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Recent Tasting Notes
Sipdown (25)! The last serving was full of so much delicious apple, cinnamon, and potato dusty bits; who says tea dust can’t be delicious?
Although this isn’t an original, and I still have the more favoured Potato Pancakes & Applesauce, it’s still hard to let go of yet another Butiki tea. Like so many of Stacy’s blends, this concept was so unique and artfully blended. Now that I’m in the twilight hours of my Butiki stash I wish I’d ordered so much more (except I did; I just drank them right away).
Also, this totally held up to aging, especially when compared with my batch of With Open Eyes which is definitely getting tired.
You are missed.
Flavors: Apple, Butter, Cinnamon, Potato, Vegetal
This tea reminds me of the David’s Tea version but I like Butiki’s slightly better. You can taste the quality in Butiki teas and the flavourings are always so spot on. You can also taste the love and care that they put into each blend. Such a shame that they closed their doors. This has that eggnog flavour without being too sweet or intense. Smooth, light, with a touch of spice. I have never had a Butiki tea that I have failed to like yet! I’m glad I stocked up before they closed up shop. Their teas were worth every penny I spent on them.
Flavors: Eggnog, Nutmeg, Spices
The observance of Lincoln’s birthday seemed like a better time than most to finally finish reading Coates’s Between the World and Me. This is the tea I drank while doing so. I was not paying full attention to the tea but it seems to have lost some of the chewy mallow flavor that I disliked when the blend first came out. Now it’s more of a creamy lime. While I still find it a little odd, I do like it much better now than I did when it was fresh. This would probably be a good cold brew if the leaf can last until warm weather returns.
Flavors: Creamy, Lime
I’ve gotta say that as much as I love Butiki’s other blends I’m really not liking the base they used in their pu-erh blends. It has a bitter, very ‘dirty’ undertone no matter how well I rinse it. It’s a taste that strong enough to alter the flavourings added to the tea making the whole thing taste rather ‘off’. I think I won’t bother finishing off this blend or the Grasshopper Cheesecake. They can go in the garden come spring.
And finally, with a cup of my favourite Butiki tea (besides Maple Pecan Oolong, which doesn’t count since I already had written up tasting notes on it), my Butiki drink-a-thon comes to a close. It’s been a long, but thoroughly enjoyable month, and I’m glad I did it. Now even if the flavours fade, I will know that I have at least one good tasting note on each of my Butiki teas. It also marks the start of a New Year’s resolution I intend to keep – to make a new, smaller-goal tea resolution each month and stick to it! I’m stubbornly ignoring the fact that it’s almost 2:30am now so technically the last couple of my Butiki teas were reviewed after the end of January, because it doesn’t make too much difference, except to my pride, and I’ve always counted the day as ending whenever I go to bed rather than at midnight, anyway.
Funnily enough, this will likely be my least detailed of my recent tasting notes – I’m totally exhausted and tasting-note’d out for now. If it weren’t the last day of my challenge I would have left this ‘til tomorrow. Still, I can pretty much guarantee there’ll be plenty more tasting notes on this in the future, because I really do adore it. I love how fragrant this tea is, and how flavourful yet delicate at the same time. It makes total sense that it was inspired by a perfume. It’s floral, but creamy and sensual, and truly aromatic. The main flavours that always stand out to me are coconut and lemongrass, and as a result it has a Thai sort of connotation to me. It’s also one of the absolute prettiest teas I’ve ever seen. When brewing this cup I realised I’ve always drank this plain, and never had even the slightest inclination to add any sweetener, even though I’ve drank it often enough. I tried it, just in the name of fairness, and it brings out the creamy side of the coconut much more. It’s more dessert-like this way, but I don’t know if I’d say I prefer one way or another. Mostly it’s just different.
Can tea be art? I think so. I’d go so far as to call this beautiful, both visually and in flavour. It’s one I really savour, each time I drink it taking tiny sips and waiting for the lingering aftertaste to fade before I take the next. I’ve been known to make a single cup stretch out over a whole three-hour-long modernist film, and I almost never reach the bottom of my cup before it goes cold. But that’s okay, because it’s just as delicious freezing as it is just-brewed. This is a wonderful tea to end on. I think it perfectly illustrates Stacy’s artistry as a tea blender/alchemist, and why we all miss her presence so much within the tea-drinking community. There will never be another quite like Butiki.
