620 Tasting Notes

54
drank Winter Fire by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

Sipdown 132/395

I’m slightly upping my rating from 47 because the spice isn’t overwhelming me as much this time around. It’s still spicy as hell, but not overpoweringly so. I’m not sure if it’s an age thing or maybe because I was more wary of it this time and brewed it for only 3 minutes, but it’s definitely bearable, and in this freezing cold weather maybe just what I need. I have to leave for work soon and I’m not looking forward to it. Night time shifts in winter tend to be less than fun. At least the guayasa should keep me awake!

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

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58

Sipdown 131/395

I could have sworn I had a note on this already… Sipdown on a very old sample I received in a mystery box from Janelle way back when. I’m not massively into genmaichas but this is tasty. I actually get a fluffy marshmallow sort of idea from it. The base tea isn’t overwhelming, but still present, and when combined with the popped rice it does remind me of a rice krispie treat. I’m happy to have tried it but it doesn’t blow me away.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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82
drank Crimson Horizon by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

Sipdown! 130/395

Not too much more to add, since I’ve written a few notes on this tea recently. Had this as my first ‘other’ tea of the day (Ryan always makes me a cup from a teabag when he’s getting ready for work and brings it to me in bed) and it’s a good one to start with. I think when I’ve got my stash down enough I might look for another good CTC to start my days off with. This one might be hard to beat, though. It’s strong, malty and citrusy with a hearty bready note that makes it just perfect as a breakfast tea.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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82
drank Peppermint Patty by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

Sipdown! (129/395)

Brewed a whole pot of this and left it 45 minutes as it was underleafed. Just had a phone call that the boyfriend is on his way to pick me up, so it looks like this is a travel tea tonight. Fingers crossed I can convince him to try it…

Update: he took one sip, pulled a face and said ‘interesting’ so I didn’t push it. I was surprised at how strong this was given that I only used 2 teaspoons for 30oz of water, and drank without additives I got a buttery aftertaste but no chocolate. I added a couple of teaspoons of coconut sugar to the pot as per my last tasting note on this tea, and found that this brought out the chocolate a little more. The pot went down quickly with a couple of gin & tonic white chocolate cookies while watching Angel, which is another thing I’m trying to impose on Ryan. 1 for 2 tonight, but I’ll take that.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 30 OZ / 887 ML

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Drinking a bagged tea I received in a swap with Mina which was labelled ‘green tea with cinnamon and spices’ and no company name. I’m not really bothered that I can’t track it down, because it’s not a tea I would purchase of my own volition. It’s a nice enough basic tea, with fairly prominent cinnamon and I have no idea what the fruitiness is though I can tell there’s some there. As it’s cooling the astringency is coming through more at the end of the sip. If I were on a page specifically for this tea instead of the Random Steepings page I would probably rate it somewhere around a 54.

Sipdown, I guess, though it was never in my cupboard.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Pecan Pie by Dammann Freres
620 tasting notes

Finally used up the last of my sample from greenteafairy in yet another disappointing final cup. It’s my own fault, because in hopes of making the tea stretch as far as possible the last time I drank it, I saved enough leaf for probably half a cup. Forgetting this when I poured the water, I poured a whole 10oz mug and surprise surprise, the tea is super weak. I have a whole box of ‘sipdown’ teas where I’ve saved only enough leaf of each for a small 4oz cup, and I think one day I’m going to just have to sit down with a tiny teacup and the box and go through as many of them as I can.

Sipdown 128/395.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Mastress Alita

Or you can just make yourself some surprise flavors by mixing the leaves together like a crazy cocktail mixologist!

Nattie

Ooooooooohhh, that actually sounds super fun!!

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82
drank Crimson Horizon by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

Not much leaf left of this tea now, enough for one more session and then I’m out. As a British tea-drinker, I have a long-cultivated respect for a strong black tea which can take a beating with milk and sugar (not that I take sugar). This is certainly that, and really hits the spot when I wake up in the morning wanting tea but craving caffeine, and not having enough patience to let it brew for more than a minute. At only a minute steeping this tea is so brisk and strong that milk is pretty much necessary, at least for me. It’s one of the few loose black teas I take with milk at this point, actually. Even brewed Western style, I can get a good 4 or 5 cups out of this by steeping it slightly longer each time, with the 5th cup only going for 3 minutes to get it to perfect strength. It’s such an easy cup of tea, and it never steers me wrong.

