365 Tasting Notes

87
drank Fu Shou Shan by Butiki Teas
365 tasting notes

I’ve left this off my spreadsheet, so not entirely sure how it came into my possession, but I’m like 90% sure it was in my Butiki mystery box. It’s one I never would have bought of my own volition, but one which I’m glad to have and that I really enjoy when I’m in the right mood. Maybe I should hold off on the review until I’ve had multiple steeps, but I have to get ready for work in around an hour and I didn’t want to be cutting it too close, so I’ll have to write up a separate tasting note another time for the additional steeps.

I really enjoy oolongs, both green and roasted, and this is among the greener of those which I enjoy. It is a full-bodied, sweet and mellow oolong, but I don’t pick up on any asparagus notes which Stacy has mentioned, not that that’s a negative for me. The predominant note is a sweet, floral grassy one at first, which develops into a lightly spiced note which honestly reminds me of cinnamon. I could smell a cinnamon note as the tea steeped, but assumed it was coming from something else, and was very surprised when it translated into the flavour of the tea. It can’t be from cross-contamination, but it is very clearly a cinnamon note in my mind. This then transitions into a fruity note in the aftertaste which tastes more like apple to me than melon. The whole while the grassy note continues, so that in the aftertaste it reminds me of wood sorrel and makes me think of the apple grass from Doctor Who. As it cools, the butteriness becomes more noticeable. This is about as close to an apple pie filling as a straight tea can ever get. I will definitely be on the lookout for something similar when I run out of this.

ETA: Even my little brother could taste the apple and cinnamon, and said this was really nice! Success!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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65
drank Chocolate Flake Tea by Teapigs
365 tasting notes

In an effort to use up some of these teabags, and also because I wanted a chocolatey iced tea, I cold-brewed 3 bags of this in my usual 20 oz water bottle overnight. I think I actually ended up leaving it two days by mistake, but it tastes fine. No astringency. I’m actually going to change my rating from 44 because for once I can taste the chocolate in this!! I wish I’d discovered this sooner because it’s much nicer this way. It’s still not the most natural chocolate flavour out there, but it’s not bad at all. The tea is a soft background and the chocolate dominates, which is what I expected from a cold brew. I drank this plain after my lunch to satisfy my chocolate cravings because I’m back on the diet, and it did help. I think it would have been a perfect chocolatey treat with some honey or maple syrup added, but I didn’t want to use the points and it was fine as it was. I’m actually fairly impressed!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 20 OZ / 591 ML

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93

This is probably one of my favourites from Butiki’s final batch of teas, and sadly one of the ones I have the least of. Luckily for me it resteeps very well!

The raspberry flavour comes across the most prominent, followed by the Sparrow’s Tongue, and then ends on a creamy cashew note which lingers. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s ‘jam’ or ‘butter’ reminiscent, but raspberry and cashew for sure. The raspberry note is fresh and juicy, and the creaminess of the cashew goes with it beautifully. I am so glad it uses an oolong base rather than a green, because I’m not the biggest fan of greens in the first place but I think many of them would have been too savoury here. The oolong is a perfect alternative. It’s naturally sweet and buttery, which goes so well with both of the main flavours, and it’s just so darn robust. I got three fantastic Western-style steeps out of this, the third being mostly oolong but still with a hint of cashew and a lingering note of raspberry. The first and second steeps were virtually indistinguishable. I’d love to try brewing this gongfu, but sadly I don’t think I have enough leaf. I bet it would have been wonderful.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
greenteafairy

This was one of my favorite Butiki final-batch teas too (and I don’t even like green oolongs). That raspberry…

CrowKettle

Also my favourite out of the Butiki’s last blends, but I’m biased towards the oolong base. I’ve yet to find a suitable replacement for Sparrow’s Tongue, although I haven’t tried very hard.

Nattie

@greenteafairy – I do love Butiki’s raspberry. Stacy had some blends with green bases I don’t normally like which I’ve ended up loving too. It’s part of her wizardry, I think.

