Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Periodic Semi-Brief Update

What’s New
Well, within the last week or so a lot has been going on and we have quite a bit of stuff coming up too.  Here are a few things we have been up to: 

  • We lowered the quantity requirement for our purple teas to just 1/2 an ounce so more people can try them.  Check it out:  Purple Tea
  • SALE!!! We just started a new sale on two of our very exquisite Kenyan teas.  Our White Whisper is 18% off and Blueberry Purple Tea is now 20% off until November 17th.  Check them out here: SALE!!!  We would love to hear any sale suggestions from our customers.  Let us know if there is something you would like to see on sale.
  •  Two new teas have been added to our collection: Wild Purple Buds Puerh & Pistachio Ice Cream!
Wild Purple Buds: Our Wild Purple Buds Puerh originates from Yunnan, China on the border of China and Burma. This tea was harvested from wild ancient trees at an altitude of 6,000 feet by the Wa tribal people in 2011. Our puerh falls in the Sheng (raw) category of puerh and is in loose leaf-form. The buds of this tea are purple, green, and yellow. Purple buds indicate a higher level of anthocyanin (a flavoniod). This flavonoid usually causes bitterness but does not in this case as this is a smooth puerh. Our puerh has light smoked oak notes with honey and floral notes and has a juicy mouthfeel. This rare tea is of limited supply. Puerh  

Pistachio Ice Cream has an Organic Mao Jian base with generous amounts of roasted pistachios and a dash of lotus stamens. The sweet roasted pistachio flavor is immediately noticed followed by prominent notes of heavy cream. Light notes of vanilla can also be distinguished. Add some sugar to turn this smooth full-bodied tea into a dessert treat that resembles pistachio ice cream. Pistachio Ice Cream

We have received quite a few reviews lately and there should be even more coming out soon.  Here are our latest reviews:

The Lazy Litera"Tea" reviewed and experimented with our Purple Tea of Kenya:  

My Steeped IdentiTEA’s review of our Pumpkin Crème Brulee:

The Tea Review has recently reviewed a number of our teas, here they are:
Raspberry Truffle:
Organic Blue Nettle #1:
Organic Blue Nettle #2:

Finally, “The Tea Show” is doing a raffle to win a nice supply of teas.  We have donated our Raspberry Truffle and Pumpkin Crème Brulee to the mix. 

 *For the record the name of our company is pronounced boo*ti*key.  Boo as in what a ghost would say, Ti as in tip and key as in key.  I often hear it pronounced boo*tiki which would be correct if it was an English word, however, it is a Tagalog word.   

Preview of What’s To Come
  • Next week on our blog we will be reviewing two tea related documentaries, The Meaning of Tea and …All In This Tea. 
  •  We will be adding a special holiday sampler to our website. 
  • Two new teas will be available very soon: Mulled Cider Guayusa & Rwandan Green Tea!  Here is a look at the lovely Mulled Cider Guayusa:

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Journey Through Time: Tea Related Items at the ROM & PMA

Let’s take a journey through time.  I want you to think back…far back…now think even further back.  The year was 2008.  The place was Toronto, more specifically the Royal Ontario Museum.  How did I get there?  Well, that is quite a story, too long of a story for this already lengthy post.  Let’s just say I had a few hours to kill before a concert and I wanted to soak up some culture with a good friend.  After a few hours journeying through this fantastic museum, checking out the mummies and dinosaurs we ventured into a room with a quite a bit of teawares.  Needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised. 

I took a number of pictures, well as many as I could before I started to notice that people were getting annoyed with me.  Let me preemptively say that the pictures are terrible.  The night before I had been to a concert and the camera got banged around and refused to take a single unfuzzy picture my entire trip to Toronto.  Since the trip was in 2008 and I really had only taken these pictures for my benefit they are a bit disjointed.  Not every photo has a description and I have a description with no photo (probably the picture was discarded because it was too fuzzy).  I took pictures of the descriptions; since they are pretty fuzzy I typed them out so it would be a lot easier on the eyes.  Where there is a “(?)” that means I am not sure what the previous word is.  The description letter corresponds to the picture letter.  For instance description ‘A’ belongs to picture ‘A’.  At the end I threw in a few photos from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  I took those pictures in 2006.  They are of a teahouse exhibit in the museum.     


