709 Tasting Notes


This is one I picked up a few months ago and am finally getting to. I decided not to open all my teas at once but instead to focus on a couple at a time. I have done some Butiki sipdowns recently so I get to open some of the remainder. I was very interested in this as I frequently think I want a good vanilla tea but they often come off coconut-y rather than caramel-y. I hate coconut, so that’s a BAD thing. I figured with caramel right in the title, this couldn’t end up with a coconut note.

Unfortunately, the smell of this one comes off as more coconut than caramel to me. It also smells like it might be bitter, which seems unlikely given my steeping parameters (perhaps 3 minutes, less than boiling water). I am not much of an assam drinker though so it could just be the bold assam making itself known aromatically. Let’s hope. It certainly smells strong with a sweet note underneath it all that has me hopeful.

Luckily, this tastes a lot more gentle (but still full and smooth) than it smells. I don’t get any coconut vanilla taste and there isn’t any bitterness from the assam. Instead I get a full bodied black tea with some caramel notes throughout. No sweetness, but no bitterness either. The tea is present but not dominating. Yet, at least!

The aroma is such a strong factor here that I enjoy it best when the cup isn’t too close (I really do find the smell so strong it is almost off-putting) but it is definitely drinkable. I think that it might be improved by a bit of sugar, I might try that sometime if I remember.

For me, this one is good but not a knockout. The disconnect between what I smell and what I taste makes for a weird drinking experience, even though it is tasty in the end. Not the best tea for me, but definitely good quality!

EDIT: Wow, I am the only one who wasn’t totally blown away by this one. I feel left out. Maybe next time!


Okay, this is one that definitely improves as it cools. About 40 minutes after pouring it I feel like I am drinking warm liquid caramel in tea. The assam has totally taken the backseat to the caramel and vanilla. Now to remember to let this cool a bit before drinking. I would edit this into the note but I can’t seem to edit at the moment, instead I have to copy/paste into a new one and delete the old. Too much work!


overleafing helps a bit too with the taste :)

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drank Sugar and Spice by DAVIDsTEA
709 tasting notes

Fearing the worst but hoping for the best, I picked up 10 grams of this blend. I tend not to like the cinnamon used at Davids, but I could hardly resist a black tea with apple and vanilla. I always want a good apple tea, so I will try them even when one or two of the ingredients has me leery. Dry, this smells of mulled apples, cooked in their juices with some spice. I made homemade applesauce yesterday with cinnamon and a bit of sugar, and this smells like it but with a bit more kick of apple.

Steeped, I am mostly getting the dry musty smell that I find typical of DT’s cinnamon. I don’t know what it is as I enjoy cinnamon at home in things and find it appealing, but Davids’ cinnamon always smells like old scented wood rather than what I think of as cinnamon. No tea or apple aroma, nor any sweetness or vanilla. Sipped at 3 minutes it was quite weak, so I am steeping longer to try to tease some taste out of this one.

At closer to five minutes, this smells about the same but finally yields a bit of taste beyond the musty cinnamon. I can’t taste the tea but there is a vague flavour overall. Not necessarily apple, vanilla or sugar. Those notes are all drowned out or mixed together into a mess I can’t untangle. As it cools I get more of the apple, but this is a tea I would prefer to drink hot so that doesn’t exactly help.

I have enough for another cup but at the moment this doesn’t impress me at all. I feel as though it could be greatly improved with a better cinnamon or a stronger tea base. Or maybe even more of the theoretical apple and vanilla. Heck, even putting some sugar in here would probably help (given the name). I won’t be re-buying though as at this point in my tea drinking life, a tea that needs help isn’t a tea for me.

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I thought I had this one before today, but I must not have logged it. I sat down for a gaiwan session with the beau on this lazy Sunday afternoon. I’ve already made some applesauce and need to start on bread and soup soon. I LOVE cooking Sundays, and they are only improved with good tea, good company, and ideally a good book. I dug out my tea feet, they desperately need a session. I water them so rarely that they soak it up as quick as they can. Greedy!

The dry aroma is very sweet and subtler than other Shus I have kicking around. Steeped the aroma is familiar barn – wet hay, damp wood, leather and earth. I used to be very turned off by this smell but it has come to be appealing to me over time.

I did a ten second rinse and first steep of 20 seconds at 90 degrees. This is lightly sweet, actually very light in general. None of the earth/leather/hay taste comes through. Pretty mild. Second steep at 30 seconds, 90 degrees. This tastes like it smells, almost a bit too strong in flavour but not aggressive or bitter. Nice. No astringency at all. Marvellous!

Third steep is 30 seconds at 95 degrees. Hoping for more leather, earth and damp wood. This is a black tea drinkers puerh, I think. I love black teas and that is what has led me to pu. This one is a nice transition tea. I love the lack of bitterness but still intense flavour. Anyway, third steep closely mirrors the second. Bold wood, leather, earth. No sweet, no bitter.

