620 Tasting Notes


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.

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

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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!

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

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Sipdown! (69/377)

Yet another sample from Janelle, and possibly not even my last one of the night. Yep, this is weird. It’s weird because it’s not as weird as I expected it to be. Even though so many people said it works, I just couldn’t marry the idea of cantaloupe with coffee in my head, and I was convinced until I tried it that it was going to be a car crash of a tea. I don’t mind admitting I was wrong.

The cantaloupe scent was strong as the tea was steeping up until around the second minute, when something darker took over. The same goes in the flavour, for the most part – in the initial sip the cantaloupe is the first note you pick up on, with something a little intriguing in the background. The aftertaste is mostly darjeeling, a little astringent, floral and a touch earthy with the espresso note mingling with it fairly naturally. I can only pick up on it clearly at the very end of the sip, and I’d say it mostly gives depth to the melon flavour. Adding sugar makes the melon note even more clear, and a little more distinct from the other flavours. A drop of cream, because it seemed like the creaminess would round it out well, cuts back on the astringency from the base and makes the melon meld more naturally with the darker flavours. This is a well-named tea! I’m not a cantaloupe fan and yet I find myself really enjoying this tea. I’m relieved, too, since the last couple of Butiki samples I’ve had have fell short of the unfairly high expectations I have from any tea bearing the name. This is more like the Butiki I know, love and miss! Weird, but good. I’m keeping my leaf to attempt a resteep.

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

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drank Chocolate Flake Tea by Teapigs
620 tasting notes

Upping the rating from 34 because since getting a whole box of this for Christmas last year (I guess the year before now) it has grown on me slightly. Very slightly. I’d still rather drink a plain cup of tea than this and it still reminds me more of cocoa butter than chocolate but it’s sweet and not terrible. I do like the Teapigs black base, but I’m not keen on the oily film this leaves on top of the tea. LiberTEAS has posted a really positive note on this, so I’m doubting myself a little… maybe I’ll try her parameters next time. I think I should try it with sugar, too.

Boiling 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Ruby Pie by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

Thank you Janelle for sending this my way! I’m getting through my Butiki samples pretty well, I think.

I’m glad I have another cup’s worth to play with, because this was totally not what I was expecting at all. Definitely going to change up the steeping parameters next time. My first sip was plain and I was taken aback by the flavour, not necessarily in a good way. What I got was mostly astringency and a pretty potent sour note, followed by some weird metallic fruitiness, possibly due to the hibiscus, and then something stale (my own fault, probably, since this is around a year and a half old now and it has real biscuits in it – a whole one in my sample). The wet leaf smelled amazingly sweet and of strawberries so I had high hopes, but it didn’t really translate well into the flavour, which was mostly rhubarb in the fruity aspect. I immediately added a whole sugar, which brought out more of the strawberry note but didn’t help the astringency, then added milk which finally did. This way it’s a lot more like what I expected – jammy and tart in a rhubarb intentional way rather than a weird off-putting sour way, with the strawberry note being most prominent in the sip. The aftertaste brings out a crumbly pastry sort of vibe, followed by a much more enjoyable rhubarb note. I took the bunny graham out of my scoop so that I could have it in my second and last cup instead, so I’m hoping the pastry will be more prominent next time around. I think I’ll steep it for longer too, to see if that helps bring out more of the intended flavours, and just resign myself to the knowledge that I’ll have to add milk. Overall I do like the idea, and it’s the first tea I’ve tried that accurately gets across the ‘pie’ idea, but I think it’s probably past its best and I don’t think I’m a big fan of the base it uses. Sorry, Stacy and Sil!

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

Yeah, I liked the idea of this one, its flavour combinations, but somehow it didn’t wow me, even when it was fresh.


Oh really? Maybe it’s not entirely my fault, then.

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drank Jasmine Pearls by Curious Tea
620 tasting notes

Aw rats, apparently I never added this to my cupboard so that’s almost another 2oz of tea to get through! I bet I never added the Golden Monkey King either…

I chose this tea because I wanted to do a cold brew and none of the teas in my current rotation spoke to me for it. I used a 600ml filter water bottle which I’m now repurposing for cold brews only, 3tsp of leaf, and left it in the fridge for around 36 hours. This is potent. The jasmine flavour is very strong, but not chemically tasting, or at least not to me – I told my mam to try it (I took it with us while we went grocery shopping) and after taking a sip she squealed and said “that was a nasty trick to play!” so I don’t think she liked it very much! She seemed genuinely surprised when I told her I wasn’t playing a trick and really did just want her to try a tea that I liked. I guess if you’re not used to it the jasmine could come off as overpowering, but I think a lot of that is to do with my long brew time. The green and white tea base is mostly smooth but starting to get a little bit astringent, so I think that if I cold-brewed this again I would try it for 24 hours and maybe use slightly less leaf. The pearls are really tightly balled up so that even though I only used 3 tsps, by the end of the steep the leaf took up almost half of the water bottle. It was really beautiful to watch, though.

