620 Tasting Notes

83
drank Raspberry Truffle by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

200th TASTING NOTE ALERT!!!

Sipdown 61/375. Thanks to Janelle for sending me this sample!

Holy wowza. I have never come across a tea so authentically chocolatey before! If all chocolate teas were like this, it definitely wouldn’t be listed in my dislikes. I took great pains to follow Stacy’s steeping instructions, even calculating the volume of water to use based on the amount of leaf I had (not quite as much as Stacy recommends) and trying to find something to measure out the water in for so long that I had to reboil the kettle… twice. Oops. As soon as I poured the water over the leaf, I was shocked by how chocolatey and rich the scent became. I hadn’t been too kind to my poor little sample, and it was smushed into a box in a thin plastic bag with some other samples, so I’d been worried that the flavour would be lost or contaminated. As soon as I smelled the steeping tea, I stopped worrying. It’s very clearly dark chocolate, with a sharp raspberry note behind it, that really reminds me of a cocoa dusted raspberry chocolate truffle. The scent was so incredible that I couldn’t resist trying it part-way through steeping, at about the 2 minute mark. Amazing!! The chocolate and tea made themselves present first, matching very well and creating a dead-on chocolate truffle flavour. The raspberry was bright and fresh in the aftertaste, and the chocolate flavour lingered too, making the overall effect so perfect that I was so tempted to remove the steeper there and then and just drink it as it was. But (and here’s where I’m kicking myself) since it was my last of this tea I really wanted to drink it as recommended to give it a fair review, and so I left it for the remaining time. At the 4 minute mark I sniffed the liquor and my heart sank. The chocolate covered raspberry scent had all but disappeared, and sadly that was the case in the flavour, too. The chocolate and raspberry notes are still there, but masked by the incredibly strong base tea. The kundaly is a force of nature – it’s thick and malty with a hint of a citrus note, but a slight astringency too which would tempt me to add milk if the raspberry flavour didn’t seem too opposed to that idea. It’s actually a good black tea, and I would happily drink it with milk for a breakfast tea, it’s just a little too much after the full four minute steep. My dry leaf actually had a lot more smaller pieces than I’m used to with Butiki blends, and I’ve read a few reviews mentioning the base being weaker, so I would hazard a guess and say that I got some of the smaller pieces from the bottom of the batch which would explain the strong, astringent tea. I added a couple of pieces of brown rock sugar as per Stacy’s recommendation, and this really brought out the raspberry flavour. The chocolate is still present at the end of the sip, and the kundaly has chocolate-like notes of its own, so overall I would say that it’s still a very enjoyable tea. I just wish I’d gone with my instincts and stopped brewing when it was perfect! Still that’s my error, not the tea’s, so I won’t mark it down.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
Roswell Strange

Congrats on the landmark note!

Nattie

Thanks!

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95

One of my favourite Butiki teas, I think. The flavour is so perfectly ingrained in my memory that every time somebody drinks or mentions it I immediately have to brew myself a cup. The flavour is still going strong, much to my relief! It’s making me a bit angsty though because I’ve had to recently change my tea storage setup and I’m worried the new way won’t preserve the teas as well. I’m thinking about having a Butiki drink-a-thon in January to appreciate as much as I can while it’s still good.

Honestly this tea is a little bit genius. The dry leaf is beautiful and deliciously scented, and the whole time it’s steeping I can’t help sticking my head in the cup and inhaling. It’s almost as if something is baking! The initial sip reminds me of a lemon drizzle cake – lemon and butter notes are most prominent, and the lemon is a little more ‘zingy’ but there’s still that cakiness in the background that suggests this isn’t just another lemon tea (not that anything Butiki could be ‘just’ anything). The cream notes become more pronounced mid-sip and the flavour transforms into something more akin to lemon cupcake frosting. Finally, in the aftertaste the almond and vanilla notes become more prominent and meld perfectly into the buttery lemon to create a stunning lemon french macaron flavour which lingers for the longest time. My favourite way to drink this is plain, but with a hint of sugar the lemon flavour becomes more pronounced and it tastes more like I’d imagine a macaron with lemon curd would taste. Stacy recommends drinking it at lower temperatures, and incredibly the flavour gets even better as it cools. I’m going to be a very unhappy Nattie when the day comes that I run out of this. Luckily VariaTEA is coming to the rescue and sending me a couple of potential replacements!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
VariaTEA

I don’t know if I would call them replacements since this is pretty irreplaceable but they are creamy and lemon and hopefully tasty.

Nattie

Sadly I don’t think any of my Butiki favourites could be called ‘replaceable’. Gah, the wound is still so fresh ):

Nattie

Tasty creamy lemon sounds good to me!!

greenteafairy

If you do find anything approaching a replacement for this one, I’d love to know about it!

Nattie

greenteafairy If that happens I will let you know!

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94

Sipdown 60/375!!

Man this is the saddest sipdown I’ve had in a while. I truly loved this tea. It was as good at the end as when I first got it, and I still prefer it plain. Molasses and spices if you take careful little sips, pure liquefied apple if you take bigger ones. It all blends together so well and each time I drink this I crave apple strudel for days. Why did you have to go and close on me, Della Terra??