Nattie

@CrowKettle – I looove the base with this! I never tried it on its own but I wish I had. It’s probably for the best though, parting is hard enough already…

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84
drank Praline Horizon by Butiki Teas
365 tasting notes

Had two delicious cups of this to start my day! It’s going to be an interesting day, I think, because I rejoined Weight Watchers last night and it’s my first day back on the plan, and I’m starting my second job tonight, too! I’m a little nervous since I’ve never worked two jobs at once before and I don’t know how it’s going to work out, but I’m looking forward to it. Mostly I’m looking forward to being paid enough to live on.

This is one of my favourite breakfast teas. It works perfectly for that time of day. The Crimson Horizon on its own is something I drink for breakfast regularly, but when I want something flavoured I go for this one instead. Praline is one of my favourite flavours, and in this tea it’s almost like a praline chocolate has been melted into a cup of tea. It’s subtle enough that it’s not sickly sweet, but not so subtle that it could be mistaken for a natural note of the Crimson Horizon. To me, hazelnut and caramel notes are most present, but there’s a medley of nuts in the background that give it depth of flavour and richness which makes it slightly indulgent for a breakfast tea. Plain, the CTC base is too astringent for me, but with a drop of skimmed milk it’s perfect. This rounds out the praline flavour too, and makes it slightly more creamy, but it does lose some of the briskness which makes it perfect for first thing in the morning. Adding a small pinch of sugar brings out some chocolate notes, and sweetens up the nuttiness and caramel notes so that it really is like drinking a melted chocolate in a cup of tea (in a totally non-goopy way). Sure, it’s not overly complex, but who needs complexity when they’re still half asleep? I know I don’t.

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

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75
drank Pistachio Ice Cream by Butiki Teas
365 tasting notes

For some unknown reason I gravitated towards this today, and I have to say that I really, really like it. It’s not so surprising now that I know the base is Mao Jian, which is still pretty much the only green tea I really enjoy, but it was a nice surprise since I didn’t have such high expectations. The base tea is lovely – it’s mellow, buttery, smooth and has a flavour of fresh spring vegetables. It doesn’t overwhelm the pistachio flavour but doesn’t shrink into the background either. I drank this plain, and got a very strong, very accurate pistachio note from it, but can’t say I picked up on the ice cream. My mam described it as ‘pistachio water’ but liked it, which is a plus since she’s even less of a fan of green tea than I am. I didn’t want to add sugar since it was the first tea of the morning and I wasn’t in the mood for anything sweet, but from reading the description it sounds like the vanilla and cream flavours come out more after adding sugar, which makes sense. The pistachio note takes more of a back seat when the tea starts to cool, so I prefer it hot.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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76

The other tea I drank yesterday – I only had time for two. This one I remember less clearly. Black, I definitely got a tangy plum compote note, with little astringency, which I was pleased about because I generally really like Butiki’s plum flavouring and I was hoping it would be the strongest note. The cashew cake was a little present, but only towards the back of the sip if I really concentrated. I added half a sugar, which brought out the plum flavouring more, and it probably the way I’d like to drink it best. In the name of trying everything, though, I added milk (admittedly too much), which muted the tea and plum notes and brought the cashew to the fore. I really like cashews for eating, they’re probably my favourite nut, but in tea it just doesn’t come across as a strong enough flavour to lead a blend. The cakiness is noticeable with milk, which I didn’t get before, but there’s just not enough of the plum flavour to cut through it and make it interesting. I might try it next time with less milk, because I did mess up the amount I added, but I really enjoyed it black and with just a little sugar, so I’m probably more likely to drink it that way instead. It was a very tasty tea, though.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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93
drank Lime Marshmallow by Butiki Teas
365 tasting notes

I drank this yesterday, but had a super busy day and didn’t have time to write up any tasting notes. It was a weird sort of day, all in all.