A-“Tea Box (1522-1591)”  “Tea utensils-Various utensils are used throughout the course of a tea ceremony, which sometimes includes the serving of food before tea.  While the art of tea lies in the harmony of the ensemble, individual utensils embody imaginative approaches to design.  Utensils made originally for other purposes, or made abroad, are sometimes adapted for use in the tea ceremony, a practice called mitate.  Tea utensils are treated with care-often first wrapped in fabric and stored in boxes made of paulownia wood.  A treasured item is sometimes accompanied by multiple boxes which authenticate its provenance.  This custom dates from the early 17th century when the maker or subsequent owners would write notes of authentication on the surface or back of the box lid.”


B-“Ceramic Tea Caddies-Tea caddies of various shapes and sizes have been a cherished component of the tea ceremony.  The ceramic type, cha ire, was used mainly to serve thick tea, and the lacquer type, natsume, for thin tea.  During the Edo period (1603-1868), high-ranking samurai vied to collect and trade famous old tea caddies.  Trading competition was so steep that a small tea caddy could command the equivalent value of an entire feudal domain.”


C-Yixing Teapots






H. “Tea Scoop-Kobori Enshu (1579-1647)  attr. Bamboo (1600-1647 Edo period). This tea scoop is attributed to Kobori Enshu, a 17th century grand tea master.  A successor of the rustic tea tradition of Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591), Enshu added refined flavours to his blends.  In making tea scoops, Enshu often chose a slender shape and used stained or coloured bamboo.  This tea scoop is accompanied by one case and two boxes which indicated its precious significance to the original owner.”

I. “Tea room-Reflecting the simple, austere aesthetic of the tea ceremony, the teahouse roof is thatched, the exterior walls plastered with mud, and the interior designed with natural materials such as bamboo and tree bark.  A traditional tearoom measures only four-a-half tatami (woven reed) mats, totaling eight meters square.  In one corner is the tokonoma, an elevated alcove where a hanging scroll of painting or calligraphy and a vase of simple flowers are displayed.  The arrangement of tea utensils varies with the season.  From November to April, a sunken square hearth is used to heat an iron kettle; from May to October the hearth is covered with either a tatami mat or wooden panel and a portable round brazier is used.”

J. 17-Teapot Red stoneware with transfer-printed(?) and painted enamel decoration. England 1860.
18-Tea & Coffee Set (Coffee pot, teapot, sugar bowl, waste bowl and butler (?) dish.  England 1860-1885
20-Red Stonewares from Bohemia (Czechoslovakia) Mid 1800s. Teapot on stand to hold candle or alcohol lamp. Red stoneware with moulded decoration.  Bohemia, Bodenbach, Schiller & Gerbing.  1829-1850. 
21- Sugar Bowl & Lid-Moulded reddish stoneware with brown glaze.  Bohemia, Bodenbach, Schiller & Sons 1850-1860.
22-Miniature Cup & Saucer-Red stoneware with dark red glaze. Bohemia, Bodenbach, Schiller & Gerbing. 1829-1850
23-Jug-Moulded reddish stoneware with brown glaze.  Bohemia, Bodenbach, Schiller & Sons 1850-1865.
24-Table-Mahogany veneered with mahogany, kingwood, box wood, and stained woods.  England 1870-1900.

K. 11. Teapot-Red Stoneware with sprigged decoration. England 1750-1760.
12. Teapot for tea or medicinal tea. Red Stoneware.  England 1790-1800.
13. Teapot-Glazed red stoneware with lathe-turned decoration. England 1770-1800.
14. Kettle (possibly for hot water or punch). Red stoneware with moulded and lathe-turned decoration.  England, possibly Leeds 1770-1775.
15. Brazier (to hold hot charcoal for warming food or water) England, possibly Leeds. 1770.
16. Small Table (possibly used as a stand for a hot water kettle).  Mahogany with turned and carved supports.  England 1760.  Repaired.