Resteep. I think I should have used cooler water because this cup is a little more on the astringent side than I’d expected. The caramel and apple notes are still there, but it’s lost the delicious nuttiness that I experienced from this last time. Bummer. Note to self: pay more attention to brewing this one.
Oh, I am so mad about how much I love this tea. It’s magic in a cup. I’m also surprised and a little sad to see that I seem to be in the minority here, not too many rave reviews of this on Steepster.
This doesn’t smell like much to begin with, in the dry leaf nor in the brewed liquor, but I’d much rather have a tea taste amazing than smell amazing, anyway. Plain, it is incredibly nutty on first sip. Is there any nut flavouring? Is that just from the Gui Fei?? Surely it can’t be… but I think it is! It’s incredible. It tastes just like those roasted candied nut pieces you get from the cinema as an ice cream topper, and I love those. The caramel is present along with the nuttiness too, creating a praline-like impression, and the apple is noticeable as a back note which builds the more you sip. Soooo much happy whirly deliciousness. I added half a teaspoon of sugar, and the nuttiness becomes not so dominant any more, the apple and caramel notes seem to take over more this way. This is the way it tastes most like a caramel apple, and though the nuttiness is still there in the background and mainly the aftertaste, I find myself wishing they were more present still. As it cools down I get my wish – the nuttiness grows increasingly present once again! Only now the caramel and apple notes stay prominent, no more taking a back seat for them. Caramel-dipped apple rolled in toasted nuts. That’s exactly what this is and I am crazy for it. I could drink this forever but I only have a few more cups’ worth left. Still, the Gui Fei barely opened up at all with this steep, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get at least a couple more delicious steeps out of this particular leaf before I throw it out. Oh, how I love good oolongs!
Side note: In case anyone was wondering, this probably makes my top 5 Butiki teas. That’s how much I love it.
I wanted to try Butiki’s White Rhino for a long while, but never managed to pick any of it up, and couldn’t find any other companies that sold it (at the time – What-Cha carries one now that I’m probably going to pick up after I end my no-buy), so I was thrilled and relieved that I managed to pick up some of the last of this on the original White Rhino base just before Stacy ran out. In fact, if I remember rightly I think it might have been this tea that finally convinced me to place a Butiki order (which was quickly followed by two more). I was convinced I was going to love it, and while for the most part I was right, it doesn’t quite blow me away like I expected it to.
The boiling steeping suggestion on this terrifies me, but I took a deep breath and went for it, and surprisingly-but-not-really-all-that-surprisingly, it paid off! Man that White Rhino can take a beating! The flavour is predominantly butterscotch, and whilst I do love butterscotch I find it quite sickly as strong as it is here after a large mugful. I may stick to smaller amounts in the future, but at least I know it’s good for taking care of a sweet craving! I didn’t add any sugar because of how sweet it was on its own. It smells absolutely divine, really truly like liquid butterscotch toffee in a mug. I don’t pick up on much of anything else in the scent apart from the incredibly rich buttery toffee, and this is reflected in the flavour though the other notes do come through a little more. A bitter chocolate note comes through at the end of the sip and helps to counter the sweet butterscotch, as does the coffee note. There is a mild, lingering nuttiness which I wouldn’t specifically attribute to hazelnut, but it contributes a nice roundness to the blend all in all, adding a little complexity and just that something extra to give it dimension.
While not my absolute favourite of the final Butiki bunch, it’s certainly up there, and I’m very happy to have managed to pick some up. This is a special occasion tea for sure.
This tea took me by surprise, and I’m not sure how I’m going to write about it accurately. It’s so different to anything I’ve had before, but definitely in a good way. To me, it doesn’t really taste much like coffee, but I can see where the comparison comes from. It has a thick, rich mouthfeel and a robust, roasted nuttiness about it which is similar, though there’s no actual coffee note to my mind at least. I can more easily see the comparison with roasted chestnuts, only this is darker and more savoury. I don’t get any of the notes I typically associate with puerh – sheng or shou – except for some tobacco-like notes at the end of the sip. It’s quite heavily malty and does have a rice note which I find interesting, and I think it’s like a black tea in some respects, only incredibly strong but also very smooth at the same time.