Iced 8 min or more 3 tsp 20 OZ / 600 ML

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drank Mango Lassi by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

Sipdown! (68/376)

In my Butiki drink-a-thon this month I thought it would be a good idea to get my samples out of the way first, if anything just to give me some place to start. This one came to me thanks to the wonderful MissB, along with a couple others I’ll be drinking down soon.

It’s not my favourite, but it’s not my least favourite either. For a rooibos I actually enjoy it quite a bit, but I seem to be going off rooibos at the moment. It’s definitely a noticeably present rooibos, not one that shrinks away into the background and hides, but it’s not an overpowering chemical tasting rooibos either. It’s one I can live with. The mango note is clearest in the sip, mixing with the woody rooibos in a way I don’t hate. There’s a very slight creaminess to it if I concentrate, but not enough to remind me of lassi. I can’t taste any spices at all, especially when plain. I added a little sugar (I really need to stop) which brought out the mango flavour a little more and maybe a hint of cardamom but that really could just be the power of suggestion. A splash of skimmed milk mellows out the rooibos and turns the fresh mango note into a creamy one which does actually remind me of mango yoghurt. It’s a little bit sweet for me with both additives, and I actually think I would have preferred it with just milk. No matter how hard I try I can’t find the spices at all, which leaves this at ‘mango yoghurt’ rather than lassi for me. I’m not sad to see it go, but I’m not happy either. I have 52oz of Butiki teas (I know) – not including samples – to go through, and there are ones I will miss way more than this.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Resteep of my leaves from this morning. It tastes practically the exact same! Honestly the grapefruit note is coming through just as strong as it did this morning, and so is the Crimson Horizon. It’s a little weird having something that tastes so much like breakfast this late on in the day, but I can deal with it. I threw the leaves out before trying the second steep, and I’m wishing I hadn’t because I think I could have gotten another one or two steeps out of it easily. Still, at least we parted on good terms. I rectified this morning’s mistake by adding rock sugar and no milk, and it tastes much better. Just how it should. The custardy cream note I was picking up on this morning isn’t there any more, but I’m not missing it. I’m upping my rating from 69 because honestly, for a resteep it’s pretty amazing.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Sipdown 67/376!

Thanks to Janelle once again for the opportunity to try this.

Sadly this sample was another victim to the ravages of time, I think. I didn’t have quite enough leaf left over, because I’d drank this before (and remember it being nicer then, too) and had maybe overleafed a little. So this time I had a smaller cup to make up for it, rather than underleafing, and I can’t say it helped very much. There wasn’t much left of the watermelon flavour, particularly when hot it was nonexistent, but the white tea base had also significantly faded to the point where it was slightly floral with not much else, and hardly any body. Watermelon is a tricky flavour anyway, since it’s not exactly a strong one to begin with, so I hadn’t hoped for much particularly knowing how old my sample was and how poorly I’d stored it, so again I’m taking onus for that one. At least I wasn’t too disappointed. Stacy does recommend adding sugar, which helped, and letting the cup cool, which also helped to some extent. It was never the flavour explosion that some Butiki teas are, but with the added sugar and the lower temperature it was quite enjoyable. The watermelon flavour is subtle, but sweet and juicy and does work well with the base. It’s as good a watermelon tea as I’ve found.

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Ah, Rory the Roman. I drank this earlier watching the end of DW series 5 and it was tasty as always. My version of this blend is the old one with sweet potato, and I really think that that’s the element that makes this tea so yummy. I’m sad that it got discontinued, because I’d likely keep this in stock if it were still a part of the blend. I didn’t review Amy or 11 when I drank them but I’m finished going through my DW sampler again now. I’ll give more detailed notes on those (and this) later but for now I’m concentrating on my Butiki stash.

Drank with milk and sugar.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara McGee’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a good few years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years (and have purchased several fandom tea sets including the Sherlock one I lusted over for so long).

Flavoured teas make up the majority of my collection, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I usually reach for a black, oolong or white tea base over a pu’erh or green tea, though I do have my exceptions. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: I’m generally easily pleased and will enjoy most flavours, but my absolute favourites are maple, caramel, chestnut, pecan, raspberry, coconut, blueberry, lemon, pumpkin, rose, hazelnut and peach

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander/cilantro, cardamom, liquorice, pineapple and chocolate

I am a 25 year old bartender, English Literature sort-of-graduate and current student working towards finishing my degree. I am hoping to one day complete a masters degree in Mental Health Social Work and get a job working in care. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV watching, football/soccer (Sunderland AFC supporter and employee of my local football club), music, artsy weird makeup, and learning new things (currently British Sign Language).

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.
Currently unable to swap as I’ve returned after a long hiatus to a cupboard of mostly-stale teas I’m trying to work through before I let myself purchase anything fresh

I also tend to ramble on a bit.


South Shields, UK

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