Fourth steep of 45 seconds at 95 degrees is very similar to #s 2 and 3. Still no bitterness, but bold earth, wood, leather are all present.

I don’t know that I will get to more today, so I had better save this. Signing off!

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drank Swiss Apple by Tea Forte
709 tasting notes

Someone left these at work for others to drink and I decided to take one. I rarely drink teabags but I like to try apple teas so here I am. I don’t understand what chocolate is doing in this tea but I am giving it the old college try. I don’t see any chocolate in the bag, mostly rooibos with an overwhelming aroma of cinnamon and some dust. Presumably cinnamon dust.

Steeped, it smells kinda sour. It’s gross, but almost like vomit. It’s very pungent. This does not smell good. I have had a couple roobois blends to tails up on me that way in terms of smell. I’ll just give myself a few minutes before I try it.

Once I got the guts, it’s not too bad. I don’t taste anything like that sour note and I don’t get anything chocolate either. Mostly just cinnamon/spice and rooibos with a hint of apple. Certainly nothing to write home about. Honestly, I’d give it away too. I’m not finishing the mug. Kinda blechy without being outright disagreeable.

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drank Mi Xian Black by Butiki Teas
709 tasting notes

I prepared this one again today with more leaf to try to bring out some of this wonderful flavour that everyone else is getting. This was a definitely improved cup, with a natural honeyed sweetness and some spice notes that reminded me of cinnamon. I also had a bit of a crust taste, like I was drinking a flavoured tea rather than a ‘plain’ black. This is definitely a lot better than my last lackluster cup so I am increasing the rating a bit but I still object to the price. It is good but luckily for me there are others I like better.

At the end of the sip there is a hint of lurking astringency but it never really develops. I do know it is there, waiting. It is hard for me to balance the leaf to get enough to make this flavourful without it going bitter. Maybe a bit less leaf and a bit more time next time. I might have 2 or 3 cups in there still.

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Here is another older one that I have brought to work in an effort to sip down. I am not a fan of green tea in general but some of the fruity blends with sencha aren’t too bad. I remember when we bought this it was marketed as similar to something else we liked at Davids – but I can’t for the life of me remember what that was anymore. This was stored in the zip pouch it came in and still has a lot of aroma, a mix of sweet and tart fruit, almost like dried cranberries if that helps.

Hot, it was lackluster. The green tea was very mild (that is a plus) but so was the fruit flavour. I am not a huge fan of plums so I wasn’t over the moon about the flavouring idea, but it didn’t taste like anything plum to me. Just generic. Where this really shines though (and very unexpectedly) is cold. I had a bit left in my mug which became room temperature and that is very flavourful . Again, not plum, but much more flavour than hot.

I do not tend to like iced tea but that could be the way to use this one up. I am leery of cold brewing green teas as I understand them to be finicky and I do not like astringency at all. I could certainly make a pot of this hot and put it aside to cool though. I might take it back home to do that with as I think the beau would really like it that way.

Bonus points for iced tea options.

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Wow, I can’t believe I still have about 50 grams of this one. I wish I had known that you don’t have to buy 100 g of each tea way back when I started! I tripled up on the “leaf” to try to coax some flavour out of this today but it tastes exactly like it did three years ago – like rooibos with a hint of something lemongrass in the background and no raspberry to be seen. Or nectar, for that matter.

I am thinking that extra lemon could make this more interesting and maybe take it in a lemonade direction. I would like to add some lemon myrtle and see what I could get. Or maybe some mint and see what that does. It feels like it needs something sharp to jazz it up a bit.

EDIT to add: I just looked at my tasting note from three years ago. At that time I said I should mix it with lemon or mint. Way to go Uniquity! I still haven’t done it, but at least I have the same reaction. Also, I forgot all about three lemon green. I think I finished that years ago. Hmm.


I hear you on wishing I hadn’t purchased 100 G of each tea! but damn, those tins just look so much better than plastic bags!

Aimee Popovacki

haha….. i used to do that at davids… then i switched to doing it because they kept getting rid of teas… now luckily i’ve stopped that little habit lol.

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drank Ruby Pie by Butiki Teas
709 tasting notes

Well this is different. I thought I had over-steeped this one today but it came out much sweeter than ever before. Initially it is like berry flavoured cotton candy (so the pink stuff, I guess) and there is a light prickle at the back of the throat that gives me the sense of rhubarb. It is interesting because it feels like a totally different experience but at the same time it is identifiable as Ruby Pie. This was a very happy accident.


