111 Tasting Notes

drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
111 tasting notes

So I’ve had this matcha for a few months now, and I’ve drunk it many times trying to make this taste the best.

I got it robust flavor, with basic grade. This was a mistake. The matcha is closer to being mud brown than it is to bright green, or even dark green. Worst of all, is underneath the buttery sweet caramel scent, I can smell that this is very bitter. It reflects that way in taste, too. It doesn’t matter how much I whisk it, or how cool the water temperature it is or how little matcha I use — for drinking warm that is — right after the pleasantly sweet caramel and vegetal flavors is an intense bitter taste that feels like a punch in the teeth.
Mind you, it was less bitter at a cooler temperature, but it was still undrinkable prepared in the traditional way.

Doctoring it up as a latte with a sugar is an improvement, but it still tastes subpar, and I didn’t order this in order to load up on the calories. I wanted something healthy but still pleasantly sweet. So this is in itself is a negative.

Finally I’ve discovered the way to make this palatable. Shaken with cold milk. The bitterness is finally gone, and I’m finally tasting what I had hoped to taste. Pleasant vegetal notes with extremely buttery and mouthwatering caramel. I can actually put a full teaspoon in a 12oz serving and be totally happy. This is still a bit disappointing though, because this wasn’t how I wanted to drink matcha. But at least I’m not needing to add sugar in this method. I can say honestly though that it tastes very good like this, even if this wasn’t the way I wanted to drink it.

I’m relieved that I’ll be able to finish it afterall now, because as a Canadian this was crushingly expensive, and I didn’t like the prospect of just tossing it.

I hate being such a downer, especially since everyone loved this so much, but I felt I should be honest.

If I order again — very doubtful — I’ll leave the flavor at delicate and instead put the money to upgrading the grade of matcha. Hopefully a lighter flavor setting will also make the matcha happier and tastier when prepared as a warm drink.


I noticed that the MATCHAccino is on sale for the next few days at half price in caramel flavor. I thought about ordering with the upgraded base. Even the upgrade gets discounted, so it would be really interesting to compare.


Hmm, I’m sort of tempted now too. I really wanted to love this, but … ugh. It’s the price that’s making me hesitate though. I understand why matcha is pricey, but if it was more accessible for a Canadian I would’ve happily leapt to try this with an upgraded base.

But if it’s half off then it’s worth a try, heh. :D Does the MATCHAccino version have sugar? I noticed it does have calories, so there’s something different about it.


Yes, it does have sugar. I have the regular caramel matcha, basic grade and robust flavor level. My hubby loves it for hot lattes and I like it for cold ones. I add about one tablespoon of sugar for 16 to 20 ounces of milk. The MATCHAccino says to use one tablespoon of the mix for eight ounces of latte, but I tasted the beta versions and the finished product and found that I liked it fine with one tablespoon for my large glass, so I am really using about half of what they call for. I would like to try it with the royal base, though! I experimented with making my own instant latte mix, and I used the information on calories and amounts from Rishi Sweet Matcha. I came up with a ratio of one part matcha to five parts sugar, and that is for a pretty sweet (to me) latte. You could use less sugar, though.


Hmmm, you work at Starbucks! Your Tazo Matcha is presweetened for the green tea lattes isn’t it? I wonder how it compares to Rishi sweet matcha. I know we can’t buy it in stores. I think it is only made for Starbucks.


Ooh, if that’s what it takes to make it taste good, not sure I want it. DX; I’ve been trying to cut back on the sugar (not entirely out mind you, but trying to watch it) so… I might just try the regular matcha with an upgraded base. That might make the difference. But I’ll work on finishing this as cold drinks in the meantime.

And yes, you are right. The Tazo Matcha is not only sweetened (I’m talking about the powder, not about the Classic syrup that gets added for some reason) but it’s actually the first ingredient! There’s more sugar than green tea, which is pretty scary. I don’t like our matcha. I can get it for free during my work days, but I’m not interested. It’s too sugar-loaded. If it was just a little bit of sugar I’d be okay with that, but it’s got a ton.


I told my daughter how much sugar I believed was in it when I looked at the calorie count and at the amounts that are put in, and she started ordering hers with no syrup at all. She found it to be plenty sweet enough.


Yes, it’s very sweet. When I tried it, I got it without the classic too since the powder is pre-sweetened. It’s too sweet for me. XD; It’s too bad, because for me that’s the cheapest matcha available, heh.

