Gong Fu!

Another new to me Butiki blend that I’m trying courtesy of the wonderful Starfevre!

I couldn’t remember what teas made up this ‘breakfast blend’ like mix when I was steeping it, so I wasn’t sure if they were necessarily black teas that are usually Gong Fu brewed or more Western inclined. It was interesting trying it blind though, because it was kind of like a test for me. You know, can I decipher the common flavour notes associated with each kind of black tea in the mix?

All in all I got roughly ten infusions out of this one before the leaf had tapered off to a point where I wasn’t interested in infusing more. The predominant note I experienced throughout the entire session was that of raisins/muscatel grapes. I thought that was actually really weird because it’s not often that you see a Darjeeling tea in a breakfast blend, and given the name of the blend is seemed especially strange to me. I was really feeling that sort of second flush Darjeeling kind of profile, though. And you know what? Sure enough it turns out that there is Darjeeling in the mix!

Apart from that very strong part of the overall profile, there were also notes of malt, rye bread, lemon pith, and lilacs. The rye bread notes were more prominent in the first infusions which were stronger/more intense overall and then more of that lemon pith and subtle floral/lilac quality because noticeable near the end of the session where the flavours were a bit more tapped out and mild/less powerful.

It was very pleasant, and really quite interesting.

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/BiCksG9nyb-/?taken-by=ros_strange

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My name is Kelly. I’m a mid twenties tea drinker and reviewer living in Saskatchewan, Canada. I started drinking loose leaf fairly casually about five years ago, and at some point between then and now that ‘fun little hobby’ turned into a serious obsession.

You know you’ve got it bad when you get your hobby tattooed to your arm.

I’m a TAC certified Tea Sommelier!

Typically I drink flavoured blends more than straight but one of my mini goals is to get that ratio to a more 50/50 level. I do a daily cold brew, and have at least (but usually a lot more) two hot cups of tea every day. Naturally I lean towards black or white blends and as of late oolongs but I WILL drink everything; the last half year or so I’ve been challenging myself by further exploring Oolong and Pu’Erh which are the tea types I know the least about overall.

A personal goal of mine has been to do a proper Gong Fu session every week because it’s something I deeply enjoy doing but struggle to make time for. I can’t say I’ve been doing great staying on track with this goal, but I haven’t forgotten about it!

My default for preparation is Western Style with zero additives. The exception to this is matcha which I drink in straight milk with no additives. So unless I mention otherwise you can assume that I’ve prepared my tea Western style without added ingredients/sweeteners.

Favourite flavours/ingredients: Pear, lychee, cranberry, cream, melon, pineapple, malt, roasty, petrichor, sweet potato, heady florals like rose, walnut, and honey, but only in moderation.

Least favourite flavours/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, often Chai spices in general, mushrooms, overly vegetal or marine/seaweed, chamomile, sometimes mango or peach, stevia, saltiness, or anything that reminds me too much of meat that isn’t supposed to taste like meat…

Currently exploring/looking to try: Shou Pu’Erh or Dark/Roasted Oolong, Sweet Potato flavoured blends or straight teas with strong sweet potato notes, and anything with Goji berries. Also, I need to try ALL the root beer teas!

Tea Pet Reference Guide:

Clay Pixiu Dragons: Zak & Wheezie
Clay Goldfish: Dot
Clay Monkey: Enzo
Ruyao Carp: Splashy
Ruyao Frog: Bebe
Ceramic Rabbit: Rupert
Ceramic Horse: Bergamot
Ceramic Snail: Snicket
Wood Fired Old Man: Leopold

Currently I’m employed at DAVIDsTEA. While I’m still reviewing DAVIDsTEA blends I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any tea blends you currently see with a numeric score that are from DAVIDsTEA were reviewed prior to my being hired there.


SK, Canada



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