Monday, August 25, 2014

Butiki After Hours: Hello Sweetie TeaTini

Spice up any party with a Hello Sweetie TeaTini.  The lively coconut and creamy banana flavors pair well with the toffee, caramel, chocolate, and praline notes making this tea the ultimate desert martini.  The recipe below presents a perfect balance of sweetness and alcohol so that the drink does not become sickeningly sweet; however, feel free to add more sugar if you prefer not to taste the alcohol.    

These martinis were a huge success at our last celebration.  A friend of ours, who owns Vox Vapes, was in town for a visit.  Be sure to check out his ebay store: Vox Vapes if you have any interest in quality vape devices.  


  * 3 teaspoons of our Hello Sweetie tea
  * 1 tablespoon brown crystal sugar
  * 2 oz top shelf vodka (we prefer Ketel One)
  * Dried Coconut for garnish (optional)

   Makes 1 TeaTini

Brew the tea.  Infuse the tea and brown crystal sugar into 4oz of boiling water and steep for 4 minutes.  Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved.  Stirring the tea frequently will help melt the sugar.  The tea leaves can be saved to make another cup of tea.

Mix the drink.  In a shaker, shake the vodka, ice, and brewed tea.  Pour the mixture into a martini glass.

Garnish. Top with some dried coconut as a garnish. 

Enjoy!  We hope you have as much fun testing out this recipe as we did!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Butiki Teas Birthday Bash (Friday, July 25th!)

Butiki Teas Birthday Bash July 25th!

One-Day Sale, 4 Contests, Exclusive Tea & 3 New Teas!!!!

Stacy Lim, the owner of Butiki Teas, is celebrating her birthday on July 25th. What better way to celebrate than by offering an exciting one-day sale.  For all of July 25th we will be offering $10 in free tea for $35 spent on tea, $15 in free tea for $45 spent on tea, and $25 in free tea for $65 spent on tea. Please read all the rules carefully.   Also, check out our contests below!

The rules:

  • Teawares and accessories will not be counted as a ‘tea purchase’ or as ‘free tea’.

  • Free shipping offers do not apply, even if a $75 order is made.

  • Free samples will not be offered during this sale.

  • There are no individual teas on sale. Please check your shopping cart to make sure it is up to date. We will not honor individual tea sale prices.

  • Samplers do not count as free tea or qualifying tea.  

  • No other special offers or coupons may be used during this sale.

  • Purchases that qualify for this sale must be made on Friday, July 25th Eastern Standard Time.

  • The ‘free tea’ must fall within the dollar limit. For example if you purchase $45 in teas, your free teas cannot exceed $15.00, not even by $.25. No exceptions.

  • Please let us know what free teas you would like with your order either in the ‘instructions to seller’ section during check out or in a separate email to

  • We will not offer additional free teas to orders that exceed $65; however, multiple orders may be placed to gain more free tea.

  • Failure to follow rules may make your purchase ineligible for this offer.

  • Please note that the office is closed on July 25th through July 27th and no email confirmations will be sent until Monday. Please allow for up 6 business days for teas to be shipped out of our office.


Contest #1 (Make Me Smile): Win a $15 gift certificate!  I love smiling and laughing on my birthday (who doesn’t?)!  Post something cute or funny related to birthdays, teas, or fuzzy creatures on our Facebook page ( on July 25th.  The person that warms my heart/has me dying from laughter the most will win a $15 gift certificate (cannot be used on a July 25th order).  Winner will be announced on Monday, July 28th.

