344 Tasting Notes

drank Cider Guayusa by Butiki Teas
344 tasting notes

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.

195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Peppermint Patty by Butiki Teas
344 tasting notes

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.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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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.

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

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drank Birthday Cake by Butiki Teas
344 tasting notes

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.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Peach HoppiTea by Butiki Teas
344 tasting notes

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.

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

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drank Spiced Nog by Butiki Teas
344 tasting notes

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.

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

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drank Rhubarb Vanilla Ale by Butiki Teas
344 tasting notes

Sipdown! (70/377)

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.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Yummy! I was talking to Red Fennekin in part about puerh, and I had a hankerin’ so I grabbed this one and it was a goood choice. I’m not sure which base it uses but it is good. The flavouring isn’t what I’d call weak, but it’s delicate enough and the puerh more than holds its own. The lime flavour is more noticeable than the watermelon, but the watermelon note does actually come through, which I think is an achievement with such a delicate flavour. Especially since I didn’t get it in the Watermelon Xylophone! It was actually delicious on its own, with the puerh all mellow and chilling with the bright juicy lime and the sweet delicate watermelon, but since it’s called slushie I wanted it to come across more fake and artificial – I think that’s the first time I’ve ever said that about a tea – so I added a generous amount of sugar and it really did turn it into a more grown-up version of a melted lime slushie. The watermelon is more in the background with sugar, mostly because it brought out the lime so much more, but I can still tell it’s there. The puerh base is still really good and can definitely take a lot. Even with the stronger citrus flavour and added sugar it’s a beautiful tea. Silky, earthy, and something umami that’s not sweet and not savoury but somewhere in between. Noms all round.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Drinking this again because it’s SHERLOCK NIGHT! I think my second sample tin will be all gone this time next week, sadly. Perfect timing, though. This was weak tonight because I had to choose between a weak cup of tea and missing the start of Sherlock, and well, there aren’t many things I’d choose over tea, but Sherlock is one of them (especially when I’ve drank said tea many times before). I will make sure I brew it properly for the send-off, though. Cinnamon was actually surprisingly prominent and Sherlock was amazing.

Upping my rating from 73 because this tea consistently makes me happy.

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

I really wanted a cup of Mrs Hudson last night. It was an actual craving.


I almost said that exact same thing in my note! Mrs H. was such a BAMF in that episode.

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drank Tamarind Pop by Butiki Teas
344 tasting notes

Another tea I don’t know quite what to make of – I may be a poor judge of this tea since I have absolutely no idea what it’s supposed to taste like, having never heard of tamarind before MissB sent me this. For that reason this will probably be a short tasting note.

From reading others’ tasting notes, it sounds like this still tastes basically as it should. It’s earthy, fruity in a nondescript (or just indescribable to me) way, and a little bit sour. It’s on the more astringent side than I like, but this is easily fixed with a splash of milk. The earthy base is the most prominent, though after reading some of the tasting notes it sounds like the earthiness might actually be a part of the tamarind flavour itself. I added a little sugar, which brought out more of the fruitiness, and then milk, which mellowed out the tea but didn’t change its flavour too much except, weirdly, adding to the sour note. Every now and again I get an echo of a sense memory, like maybe this is a familiar flavour after all, but I’m not sure why. It’s truly odd, but I’m happy to try it.

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

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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.


South Shields, UK

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