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.    

Friday, March 28, 2014

Custom Blend Contest Winning Tea Now Available: Lemon French Macaron

Back in October 2013, we held a Custom Blend Contest. For this contest, we asked that entrants submit up to 3 ideas for a custom blend.  A panel of judges chose their favorite 10 ideas and created a poll for everyone to vote for their favorite idea.  The top 10 ideas were:  Autumn's Sour Cherry and Rosemary Ice Cream, Autumn Truffle, Baklava, Blackberry Lime Meringue Guayusa, Glazed Old Fashioned Doughnut, Lemon French Macaron, Lychee Strawberry, Pain Perdu, Tiger Blood, and Tuk Tuk Thai.  There was an epic battle between the Autumn's Sour Cherry and Rosemary Ice Cream and Lemon French Macaron but ultimately the Lemon French Macaron won.  Mary submitted the idea and won 4oz of her own custom blend idea.  The initial description that won over voters was:
White tea (Glenburn Silver Needle), lemon, vanilla, cream (maybe even a vegan raw cashew-type flavor), cookie, almond slice or flavor. Lemon French Macaron! I've never had a lemon tea before, not sure why! I don't really care for citrusy teas with astringency, and that's how I find most citrus-flavored teas. But your 3 Friends Tea, with its orange flavor, is the first orange tea I've had that didn't taste like a canned orange or that was astringent, so if anyone can whip up an amazing citrus tea, it's Stacy! This type of lemony note, mixed with creamy, vanilla flavors, and the almond-cookie of the macaron shell, I think would be lovely! I'm not huge on green tea, and black seemed too harsh, so I thought white might be nice here! Tea and macarons are one of my absolute favorite combinations, and I've had many amazing, memorable tea services during special occasions with my friends, so this tea combines flavors that remind me of some really meaningful times!
After the contest was over, we embarked on a several month journey to create Mary’s ideal Lemon French Macaron blend.  This tea is just now being made available for at least a limited time.  This tea can be purchased here:  Below is a short interview with Mary.  
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I'm Mary, 29 years old and born and raised in South Carolina! I live happily with my husband and our three dogs in our eclectic little house! I work both indoors and outdoors, and I enjoy vegetable gardening, comic and comic art collecting, fashion of all kinds, traveling, and anything that combines scones & tea in large quantities, and preferably while wearing elaborate, frilly dresses!

Can you tell us a something you are passionate about other than tea? Fashion would definitely be number one, especially niche Japanese fashion. I love their eclectic street fashion that you don't see much here in the USA, so I began seeking it out back in 2008 and haven't stopped since. The Japanese brand "Jane Marple" comes closest to embodying one of my favorite aesthetics at this point in time - it's very British mixed with classic, vintage elements. Collecting comics and original comic art from the DC universe would be my second favorite hobby.

What are your tea preferences? Black tea is my favorite and I can drink it anytime of day (even late at night!). I love iced floral or fruit teas during spring and summer for breakfast and lunch, and during fall and winter, I love hot fall-type teas, like pumpkin, chai, anything with a winter or pastry note! I also love fruity oolongs and green teas, but my favorite for years was white tea, preferably Jasmine!

If money was no object and you could take a tea-related trip somewhere, where would you go and what would you do? I'd probably do the same thing I do every year, and that's have afternoon tea at all of my favorite spots in Tokyo! Afternoon tea is my favorite luxury while traveling, and I have some enjoyed some great tea services at many tasty spots. I've had afternoon tea in places like London and Scotland as well, but I have yet to find any place that tops Tokyo. If money were no object, I'd make it a monthly occurrence hah!

What is your desert island tea? Blueberry black tea, because I've never met one I'm unhappy drinking both hot and cold!

What is your favorite tea from Butiki Teas? Why? Almond Indulgence is my absolute favorite, which is actually pretty odd because normally I really don't care for almond-flavored anything, but this tea blew me away and it is my go to cup of hot tea during the evening!

How did you come up with the idea for Lemon French Macaron? I was sipping a cup of Almond Indulgence one night and nibbling on some lemon macarons with a light vanilla-lemon buttercream filling and thought a matching macaron tea would be amazing!

You also submitted two other tea ideas, Vanilla Earl Grey Chai and a Smokey Chocolate Keemun Chai. Which of the three was your favorite? All three embody elements that I love! I've had an Earl Grey Chai before that I tried to tweak on my own to make the perfect cup by adding vanilla. I love lapsang souchong and always wish my chai teas had a bit more depth (hence the Smokey Chocolate Chai), and the Lemon French Macaron embodies three of my favorite things, lemon macarons, Butiki's almond indulgence elements, and white tea. The Lemon French Macaron feels much more year-round to me though, so I'm happy that one was the idea selected!