Contest 2 (Nominate A Tea): Win $20 off your next order (cannot be used on a July 25th order)!  This idea comes to us from TheTeaFairy who nominated our Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black tea as the “breadiest tea”.  Here is a picture that we made out of her nomination:  Nominate any of our teas as the number #1 tea for any category you feel like making up and tell us why.  Please include your first name and last initial as well as your location (City, state, or country is fine, doesn’t have to be specific).  For instance, say our “So Long, And Thanks For All The Licorice” tea has the “best Douglas Adams reference” for obvious reasons or maybe our “Almond Indulgence” could be nominated for “best tea ever” for delicious almondy goodness.  Feel free to be creative, serious, or fun.  Every tea you nominate counts as one entry, there is no limit on how many teas you can nominate.  Please send nominations with your name, location, and reason if not obvious to  Another way to get extra entry points is to share info about our sale and link to our sale page.  Simply share info about our sale on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, blog, etc.  You can share up to 5 times via different social media sites, gaining up to 5 extra points.  Simply send us the links to your ‘share’ and we will add points.  We will choose a winner on Monday with a random number generator and will announce the winner on our Facebook page.  We will be posting some of the entries to our Facebook page. 

Contest 3 (Tea In A Lizard Mug): Win a lizard mug with your choice of tea!   This applies to any 1 tea.  We will be offering a half ounce of any tea or one ounce if a half ounce option is not available.  All orders placed on July 25th will be entered for a chance to win.  We will choose a winner on Monday with a random number generator and will announce the winner on Monday on our Facebook page.

Contest 4 (??????? ) Might want to keep an eye on our official Facebook page ( throughout the day for this one.  No purchase necessary. 

Exclusive Tea “Two Friends” will be available for one day only!!!! This Friday during our Birthday Bash we will have it available for purchase on the sale page. Two Friends uses our Premium Taiwanese Assam and has orange and chocolate flavoring.  Ingredients: Premium Taiwanese Assam, Organic Natural Flavoring (vegan).  Here are some reviews: This idea comes courtesy of Jenna!

New Teas

Butterscotch & Hazelnut Mocha Candy (White Tea, White Rhino base)

Caramel Apple (Oolong Tea, Gui Fei)

Plum Brandy Cheesecake (Oolong Tea, Purple Sunset Oolong)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Beginners Guide to Tasting Teas

Often, teas are consumed without really tasting them. Focusing on other activities while drinking tea can distract from the beauty of tea.  This article will address what taste and flavor is, why tasting teas mindfully is important, and will provide a way to actively taste tea.  Additionally, this article will discuss how to work on tasting ability.  

Taste & Flavor
Before discussing how to taste teas, it is important to understand the way in which flavor is perceived.  Flavor is affected by olfactory and gustatory systems.  Olfactory sensations can be perceived in two ways.  The first way in which it is perceived is when molecules pass through the nasal cavities and travel to the receptors of the olfactory gland.  That is the first impression of flavor, through smell.  The second way in which flavor is perceived through the olfactory system occurs when tea is in the mouth.  The aroma rises through the pharynx toward the nasal cavities and reaches the olfactory gland.  This is known as aroma and is the main way in which the flavor of tea is perceived.  It is estimated that 75% of what is tasted is regulated by smell.  Additionally, the tongue detects taste (gustatory system).  The tongue is covered with gustatory receptors and can detect bitter, acidic, salty, sweet, and umami flavors.  Flavor is combination of the olfactory and gustatory sensations.

Why Mindfully Taste Teas
Why set aside time to focus on actively tasting teas?  There are 3 main reasons for focused tea tastings, including: learning, appreciation, and evaluation.  Focusing on tasting teas and recording observations allows for teas to be compared and contrasted.  This can help draw conclusions about individual teas, categories of teas, and particular similarities within a region and will help expand overall knowledge of teas.  Moreover, fully focusing on each tea allows for a greater appreciation of and to better understand the complexity of that tea.  Finally, evaluation aids in establishing the quality of the tea and helps determine personal tea preferences.  When evaluating a tea and comparing it to similar teas, quality level can be determined.  Additionally, evaluating teas and keeping notes allows an individual to hone in on their personal tea preferences.  This also helps develop the language of tea and can make it easier to discuss tea with others and review teas.          

To do a focused tea tasting (also known as tea cupping), the dry leaves, wet leaves, and liquor (steeped tea) will be evaluated. 