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So I’ve learned a lot with tea. I learned a lot about the sorts of blacks I like, that I enjoy white tea, that I essentially don’t like green tea — as in enough to keep in the house, if offered I’d happily drink a cup — except for a couple exceptions, that I’ve almost completely lost my taste for flavored teas (though something about that Foxy Roxy Banana Walnut Treat is addictive. I greedily drank through that ounce and wish I had more. What did you put in there Stacy? Haha, just kidding), and that so far my limited experience with oolongs has been a positive one! :)

I’m also discovering that I’m not a big fan of Darjeeling teas. Which is okay, I’m super glad I tried them! I definitely don’t regret taking the chance and ordering some, because even when it turns out I don’t like something, the experience is still fun. That said, this one seems to be the exception because I actually did really like this one!

Since it’s an oolong, I steeped it loose in a 12oz pot and then strained it. The flavor was quite nice, I definitely tasted the pine needle, and I picked up on a pleasant fruit note that was quite juicy, though I didn’t identify it as melon. (I drank this blind and then looked at the description to compare) I tasted more going on too in this cup, but clearly my palate isn’t quite sophisticated enough to identify what each flavor was, and it was ever so slightly floral at the swallow.

Second infusion was also lovely. The fruit receded and had a nuttiness that was still sweet from the pine and floral. This probably could’ve gone further than a second, but I had to rush to work. Overall this was a lovely cup, and I’m already scheming to try another oolong or two come June :)

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Ruby Pie by Butiki Teas
111 tasting notes

Argh, I’ve been having a bit of an awkward week. Fairly busy, and the way my work schedule’s been, I only have time to have one cup of tea before work and then I pretty much only have time for one after work because by the time I’ve had dinner and my shower, I need to go to bed in two hours which is my cut-off for tea.

So despite all of my lovely teas that newly arrived, I haven’t had time to write many tasting notes.

Generally if I have such a limited amount of teas in a day, I won’t have any flavored ones. They’re just a low priority for me generally. (excluding Earl Grey. I treat Earl Greys the same as unflavored tea.) Today though is different. Today was the last day for my favorite co-worker, who feels like a close friend to me. I took her leaving very, very hard. Some people on here might remember me mentioning having a crummy day a couple weeks ago. That was when she told me she was quitting.
So hence the desserty teas today (I had Banana Walnut Treat earlier today, which was even tastier than I remembered) for cheer-ups. Anyway, onward to Ruby Pie!

The leaf amuses me. All the red bits from the strawberries, and cute chocolate-chip graham character pieces mixed in. It’s both pretty and cute at the same time! The scent has a bit of a lip gloss-ness to it — which is weird since there are actual strawberries in here — but you can’t go by smell alone, so still looking to trying this!

Anyway, since this is a fruity black tea, I was a bit apprehensive about adding milk to this. Adding milk is my habit for black teas, but I don’t like fruit+milk as a combo. So I poured some of this into another cup in case milk ruined it, in which case I’d still have some left. Turns out this was a good decision. With milk, it kills all the hibiscus which even though that’s normally an improvement, in the case of this tea it’s not. The amount of hibiscus in here isn’t enough to take over, but instead gives the rhubarb a more realistic flavor by giving it a slightly tart taste. It gives it a slight fakey taste when the hibiscus is lost. HOWEVER, with milk, the pie crust notes are far more detectable.

Without milk the fruit flavor is better. It doesn’t taste like lipgloss, and the hibiscus adds a pleasantly tart flavor without making you pucker. The black tea base isn’t bitter, so you don’t suffer without milk in that regard either. However, without milk, I don’t really taste the pie-crust notes so much.

So while this tea wasn’t perfect in that it appears you sort of have to pick rather than getting the best of both worlds (maybe milk+sugar is the magic combo? I should try that at some point), overall it is quite good! :) I LOVE the pie-crust notes the milk provides, and the fruit flavor without milk is wonderful! Now if I could just merge both together, this would be perfect, haha xD

Overall I like this with milk better. I really like having the pie crust notes. :)

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Dare I say it? Am I being too impulsive by already saying that this has become one of my favorite teas?

Eh, let’s say it. I think it’s safe. This tea was so great! It’s the first Golden Monkey I’ve tried, and I think it’s pretty safe to say I’ve found a winner. :) It had a very interesting taste. It tasted chocolately, yet it was fruity, and yet it was also had a slight tinge of pepper too. Very slight mind you, the tea is very pleasantly sweet! I practically guzzled the cup, and I have my next infusion steeping now. The shelf life on the package said 36 months. As if this’ll be around for three years. More like three days. Haha. Next time I order this, I’ll be sure to order it with a tin. This’ll be a permanent one. Very glad I was confident and ordered a good pouch rather than just a sample.

I’m feeling much more comfortable about my likes with black teas. I tend to love them either very bold and roasty, or really naturally sweet. I enjoy the nutty ones, and I’m not a huge fan of super peppery ones, nor super smokey ones as I discovered with lapsang souchong.