No Letter-“Tea connoisseurs prized the black-bodied bowls made in Fujian Province in southern China.  Northern potters copied these popular bowls by disguising the pale bodies of their own bowls with dark brown dressing and mimicking the streaked patterning of the southern glaze.”

This concludes our Royal Ontario Museum portion of this blog.  Now for some photos taken at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2006.  This is a permanent exhibit of a teahouse.  Also, check here for much more information about the Teahouse at that museum:  Also, threw in a few other photos. 

I hope you enjoyed looking at some pics from my journey.  -Stacy Lim

Friday, October 28, 2011

Week In Review: Oh What A Green Week It Was

We had quite a busy week at Butiki Teas.  This week we added four new green teas to our website: Organic Blue Nettle, Organic Mao Jian, Organic Idulgashinna Green, and South Korean Green. Check them out here: HERE.  We also put two teas on sale, our Pumpkin Creme Brulee & Organic Blue Nettle.  Check out that sale HERE.  Finally, we started this blog! 

What may you ask will we be up to next week?  Glad you asked, we will be adding two new teas to our website!  We have a wonderful purple bud puerh just dying to be put on sale and also we have a wonderful Pistachio Ice Cream green tea with a Mao Jian base that will be added!  Next week we also plan to take a retrospective journey to the Royal Ontario Museum and take a peek at the teawares they have exhibited.  We also have two other topics that will make their way to this blog in the semi-near future.  We will be discussing the wonderful world of guayusa and reviewing a few tea documentaries.

Now for some gratuitous pictures of our recently added green teas!!!

Organic Idulgashinna Green

Organic Blue Nettle

South Korean Green

Organic Mao Jian


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Exploring Kenya

Recently, I have been absolutely in love with Kenyan teas and I wanted to share a little more information about Kenya and our Kenyan teas. 

Overview of Kenya
Kenya is a country in East Africa.  The Indian Ocean, Somalia, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Tanzania all border Kenya.  Home to a little more than 41 million people, Kenya is slightly larger than twice the size of Nevada.  The capital of and largest city in Kenya is Nairobi.  Kenya’s unique terrain has low plains and highlands, which is ideal for a variety of wildlife.  The climate ranges from tropical to arid to cool.  There are even glaciers on Mount Kenya.    (