Dry Leaf Evaluation
Dry leaf evaluation includes appearance and smell.  To examine the dry leaves, note the sizes and shapes of the leaves.  Are the leaves mostly uniform in length and width?  Are they twisted or rolled?  Are there stems?  What part of the tea plant is present?  Two leaves and a bud?  What are the colors of the leaves?  Are the colors even?  Be as specific as possible.  Rather than describing a color as ‘green’, delve deeper.  Are the leaves forest, spring, or jade green?  A color chart can be utilized to better describe the colors. 

Next, smell the leaves.  Try to pick out specific scents.  Tea is often described in the following categories: fruits, spices, nuts, vegetables, grass, floral, cocoa, tobacco, forest, smoke, wood, marine, and earth (these categories will also be used to evaluate the wet leaves & liquor).  The list of possible scents is endless, but those are some very common categories.  Keep in mind that there will probably be multiple notes.  Perhaps a particular tea might smells of roasted walnuts at first then develops into an apricot scent.  If determining the scent is difficult, the leaves can be rubbed between both hands to release more of the scent.

Wet Leaf Evaluation
Wet leaf evaluation includes smell and appearance.  After the tea liquor has been poured out of the brewing vessel, immediately smell the leaves.  What do the leaves smell like?  Be specific.  Use the above categories (from the dry leaf evaluation section) to help narrow down the scents.  Remember to describe how the aroma first hits your nose and also how it follows. 

What do the leaves look like now?  What are the colors of the leaves, is the coloring even.  If the leaves were twisted are they untwisted now? 

Liquor Evaluation
Evaluate the liquor by sight, smell, and taste.   What does the liquor look like and what is the color?  Be specific.  Is the liquor mahogany or possibly amber in color?  Does the liquor have good clarity or is it cloudy?  Is the liquor bright or dull? 

What does the liquor smell like?  Be specific. 

The best way to taste the liquor is by slurping.  Slurping will aerate the tea so the vapors become airborne and evenly spray the tea in the mouth.  Notice the mouth feel.  Is the tea heavy or light on the tongue?  Is there a noticeable texture?  For instance, does the liquor feel silky, velvety, or creamy?  What are the flavors of the tea?  Be very specific.  Use the above categories (from the dry leaf evaluation section) as a guide and try to narrow the flavors down as much as possible.  For instance, if you note that there is a fruity flavor, delve in deeper.  Is it citrus, berry, stone fruit, etc?  Maybe a citrus flavor is noticeable. Try to pin it down as much as possible.  Is it grapefruit, lemon, orange, tangerine, lime, yuzu, etc?  If possible, go even further.  What type of lime is it?  For example, could it be a kaffir lime or a key lime?  Be as specific as possible but do not worry if there is difficulty narrowing down specific flavors.  Specific flavors will be easier to determine when teas are more frequently actively tasted.  Most teas will have multiple notes.  Be sure to pay attention to the tasting notes at the front, middle, end, and after taste.    For instance, a particular tea might have almond, peach, and blackberry notes up front followed by hay and jasmine notes in the middle.  Oak notes and lemon may be present at the end of the sip with lemon notes that linger.  Pay attention to whether the tea exhibits astringency (drying feeling) or complexity (many layered notes).  Is the tea bright (fresh and lively) and/or round (full, smooth)?   Finally and most importantly, how does this tea make you feel?   

Training Tasting Ability
Tasting teas can be difficult at first.  We have often heard, “I don’t know, it tastes like green tea”; however; over time tasting tea will become much easier.  The more tea you drink and the more you compare teas, the better you will be at tasting tea.  We recommend sampling a number of teas at the same time and trying to identify tea based solely on taste.  Additionally, tasting a variety of food will help expand your palate.  Try tasting a variety of foods, particularly different fruits, vegetables, spices, and nuts.  Compare similar foods.  For instance, purchase 5 different pears and compare and contrast them.  Tasting new foods will provide more options to describe various flavors in tea. Finally, reducing or avoiding cigarettes, artificial flavorings, and heavily processed foods will help with identifying subtle flavors.  

Please keep in mind that this is an introduction to the world of tea tasting.  We recommend learning some general tea terminology.  Below is an example of our tasting sheets, which may be helpful when tasting tea.  We hope you enjoy your journey into tea tasting.