Were you surprised that the Lemon French Macaron won? Yes! Though I had a ton of friends and family that loved the idea and were backing me up and really spreading the word, so that was awesome!

We worked on 7 different samples for you to try. What was it about this sample that you enjoyed the most and was it much different than the others? This one had the best balance of creamy flavor vs. delicious lemon taste & scent + that almond I love so much (which is the primary ingredient in macaron shells!) Some other samples had a pastry note to them but not as much creaminess, and some were very strong on the lemon notes! This final one definitely has the best balance!

How would you describe this tea? Soft, creamy, lemon-scented, almond deliciousness!

Who would you recommend this tea to?  Anyone that enjoys a delicate white tea mixed with the sweet-citrusy taste of a lemon & cream pastry!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Spectacular Black Friday through Cyber Monday SALE!!!!!!

For all of Friday, November 29th through all of Monday, December 2nd we will be offering $20 of free tea of your choice with a purchase of $40.00 of tea.  Please read all the rules carefully.  Additionally, we will be offering special bonuses each day:

  • Friday: Maple Pecan Oolong Day!  Spend $50 on teas & teawares and get one ounce of Maple Pecan Oolong!

  • Saturday: Teaware Day!  Spend $60 on teas & teawares and get your choice of either a 3 compartment twist canister (as pictured in our blend kits, canister version) or a Finum Brewing Basket! 

  • Sunday: Green Tea Day! Spend $50 on teas & teawares and get 1 of your choice of the following: 1oz of Glenburn Estate Green, 1/2 oz Hangzhou Dragonwell, 1oz Organic Korakundah, 1/2 oz Organic Spring Twist, or 1oz Pistachio Ice Cream!

  • Monday: Leafhopper Day! Spend $60 on teas & teawares and get a half ounce of Mi Xian Black plus a "I Love Leafhoppers" magnet!

  • Contest: By making any purchase Friday through Monday you will be automatically entered into a drawing for a chance to win a tea jar of your choice (valued up to $20.75).

The rules:

  • Teawares, accessories, and samplers will not be counted towards the 'tea purchase' or as 'free tea' but can absolutely be added to the order.

  • Free shipping offers do not apply, even if a $75 order is made.  Shipping will not be charged on the “free tea portion” for US and Canadian customers.  International orders will be assessed shipping charges after the purchase or can request a quote.  Please note we may not be able to respond that day. 

  • Free samples will not be offered during this sale.

  • Purchases that qualify for this sale must be made during November 29 - December 2 Eastern Standard Time and the daily specials apply for that day only (EST).

  •  The “free tea” must fall within the dollar limit.  For example if you purchase $40 in teas, your free teas cannot exceed $20.00, 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.  If you qualify for the bonus of the day, make sure to let us know what you would like added to your order if there are multiple options.  If you do not let us know which teas you would like and do not respond to our emails within 5 days, the special will be void and teas will be shipped as is.  Please check your email box for communications from us.

  •  We have received a lot of questions about larger orders, so I wanted to answer a question about those that purchase $80+. The first $40, receives $20 in free teas, then each additional $40 will receive $15 in free teas. The reason for this is due to shipping costs. At the large quantities, we eat some of the shipping costs which we will not be able to do for this sale, this will even it out a bit. If you are in the US and purchasing bulk teas so that you have 6 or less teas and can split them into 2 orders, then it will probably be more beneficial to place 2 separate orders and receive the $20 of free tea for each order.

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

Please note that we will start shipping orders Wednesday, December 4th after  we have declared a contest winner for the free tea jar.  Please allow 5 business days from Wednesday for teas to be shipped out of our office as we expect this to be a popular sale.  Our communications may also be somewhat slow. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Story Behind Foxy Roxy's Banana Walnut Treat

Foxy Roxy’s Banana Walnut Treat pairs our Congou Keemun with fresh banana flavor and a hint of walnut.  But how did this tea come about?  We knew that we wanted to have a banana tea.  First, we started with an oolong to make a creamy banana oolong but that just didn’t work out.  Then, we tried a banana rum white tea but no matter how we combined the rum and banana the rum just didn’t work well with the banana.  Then we tried a banana chai but we weren’t in love with it.  

We were almost at the point of setting the idea of a banana tea aside for a while and coming back to it later but then I received an email from Foxy Roxy.  The message was mostly about other matters but towards the end she mentioned that she thought we should have a banana tea and had discussed how she tried a Keemun with a banana and thought that the combination worked well.  I definitely wasn’t sold on this idea, especially since our Keemun has mushroom notes but I thought this is just such an odd coincidence that she was emailing me about a banana tea when we were almost at the point of putting this on the back burner.  We went ahead and made a sample and once we tasted it we knew that there was a lot of potential for this tea.  The mushroom notes were gone but the fresh ripe banana flavor worked well with our premium Keemun.  I sent Roxanne a sample and later she mentioned walnuts.  After working with that combination for a while, we ended up with Foxy Roxy’s Banana Walnut Treat.

