Mark T. Wendell

Recent Tasting Notes

drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
113 tasting notes

A cool foggy morning, waiting for the sun to shine and enjoying a gut-warming cup of one of my faves. My new favorite band, The Futurebirds streaming on Spotify and the kids off with my wife for an hour—a bit of calm plucked from what promises to be a busy afternoon of yard maintenance.

TheTeaFairy

Ahhh…tea and music. Love Futurebirds, pure laid back enjoyment…a friend introduced me to their album Hampton’s Lullaby last year cause I was totally hooked on this from the Beach House:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FuvWc3ToDHg

What a great suggestion that was! After reading your note, I found their new album, didn’t know they had released new stuff so thank you for that :-) It seems a little more uptempo, love the sound.

My summer find of the moment is Hummingbird from Local Natives (unintentionally staying on the bird theme it seems!)

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h2zWfxW60z0

Oops, sorry for highjacking your note with music reviews, just can’t help myself sometimes!

Doug F

Wow! Another Futurebirds fan. They’re playing in my town on June 4th—lucky me. The new album is more uptempo—reminds me of another band I like—Beachwood Sparks. Thanks for the You tube links and keep the suggestions coming!

TheTeaFairy

I don’t write many reviews on Steepster, but I often include music references, it’s just part of who I am. Great that you get to see them live! I’m going to the Black Keys on July 5th, can’t wait!

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drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
113 tasting notes

The smell of wood smoke ignites some primal pavlovian need inside of me, especially on this bone-chilling day. The beautiful red hue of this tea begs for a glass mug and the deep, mellow taste never disappoints. This will always be a part of my inner circle of teas.

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drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
113 tasting notes

One of my go-to teas. Very smoky but always mellow—never bitter, which attests to the quality of the base leaf Hu Kwa is made from. The red liquor always sparkles.

Spot52

One of the coffee shops in town swears by this tea and this company. Do you like any of their other teas?

Doug F

I do. They seem to find great examples of the major types of teas, like Assams, darjeelings, and Keemuns, etc. They don’t offer a lot of options like Upton tea does (they have nearly 100 darjeelings which can be a bit overwhelming) but what they do offer is quality. I’ve enjoyed their dragonwell green and their basic Darjeeling quite a bit. thanks for asking.

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I’m not sure how to rate this one yet – might have to spend some more time with it. I guess one could say it’s dew-like – there is more to it – just can’t put my finger on it…

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drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
1767 tasting notes

Taking a break from household reconstruction to flit online and discovered this review is posted: http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/2213/tea-review-mark-t-wendell-hu-kwa-lapsang-souchong-2/

Incidentally, the cup in the profile picture survived the storm; it’s handle didn’t. :(

ashmanra

Sorry about your cup. I couldn’t tell in the picture what was on it but it must have been a dear one for you to post it as a profile pic! And I tremble to ask…what about the teapot from Mema? Has it been found?

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drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
1767 tasting notes

Picked up a pouch for future review at www.itsallabouttheleaf.com. I am not a lapsang fan by any means, but this one taught me that not all lapsang souchong blends taste like burnt bacon, either. Nice substitute for a crackling fireplace on a cloudy afternoon with the remains of a blizzard on the ground.

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drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
61 tasting notes

The smokiness is something you learn to love or hate, but this tea is smoother with more balanced briskness than other lapsang souchongs. Join an online tasting of this tea: http://walkerteareview.com/?p=2373

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83
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
807 tasting notes

Thanks TeaEqualsBliss! I’m still trying to get through all of my samples. I’ve been having a mini sip down/cleaning party.
This is such a lovely smoked tea. Lapsang always reminds me of camping and campfires. Mm :) not a super smoked flavor, but still has nice flavor to it. Thanks again!

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82
drank Cheericup Ceylon by Mark T. Wendell
2579 tasting notes

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82
drank Cheericup Ceylon by Mark T. Wendell
2579 tasting notes

Tea of the morning here. For some reason I haven’t been drinking this one much, I guess I don’t normally associate ceylons with a morning tea and I haven’t been drinking many black afternoon teas. I made this too strong by accident and it is extremely brisk but ended up getting mellow with a tsp of sugar and some soymilk. When it is made correctly, it has a nice fruity flavor.

