347 Tasting Notes

85
drank Pecan Pie by Dammann Freres
347 tasting notes

Resteeped my leaves in hope, and sadly this is not a great resteeper. I used boiling water and left it for a whole 7 minutes but it’s still pretty weak. Actually once you get used to the delicate flavour it’s still pretty tasty. I added sugar and the nuttiness came out a lot more, and the remaining flavour is actually (finally!) mostly pecans.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92
drank Heaven's Trash by Butiki Teas
347 tasting notes

Unexpected sipdown #73/378!

I’m pretty sad about this one. It seems my tastes are changing and I’m craving unflavoured tea more and more frequently these days, and adding milk to my black teas, flavoured or not, far less frequently. This morning I decided to start my day with a cup of this, mostly because I wanted a straight black and this was the first one I came across. I didn’t have any particularly strong feelings about it before then, but it was so smooth and delicious that as soon as I finished my first cup I went to resteep the leaves, only to find that I’d thrown them out without really thinking. So I got it back out of my cupboard, measured out the leaf and found that my baggie was empty. Sad moment. I’m going to resteep the crap out of the leaves this time.

This was a beautiful blend. Each tea adds its own element and combined this is just the smoothest, most flavourful yet delicate house blend I’ve ever tried. I’m not at all surprised because as I’ve already said – probably multiple times – Stacy had a real gift for sourcing the best single origin teas, and this is basically a showcase of the best of the best. It’s malty, deep and chocolatey rich with bready notes, and some lighter citrus and floral notes, too. There’s a beautiful honey note which threads its way through the whole thing so that it glides across your tongue and dances on your palate. I’m not the best at describing natural notes from teas and I’m definitely not doing this one justice, but it was really a masterpiece and I’m going to miss it a heck tonne. Honestly I have three of the four elements in my collection and I might try to recreate it as best I can.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Fjellrev

Awww, I never tried this one but maybe in the end that’s a good thing because it sounds like one I’d miss a lot too.

Nattie

It’s probably for the best. You can’t miss what you never had, right?

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85
drank Pecan Pie by Dammann Freres
347 tasting notes

My tea from greenteafairy arrived! Woohooo! Apparently when your parents ask you who the mail’s from and you answer ‘green tea fairy’ you get some pretty strange looks.

I was going to leave this a day or so to settle but the scent through the packaging was just so heavenly I had to make a cup almost immediately (almost because I was still drinking my previous cup). Now I did ask for a sample of this because I’m trying to find a replacement (or as near to one as I can get) for my beloved Maple Pecan Oolong, and greenteafairy did warn me I’d be disappointed because she’s on the same mission, so I was a bit wary. She was right about me being disappointed as a replacement for Maple Pecan Oolong, but since I pretty much expected that already I wasn’t too disappointed with the tea overall. It’s pretty tasty! I’m a huge fan of nutty teas in general, and this is about as nutty as it gets. My issue lies with the name, and I have the same problem a lot of others seem to in that out of all the nuts in the tea, pecan is probably the least prominent and yet it’s the one they chose to name it after. If this was called ‘nut pie’ I have a feeling it would have a lot fewer disappointed customers. Aside from that it really is a very nice tea! The flavour is a little strong and perhaps slightly on the chemically-tasting side, but it’s not much and I can live with it. I brewed this at boiling, and was worried about astringency because the recommended temperature is 195, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has no astringency whatsoever! I could happily drink this plain. I didn’t, though, because I wanted to try it with additives as I usually do the first time I drink a new tea before settling on how I like it best. With or without sugar, the almond flavour is most prominent, followed by the pistachio. I expected this from the scent, which was strongly marzipan-like. I added a splash of milk and the two flavours almost reversed, with the pistachio in the front of the sip and almond at the end. This became more pronounced as the tea cooled, too, and I’m thinking it might be to do with pistachio being a creamier flavour than almond. The pecan, which was nowhere to be found when I was drinking it black, peeks out a little at the very end of the sip with a pie crust sort of flavour that wasn’t there before either. It’s a really lovely, relaxing dessert tea, especially for a nut-lover, but it’s just not pecan pie. Thanks for the sample, greenteafairy!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
greenteafairy

Oh, good tip about adding milk! I’ll have to try it that way.

Nattie

It still doesn’t taste like Pecan Pie haha.

