620 Tasting Notes
Thank you thank you thank you MissB!! After the disaster of a tea I had earlier (liquorice root overload) to say this was an improvement would be a HUGE understatement. I know I tried it and liked it when I first received the same but hadn’t had it for a couple of years and wasn’t expecting the full amazingness to still be shining through. But it totally is!! The pu’erh is an interesting choice but it pairs so well with the sweet, buttery caramel and makes it the perfect amount of sweet without being overpowering. I was worried that it might be too sweet because the scent of the brewing tea was identical to the scent of homemade caramel bubbling away in a pan. I needn’t have worried. This is a tea I will look into getting more of when I’m finally out of my no buy (if it’s still around by then – 270 teas to go, yikes!)
Sipdown 124/395! Do we think I can reach 145 by the end of the year?
Okay I was wondering as I was steeping this tea why the ratings are so low. It sounds delicious to me – chocolate, hazelnuts and oolong, what’s not to love? Turns out liquorice. Liquorice is what’s not to love. BLECH. Maybe I should have actually read some of the reviews before taking a sip and then I might not have been so surprised by the overwhelming liquorice root. Why do companies do that?? Yes it adds sweetness, but it also adds BLECH! It’s a shame because for a split second before the liquorice root assaulted my mouth I actually did get a tasty chocolate hazelnut ‘nutella’ vibe. This tea could have been so much better if it weren’t for people ADDING LIQUORICE ROOT WHERE IT DOESN’T BELONG!!! Sorry.
Thanks and apologies to Janelle who sent me this in our swap.
This is a sample I grabbed from the EU TTB several years ago, and had labelled with only ‘Shangri La, treat like green tea’ so it took me quite a while to find which tea I had. This certainly is an odd tea! I can see why cteresa instructed to treat this as if it were a green tea – it has much more in common with a lot of greens I’ve tried than it does any black. It has a lot of astringency for a black with such a low brewing temperature, and a lot of Darjeeling-like floral notes. It has rather a light colour and a dry mouth-feel. It’s not a tea I would choose again, though I am glad to have experienced such an unusual and interesting tea.
Final goodbye to this one, I am hopeful it will not re-enter my life (122/395).
While I’ve never had any strong feelings about this tea, it has always frustrated me how elusive the chocolate flavour is. I managed to draw it out once in a cold brew, but since I rarely drink my tea this way I wouldn’t purchase it for that purpose. Not a bad tea, it’s actually quite pleasant, but I wouldn’t recommend this tea based purely on the fact that it is a wholly frustrating experience trying to glean any kind of chocolate flavour from it.
Another of my oldest teas from a Hapatite Tea Swap I did with Mina way way back in 2014. I can’t imagine these teabags have been too affected by time, though. It’s a very drinkable tea, though none of the flavours stand out in particular other than the metallic tang of the hibiscus. It has a hint of natural sweetness and when I add just a tiny bit of honey to it the citrus flavour comes out a little, though not much. Not a tea I would choose again for flavour, but I don’t think the flavour is really the main reason anyone would choose this tea. I can’t speak to any skin benefits, but that’s not something that really interests me in tea anyway.
Back to reality today after a lovely long weekend visiting Ryan’s brother and his family down in Norwich. I brewed up a pot of this to kick-start my morning and give me the caffeine boost I needed. It delivered, which I knew it would as always. Poured a cup for my mam who said it was alright and admitted that I might eventually convince her to switch to loose-leaf tea. Hoping to have this out of my cupboard, along with 7 other old teas, by the end of the year, so expect another tasting note soon.