Edit: Second infusion, the chocolatey and fruity notes have really receded, and it’s mostly hayish now. It’s still quite flavorful, and really good! I’ll be sure to try a third infusion. :)

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Got this as one of my samples from my first Teavivre order! :D

Well this is my first lapsang souchong. I felt it was a type of tea I ought to try, but so far I’m not terribly sure if I like it! I always thought of myself as someone who liked a smoky taste, but yeah… wow. Heh. One thing I can tell you though, is that it tastes like the old campfires from days dearly missed with the family on camping trips from my childhood.

In the sense of the nostalgia, I love it dearly, as it brings back so many memories. If I close my eyes, I can almost swear I’m in front of a nighttime campfire at Christina Lake. It doesn’t taste entirely like smoke, I definitely can taste the wood they used in the fire. I feel like this would be best drunk outside in the fresh air with the birds chirping. I think I might wander outside with this in fact.

All that said though, while I’m happy to go down a trip on memory lane, I think I’d rather think about my camping memories than drink them. I’m happy I tried this, as I really felt like this was something I should try as a black tea lover.

EDIT: yeah, not loving it. Made it halfway through the cup and just tossed it. xD; Definitely glad it was a sample, and still happy that I finally tried a lapsang souchong for the first time.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Haha. I’m named after Christina Lake! But the nurse spelled my name wrong. :) I feel the same way about lapsang souchong. For me, they’re a tea for sniffing or cooking with.


No kidding? Haha, that’s cool! Well it’s a beautiful lake and area to be named after, that’s for sure. It’s my happy place, full of good memories.

Well it was sort of enjoyable for a few sips, but after that I was done. Definitely loved the smell too though.

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Yay! I’m so excited. I feel so privileged to get to try this. Unless I’m just sleepy and was stupid with the search, this tea is neither on Steepster’s database, nor is it available to purchase yet.

Anyway, I got a sample of this with my Butiki order. Stacy asked if I was interested, and I immediately responded with a resounding YES even though I detest all kinds of soda, and I’ve never had honeybush ever. It just sounded so fascinating, I had to try it.

I held out the dry leaf to everybody and asked what they thought it smelled like without telling them what it was. They all said rootbeer! You know when something smells authentic when you can tell that story. :) Anyway, this smells and tastes so much like rootbeer that it’s mind blowing. Even though I’m drinking it hot, it feels so much like I have a glass of rootbeer, that I can almost swear there’s even fizz in this, haha.

Now, I don’t really taste “float” (AKA ice cream) but I’m drinking this without sugar, so it’s entirely possible that you’ll get more of an ice creamy flavor with sugar. This tastes so much like rootbeer, that it’s actually unbelievable. I honestly didn’t think this was possible.

For anyone who even mildly likes rootbeer, definitely pick some of this up when it’s available! :)

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Butiki Teas

I think you are the only customer that has tried this. :) I don’t remember sending it out to anyone else. I’m pretty sure you had an early version of this honeybush. We have been working on increasing the “float”. I’m glad that you are enjoying it! :)


That sounds right up my alley! Definitely putting it on the list for the next order. :)


This sounds fantastic! Adding it to my list as well. :)

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drank Premium Chai by Butiki Teas
111 tasting notes

Hooray! My big box of Butiki arrived today! :) My sister asked me “How was your shift?” as I came into the door, already tearing into the box. My response was, “Who cares, look what I’ve got! :D” as I started pulling out the almost embarrassing amount of pouches of tea from the box and onto the counter.
(I did have a good shift though, mind you. But even if I didn’t, it’d be forgotten at this point anyway)

The only sad thing though is that by the time I had a quick shower, and a quick dinner, this’ll probably be the only tea I get to drink. It’s 7:50PM right now, and I have to get up at 4:30AM tomorrow for my early shift, so … yeah. Technically I probably shouldn’t be having any caffeinated ones at all, but … How can you tell yourself that when a huge beautiful box that contains 98% black tea that you have to wait until after 12:00PM tomorrow? You can’t.
(By the way Stacy, thanks for the little present! Such a nice surprise, and very pretty. :D)

Anyway, so here we are with the tea. This is one of the samples I requested with my order. At the scent of the dry leaves, I’m getting pretty excited. See I’m crazy picky with chai. In the sense that I have yet to find my ideal perfect chai. This smells pretty close to that. Mostly cinnamony+cardamomy, but still with a good kick.

