I purchased this one from Ost in her stash sale. The second I saw two of Butiki’s straight blacks on her list, I pounced! They just so happened to be two blacks that I hadn’t purchased but was curious about. Gotta love how that works out sometimes. :P Anyway, I decided to cheat this morning and try this tea instead of drinking one of the black teas I’m supposed to be sipping down. Naughty! The leaves look surprisingly similar to a very tippy Yunnan. There are a ton of fuzzy metallic golden buds mixed with darker leaves. Dry scent is slightly malty and sweet (I confess, I stored this in a tin that used to house a fruity tea and I don’t think I let it air out long enough, so it smells slightly fruity too). I followed the recommended instructions aside from the water temperature.

Brewed, the tea smells very strong and malty/bready with some earth notes and a bit of sweetness. Whoa, I was not ready for the taste. I don’t have any experience with Assam teas, and I’m finding this to be extremely strong and quite earthy. I think I now know what “brisk” means when describing tea. Once I got past the initial taste, I found a fruity sweetness in the second half of the sip. There’s definitely a dark cocoa flavor that almost borders on bitterness, and a little spurt of floral in the aftertaste which was rather unexpected!

Overall, I was really surprised by the strength and intensity of this tea, especially after looking at the dry leaves. But the experience was a pleasant one for me, and I feel like my tongue got more and more used to the strong earthy flavor as I kept drinking. I think in the future, I’ll try this one with sugar or milk and see how that changes it. :)

Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Cocoa, Dried Fruit, Earth, Floral, Malt

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m a 30-something software engineer currently living in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two pugs, Gobo and Ume. I tend to cycle between my different hobbies, and they include knitting, video games, board games, miniature painting, bento, baking, and – of course – TEA! But really, what I’m best at is collecting hobby related-things… ;)

~ June Sipdowns: 38
~ Total 2021 Sipdowns: 359

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I will often sweeten iced tea. I brew Western style, and fluctuate between using mugs or teapots with small cups depending on the season. Occasionally I’ll brew Gongfu style when I’m in the mood. I also use a kyusu for Japanese teas.

I am always up for a swap! Just let me know if you’d like to try something in my cupboard.

Current Subscriptions:
Bird & Blend
Dessert by Deb
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms. These days, I drink mostly flavored teas, and I tend to gravitate most toward black, green, and oolong varieties. I do have a special fondness for straight Japanese green teas, however. I also enjoy maté, rooibos, honeybush, and herbal tisanes. I love matcha and drink it often!

Fruit: All of them! My ‘go-to’s tend to be in the red fruits, stonefruit, or citrus spectra. I also really love apple, banana, berry, fig, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially passionfruit, mango, and pineapple. I am not generally a fan of coconut in tea, though there are some exceptions.

Dessert: I love creamy vanilla and marshmallow flavors, along with anything in the caramel family such as butterscotch, toffee, or maple. Chocolate is also a favorite, though I’m often disappointed by it in tea. And don’t forget anything buttery, cakey, or cookie-y!

Floral: I’m a little bit more particular in this category. I very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura and chamomile. But I’m not crazy about rose or lavender flavors, and I prefer hibiscus in moderation only.

Spices: I don’t generally find myself drawn to masala chai, but I do enjoy spices combined with other flavors. My favorite spices are the warm ones, especially cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and cardamom. A bit of heat from black pepper or chili is okay too, as long as it’s not overwhelming! Ginger can be a lovely accent, but I find it difficult to drink as a starring flavor.

Aromatics: I’m obsessed with Earl Grey! I also love cooling flavors such as mint (especially spearmint), pine, juniper, and eucalyptus. I am not a fan of strong rosemary or sage in tea.

Favorite Purveyors:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Taiwan Tea Crafts
Yunnan Sourcing

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! Permanent cupboard resident
80-89: Great – a possible staple
70-79: Good, but I wouldn’t buy it
60-69: It’s decent
50-59: Meh… I may or may not have finished the cup
40-49: Ick. Couldn’t finish it.
00-39: Repulsive, I spat it out

I will sometimes refrain from rating a tea if I feel I’m too biased due to my personal dislikes, or if I suspect the sample has been compromised by age.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:


Austin, Texas



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