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78
drank Caribbean Rum Punch by Butiki Teas
347 tasting notes

That’s better! I brewed this properly this time and the rest of the flavours come out way more. The mango is most prominent in the initial sip, and I can actually taste a boozy rum element that I didn’t expect. The aftertaste is mostly lime but it’s much less overwhelming than the last time I tried to brew this and the lime started to sting my tongue by the end of the cup. I added a little sugar and the mango becomes really juicy and delicious. I can’t detect the orange note, but maybe it’s hiding with the lime as a general citrus blur that I’m picking out as lime. As it cools the lime does become more dominant, and even though I really love the flavour, and Butiki’s lime in particular, I’m getting kinda sick of it because I’ve had it in quite a few teas recently. I definitely prefer this hot. Bumping my rating up from 65 because this was so much better than last time, which I knew was just user error on my part.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70
drank Happy Trails by Butiki Teas
347 tasting notes

When Butiki announced what was in the two mystery teas, I read it. That was probably almost two years ago now and I can’t remember squat, so I decided to try it again without looking it up to see how I did. I remember the first time being appalling, and I think only getting one flavour plus the base right for each tea.

The dry leaf smells of raspberry. It’s clearly Crimson Horizon for the base, pretty hard to muck that up since it has a very distinctive look. Brewing, it smells like malty black tea and raspberry. I took it out after the recommended 1 minute, but the CTC base is just too much for me without milk. I love it as a breakfast tea, but I’m English; if you’re a malty black tea I’m gonna feel the need to add milk to you. It’s just the way I was brought up. For this tea I’m torn, though, because when I tried it plain the strongest flavour past the tea was the raspberry, which isn’t a flavour I generally like with milk. I added a little sugar, which brought out the raspberry but my taste buds are proving to be just as poor as last time and I can’t tell what else is in there. It’s pretty obviously not just raspberry – if it even is raspberry – but that’s the only note I can pick out pretty distinctly. I’m not totally sure but I’m feeling pretty confident on the raspberry front. I’ve said ‘raspberry’ too many times now and it’s starting to sound weird. Conflicted Natalie decided that she just couldn’t take the astringency from the Crimson Horizon, and maybe it would bring out some of the other flavours, so added milk. It still tastes like raspberry. Eventually, as the cup starts to cool I can pick up on something else. It’s reminding me of raspberry ice cream cake now, or a waffle with ice cream and raspberry sauce (which as a kid I called “monkeys’ blood” and never found that worrying). I know that Butiki had a waffle flavour in some of their teas, so I’m going to guess at Crimson Horizon base, with raspberry, waffle and vanilla flavours. It works pretty well together and tastes like dessert, but I do have an issue in general with raspberry (or really anything that I wouldn’t eat with cream) being paired with a base that I instinctively want to add milk to. Maybe next time I’ll try with a lower temperature to see if that helps with the astringency so that I can drink it plain.

Edit: apparently the ice-creaminess was from marshmallow flavouring, not vanilla or waffle, and I missed pistachio completely. I drank this straight after a tea which had a really prominent pistachio note though, and I got the raspberry, so I’m okay with it! I basically did exactly the same as last time haha.

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

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67

First tea of the day, and this has grown on me since I first got it. Either I’m getting more used to the earthy guayusa or it’s mellowed out over time. I wouldn’t really call this a ‘vanilla’ tea, because I find the mint more prominent a flavour in the blend, but it is still definitely present in a creamy candy mint sort of way. It actually reminds me a little of Santa’s Secret with the way that flavour is done. The earthiness and almost savoury note of the guayusa makes this much more of a breakfast-time tea than a dessert tea, though. I can’t say I’ve ever noticed much of the lavender except in a general floral note occasionally, but maybe all the little pieces of lavender have fell to the bottom of my bag and I’ll get a really lavender-based last couple of cups. I added a pinch of sugar and it did bring out the vanilla more but not to the point where I’d say it’s the strongest flavour. Then again, mint is a much stronger flavour in general or at least it is to me. As always, I’m not complaining, because I’m not a huge fan of vanilla. I enjoyed this a lot more than I used to, but it’s not one of my Butiki favourites.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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78
drank Caribbean Rum Punch by Butiki Teas
347 tasting notes

Without reading the ingredients I managed to pick out lime, orange and mango from the scent! I’m way too proud of that because I’ve never been great with guessing scents – I can find them just fine when I already know what it is – and my nose has been playing up the last couple of days too so hopefully it’s settling down now. Sadly only the lime comes across in the flavour though, which I kinda expected because the orange and mango scents disappeared while this was brewing. I accidentally steeped this in water that was way too cool (tap was running a lot colder than usual because it’s freezing outside) and then threw away the leaf like the idiot I am, so for now I’m just going to drink my cup of tepid lime water, put the tea back in my drink-a-thon box and have it again another day when I’m feeling more like myself and not being an idiot with the steeping.

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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72
drank Pumpkin Irish Cream by Butiki Teas
347 tasting notes

I don’t know why but I’ve been off my game today :/ I’ve only drank one tea other than this, but I did do a couple of steeps. I had a craving for the ‘89 Suncha for some reason today, but had this rather than drinking it straight because I knew I didn’t have my brain screwed on right to be able to review that properly. Ugh, I don’t know guys, I’m just off.

The tea was good, but I wish I’d had the Suncha on its own instead because I just wasn’t in the right mood to appreciate this properly. I didn’t get an actual ‘pumpkin’ note exactly, more just a spice mixture slightly dominated by clove. I did get a creamy sort of note and mouthfeel but it didn’t seem very ‘Irish’ if ya know what I mean… maybe someone who doesn’t drink whisky straight would pick up on it but there just wasn’t enough of it for my personal taste. The Suncha base was lovely. Earthy, a little smoky, a little sweet, kinda roasty. I drank it with sugar and cream the first time which was a bit rich but totally made me feel better for a while. It didn’t necessarily change the flavour profile at all, just added sweetness and a thicker mouthfeel. The second steep was a slightly milder version of the same – same combination of flavours, same sort of ratio of said flavours, only a little weaker and with a thinner mouthfeel. The Suncha shone a little more which I enjoyed. I added only a splash of skimmed milk this time and it was a pretty good after-dinner tea.

I know I probably sound totally lacklustre, but it’s not the tea’s fault, I’m just not myself today and I’m finding it hard to find my enthusiasm. Hopefully I can shake it off tomorrow!

ETA: This was my 250th tasting note! Too bad it was such a pile of poop.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83

Having this as my first cup of the day because none of my Butiki teas I should be drinking were calling to me for breakfast. It’s not as potent as it was when I first got it in my swap with Red Fennekin but it’s still very lovely. The bergamot note once was prominent, which is of course expected with this being an Earl Grey, but this time I found it to be much more subtle, with more of the focus on the grapefruit and rose notes. I have to say that the grapefruit flavouring is done beautifully – better, I think, than the Butiki grapefruit tea I tried. The flavour profile is unmistakably grapefruit, but without any sour or bitterness than makes it a lovely smooth citrus-y cup. Now grapefruit and bergamot seems like a logical combination in my head, with them both being citrus flavours, but rose seems to me like an odd thing to add. It really works, though! I’m a fan of rose teas anyway but this combination is something I’ve never come across before. The rose note is secondary to the grapefruit but adds a lovely floral back note which is hard to describe but just works for some reason. I drank this plain, and didn’t feel the need to add milk.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Arby

How do you make text bold? Do you use HTML or something else?

Nattie

Asterisks either side of the text * like this * but remove the spaces (:

Red Fennekin

Yay :D This tea is still such a comfort to me, whenever I want something so unfailingly fruity!

Nattie

It’s a great find! I only have maybe one or two cups left, even though you sent such a generous amount, and I think I’m going to have to hunt down more when it’s gone!

Arby

Thank you!

Nattie

You’re welcome

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84

I have been sneezing all day and I can’t seem to stop. I’ve probably sneezed over 100 times today. It’s weird because it’s like allergies, watery itchy eyes and all, but there’s nothing different about my house and I haven’t been anywhere today. I just woke up suddenly apparently allergic to myself…

This tea is holding up pretty well, but not as well as I’d hoped given that it’s the only Butiki tea I bought in a tin. The ones in the regular paper bags seem to be holding up better! It’s still really enjoyable, though. Plain, it’s rich and chocolatey with a zesty orange backnote. The chocolate is definitely dark chocolate, and it pairs really well with the base tea. Butiki seem to have done lovely deep, rich chocolate teas that no other brand seems to be able to get right at the moment, hence my usual aversion to chocolate teas. The orange is zesty and compliments the dark chocolate and base without overpowering them, but if you add a little sugar it becomes fresh and juicy, much more prominent in the blend. The marshmallow root rounds out the tea pretty well and adds a really satisfying thick mouthfeel. I’ve never had this base on its own so I’m not entirely sure of its notes, but it’s really lovely and smooth with no astringency whatsoever. I added a touch of milk, not because it needed it but because I wanted it to be more of a dessert tea, and it definitely was! The chocolate turns into a sweeter milk chocolate note and the orange becomes candied, but never fake. The mouthfeel is super thick and rich too, and it’s almost like drinking a liquefied Terry’s Chocolate Orange, which pretty much sounds like a dream I’d have. The only issue with this is that as I said before about the tea ageing, I didn’t notice it at all until I added milk, but it brought out a slight ‘stale’ sort of flavour, which didn’t bother me too much because it was only slight, but I do think I preferred it before the milk. This seems to be my general opinion of black teas lately! At one time I rarely drank a black tea without milk, and now it seems about 50/50. Maybe my tastebuds are maturing…

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 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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