Job searching has its ups and downs. I had two interviews last week and I didn’t want one of the jobs, the other one didn’t want me. So it’s back to the drawing board, I guess. But I’m trying not too get too discouraged because I want something that’s a good fit.

Uniquity

If you can afford it, it’s better to hold out for something that works for you. Good luck!

Cheri

I agree with Uniquity. It’s much better to hold out for something that is what you really want, if you can.

TeaBrat

Yep, I agree. Thanks!

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82
drank Cheericup Ceylon by Mark T. Wendell
2579 tasting notes

I’ve always wanted to try a lemongrass/black tea blend so today I decided to create my own. I used about 1/3 lemongrass leaf and 2/3 cherricup ceylon. This was a good call, the lemongrass goes really well with the brisk and fruity ceylon and seems very refreshing. Note to self: This will make a great blend for summer time iced, with a little bit of sugar!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Ysaurella

sounds a great idea

TeaBrat

you should try it :)

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82
drank Cheericup Ceylon by Mark T. Wendell
2579 tasting notes

I found this tea in Baltimore and couldn’t resist picking it up.

It is brisk but not bitter, I am drinking mine with milk so I think that helps with the briskness. It isn’t my favorite Ceylon but is still pretty good. Slightly woody and earthy. I did try sipping on it plain and it was okay that way but I think I prefer it with soymilk. I also forgot how long I steeped this for so it got pretty strong, might try and steep a little less time in the future because it probably lost a lot of its subtlety.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
gmathis

That’s just a happy little name…Cheericup.

Indigobloom

sounds delish!

TeaBrat

I like the name too!

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92
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
168 tasting notes

Backlogging from yesterday.
What a way to start the new year.
We arose to temps dipping to 10 below outside and our oil heater had quit during the night.
The house was freezing.
Hubby went out to fix it (yes, the problem was outside in lines or something)
He bundled up and went to grab the door knob and it shattered and fell apart in his hand!
No, we do not use glass door knobs and no my husband is not the Hulk.
So, we both looked at each other shocked and now there was a gaping round hole in our door allowing the evil cold in.
We shoved a rag in the door and went out and I huddled around an electric heater in the house.
After a bit, I decided that I would start some laundry because the dryer would help heat up the house.
SO, tossed laundry in the washing machine and then decided to shower and get ready for the day.
THEN, while in the shower, the washing machine water backs up into the tub.
The water keeps coming, so I have to shut off the shower water and huddle on a ledge with a towel around me, shivering and of course, shampoo in my hair (nothing ever happens just after you rinsed your hair, does it?)
Finally, the water went down and I was able to shower.
SO, my whole point that this was just our first hour of New Years Day!
I needed a good tea to counteract this craziness.
I opened up my tea sample drawer and grabbed this and dumped the rest of it that was left in my tea infuser (about a teaspoon and half).
I needed its wonderful strength yet, polite gentleman like qualities to give me courage for the rest of the day.
Whew! Thank you Amy Oh and Thank you Hu Kwa.
Read previous note for on this tea.
Oh, and Happy New Year…I guess.

gmathis

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Thinking warm thoughts for you!

ashmanra

Oh my! Well, it can only get better from here! :)

K S

Sorry. hoping things improve rapidly.

Hesper June

Ha! Yes, I actually find it all quite humorous.
My Mother’s saying “trouble comes in 3’s” came to mind yesterday…I just didn’t know all three would be within an hour of waking and all before tea!:)

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92
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
168 tasting notes

Thank you Amy Oh for giving me the chance to try this tea.
What a elegant Lapsang Souchong!
The dry leaves smell of fine quality black tea and smoke.
Then when the water flows over the leaves, emerges this deep smoke.
If this tea were a Man, it would be a Gentleman, with some royal blood, yet totally is rocking a 5 o’clock shadow. Ahem, Anywho!
I have found since I started drinking LS’s, that each one has a bit different level of smoke, even a style of smoke.
Some LS’s are almost rough, others have a honey note, while others are not heavily smoked.
This tea is smoky, but the fine quality black tea shines through as well.
In fact, the first note I taste is the rich black tea, then the lovely smoke hits your tongue.
This tea is a delight to drink.
I also enjoyed reading about its rich history in my Mark T. Wendell catalog.
Thanks again, Amy Oh!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I’m glad you liked it!

