347 Tasting Notes
Resteeped my leaves in hope more than expectation, and was extatically surprised to find that it actually resteeps pretty decently! It’s also this tea’s fault that I just placed an order with an online craft beer company including a couple of peach flavoured beers, one lambic. It still tastes the same as it did on the first steep, same proportion of flavours, only a little weaker. I gave this a monster long brew, though, because I tried it after 5 minutes and wasn’t getting much of anything. 8 or 9 seems to have done the trick, though! Now I just have to cross my fingers that the beers themselves match my expectations.
Resteeped my leaves because 1 1/2 minutes western for a Butiki oolong seemed like a waste. I meant to steep it for 3 minutes this time then attempt another steep if that went well, but I ended up getting distracted by household things and left it probably closer to 5 minutes in the end, so it has a little astringency to it and I don’t think I’ll attempt a third steep. The Baked Ali Shan is toasty yet juicy, and definitely the most prominent flavour now, which doesn’t surprise me given that the banana and walnut were never strong and I didn’t pick up on the butterscotch at all. The banana note is still lingering, and the walnut is adding some breadiness so that it’s like drinking a cup of tea after eating a slice of banana walnut loaf, but the most surprising thing to me is that in the second steep I can actually pick up on a light butterscotch note! I think I’m going to up my rating a little from 73 to reflect this. The ability to resteep is always going to score points in my book!
ETA: Apparently I steeped this for 4 minutes last time… I’m drinking so much tea I’m getting confused. Ah well, that’s what I get for not checking my notes first. In that case this still had a surprising amount of flavour considering I hardly upped the steep time at all.
Final Butiki sample!! Woohooo! Thanks a bunch to MissB, for sending me this and so many other teas I otherwise would never have tried.
I will admit I was very worried about this one, and kept putting it off and putting it off until it was the only tea left in my box. I have an incredibly strong aversion to cider, due to a story I won’t go into involving a flatmate from university drinking 3 litres of the stuff… now I don’t want to go into too much detail and put you lovely people off your tea, but I assure you, whatever you’re thinking? It’s worse. So I’ve been putting it off forever and now there’s nothing left to procrastinate on, so I have to suck it up and drink some tea.
It’s really tasty! I mean of course it is, it’s Butiki we’re talking about, but I’m having trouble connecting ‘cider’ and ‘tasty’ in my head. It probably helps that to me it tastes more like apple pie, with a pretty strong cinnamon note which I wouldn’t associate with cider. The apple note is strongest in the sip, and does remind me of cider if I think about it too much, but it’s followed up by the warming cinnamon at the end of the sip, which lingers and makes me think of dessert. Sugar intensifies the apple flavour some, and now that it’s cooling it feels almost like drinking an interestingly-spiced apple juice. The guayusa is barely noticeable, which I’m good with since it was a lot stronger in Killer’s Vanilla and I wasn’t so keen on it. Much to my surprise I am enjoying this! But it’s not all that unique in flavour and it doesn’t remind me of cider (a relief for me but presumably not for others) so I won’t be sad to see that last of it go, though I am enjoying it for now.
Second to last Butiki tea from MissB. The last is Cider Guayusa which I’m planning to have tomorrow morning, and then I’m done with all the Butiki teas that came to me from swaps/buys from Steepsterites and I can move on to the newest (still almost 2 years old) Butiki teas in my collection!
I’ve had this a few times before, but I don’t remember ever enjoying it as much as I am right now. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood before. I made myself a big mug of this in my giant marauders’ map mug which I need two hands to hold, and the plan is to finish writing this note and tuck myself into bed, finish the book I’m currently reading (The Rosie Effect) while drinking this tea, and then have an early night. I’m trying to get back into a more ‘normal’ sleep pattern since I’ve decided to get serious about looking for a job with more ‘regular’/daytime hours. Ideally one where I can drink tea.
This is just so cosy and dreamy and soft. I added a little under 1 sugar to my big big mug and it brightens it up just enough that the chocolate note comes out to play with the peppermint, which dominates if you drink this plain. Does this have marshmallow root? I feel like it does. It has a sort of marshmallow leafiness to it which gives it a thick, bouncy mouthfeel. I’ve read a few tasting notes which describe this as ‘fluffy’, and didn’t quite get it at the time but now I think I know what they mean. While the flavours and mouthfeel aren’t enough to really blow me away if I were drinking this through the day, it’s the perfect drink for sipping in bed with a good book, and I’m content.