We did a short interview with Roxanne and she was kind enough to send us a ton of awesome photos.  We hope you enjoy the interview and photos!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  I'm just a simple gal, a free spirit who enjoys simple pleasures in life.  Books, art in any shape or form, music and tea are basically what makes my world go round!

 I live close to nature in Quebec, Canada, where some winters never end it seems... Animal lover, I will rescue any type of life form that will knock on my door.

My love life: I was lucky to meet the man of my dreams many years ago, and to this day, he still completes me in every way possible!
When did you first become interested in loose leaf teas?  It was my Grandma who introduced me to loose leaf tea for the first time, she loved Jasmin Chinese tea. I must have been about 7 years old, so I've been drinking loose leaf nearly all my life! But the last two years got me into more refined teas. My palate rapidly evolved, and Butiki became my favorite online tea shop!

What are your tea preferences?  I will describe my tea preferences as relationships:
I'm married to straight Blacks.  I have torrid love affairs with Oolongs.  My BFF are Greens. I have distant White acquaintances that I like to visit once in a while.  I socialize more and more with Pu'erhs.  I party with Flavored. There you have it, in a nut shell! I come to the conclusion that monogamy does not exist in the world of tea. It's more of an ongoing dating game and I like it!

What are your tea rituals?  My tea ritual involves my pets. As I reach for the kettle, Doberman Dexter sits and observes, hoping to learn how to serve tea one day.  The cats, Happy and Pixelle anticipate the moment I'll go sit and sip. They know they'll soon be lying on my laps, getting love and affection :-)

If you were banished to an island, what type of tea would you bring if you could chose only one?  If I was banished on an Island and could only bring one type of tea (what a sad thought!), it would have to be Black teas, cause they are reliable, low maintenance, and yet so versatile! But hopefully on that Island, there would be tea trees and we could start our own estate and transform Camellia Sinensis into whatever type of tea we fancy :-)
What is your favorite tea from Butiki Teas?  Why?  It's hard to pick a favorite tea from Butiki, but  My favorite flavored tea is beloved Flowery Pinapple Oolong. The pineapple taste is so juicy, there's such a brightness about this tea that makes me happy, I see life in yellow when I drink it! (I must mention that Foxy Roxy's Banana Walnut Treat and Cantaloupe & Cream are close runner ups!) if I have to, I say Premium Taiwanese Assam just because no other tea tastes like it! I could drink it forever and never get tired of it!

How did you come up with the idea for pairing banana, Keemun, and walnut?  Foxy Roxy's Banana Walnut Treat came to life by accident. I'm a huge fan of the banana, I eat it everyday. One day, I was having a very ripe and sweet banana while drinking Keemun tea. It tasted awesome! It got me curious and I dared the unthinkable: I added mashed banana and walnuts to my cup,  I did! It was gross looking, but it tasted really good,  better than most banana flavored teas I've had!
Can you tell us a little bit about the process of how this tea came about?  I desperately needed
help from the only true Tea Alchemist I know, so I emailed Stacy. Turned out she was already working on a banana tea! She tested the Keemun and walnuts, and played her magic. The rest is history!

 Where did the nickname Foxy Roxy come from?  Stacy surprised me by naming it Roxanne's Banana Walnut Treat. She wrote that she initially thought of «Foxy Roxy» but figured it might be too out there for me...little did she know, in high school, I was the only girl named Roxanne. My friends thought it was a cool name and everybody started calling me Foxy Roxy, it became my nick name :-)  So Foxy Roxy is perfect and makes me feel like a tea celebrity, LOL!

How would you describe this tea?  Sometimes, the hardest thing to achieve is to keep things simple.  It offers plenty of sumptuous natural freeze dried bananas paired with hints of fresh walnuts. The nice and smooth Keemun base brings it all together.  This tea does just that, and that's why I like it.

Who would you recommend this tea to?  This tea will please you if you're a banana lover, but even if you're not, I'd still give it a shot. All you need in order to appreciate it is a preference for natural and subtle flavors, and a love for excellent quality Keemun :-)

Thank you Butiki and Stacy for giving me the perfect Banana treat, it was so much fun being part of the process!

Thank you Roxanne for the wonderful idea!  
For more information about or to purchase Foxy Roxy's Banana Walnut Treat, please check out: