620 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.
Having this as my first cup of the day because none of my Butiki teas I should be drinking were calling to me for breakfast. It’s not as potent as it was when I first got it in my swap with Red Fennekin but it’s still very lovely. The bergamot note once was prominent, which is of course expected with this being an Earl Grey, but this time I found it to be much more subtle, with more of the focus on the grapefruit and rose notes. I have to say that the grapefruit flavouring is done beautifully – better, I think, than the Butiki grapefruit tea I tried. The flavour profile is unmistakably grapefruit, but without any sour or bitterness than makes it a lovely smooth citrus-y cup. Now grapefruit and bergamot seems like a logical combination in my head, with them both being citrus flavours, but rose seems to me like an odd thing to add. It really works, though! I’m a fan of rose teas anyway but this combination is something I’ve never come across before. The rose note is secondary to the grapefruit but adds a lovely floral back note which is hard to describe but just works for some reason. I drank this plain, and didn’t feel the need to add milk.
I have been sneezing all day and I can’t seem to stop. I’ve probably sneezed over 100 times today. It’s weird because it’s like allergies, watery itchy eyes and all, but there’s nothing different about my house and I haven’t been anywhere today. I just woke up suddenly apparently allergic to myself…
This tea is holding up pretty well, but not as well as I’d hoped given that it’s the only Butiki tea I bought in a tin. The ones in the regular paper bags seem to be holding up better! It’s still really enjoyable, though. Plain, it’s rich and chocolatey with a zesty orange backnote. The chocolate is definitely dark chocolate, and it pairs really well with the base tea. Butiki seem to have done lovely deep, rich chocolate teas that no other brand seems to be able to get right at the moment, hence my usual aversion to chocolate teas. The orange is zesty and compliments the dark chocolate and base without overpowering them, but if you add a little sugar it becomes fresh and juicy, much more prominent in the blend. The marshmallow root rounds out the tea pretty well and adds a really satisfying thick mouthfeel. I’ve never had this base on its own so I’m not entirely sure of its notes, but it’s really lovely and smooth with no astringency whatsoever. I added a touch of milk, not because it needed it but because I wanted it to be more of a dessert tea, and it definitely was! The chocolate turns into a sweeter milk chocolate note and the orange becomes candied, but never fake. The mouthfeel is super thick and rich too, and it’s almost like drinking a liquefied Terry’s Chocolate Orange, which pretty much sounds like a dream I’d have. The only issue with this is that as I said before about the tea ageing, I didn’t notice it at all until I added milk, but it brought out a slight ‘stale’ sort of flavour, which didn’t bother me too much because it was only slight, but I do think I preferred it before the milk. This seems to be my general opinion of black teas lately! At one time I rarely drank a black tea without milk, and now it seems about 50/50. Maybe my tastebuds are maturing…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.