This was sent to me by the lovely Sil, because she wasn’t loving it and I was in try all the Butikis mode. Thank you so very much!
Honestly I wasn’t really expecting to like this, because I tend not to get along with banana very much in any form, but as soon as I started my Butiki drink-a-thon I was drawn to this sample, it just looked so appealing. I kept putting it off and waiting for the perfect moment to drink it; either I’d eaten too recently, or had too similar a tea not that long ago, or I didn’t have time to fully appreciate it. But now… well, now still wasn’t perfect timing, but I got fed up of waiting and too impatient so I’m having it right this second. Ha. As soon as I opened the little package I knew instantly that it was this tea that’s been stinking up all my other samples. So I’m very familiar with the scent, seeing as all of my samples smell like this tea, but it did make me wary of drinking it because I imagined extremely strong chemical banana which just didn’t seem all that appealing to me. Luckily this is not the case at all!
The banana flavour is very mellow, and on a perfect level with the Ali Shan, an oolong I really like on its own and was happy to see as the base for this blend. It’s creamy and nutty and – as per usual – a really good match for the flavours. The main note of the tea, on a par with the smooth, lightly floral oolong, is the banana, and I agree with everyone who has said that it’s a natural banana rather than a candy banana flavour. There are these foam banana sweets you used to get when I was a kid and that’s how I imagined this tea tasting, but I was happily wrong. It tastes like a natural, ripe banana – not green, not yet browning. The walnut note comes through in the aftertaste and is more delicate than I thought walnut could be, but not by any means weak. It’s a very natural flavour, too, like the banana, and it has a very specific mouthfeel I’m finding it difficult to describe but reminds me of the skin of the nut. It reminds me a little of my true love Maple Pecan Oolong in this respect. I don’t really get much in the way of butterscotch, and added a small amount of sugar to try to fix this, but still no luck. I’m assuming it adds to the sweet, rich, creaminess which I’m identifying in this without imparting specific flavour, which I’m okay with. Sugar brings out the banana more and turns it into a slightly overripe note. I’ve just finished my cup before typing this sentence, and the last couple of mouthfuls had gone ice cold. It’s a slightly weird tea to drink cold, in my opinion, but the walnut note was dominating this way.
I like this tea but I’m not blown away by it. I wouldn’t pick it up myself, but I’m super glad to have been able to try it and will enjoy my next and final cup. Only two more samples remaining, and then I’m moving on to my huuuuge stock from my triple-order Butiki is closing, quick, panic-buy everything haul! That sounds like I haven’t drank them before but I have, I promise.
Final sample from Janelle – thank you so much for the crazy amount of Butiki samples you sent me!! I’ve been able to try so many teas that I’d otherwise never have had the chance to and it’s been wonderful.
Sadly this tea is not ending our swap on the highest of high notes, largely just due to personal preference: it’s no big secret that I’m not really a fan of vanilla teas, and this is just too mild for my tastes. My brother nodded approvingly and said that he could taste the birthday cake, which is further evidence that it’s not the tea, it’s me. Ah well. It’s a bit early on for the switch to herbals but after the Peach HoppiTea I had last I wanted something milder and less exciting (hypocritical of me, I know). This was just a little milder than I had in mind. I can taste a creamy vanilla frosting element, especially after adding a pinch of sugar, and the leaf is super pretty, but I just think that I’ll always be disappointed in blends in this vein. I was going to give the mug to my brother, since he seemed to like it, but then I caught my eye on the toffee vodka I got for Christmas (along with coconut and butterscotch flavoured vodkas!) and decided to add a drop of that instead. Yes, I know I’m selfish. Honestly just a tiny drop made such an improvement! Ooh it’s like a toffee cupcake now. Okay I can get behind this.
Sipdown 71/377, another sample from MissB.