I’ve been reading some of my old tasting notes, and at one point called my favourite Rington’s bagged black tea my ‘Old Reliable Willow Rosenberg of teas’. I’d like to think that this tea is Willow Rosenberg 2.0, circa season 4-5, if there are any Buffy fans out there. But I mean who wouldn’t be a Buffy fan?

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

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61

Sipdown 127/395

Okay so this is a bit of an atypical one. For a start, I am like 80% sure I wrote a tasting note on this tea a couple of years ago when I had a big tub of it. Not only is that not showing up, but the tasting note section is entirely blank, yet it says ‘10 tasting notes’ at the top of the page. When I click the shortcut to view the 10 tasting notes, it just takes me right back to the bottom of the page where it states that there are no notes on this tea as of yet. Super bizarre… Another thing is that this is an instant tea. High in sugar, and sure it contains black tea, but it’s dehydrated and granulated and not exactly what most people think of when they hear ‘tea’. Still, that’s what it’s called and it does – at least in my mind – qualify as tea enough to be written up on Steepster. It’s pretty tasty! Don’t judge me, guys. So here’s the thing; I had a lovely day trip to Durham today with my boyfriend and his mam. It was lovely but freezing, and on the way back we stopped into a pub and I had a glass of mulled wine. It got me into the Christmas spirit and warmed me up, and when I got back home I wanted a similar drink to keep up my internal warm fuzzies, but I also wanted tea. So here we are. It fits the bill. The sugar is enough to temper the tart fruits, but not overpowering and there is some sourness which I don’t mind. I don’t know that I can pick out the individual fruit flavours – I probably would have just said ‘berry’, but the box says apple and strawberry. It’s nice!

Preparation
Boiling 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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94
drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

Sipdown 126/395

Marzipan sent me a load of this a while back after I fell in love with a sample I’d had, and I’ve hoarded the last ~1.5 cups worth since it’s hard for me to get David’s over here in the UK. I made the rather poor decision to try to stretch this out by making a pot of tea with the leaf I had left, so now instead of having 1 delicious mug of goodness I have a whole pot of underleafed, sad, watery tea. The whisper of Pumpkin Chai is still there, but it’s mostly cloves and hot water. Dang it, why did I do that? This will be an eventual purchase for sure.

Preparation
2 tsp
mtchyg

I used to do that to myself as well. Especially with the teas that aren’t typically good for brewing gongfu style. Then, I decided to just use extra leaves in the last pot rather than save just enough for one cup. It usually works out better. But it is a hard habit to break for sure.

Nattie

That’s a good idea, I think I’ll have to try to use this tea’s sad demise as a lesson learned to slightly overleaf a last pot/cup rather than have an extra, not-as-good cup. I’ve totally been guilty of that too – gongfu brewing some of my endangered favourites (usually Butiki) in an attempt to stretch them out and in reality only succeeding in creating a less-than-great cup or 7.

mtchyg

I totally get it. Such a sad thing knowing that a delicious tea is no longer available and you are drinking the last one. It’s like taking out the last of an endangered species. But yeah, when I use that last leaf in an extra pot, I just back off the steep time and it works itself out. Good luck! :)

Nattie

Lmao totally! Thanks! (:

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82
drank Crimson Horizon by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

Whew, I have had a crazy few days. I visited my brother in Manchester and we went to see Hozier, who was incredible. One thing to tick off my bucket list! I’ve wanted to see him live for at least 4 years now. Then I came back and had some of the most hectic and stressful work shifts I’ve ever done, and now I have two days off and I’m relaxing with a cup of tea and a book (Jane Austen’s Persuasion) in the bath with a Lush bath melt. Ahhhhhhhhh.

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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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