This tasting note is much shorter than it deserves, but quite honestly this tea is just so unique that I don’t really know where to begin. I’m almost surprised I managed to get anything written down at all! Hopefully the words will come with time, and I will eventually, after many more cups, be able to confidently write a tasting note on this without it feeling like a daunting task that I’m not quite up to.
I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would! I didn’t expect the flavour to translate as well as it did, but I’m not sure why since Butiki has rarely (if ever) disappointed me. The honeybush is not entirely invisible, but it doesn’t disrupt the coffee ice cream flavour so I barely noticed it. The coffee is mild but present, and it’s the good kind of coffee too, like freshly ground Italian espresso, not cheap instant coffee. Working in an Italian restaurant where I make the coffees may have turned me into a slight coffee snob. There’s a hint of vanilla but the ice cream mostly comes from an unexpected creaminess which makes me want to drink this in big gulps. Together it’s delicious, and if it were still available I’d drink it frequently on a night time, ideally while reading in bed, which is how I drank this cup. If anyone cares, I’m currently reading The Joy Luck Club, and I am enjoying it but I wish it jumped around the stories less, because it always switches just as I’m getting invested in a particular tale. Anyway, this was a nice tea to drink while reading it, and I’m a much bigger fan than I expected to be.
Busy, exhausting days! My tasting notes have been slipping. Typical of me, I’m taking it down to the wire and writing up all of my remaining tasting notes for the drink-a-thon tomorrow. It’s the first day off I’ve had in a while, so I’ll be able to spend a decent amount of time on them, and I can’t wait. I’ve spent the last few days in a fog of exhaustion, but happy to be working good hours again, and just haven’t had the time I’d like to for tea.
This one I drank the other morning when I had a couple of hours going spare to drink a few cups of tea. I had it plain first, then with a pinch of (smoked) rock salt, and then finally a third time with a pinch of sugar, for good measure. It’s amazing how much it changes! Plain, the starchy potato and sweet apple and cinnamon notes are both equally present, and make for a tasty – if slightly confusing – cup of tea. Potato with sweet things seems very weird to me, as a non-American, but the potato here doesn’t seem overtly savoury so it doesn’t bother me too much. The base tea was hardly noticeable in any of the cups I had, which didn’t really surprise me after seeing that my dry leaf was over 50% potato and apple pieces. It was probably most noticeable here, but I had almost no tea leaves at all in my second cup so that might be why. Overall I find the balance to be intriguing, and would have liked to have tried it with a little salt and sweetener at the same time as per somebody else’s suggestion, but I didn’t have the time nor the patience to have yet another cup of this tea just then. I will probably try it like this eventually. With the rock salt added, only a little and not enough to make the tea actually taste salty, it was just as Stacy suggested – enhanced potato notes, diminished apple and cinnamon notes. The tea had a very brothy feel this time around, which I quite enjoyed. It almost reminded me of chips or ready salted crisps, but the cinnamon was still a quiet lingering note which stopped this from being completely savoury. On the flip side, I had a separate cup with added sugar and the potato note became much less noticeable, and the cinnamon and apple notes were brought out more. Similarly to the savoury cup, the potato was still present enough that the tea wasn’t completely sweet.
Each way I tried it, this tea was quite different. I could still tell that it was the same tea each time, and yet it tasted drastically different so as that three cups in a row wouldn’t seem like three cups of the same tea in a row. None of them were particular stand-outs, though all decently tasty, and the potato chunks really do make strainers a bitch to clean, but I’m still happy to have this tea in my collection for the sheer novelty factor.
When I first got this it was my favourite oolong, but my tastebuds have shifted a little since then and it’s been ousted by the Fu Shou Shan. It’s creamy more than buttery to me, with light sweet/savoury vegetal notes which remind me of pea shoots and a delicate floral note (this might be what others pick up on as orchid, but I can’t say I’ve ever eaten one). The light roasted quality comes through at the end of the sip in a warming, bready note, which is finally followed by a return of that floral note and some fairly noticeable pear, right down to the texture. I think for my current tastes it’s just a little bit too indecisive – not quite roasted, but slightly too roasted to be called green. I really enjoy both, but I find myself wishing it was one or the other. I think perhaps when I first tried this it was the first ‘roasted’ oolong I’d had, and therefore my mind was blown by the new flavour profile and I became enamoured. Now that I’ve tried more roasted oolongs I find that this just lacks the toastiness I want from it, and I’d prefer it to just be a little more green. Having said all that, don’t get me wrong, I still do really enjoy this. I do! I have just about enough leaf left to have a lovely gongfu afternoon session with this one day for the perfect send-off, but for now I think I’ll get a few more steeps out of these leaves.