Oh, crap. I love this. I really, really love this. Why did I have to love this?! With hindsight, I should have realised I would want to bathe in this tea forever because three of my favourite things to drink are tea, beer, and anything peach flavoured. Azzrian I bow down to you for coming up with the idea for this tea. It’s sweet and peachy, herbaceous and hopp-y, and a little bit malty and still distinctly tea. The peach note is juicy and fresh, and really popped after I added sugar. The base tea pairs really well, and is the perfect level of malty and peachy to perfectly support the flavours. The hops come through more strongly in the scent than the flavour, but there is a distinct, slightly-bitter-but-not-in-a-bad-way beeriness to the tea which amazes me. It’s a different kind of hoppiness than the Rhubarb Vanilla Ale tea that I drank last night and it comes across as a definite light beer note. Oh my god I adore this. Ideally it’s one I’d keep in stock permanently, but life is not that kind. I wish I’d discovered how much I love this while Butiki was still open, but then again, I don’t think I would have loved it quite as much back then. I don’t think I’ll ever come across another tea like this, sadly, but I will now be on the lookout for peach flavoured craft beers! I’m getting to the bottom of my cup now. Expletive.
I thought I’d write up a note on this while I still have vague memories of drinking the last of my Eggnog and Pralines sample a few days ago. As I said at the time, I do prefer this one.
I actually ended up with this tea because when Butiki were closing down I placed an order which included 1/2oz of their Creamy Eggnog tea, but Stacy ran out before getting to my order and so (after checking I was okay with it) substituted this new one instead. It worked out pretty well, I think, because I really like the hint of nutmeg in this which apparently wasn’t part of the old blend, and even though the base tea was changed I’m not all that clued-in on green teas, and as they’re both smooth buttery greens I doubt I would have been able to tell much of a difference. Stacy also sent me a couple of ounces of the Organic Spring Twist – which I’ve already reviewed – on its own in my mystery box, and I like being able to compare the two and pick out exactly what is from the base and what is additional flavours.
As always, Stacy created this tea masterfully, and the base blends together really well with the flavours of the creamy eggnog and spicy nutmeg, though I maintain that I’d have liked to have seen a Butiki eggnog tea that didn’t use a green base tea. I much prefer this to the Eggnog & Pralines blend, I think largely because the base is much sweeter and more buttery, and doesn’t have that strong savoury vegetal note that was present in E&P from the Glenburn Estate Green. The creamy eggnog is present even in the scent of this tea, which surprised me a lot given my scepticism over cream-flavoured teas. It’s the most noticeable note in the initial sip, followed by the buttery green tea and nutmeg together, and then again in the aftertaste it’s pure sweet eggnog. I added a little sugar, not because I thought it needed it but just because I’m trying everything as many ways as I can for my Butiki drink-a-thon, and it makes the eggnog note even more pronounced. It also gets somewhat stronger the more it cools, up until a point and then the flavour starts to disappear. I’m wondering what this might be like cold-brewed, and I think I might just be curious enough to try it.
One of the last samples I received from the wonderful Janelle. I’m so proud of myself for the rate I’m managing to get through them all!
This was tasty, but another one that I automatically trusted the brewing instructions on and should have gone with my gut instead. After around three minutes steeping, this was a beautiful mix of rhubarb and vanilla, with some malt and hoppy notes in the background. After the final minute, the base had taken over much more, and I’m not generally a fan of Keemuns, so this wasn’t necessarily a good thing for me. It is, however, much more reminiscent of an ale this way, so I do think it’s an accurate name for it, but I personally preferred it when it was all rhubarb and vanilla. As per the recommendations I added a tiny bit of sugar, careful not to overdo it and lose the hops flavour, and it did bring out the rhubarb note more, but still behind the malty Keemun and hops. The vanilla is more pronounced with sugar, too, but I tend to associate vanilla with general sweetness so maybe that’s just me. I didn’t try this with milk, because even though I would usually prefer it with a Keemun or any strong malty black tea, I thought it would ruin the ‘ale’ aim of the tea. There was only minimal astringency, and it honestly did remind me of beer, even with the mouthfeel, so I didn’t mind it, really. Even though I would have preferred a more dominating rhubarb and vanilla flavour, in a real ale they would of course be more back-notes than anything else, so I do think Stacy did a good job in creating what she was aiming for. As this cools it gets a bit more astringent and the rhubarb and vanilla become less noticeable, with the hops dominating more. I definitely preferred this while it was still hot. Not just-brewed hot, because the flavour did develop some after a little cooling time, but before it got lukewarm.
As a side-note: sorry if my notes are weirdly formal at the moment. I’m applying for a lot of jobs, doing online tests etc. and I’m finding it hard to shake the writing style.