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.