Shared with Ryan, and he preferred this to the other white tea we tried recently. I was surprised by how much the brewing tea smelled like whisky, and initially I got a strong whisky note when drinking it. This disappeared after a couple of sips, however, and the tea became more of a general fruit and nut flavoured blend. It was tasty for sure, but I was confused about the naming of this. Sure it had a whisky note if I thought about it, but it was definitely not the overwhelming flavour or impression of the tea. Why add so many ingredients and flavours that have seemingly nothing to do with the flavour you’re going for? The first pot of tea had a strong nutty flavour, and when I resteeped (with a much shorter brewing time after reading some of the comments left here) the peach came through the strongest, resulting in a fruity cup with a nutty aftertaste. Both enjoyable, but neither ‘whisky’. This likely would have been given a higher rating if it were named differently.
Thank you Janelle for sending this my way with one of my first ever swaps! Yikes, I’ve had this too long… Sipdown 120/395.
One of my saddest sipdowns to date (119/395).
I picked this tea up when Butiki was closing, not really because it stood out to me, but more because I just wanted to try all of the teas I could get my hands on while they were still in business. I am SO glad I did! This has become one of my all-time favourites from Butiki, which I totally didn’t expect! Everything about it is sublime, start to finish. The dry leaf is gorgeous and fascinating to watch unfurl in the water, and the scent of the wet leaf is divine – just like a blackberry pie filling! I could honestly just sit and inhale the scent for hours. The Sansia black base is sensational, and compliments the dead-on blackberry flavouring perfectly. I added a splot of honey which really amped up the juiciness, making it even more amazing than it already was. As I’ve mentioned in a previous note, the tea is really allowed to shine through the added flavouring, a feat which Stacy was very good at achieving in her teas. I only wish I’d been able to pick up a larger bag of this while it was available, because this tea will be sorely missed. I am upping my rating from 89, because if Butiki weren’t long gone I would be ordering more of this right now, sipdown targets and monetary constraints be damned.
Oh, wow. Okay.
This tea is incredible. Another tea which has to be a couple of years old, and yet it still tastes amazing! I didn’t read up on the flavours of this tea before I pulled it out for this afternoon, I just picked it out at random, I think I was expecting it to be a fruity black. Imagine my surprise when the rich cinnamon scent of this tea hit the air! I knew there and then I was going to love it, and man was I right. I adore cinnamon, and this tasted like a very sophisticated cinnamon cookie was dunked in a cup of rich, full-bodied pu’erh. Amazing. I gave it a quick rinse and then brewed the pot for a few minutes before pouring my first cup, which came out a lot more opaque and dark than I was expecting. There was no astringency at all, and the base tea balanced really well with the cinnamon and vanilla flavours. I added a little honey to my second cup, expecting it to bring the flavours out more, and regretted it. This is definitely a tea best served plain. The flavours actually retreated when sweetened, and though still tasty it just lost a little of the sophisticated dessert feel that the first cup had. I convinced my mam to have a sip, and even she – a woman who turns her nose up at every tea I’ve ever presented her with – admitted that it was ‘quite nice’. I’ve just finished the entire pot on my own and I’m selfishly glad I didn’t share this one! Now to resteep the leaves…
Thank you so much Sil for being so generous as to send this tea my way many, many months ago! It was very much appreciated.
ETA: This didn’t resteep well, sadly.
Sipdown 117/395, we’re on a roll guys!
Another pot shared with the boyfriend, and the first one he’s chosen which wasn’t a black tea base. He wasn’t keen this time around, so maybe we should stick to black teas for a while. Ease him into it a bit more. In fairness to him, I didn’t give him much choice – I had a few teas I wanted to move out and basically made him pick one of a few instead of giving him free reign, and I could tell that none of them really took his fancy. To give him credit where credit is due, he did pick one and dutifully drank half of the pot, before delivering his verdict that it was alright but he probably wouldn’t choose it again. Never mind. I on the other hand thoroughly enjoyed it, and was pleasantly surprised at how well the flavours had stood the test of time. A very pleasant dessert replacement with accurate flavours, though not one I would choose if I were looking for a complex white. This could be to do with the age of the tea (I’ve had it a couple of years) but after reading a few other reviews on here I’m inclined to believe that the tea base was never a standout to begin with. Thanks for the sample, WhatSheSaid!