322 Tasting Notes

The lovely TheTeaFairy gave me a list of Oolongs that she recommended for my upcoming exploration of Oolongs. One of them was a Whispering Pines tea, and I have wanted to try Brandon’s teas out for awhile, as the folks I follow here seem to universally enjoy them . So I ordered an ounce each of 6, including the Oolong. This, obviously, is not a review of the oolong, as I’m going to wait until I have ordered the other oolongs on the list to do a series of tastings of them. Can I say oolong one more time? Oolong.

Anyway, since I am waiting, I wanted to try out one of the other 5 teas, and I choose this one to start with. I ripped open the envelope and the scent is lovely. Tried to scoop up a teascoop of leaves, and they were not cooperating, but the couple I did get were blue-black and nice looking. Tried again, and this time I got a nice scoopful and a very bedraggled… feather? Oh my. It was quite beat up and barely recognizable as such, but definitely was one as I peered at it under a magnifying glass.

I always did picture the Jabberwocky as a partially feathered creature…

The feather looks like it got roasted along with the tea, so I think it’s been in there awhile. Pretty sure that any mites that might have been able to hitch a ride would have passed away through roasting and lack of lunch by now, I’m going to pretend all is well and assume it probably will be. I am far less freaked out by this than the human hair I found in a mini-tuocha of pu-erh once. Which, I don’t know what that says about my own mental foibles… :D

Okay, it’s all brewed up, I’ve frothed my sweetener and half&half, and added the tea. The liquor was a nice medium brown. My cup tastes malty and I am quite enjoying it. It’s not a heavy malt, but it’s there, and I don’t notice any bird-like aftertaste. We will see if I start sprouting feathers later today ;)

There was a small sticker holding the “thanks for your order” note to the box, and I quite liked it. It’s from e.e. cummings: “Your head is a living forest full of songbirds.”
giggle The quote seems quite fitting now!

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Whispering Pines Tea Company

So sorry that you found a feather in your tea! Unfortunately, this is a very common problem, even (especially) for very high-end teas. Because of the time consuming hands-on processing that goes into the tea itself, it’s nearly impossible to produce tea without foreign matter getting into it. I do try to inspect all of the teas thoroughly after arrival at headquarters as well as during the blending process, but as I’m sure you can understand, you can’t always get ‘em all! :-)

I hope that it won’t affect your experience with Whispering Pines! I can assure you that because of the high heat used in the processing of the tea, there is no need to worry of bacteria or anything harmful in the tea itself.

I’m glad you enjoyed this and look forward to more of your tasting notes! :-)


Well, I haven’t started clucking (anymore than usual), and I’m not sprouting any feathers, so I think I am fine! :D No worries!

I’m actually brewing up the packet of Second Breakfast which you sent as a sample right now. I think that’s the best name for a tea ever!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Well I’m glad you’re okay! But honestly, would you have been sad if you gained the ability to fly? ;-)

I’m glad you’re enjoying them!


I would not be sad at all! Hehe

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Behold! My new mug!

I added a little extra plain Laoshan Black to this Chai, and it’s near perfect. I am really digging the flavor this morning. It may be 79 degrees at 8am with a high of 97 predicted, but my heart says it should be fall. Chai tastes like fall to me. The only thing that would improve it is goat milk, I think, but I hate buying a full thing of super expensive goat milk just for random cups of chai, because I don’t always want that taste!

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

Oh gosh, I just looked at your new mug – that’s great!


Thanks! :)

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drank Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons
322 tasting notes


I have emptied the tin. Yay! It’s all right, but not my favorite holiday-themed tea. And the tin is massive, and takes up too much tea cupboard real estate, so I am happy it can be removed. I am trying to think of a use for it, or if I should just put it in the recycling bin.

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This is one of the teas I picked up in the UK back in May. This is one of the few herbal teas that 1. I enjoy hot, and 2. doesn’t taste like wet washrag! Yay!

I brewed it up, added a bit of sweetener, and am sipping it down, enjoying each sip.

While it was steeping, I took a stroll outside to take a peek at the supermoon. I saw no capes. But it was nice and 14% brighter than average :)

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drank Keemun by t, an urban teahouse
322 tasting notes

My last mug of this – all gone now! I liked this for a work tea, it is good enough for my tea snobbery, but not so good that I am wishing I could point my full attention at it for enjoyment. A good background tea.

Now I have to figure out what to bring to work to take its place; in the meantime, while I inevitably forget to choose and then forget to bring whatever I choose, I have a tin of Twinings loose Earl Grey.

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My second packet of this from one of the Steepster Select boxes.

I felt like having something greenish this morning, something I could drink without milk and sugar, unfussy. This was a good choice. I had meant to try brewing this second packet in a gaiwan, but I forgot. That’s all right, because I got lots of flavor out of it this time.

Light & floral, with a sweet finish. A little on the dry side. I am enjoying it though.

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Happy Valley Darjeeling by some tea place in Kansas (received in a swap).
Not great. Maybe I just don’t like darjeelings. I don’t seem to ever find any love for them!

This stuff wasn’t full leaves, it was all cut up leaf bits – not tiny ones, but still not full leaves.

I think I will give this away to my friend Robin.

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drank Lapsang Souchong by Adagio Teas
322 tasting notes

I forgot to brew myself some LS when I had my BBQ the other day. Oops. So I had some this morning with my savory oatmeal – steel cut oats with ham and cheese. Yum. Good pairing.

Now I’m slowly sipping the rest of the pot down as I wait to see if my right eye is going to calm down any. I have yet another eye infection. Ugh. I had big plans for the day too! I wanted to go to a new exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art of works on paper; with a metal concert tonight. Now I’m putting drops in my eye hourly and hoping allergy pills and ibuprofen will convince the swelling to go down.


I have at least enough of these leaves left for another pot on another day, and then a whole envelope of a Mandala LS to try out soon. I shall LS again! :)

Flavors: Pine, Smoke

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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Mmmmm… the perfect tea for a cloudy day. I love the malty goodness!

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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drank Keemun by t, an urban teahouse
322 tasting notes

I brought this into work to replace the Chocolate Energy Tea that I used up yesterday. I brewed it in my ForLife brewing mug. This time, I am catching the smokiness that didn’t come out the last time. Not as much malt or cocoa, but I like the basicness of it. I think this will make a decent work tea. And hey, the cupboard at home continues to get roomier!

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When I was a very young child, I swallowed an ice cube whole. It got stuck in my throat, and my mother had me drink hot tea to melt it away. That started a love affair with tea that has never abated.

I dabbled with Celestial Seasonings and other grocery store teabags for awhile, in my young and foolish days. But a few years ago, I received a tea of the month subscription from Adagio, and I found that there was a whole other world of tea out there that I had never experienced.

I love drinking tea, and I love the personal ceremony of making a glass or pot of tea for myself. It’s like a meditation.


DFW, Texas

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