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Recent Tasting Notes

62

Nope. Nope nope nope. This tea was already at a disadvantage trying to please me today because I’ve been out all afternoon in the freezing cold, dreaming of coming home and making a lovely cup of Heaven’s Trash from resteeping my last ever leaves, only to find when I got home that my mam had thrown them out. If I’m honest, I took it a little to heart, partially because I was cold and grumpy and partially because I’d specifically explained to her why I wanted to keep the leaves (she has a tendency to throw things out and rearrange everything completely unnecessarily – I also came home to find that she’d inexplicably changed the bookmark in my book). So, I settled for this instead, and was already unimpressed just because it isn’t Heaven’s Trash. I’m not much of a green tea person, and first flush Darjeelings are often too reminiscent of green tea for my liking, but I tried to remain optimistic because it’s described as smooth with no astringency. Granted, I am more sensitive to astringency than a lot of people, but this is not astringency-free. The packaging says to steep it in boiling water, but I hope I remember to ignore that next time because I feel like a lot of the astringency could be avoided with a lower temperature. I would usually add milk to a black tea to get rid of astringency but this just seems so green to me that it would feel wrong. It has the usual citrus and floral notes that you’d expect from a Darjeeling, but also some fresh, light leafy vegetable notes which I’d associate with Japanese greens. For me, the redeeming feature of this tea is that after adding a small amount of sugar the tea becomes very juicy and has such a pronounced, unmistakable peach note that I’d almost think it had peach flavouring added to it. This calms down a bit when it cools, so I prefer this when it’s on the hotter side. Despite me not being able to get past the astringency and ‘greenness’, I can still tell that this is a high quality first flush, and even though I haven’t given it the best review it’s still probably one of the best first flushes I’ve tried, they’re just not really to my taste. I’m looking forward to trying it again at a lower temperature.

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

She changed your bookmark? Wow, sounds like my ex. She would throw away anything she didn’t know what it was, including bits of my computer lol

Nattie

Yep, she’s always been like that, but this was new levels of obsessiveness lol. Oh no! Haha she once cleaned my laptop so ferociously that she broke off two of the keys, but at least she didn’t throw them out!

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91

This could be a favourite green tea of mine! Oh it’s so delicious. The raspberry was dominant in the scent of the dry leaf, so that’s what I expected from the flavour too. Holy cow. As soon as it starts to steep the butterscotch becomes impossibly, ridiculously thick and rich to the point where I could have been convinced I was sniffing an actual butterscotch sauce simmering away in a pan if I hadn’t known better. It’s absolutely mouthwatering. There’s a hint of tangy raspberry in the background but the butterscotch really is the life of the party. This is reflected in the flavour. There’s a light spring vegetable note from the green tea, but 90% of the initial sip is pure, unadulterated butterscotch. The raspberry is a tangy juxtaposition of a backnote, and it comes out more when I add sugar, but like others have mentioned I don’t really pick up on the hazelnut. From Stacy’s description though I’d guess that there’s not much of it in here, which makes sense. Sugar also intensifies the butterscotch and adds mouthfeel so that it’s thick and syrupy. It’s incredibly decadent. The whole way through there’s been a fresh, light vegetal note from the base tea, which usually I would dislike but it’s not overpowering and manages to cut through the syrupy sweetness perfectly, and it’s very smooth with no astringency. As the cup starts to cool it becomes a bit more pronounced, but still not dislikeable. The raspberry note gets stronger when the tea cools too, but it’s still more butterscotch than anything else.

Although I bought it because it sounded delicious (and I was trying to pick up everything Butiki I could), I did wonder what the hell ‘raspberries and hazelnut butterscotch sauce’ meant, because I for sure haven’t come across it before. I had my doubts, not helped by the green tea base, and I did wonder if Stacy was making something completely random just to use up whatever flavourings she had left as she was closing up shop. I should have had more faith in her genius in seeing flavour combinations where others wouldn’t, because this is totally inspired.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Dustin

Sounds awesome!

Nattie

It is! I kinda wish it wasn’t, though ): lol

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92
drank Heaven's Trash by Butiki Teas
329 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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70
drank Happy Trails by Butiki Teas
329 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
329 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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78
drank Caribbean Rum Punch by Butiki Teas
329 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
329 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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82
drank Peppermint Patty by Butiki Teas
329 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.

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

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76

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.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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76

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.

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

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67
drank Cider Guayusa by Butiki Teas
329 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.

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

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60
drank Birthday Cake by Butiki Teas
329 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.

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

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97
drank Peach HoppiTea by Butiki Teas
329 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.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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97
drank Peach HoppiTea by Butiki Teas
329 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.

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

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71
drank Spiced Nog by Butiki Teas
329 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.

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

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71
drank Rhubarb Vanilla Ale by Butiki Teas
329 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.

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

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86

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.

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

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55
drank Tamarind Pop by Butiki Teas
329 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.

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

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75

Alright so usually I’d thank whoever sent the tea my way before I got into my tasting note, but this one was actually sent to me by MissB, Janelle and VariaTEA on three separate occassions, so thank you everyone!