Not so much to say about this. Flavour-wise, it’s just fine. Woodsy and has a sort of fake cherry note which I’ve noticed a few times with honeybush. It doesn’t have any honey flavour, and apart from the scent I don’t think I’d be able to differentiate it from any other plain honeybush I’ve tried. Scent-wise, this smelled awful. Like, truly bad. It had a sort of fishy, rotten, inside of a bin smell which really took me aback when I sniffed it. It smelled quite pleasant in the bag, so I’m not quite sure what happened there. Maybe it’d be better with milk and/or honey, but this just didn’t do anything for me and the scent was downright off-putting.
Yesterday was a day of resteeps! I meant to review a new tea when I got in from work but it was a really busy shift and I was so exhausted I just went straight to bed. The resteep of this was much like the first, but less earthy. The blueberry holds up well and I’d like to brew this gongfu next time.
I accidentally steeped this in boiling water, and forgot to rinse the tea (I have no idea what I was thinking while I prepared it) so this is admittedly probably not the best this tea has ever tasted. This is another one I’m going to have to keep separate to make again at the end of the month if I have time.
The blueberry flavour is dead on, and really quite enjoyable, though I don’t get ‘champagne’ from it, even after adding sugar. Mostly I think that the Suncha base is too jarring for me with the sweet, jammy blueberry flavour. The earthiness I can dig with the blueberry. Yeah, I can see that making sense. But it’s just a little too much on the smoky savoury side for me to really enjoy this as a ‘blueberry champagne’ kind of tea. I’m also a little sick of drinking so many Butiki 1989 Suncha blends recently though, because of my drink-a-thon, so maybe I’d appreciate it more on a regular day. Still, I can’t help but feel like the blueberry flavour in this, which really is lovely, would be a hundred times better with a white tea base, or a green oolong. I’m going to reserve final judgement until I’ve tried this gongfu brewed, or maybe cold-brewed, or even just brewed according to the actual suggestions… Yeah, my bad.
Thanks for including this with my order, Stacy! I appreciate being able to try it.
I resteeped my leaves a couple of times yesterday, and the citrus zing was much less abrasive in the subsequent steeps than the first. It is still the dominant note, but it’s mellowed out to a point where the overall tea is much more enjoyable. I noticed in my third steep that the strawberry note is holding up quite well, and becoming more present as the other flavours mellow out. I’m pretty confident with my guess that strawberry is a flavour here, or at least another berry which very much resembles strawberry to me. I’m going to bump up the rating just a little bit from 57 because the later steeps are definitely more enjoyable than the first.
As with Happy Trails, I read the ingredients for this when Stacy first posted them a while ago, but have since forgotten and haven’t looked since.
This is a very interesting tea. The dry leaf smells mostly of maple (which I got excited about), which is followed by strawberry, which is followed by orange, in descending order of strength. I had high hopes, because I love maple flavoured teas, especially Butiki’s, but this isn’t really what I expected. The liquor while brewing smells very tangerine-y, and the other notes are mostly swallowed up. The flavour is the same. Strong tangerine note in the initial sip, which develops into a more orange note in the aftertaste (could Stacy have used both flavourings? It is a very strong orange citrus note). There is a syrupy sweet maple note if I block out all of the orangeness, and I think I can taste some vague strawberry in there somewhere, though I don’t think I would have picked up on it if I hadn’t smelled it fairly clearly in the dry leaf. There’s a chance it could be some other berry note, maybe raspberry, but strawberry seems the most likely to me. I’m picking up on cinnamon-like notes which I don’t think are coming from the flavourings, but pretty much confirm my suspicions that the oolong base is the Fu Shou Shan, which I am very fond of and always translates to me as having natural apple and cinnamon notes. Right at the very back end of the sip I taste something sweet, light and pillowy which is making me think this might have some marshmallow flavouring added to it, though if it does probably not much.
It’s fun to guess which ingredients are in these mystery teas, but honestly the citrus in this one is a little bit overwhelming for me and I would rather drink the Fu Shou Shan on its own. I preferred the other mystery tea.
