to try to use this tea’s sad demise as a lesson learned to slightly overleaf a last pot/cup rather than have an extra, not-as-good cup. I’ve totally been guilty of that too – gongfu brewing some of my endangered favourites (usually Butiki) in an attempt to stretch them out and in reality only succeeding in creating a less-than-great cup or 7.

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82
drank Crimson Horizon by Butiki Teas
364 tasting notes

Whew, I have had a crazy few days. I visited my brother in Manchester and we went to see Hozier, who was incredible. One thing to tick off my bucket list! I’ve wanted to see him live for at least 4 years now. Then I came back and had some of the most hectic and stressful work shifts I’ve ever done, and now I have two days off and I’m relaxing with a cup of tea and a book (Jane Austen’s Persuasion) in the bath with a Lush bath melt. Ahhhhhhhhh.

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82
drank Caramel Pu Erh by Tea Desire
364 tasting notes

Sipdown 125/395

Thank you thank you thank you MissB!! After the disaster of a tea I had earlier (liquorice root overload) to say this was an improvement would be a HUGE understatement. I know I tried it and liked it when I first received the same but hadn’t had it for a couple of years and wasn’t expecting the full amazingness to still be shining through. But it totally is!! The pu’erh is an interesting choice but it pairs so well with the sweet, buttery caramel and makes it the perfect amount of sweet without being overpowering. I was worried that it might be too sweet because the scent of the brewing tea was identical to the scent of homemade caramel bubbling away in a pan. I needn’t have worried. This is a tea I will look into getting more of when I’m finally out of my no buy (if it’s still around by then – 270 teas to go, yikes!)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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23
drank Choconut Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
364 tasting notes

Sipdown 124/395! Do we think I can reach 145 by the end of the year?

Okay I was wondering as I was steeping this tea why the ratings are so low. It sounds delicious to me – chocolate, hazelnuts and oolong, what’s not to love? Turns out liquorice. Liquorice is what’s not to love. BLECH. Maybe I should have actually read some of the reviews before taking a sip and then I might not have been so surprised by the overwhelming liquorice root. Why do companies do that?? Yes it adds sweetness, but it also adds BLECH! It’s a shame because for a split second before the liquorice root assaulted my mouth I actually did get a tasty chocolate hazelnut ‘nutella’ vibe. This tea could have been so much better if it weren’t for people ADDING LIQUORICE ROOT WHERE IT DOESN’T BELONG!!! Sorry.

Thanks and apologies to Janelle who sent me this in our swap.

Flavors: Licorice

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Leafhopper

I agree. Licorice is the kiss of death.

Kawaii433

Agree with both of you on that one.

lizwykys

haha! No one expects the Spanish Inquisition LICORISE!

(totally agree with all three of you on licorise, eek!)

lizwykys

(Oh, well, I was hoping to code a strikeout on “Spanish Inquisition” — please just imagine a strikeout there! Thank you, thank you!)

Nattie

Lmao. It makes me wonder if they tasted it in product development.

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56

Sipdown 123/395

This is a sample I grabbed from the EU TTB several years ago, and had labelled with only ‘Shangri La, treat like green tea’ so it took me quite a while to find which tea I had. This certainly is an odd tea! I can see why cteresa instructed to treat this as if it were a green tea – it has much more in common with a lot of greens I’ve tried than it does any black. It has a lot of astringency for a black with such a low brewing temperature, and a lot of Darjeeling-like floral notes. It has rather a light colour and a dry mouth-feel. It’s not a tea I would choose again, though I am glad to have experienced such an unusual and interesting tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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65
drank Chocolate Flake Tea by Teapigs
364 tasting notes

Final goodbye to this one, I am hopeful it will not re-enter my life (122/395).

While I’ve never had any strong feelings about this tea, it has always frustrated me how elusive the chocolate flavour is. I managed to draw it out once in a cold brew, but since I rarely drink my tea this way I wouldn’t purchase it for that purpose. Not a bad tea, it’s actually quite pleasant, but I wouldn’t recommend this tea based purely on the fact that it is a wholly frustrating experience trying to glean any kind of chocolate flavour from it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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51

Sipdown 121/395

Another of my oldest teas from a Hapatite Tea Swap I did with Mina way way back in 2014. I can’t imagine these teabags have been too affected by time, though. It’s a very drinkable tea, though none of the flavours stand out in particular other than the metallic tang of the hibiscus. It has a hint of natural sweetness and when I add just a tiny bit of honey to it the citrus flavour comes out a little, though not much. Not a tea I would choose again for flavour, but I don’t think the flavour is really the main reason anyone would choose this tea. I can’t speak to any skin benefits, but that’s not something that really interests me in tea anyway.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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82
drank Crimson Horizon by Butiki Teas
364 tasting notes

Back to reality today after a lovely long weekend visiting Ryan’s brother and his family down in Norwich. I brewed up a pot of this to kick-start my morning and give me the caffeine boost I needed. It delivered, which I knew it would as always. Poured a cup for my mam who said it was alright and admitted that I might eventually convince her to switch to loose-leaf tea. Hoping to have this out of my cupboard, along with 7 other old teas, by the end of the year, so expect another tasting note soon.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML
Shae

Winning them over cup by cup! My brothers say all my tea tastes like Lipton so still a ways to go. :)

Nattie

Slowly but surely! ;) my boyfriend is getting won over a little easier, but I don’t know if that’s just because he’s trying to please me, lol.

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Profile

Bio

I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a good few years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years.

Black teas make up the majority of my collection, but I am expanding my horizons and trying to include a variety of other teas, too. Flavoured blacks are my favourites, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: I’m generally easily pleased and will enjoy most flavours, but my absolute favourites are maple, caramel, chestnut, pecan, raspberry, coconut, blueberry, lemon, pumpkin, rose, hazelnut and peach

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander, cardamom, liquorice, pineapple and chocolate

I am a 22 year old English Literature sort-of-graduate and temporary bartender. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV watching (self-diagnosed geek and Netflix addict), football/soccer (I am a lifelong supporter of Sunderland AFC) and listening to classic rock.

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.

I also tend to ramble on a bit.

Location

South Shields, UK

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