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Recent Tasting Notes
The dry scent is creamy and sharp with nutmeg spice, while in the cup, the nutmeg fragrance mellows and sweet cream takes over. Infused 1 teaspoon in 8 ounces of water about 15 seconds off the boil for ~3 min 30 sec, which produced a medium reddish liquor. The taste is smooth and accessible, the nutmeg and cream blending seamlessly and subtly into the tea flavors. Medium body, mildly bright without aggressiveness, and extremely drinkable without milk or sweetener. The subtle nutmeg taste lasts for quite a while after a sip.
I’m simultaneously interested in trying it sweetened and milked, and hesitant to alter its serene simplicity. I’ll probably give in and try it enhanced later … but for now, I have half a cup of untouched goodness that remains to enjoy.
Poetic waxings: I think of a cool, sunny spring morning in a mountain temple, with silence and green slopes and the fullness of the living world all around.
Additional infusions: Tried a second infusion at 4 min. The resulting liquor is a touch lighter in color and the fragrance seems minutely more floral. The taste is definitely lighter, too, and not one I think would stand up well to milk or sweetener, but the liquor is significantly sweeter on this infusion to balance things out. Better on second infusion than some teas are on first infusion, so I’ll take that.
Flavors: Cream, Nutmeg, Spices
Could have sworn I’ve reviewed this before?! Odd.
Anyhow, I enjoy this tea… some cups were a lot better than others. This last cuppa was best out of them all. The taste is ok, but the mouthfeel is most pleasing. All sunshiney and happy. I think it was the mint. The first and second steeps were great, but the third started to fall flat on me.
Oh! And it reminds me a lot of AQ2T’s On Wisconsin Jade Oolong in the added flavouring (which I may pass on to another tea drinker, as I have another creamy oolong or two that I enjoy more)
I’m not exactly sad to see this one go, in the end. There are other Butiki teas I’ve mourned the ending of a lot more :P
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.