ETA: As this is starting to cool, the maple flavour is becoming more pronounced at the beginning of the sip before the orange kicks in. I’m pretty well convinced it’s one of the flavours.
This was one of my favourites when I first ordered it, in fact I loved it so much that I added it to my wishlist immediately after my first cup (which I very rarely do when teas are still in my cupboard) and eagerly parsed others’ notes to see if anyone wasn’t keen and wouldn’t mind to swap. I remember taking my first sip and having an ‘ohmygod’ moment. All of the notes were present, particularly the plum and brandy. The reason I’m describing this experience from almost two years ago is that sadly, out of all my Butiki teas, this seems to be the one which has lost its flavour. I’m going to have another cup in a few days once I’ve got through the rest of my drink-a-thon teas in the hopes that it was a fluke, just a bad cup, or I brewed it wrong, because this tea was once magnificent. O’ cruel fate, why must you take from me one of my favourite teas in such a brutal manner?
But seriously, aside from the melodramatic mourning, I was so disappointed when I took my first expectant sip. The flavour hasn’t completely dissipated, but it’s faded to the point where I have to chase the notes to taste them. The scent is very creamy, and the cheesecake flavour is probably the most prominent note remaining, but I barely get any brandy at all and the plum is seriously fading. The base itself was on the light side, too, and I could taste the water through it, so I’m living in hope that I just underleafed even though I followed Stacy’s suggestions. This might have to be moved into my focus box until it’s sipped down.
My rating for this is based on how amazing it was when I first bought it, since it wouldn’t be fair to it or to Stacy to mark it down because of my negligence/hoarding.
Quick tasting note before I take a walk down to my nana’s, I’m going out with her for lunch. I’m also going to Weight Watchers tonight and have an appointment at the dentist’s, so I’m not sure how much tea I’m going to get drank on my only day off this week! Next Monday and Tuesday are the last days of January and the last of my drink-a-thon, so it might end up being a sprint finish if I can’t find the time sooner.
I estimated the temperature while I was distracted, and think I might have brewed this a little too hot, since the liquor is a darker colour than I expected and there’s a tiny hint of astringency right at the back end of the sip. It’s not too noticeable, and doesn’t bother me, but still I feel like I could have done this more justice. The squash comes across to me as a cake, cookie or muffin sort of flavour, and along with the vanilla and cinnamon the overall effect is one of a cinnamon cookie, which is just fine by me! The sweet, earthy, starchy squash is the most prominent note in the body of the sip, mingling with the vanilla note which helps make it more sweet than savoury. The soft cinnamon comes through at the end of the sip like a blanket, covering the mouth with a natural, comforting spice which makes me suspect this tea would be perfect for curling up in front of a fire in the Autumn. I added my usual half a sugar, and now the vanilla and cinnamon notes are more prominent and the squash less so. I do wish this tea had a thicker mouthfeel to match the creamy starchy flavour, but it’s very enjoyable nonetheless.
ETA: As it cools the muffin comparison gets stronger. It’s reminding me strongly of a muffin I can picture quite clearly which I used to have often as a treat when I was younger, but I can’t quite remember where I got them or the context around them. What I can picture quite clearly while I’m drinking this is the colour, texture and flavour of the muffin, right down to the gooey, sticky glaze on the golden brown top and the spongy but dense feel of breaking off a piece to pop in my mouth while the coating got stuck to my fingers. I was originally going to rate this a 76 but I’m going to have to raise that because yay for muffin tea!
This may be my least favourite of all my Butiki teas. Not that it’s bad, it just isn’t the one for me, or rather I’m not the one for it. It was free with an order, though, so a big thank you to Stacy for allowing me to broaden my horizons and try some teas I never would have gone near on my own. It’s leaning toward the more savoury side of greens, which makes me think it would be interesting paired with some more savoury flavours such as sage or even tomato if we’re getting adventurous, but as a straight tea on its own, for me it’s a miss. There’s an earthiness to it and a natural smoky note which is admittedly interesting, but nothing about this tea really makes me want to drink it again, except for the thick mouthfeel and brothiness which made it easy to gulp and is giving me a warm happy tummy. I’m sure it would be great for people interested in such teas, but I am not such a person and will most likely be passing this along.