I love this tea. After getting mostly a lime aroma from the dry leaf, I was really surprised by how much the tea itself smells like marshmallow. For something which just has a few ingredients, and none of them really things you can replicate with tea, the scent is dead on. I often get my brother to try teas and guess the flavour, and can sometimes persuade my mam to play along, though she’s generally less willing and way off base. This time, she took one sip and immediately said ‘marshmallow’ very confidently. I hadn’t tried it yet, and didn’t believe it would actually taste like marshmallow, so I accused her of looking at the packet, which she denied. I think I believe her too, because for one thing it really does somehow taste like marshmallow, and for another, when I did show her the label she was gleefully triumphant, and also confused about the lime, which she didn’t taste. My brother was less certain, but drank half my mug trying to figure out what the "familiar " flavour was so I’m going to say it was met with general approval from my family (he said he could taste the lime and eventually got marshmallow after sniffing it). My dad is very fussy with food and I’ve never even attempted to get him to try any of my teas.

After my disbelief at my mam’s reaction, I’m not sure why I was still surprised when I tried this and found it to taste like marshmallow, but I was. It’s incredible how such a generally mild flavour, which I wouldn’t be able to describe at the best of times, can be translated so perfectly into tea. It’s sweet and pillowy just as a marshmallow should be, and it’s followed by a sweet candy lime note which helps to prevent it from being too sweet or blah. Out of all my Butiki teas, I think this is one of the most accurately named. The tea was sweet enough on its own that I didn’t want to add sugar in case it wrecked the flavour balance, but I will eventually (reluctantly) try it with some added.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70

I like this. It’s not one of my all-time favourites but when I’m in the mood for creamy mint it’s nice. The first steep (Western, because I’m doing everything like that for my drink-a-thon) was great – deep rich puerh, creamy vanilla, sweet mint and an actual discernible cheesecake flavour. The cheesecake is very rich and mixes with the vanilla well, but I do think that the mint is a little bit too fresh and strong for the rest of the flavours, and it’s even stronger than the puerh, which doesn’t surprise me based on how much mint leaf was in my bag. Nice all the same, but I’m wishing that the mint was just a little bit weaker and more candy-like. I’m currently on my second steep and the puerh is surprisingly not holding up as well as the flavours. Granted it’s more vanilla mint now without the creamy cheesecake, but the puerh is definitely ‘watery’ this time round. I might stick to one steep next time for this, or more likely brew it gongfu. The first steep was definitely the best.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

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46
drank Organic Iyerpadi by Butiki Teas
365 tasting notes

Stacy included this for free with one of my last orders, and I’m actually not sure if I’ve ever had this before because it looked pretty scary so I’ve spent a while avoiding it. Still, it has to be drank at some point and after my lunch (which – tmi – I can still taste) none of the flavoured options were calling out to me and I actually quite fancied a straight green, so I thought I might as well bite the bullet and go for it.

The reason I’ve been so hesitant is because of the size of the leaf which, even though I have lots of teas from other companies this size, is a lot smaller than most Butiki teas I own. I always associate smaller leaf with bitterness, and I’m wary of green teas for this reason too, so this was never high on my list of priority teas. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, but there is some astringency though it’s on the milder side of what I’ve experienced with green teas in the past. I can taste most of the notes Stacy points out, apart from the lemon, though I can really only notice them when I think about it. Green tea is my fuzzy area. Without suggestion I can taste a floral note almost reminiscent of jasmine, and some steamed green vegetable notes which are probably what I was identifying as spinach when I was looking at the specific notes.

Basically, it’s not for me. It’s not bad, and probably one of the better straight greens out there, but I have uncouth tastes and this deserves a better home than mine. There’s a good chance this might end up with Red Fennekin.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML
Red Fennekin

Ooooh – I’m intrigued! I never got to try this one, so if it does come my way I look forward to trying it and comparing it with your note! :D

Nattie

Then I shall definitely send you some! I hope you like it (:

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80

I made a cold brew of this using the same three teabags I’d previously hot steeped to make regular iced tea, and it actually still had a lot of flavour to it. I wouldn’t really say it was all that different, but I’m upping the rating from 77 since I managed to get double the tea from it.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 20 OZ / 591 ML

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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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