Please say that somebody out there knows of another seller that carries this tea or a blend similar? I’ll pay you handsomely in love.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
tea-sipper

Guess what… I think I know where this tea is: http://www.eastindiescoffeeandtea.com/tea
This is Della Terra’s old supplier. They sell wholesale but they also sell by two ounces if you e-mail them. I need to drink this tea tomorrow… I really like it and still have some.

tea-sipper

Oh, I just noticed you are in the UK. Not sure where East Indies co. mails to.

Nattie

Thanks, you’re a star!! Fingers crossed they’ll ship to me if I buy enough…

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79

Sipdown 59/375! Okay so now my cupboard’s up-to-date!

This was imo another great caffeine-free tea from Celestial Seasonings. It was sweet (I accidentally added sugar once. Big nope.) and thick and soothing and I wish I could remember more about it to give a more detailed note. If CS were available in the UK I would definitely stock up on a few of their herbal blends.

Thank you so much to the incredible Marzipan for sending this to me. You’re a star!

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79

Apparently this tea never made it to my cupboard! I got a whole box of it from M a while ago (very generously, thank you so much!!), and for some reason just never added it to my cupboard or spreadsheet, or wrote up any notes on it. It’s like a ghost tea! I drank Santa’s Secret earlier today and got to thinking about other candy cane/minty vanilla teas, and remembered that this one had been really good. For a green, and a bagged green too, I was super impressed with the smoothness of the base. It was a decaf too, so I drank it at all times through the day and the box didn’t last me very long at all. Maybe that’s why it never made it into my cupboard. I’ve only tried a few Celestial Seasonings teas, but those I have have either been really delicious or completely horrible. I’m glad this was one of the delicious ones!

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63

Sipdown 58/375 – and that’s the last of them. My cupboard should be up-to-date now.

I love Mrs. Hudson, but this tea was never my favourite (nor was it my least favourite). It was nice and all, but the almond flavour just seemed a bit lost to me. Sure, it tasted slightly biscuit-y, but I always just kind of wanted more from it. Still, it’s going on my wishlist because I want to give it a proper review.

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82

Sipdown 57/375

Again I’m cheating, because this wasn’t in my real-life cupboard and it’s been so long since the actual sipdown that I can barely remember when it was. I LOVED this tea though; it really did taste like cake. I’ve added it straight back to my wishlist and as long as Adagio still stocks it in the UK I will definitely be purchasing more when my no-buy ends (if I ever get there).

tea-sipper

Sherlock is on in the US in four days!!! I can’t wait!! I love this tea too.

Nattie

Woo! Are they showing the new one? I have the night off work and being able to watch Sherlock is the thing I’m most excited about XD

tea-sipper

I thought in the UK they air earlier than in the US? The first new episode is definitely airing Jan 1 in the US. :D

Nattie

I thought they did, too, but it must be the same time now! (: maybe a few hours behind but definitely same day.

tea-sipper

Oh cool, didn’t know that.

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61

Sipdown! (56/375)

Thank you Janelle for the opportunity to try this! I love the flavour of jasmine. I’m not the biggest fan of green tea, but pair it with jasmine and I will happily drink it all day. I like that this is a simple tea – it’s green tea, and it’s jasmine, and there’s not much more to it than that. The green tea is a good one in my books – it’s smooth and floral and has hardly any astringency after a fairly long brew which is one of my main problems with greens in the first place. The jasmine tastes natural, but it’s not as strong as I would like. It was a nice tea to drink after my Christmas leftovers dinner and way too much chocolate, but besides being better than any bagged supermarket jasmine green it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd. I like jasmine greens, but I don’t have a stand-out favourite as of yet and would quite happily keep any of the good ones I’ve tried in my cupboard.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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68
drank Festivus by Pekoe Tea Lounge
620 tasting notes

Holiday-themed sipdown #55/375.

I kind of tasted the apple this time around before I accidentally poured in way too much milk and ruined the cup. Oh well.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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91
drank Santa's Secret by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

I thought this was a sipdown but according to my spreadsheet I have another cupful from my advent calandar! This is the last of my Santa’s Secret from the very generous WhatSheSaid. I’ve drank this so many times and never written up a note, apparently! I don’t know why this still surprises me, I was terrible at writing up notes while I was at uni – I would have 5 or 6 cups of tea a day and only log one. I bet that’s actually preferable to me logging so many teas and clogging everyone’s dashes.

Mmmm… probably my favourite Christmas tea. If you look at my ‘tea-dislikes’ you’ll see I’m not big on spices (unless with pumpkin) and so most holiday blends are a no-go for me. Candy canes though are one of those things that just epitomises the season, you know? As soon as you taste one you know that the holidays are coming. And this tea gets the candy cane flavour bang on, without the tea being pushed to the background. The mint and the creamy vanilla are sooo good together, and if I add a little sugar it’s like I melted an actual candy cane right into a cup of tea. I overleafed a little (I had almost 2 tsps but not quite, so I used it all in a 12oz mug) and left it for over 6 minutes and I’m still getting no astringency from the base tea, which is incredible to me. The creaminess is so pronounced that I didn’t add any milk and I’m drinking this black, which again is super rare for me in black teas. It’s the first time I’ve drank it without milk, though, and I know it can take it well. I just can’t think of anything that I don’t like about this tea.

I’m going to have to come up with something creamy-minty to replace this with, since DAVIDs isn’t readily available to me. Oh US and Canada, how I envy you.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Profile

Bio

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.

Location

South Shields, UK

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