Wow, this is a strong-smelling tea! The particular sample I’m drinking from tonight was from MissB, and even though it was from pretty much the first tea package I ever received almost three years ago it was packaged really well and is still packing a punch – I almost choked when I sniffed the dry leaf! I did stick my nose right in the pouch, though… I never expected to enjoy this tea, because as a concept I find root beer to be really weird. Floats, I can get behind – sticking ice cream on the top of some fizzy pop? count me in! – but root beer itself always seemed weirdly medicinal to me, and therefore not really a flavour I wanted to be drinking in my pop. On my first sip of the tea my mind was not changed. It does taste a lot like root beer, which I was simultaneously impressed and disappointed with, but when it’s hot and flat it doesn’t seem quite as strange to me for some reason. I added half a sugar out of curiosity and it didn’t really do much, except maybe add to the tooth-rotting pop impression. The vanilla note is there too, but doesn’t really convey ice cream to me since that’s pretty impossible to do in a hot liquid form. My brother, who likes root beer, was very impressed with this one and would have drank the whole mug if I hadn’t infected it with my cold germs before he could.

I must be enjoying this one more than I thought, because as I’m writing up this note I’ve guzzled down most of my mug and seem to be contemplating making another right away. Maybe I’ll take some to work with me tomorrow Sunday lunch service is hectic and I start 4-6 hours earlier than I usually do; I’m going to need matcha smoothie levels of energy.

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

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61

Good morning, Steepster! I’m starting my day with a cup of this from a swap I did with KittyLovesTea.

…So I wrote that a couple of hours ago, and then apparently got so distracted watching Doctor Who that I never finished the note. Oops. Other notes for this tea will probably follow pretty soon, since I’ve moved it to my focus box because it’s pretty old, so for now I’ll just write as much as my memory allows. The flavour of this was quite mild, but not to the point of the Decaf Raspberry Chocolate Waffle. I remember worrying the whole time I was drinking it that my sense of taste was failing me again. I’ve since eaten and had more tea so I don’t think that was the case, but I do think it’s probably due to the tea’s age. It wasn’t bad mild, just milder than I’d hope for my first cup of tea of the day. Cinnamon and spices dominate, but – particularly after adding sugar – there is also a vanilla cream cheese frosting aspect which is definitely discernible. I swear I could taste the carrot, too, in the aftertaste, and the malty, slightly bready base tea really helps to convey the overall ‘carrot cake’ flavour. I’d really like to try a cold brew of this one, but I don’t think I have enough leaf left to try it out.

Thanks for sharing, Kayleigh!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Evol Ving Ness

A focus box! Brilliant. On it.

Nattie

Haha it’s very helpful sometimes!

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61

Last Janelle sample of the night – thanks as always!

I don’t know if this is actually pretty flavourless, or whether my sense of taste is disappearing again. Today I noticed that I’m starting to come down with a headcold, and my sinuses are playing up a lot again, so there’s a good chance that it’s me and not the tea. I hope not, I’m lost without tea all hours of the day. A few other tasting notes have mentioned the flavour being weak too though, and that and the fact that I can taste the flavours, only weak, makes me think that it is the tea. Other than Harney’s Vanilla Comoro I’m yet to find a decent decaf that tastes as good as regular caffeinated tea, so I’m not too surprised. Still, the scent of the tea steeping was lovely raspberry and waffles, so I’m a little disappointed that the flavour doesn’t live up to the scent. I could barely taste anything plain, so added sugar – a little too much in my haste – and even though it’s super sweet now it’s much better because I can taste more of the flavours that are supposed to be there. The raspberry comes through first, a little tart, and is followed by the waffle which I will admit I didn’t expect to be able to taste. It finishes with a lingering raspberry note, but this time it comes across as more of a sweet raspberry. Maybe because of the waffle? I don’t get chocolate at any point, which surprised me because Butiki’s chocolate flavouring in similar blends has came across very well, especially since I’m not usually a fan of chocolate in teas. Still, I’d rather no chocolate than bad chocolate. As the tea starts to cool the flavours are coming across a little more, but it’s still a very delicate cup. I think in my final cup I will use less water and steep for a longer time in hopes of eking out more flavour.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

Thank you for parting with enough of your stash that I may try this, ohfancythat!

I’m a big fan. I didn’t necessarily expect to be, since I’m not big on marmalade or green tea, but this is really, really nice! Plus it only has a rating of 77 on Steepster, which is pretty low for a Butiki. I tried this plain and was shocked by the authenticity of the marmalade note immediately. The pistachio is more subtle, but the nuttiness is lovely with the orange, and it goes well with the base too, which is only a tiny bit vegetal and actually really smooth. I didn’t get a ‘toffee’ flavour or feel from it, but I added some sugar and it amps up the jamminess of the marmalade to the point where it feels like a sticky dessert. The pistachio is also more present with sugar. I drank most of it straight away then let the last few mouthfuls cool while I wrote this note, but now it’s cold the orange is zingier and the pistachio note is coming through more. Nommy!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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81

Resteeped my leaves, since it seemed a shame not to when it used so much to begin with. The melon flavour is definitely more subdued this time, but I think the coffee note is even more pronounced. In the first cup the base tea seemed to support the flavours, which were the star of the show, but this time it’s the other way around. The cantaloupe note does come through first, but the main body of the tea is classically darjeeling notes. It’s a fairly floral tea, which pairs well with the supporting melon note, and also has some earthiness which is well matched with the espresso. Everything is much more evenly balanced in this cup than the last. As it starts to cool the tea becomes slightly bitter, so it’s definitely best drank hot. For the second time this week I’m regretting throwing out my leaf after the second steep without tasting the tea; this could easily have gone for a third.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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