I’m drinking it now with milk, and then added a bit of brown sugar. Afterall, what is a chai without milk and brown sugar? Anyway, this is very good! It’s mostly cinnamon which is fantastic, as I have a bit of a fixation on cinnamon… (it goes on oatmeal, red river cereal, pancakes, French toast, hot chocolate, cheerios, blueberry bagels, raisin toast, buttered toast, vanilla ice cream, apple crisp/crumble/pie … and I’m sure I’m forgetting something)

While it is mostly cinnamon, it’s more complex than say DavidsTea’s Pure Chai (which it should be, the whole point of that DT one was to be simple) I get a bit of cardamom taste and it has a pleasant burning spiciness, but in a the cranked up cinnamon way, rather than pepper and ginger that brings roast beef to mind.

I’m curious to see what this would taste like blended with Butiki’s Pumpkin Crème Brulee… I’ll be sure to pick up a bit of that along with this sometime in the future. That’s a combo worth exploring. :)

All in all, this is excellent! As of this note, so far this chai is the closest to my ideal, so I’m quite thrilled. Thanks for the chance to try this, Stacy! :)

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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I’ve gotten wiser with re-steeping, so I can now get three excellent infusions, and a fourth still worth drinking infusion. I love the third steep. Not as good as the first, but much better than the second. It goes super creamy, and tastes exactly like how I imagine sweet potatoes do in my head. (But I could be way wrong, I’ve never had sweet potatoes before) Whatever that flavor is, it’s delicious :)

Everytime I have this tea, I have this impression of ‘why do I drink other teas?’ haha. I think this is gonna stay my favorite for a long, long time. It’ll take something mighty special to dethrone this. :)

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drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
111 tasting notes

I was very comforted to discover that I hadn’t written a tasting note for this tea yet. Having a tea on hand that I had yet to write about is helping suppress the urge to place an order at Verdant after already reaching my maximum for ordering for the month of May. (Yes, I did it that quickly. I need to learn to pace myself)

Anyway, I am glad I held off on writing a note for this. I went through a bizarre week where no matter what tea I drank, all I tasted was black pepper. ._. Even in Mi Xian Black which is currently the sweetest black tea — unflavored — I’ve ever had. I might’ve thought something had somehow gone terribly wrong were it not for the fact that I was even getting that taste in teas I’d already had in my stash and had drunk from, so it was clearly just me.

(Speaking of which Stacy, disregard my comment on how Hattialli Golden Lion Assam tasted on the long steep. That was during my BLACK PEPPER phase. When I order some up next, I’ll try the long steep again and tell you what I think. :D)

So because of that phase, the first time I drank this, it was just PEPPER so I took a break from drinking this until I went back to normal.

Anyway, I find this tea works great both at the 3 minute steep, and at a 4 minute steep. I vaguely taste a bit of a chocolate note — though it’s wrapped up in something I can’t quite put my finger on — and then just when I think it’s going to turn into CHOCOLATE, it then has a very strong nutty pecan like flavor that lingers after the sip.

I find if you hold it on your tongue longer, you can taste the cocoa-wrapped-in-something flavor longer, as the pecan taste comes more just when you’re swallowing.

This is my first Yunnan tea and overall I think it’s a very good experience. :) It’s a very nice cup. It has a very creamy texture even though the pecan gives you an impression that the tea tastes salty. (Which it doesn’t really, it’s just that I tend to associate nuts with salt)

While this didn’t leap to my favorite, I would definitely purchase this again. This tasting note was based on the three minute steep which is delicious, but I think I like a bit of a longer steep to really make the flavors pop a bit more.

DAY AFTER EDIT: Hmm, this time I’m tasting more chocolate with a hint of pecan. Funny how the more you have a tea, the different it becomes. If this is how I taste it from now on, this’ll definitely be a regular tea for me, yummy! :)

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Butiki Teas

I would say peppery does actually describe Hattialli Golden Lion Assam. I don’t think it’s overly peppery but I did notice a pepper note. That’s so interesting that you tasted peppery notes in tea for a week, especially with the Mi Xian.

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Hello! I’m a 24 year old Canadian, currently working at Starbucks while I figure out what I want to do with myself in life, haha.

Like most everyone else, I grew up with teabags, and then discovered the grass really WAS greener on the other side with loose leaf. Nowadays I drink nearly exclusively loose, but will drink a bagged tea if I don’t care what I’m having.

My favorite kind of tea is black, and unflavored, although I do enjoy an occasional dessert black. I like whites second best. I’ve recently been dipping my toes into honeybush tisanes, greens and oolongs.

My favorite vendors are Butiki Teas and Verdant Teas. Both have fantastic teas, above and beyond customer service (especially Butiki), and fair prices for their very high quality teas. I can’t recommend them enough.

Purely for tasting notes references, I don’t use any additives for my teas. Older tasting notes for blacks was with milk+sugar, and then with just milk. Whites, oolongs, greens and herbals are all drunk straight unless otherwise specified in the notes.



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