Overview of Our Kenyan Teas
Our Royal Golden Safari, White Whisper, Purple Tea of Kenya, and Blueberry Purple Tea are grown on a tea farm located on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya, neighboring the Mount Kenya Forest at an altitude of 2,036 meters above sea level.  The gardens are located between the Rundu and Mukengeria rivers.  These rivers supply the local community, farms, and factories with clean water. The area is farmed by approximately 3,700 small scale tea farmers with 2,092 combined acres.  Most of the farmers are related and farm ancestral pieces of land that have been passed down from generation to generation.  Most of the pluckers are women who farm tea farms that belong to their husbands or fathers.  Land is usually inherited patrilineally, though recently women have begun to inherit and purchase their own tea farms.  The teas are also grown on deep well-drained brown to dark brown nitrosols and andisols with acidic humid topsoil.  The climate is conducive for tea production with a double maxima rainfall of 1500-1800 millimeters an average between March through April and October through December and has relatively cool tropical temperatures.  Favorable weather and high altitudes are well suited for high quality orthodox tea production and ensures the teas are less prone to disease and pests. Our Royal Golden Safari, Purple Tea of Kenya, and White Whisper teas are naturally pesticide and herbicide free. (Joy Njuguna)
Royal Golden Safari
Our truly exceptional Royal Golden Safari originates from a small scale farm in Kenya and has long golden leaves that mingle with milk chocolate and cacao colored leaves. Toasted walnut and oaky notes are prominent with a light pear undertone. Cocoa notes are also present.  Here is what noted tea specialist, historian, writer, and consultant Jane Pettigrew has to say about our Royal Golden Safari, “The handsome tippy dry leaf of this orthodox black tea is full of large golden buds and lightly rolled russet-brown leaves.  The aroma of the wet leaf is sweet with the fruitiness of ripening plums and the liquor is light, fragrant and delicate.” Our Royal Golden Safari is part of the "Teas 4 Trees" line of teas that pays tribute to Professor Wangari Muta Maathai by donating a portion of profits to environmental initiatives of small-scale tea farmers.  More information about Teas 4 Trees can be found HERE Our Royal Golden Safari can be found here:
White Whisper
White Whisper's long downy silvery green buds have a delicate buttery flavor with light floral and peach notes.  Jane Pettigrew had this to say about White Whisper, “The infused leaf breathes honey, sweet plums and damsons. The aroma and taste of the straw-coloured liquor hints at ripening apricots and plums with just a hint of madeira cake and buttered toast.” Our White Whisper can be found here:
Purple Tea of Kenya
While still from the camellia sinensis plant, Purple Tea of Kenya is different from other tea because it is propagated by grafting and cutting as opposed to seeding.  The leaves of the plant have a purple-ish hue because they contain high levels of anthocyanin (a flavonoid), which pigments the leaves a purplish color. This purple species has been in development for 25 years in Kenya and is more resistant to frost, disease, drought, and pests. Purple tea was mainly developed for health tea products.  Malvidin, Pelargonidin and Delphinidin are most prominent in Purple teas.  Malvidin is one of the many anthocyanins that can be found in plant based foods and is part of the phytonutrient family (a group of chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants and have multiple health benefits but are not considered essential to human health).  Purple Tea of Kenya is a very rare tea that has sweet woodsy notes with a pleasant lingering astringency.  The recommended brewing time is 3 minutes which will produce a mellow flavor; however, this tea can be brewed as long as 5 minutes for a more flavorful and astringent brew.  Our purple teas can be found here:  An extensive review of the Purple Tea of Kenya can be found on the SororiTEA Sisters website:  SororiTEA Sisters Website
Kenya Kangaita
Kenya Kangaita is a high elevation Orange Pekoe grade orthodox black tea. Originating from Kangaita, a settlement in Kenya's Central Province, this tea is full-bodied and complex. Kenya Kangaita has apricot, citrus, and biscuity notes and finishes with sweet roasted notes. Most tea in Kenya is cultivated with machinery; however, this tea is hand picked.   Our Kenya Kangaita can be found here:

Our Explore Kenya Package can be found on our sale page:

We hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about Kenyan teas and will consider exploring them.

Strawberry TeaTinis

As the days get colder, I tend to be drawn towards things that remind me of summer.  What better reminder of summer than a sweet fruity martini.  I spent last night perfecting and enjoying some strawberry oolong tea infused martinis with my husband.  I thought I’d share the recipe for everyone that enjoys strawberry, tea, and vodka.     

  • 1 teaspoon strawberry oolong tea
  •  3 tablespoons brown crystal sugar
  •  4 oz top shelf vodka (vanilla vodka can be used as well)
  •  2 oz ripe hand mashed strawberries (about 5-7 strawberries) and 2 additional strawberries to be used as a garnish
  •  Small amount of loose cane sugar

Makes 2 TeaTinis

  1. Prepare the martini glass.  Cut a strawberry from the bottom to the middle of the strawberry but do not cut it completely in half.  Slip the strawberry over the edge of the glass and wipe it around the entire rim of the glass.  Swirl the edge of the glass in the loose cane sugar.  Wipe off any excess sugar.  Place the strawberry on the rim of the glass as a garnish.  Do this for both glasses. 
  2. Brew the tea.  Infuse the tea into 8oz of 180 degree water for 4 minutes.  Add the brown crystal sugar at the same time the tea is added (sugar in the raw will also do).  Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved.  Stirring the tea frequently will help.  (The tea leaves can be saved to make another cup of tea)
  3. Mix the drink.  In a shaker mix the vodka and brewed tea with some ice.  Poor the mixture into the glasses.
  4. Add the strawberries.  Add one ounce of mashed strawberries to each glass and lightly mix it with a fork.  Make sure the strawberries are mashed so there are no big chunks and some juice is present.  If the strawberries aren’t ripe enough the drink will be sour.