Intriguing, for sure. :)

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I was coming to Steepster to up my rating on this tea as it has been a solid and reliable tea for nearly a year now. Turns out I’ve already done that though so all I can do is bask in the goodness that are these pearls. When I run low, I order more. That is saying a lot, for me. I have yet to over-steep it or make it bitter, even under extreme circumstances. They are very convenient (grab a couple pearls and go) and yield a marvellous brew every time. With shortbread tonight while watching my husband play a video game with my brother, this is divine.


love these!


“watching my husband play a video game with my brother”
warm and sweet :D

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drank Mi Xian Black by Butiki Teas
709 tasting notes

After the tasty but a bit lackluster Ceylon of this morning I wanted to try something that would wow me. I have seen a lot of love for this tea so I figured it was time to give it a go. The leaves are very long, thin and twisty which made measuring some out an experience but I got there in the end.

Steeped, I get another orange cuppa with aromas of citrus and cream. That might be a mental association because of the colour, but that is what my mind gives me! The flavours are a bit of a chameleon, starting rather plain and light, leading me to think I had under steeped it. After cooling a bit though I get some creaminess and a definite natural sweetness that really appeals with some stone fruit flavours. At the end of the sip things morph back to a ‘regular’ OP sort of taste, but with each sip the flavours accumulate. This is not one to have with a snack as you lose the concentration of flavours when you eat or drink something else.

This one is a lot more interesting than some other Butiki Teas for me but at $6.35/.5 ounce (that’s only 14 grams, folks!) I definitely won’t be restocking. Wow, this is probably one of the most expensive teas I have ever drank. I wavered when ordering but hoped that it would be manna from heaven based on the reviews. Alas, not so much. I estimate I will get 4 cups from this .5 ounce, so this is about $1.50 per cup. That is a hard pill to swallow. I think I will try re-steeping later to see what I get. Rating reflects cost and value.


Considering the cost of beverages that have no health benefits, the cost of a small Starbucks coffee or glass of wine…this tea is a good deal. The rating system was never meant to judge cost. I know my comments will sound offensive but I don’t like tea marginalized. I live way below middle income myself, but the tea I purchase carefully is based on taste and quality…not cost per cup.


I don’t happen to be willing to spend my money on Starbucks coffee or wine myself. I have many teas that I infinitely prefer which cost significantly less, even from Butiki. I stand behind rating my teas with an eye to value unless something changes in the Steepster system. Thanks for your points though!


Sorry this tea isn’t your thing, Uniquity. But I totally get what you’re saying about preference, and personal value too. Reminds me of my perfume collection. I have a couple ultra expensive ones that, according to my personal tastes, pale in comparison to some that only cost half as much. Works for me!


Exactly. I love some less expensive tea’s which probably balances the budget. This isn’t my criteria for purchasing the tea’s, it’s always based on taste and leaf.


Unfortunately, for me this isn’t a stellar tea at any price point. It may have got a 75 from me if it were half the price. At this price, it got a 69. Not a world of difference between the two. It just didn’t have a spark for me. If it did, I too would reorder (within reason.)


I’ll hop off my soap box, I wasn’t trying to pick on you…it’s one of my things…and another is when someone has eaten a food they don’t like then they drink tea and comment that the tea doesn’t taste good because of the food so they rate it low. That is a pet peeve of mine. How is that the fault of the tea? Or when someone is sick and can’t taste the tea…and they say they can’t taste it and rate it low. Arrrr! Drink your so-so tea when sick and tastebuds are gone and save the great tea for when you get well! OK…here I go being an old fart lady again. Sorry!


Uniquity, it probably just means that you don’t like this tea enough anyway to be ok to pay that price. I can understand that


That’s a great way to put it, Ysaurella!

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I’ve been drinking loose tea since 2010 and my tastes have changed a lot over those years. For the last few, I’ve been a fan of unflavoured Chinese blacks and shu puerh. I still drink other things, but that’s where I am.

I live in a rural area with my husband, cat, and soon to be firstborn. I love tea, reading, doctor who, knitting, crosswords, board games, the marvel universe, and lots of other things.

I’m not often rating teas numerically any more but I want to leave this to explain my past ratings:
I try to only log teas once or twice because I drink a lot of the same ones repeatedly. My rating is based on my perception of the tea at first tasting and is adjusted if anything notable occurs in subsequent cups. I may also factor in the price and customer service but try to note that when I can.

81 – 100: These are great teas, I love them, regularly stock them or savour them as unique treats.
71 – 80: These are solid. I drink them, I like them, I may or may not keep them on hand regularly. This is still good stuff.
61 – 70: Just okay. I can drink it, but it doesn’t stand out to me. Might be lower quality, not to my taste, or outside my comfort zone.
41 – 60: Not likely to keep drinking…hoping hubby will enjoy!
0 – 40: No thank you, please. Take it away and don’t make me finish the cup.



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