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77

A pleasantly delicious tea and a first time trying this brand and blend of tea; good quality teas, you can tell in the taste.

I am not too familiar with this type of blend, but I expected a heartier flavor profile. It is very tasty but not what I thought it would be; I was expecting a smokier taste, not as much as Lapsang Souchong but at least contributing to the flavor. This Russian Caravan is smooth…actually, this is all I can say about it, there is really no depth or complexity to it. I am aware that this type of blend does have some Lapsong Souchong blended in for flavor and intrigue, but the only time you taste smokiness is in the aftertaste and then it’s only a whisper on the palate. When drinking, Russian Caravan is somewhat malty, again, not as much as drinking Assam alone but noticeable.

Not a hearty tea however, a good afternoon tea.

Would I recommend this blend, yes…for the afternoon or when you don’t feel like a heavy, malty blend. I would like to try this same blend from other vendors for comparison.

I would say try this for something different, quiet and refined.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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72

When I want an earthy but light tea I go right for this. It’s not as floral or light as I like my greens but it gets the job done without being too understated. Eating some plain jasmine rice with this tea is an excellent, simple meal.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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94

Goodness this is good! I love yellow tea! Thank you LiberTEAS for sending me some!
I am going to have to add this to my TO GET list as well!
A perfect example of yellow tea for those who may want to venture into yellows or anyone who is already a fan!
Sweet, buttery but not too buttery, creamy, slightly vegetal but not like a green, even a slight candy like flavor when cooled.
Full review on the 21st here: http://sororiteasisters.com/

LiberTEAS

Yay… I’m glad you are loving Yellows!

Azzrian

Oh I DO! I was lucky to be introduced to yellow tea the first time I ever purchase loose leaf! WOO HOOO its good stuff! :) Thank you for this!

LiberTEAS

You’re very welcome. :)

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83
drank China Yunnan by Mark T. Wendell
87 tasting notes

I can be an incredibly hard sell on green teas (they’re often a touch too bitter for my taste), but this one is mild, fresh, sweet, and agreeable. It also ices beautifully.

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80
drank Mandarin Rooibos by Mark T. Wendell
5360 tasting notes

So this tea, cold brewed? DELICIOUS! Sadly this is also a sipdown but this is a really enjoyable cold brewed tea. I’ll have to look into getting another similar rooibos sometime for those hot summer days. But for now this is just a great refreshing cold brew – with just a splash of sweetner to bring out the orange :)

Nik

Two of my favourite flavours! And I discovered from Della Terra’s Mayan Mist that they actually go great together, so I’m going to need to try this one. :D

Sil

on a side note.. i totally added some PAMA liquer to this one.. soooo good lol

Nik

Interesting, I’ve never tried that. As much as I love pomegranates, I haven’t yet found anything pomegranate-flavoured that tastes quite right. (And I really wish I would, because they’re such a pain to eat.)

Sil

seriously.. biggest fruit pain in the ass! To be honest it’s been so long since i’ve had real pomagrante i couldn’t tell you if it’s similar. I just love that liqueur. First had it at epcot in “france” pama + champagne! sooo yummy :)

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80
drank Mandarin Rooibos by Mark T. Wendell
5360 tasting notes

So another sample from indigobloom who may have incidently gotten this from Liberteas, but I can’t say for certain, there’s just a note on the package which leads me to believe so :) This is a really nice tea. It reminds me of…wait I think i figured it out while having that thought. I’m pretty sure this is similar to african red bush with a bit more orange but i’m sure i’ll second guess myself on that one forever.

Anyway, this tea doesn’t knock your socks off or anything like that but if you like orange and are ok with rooibos, it’s not too bad a tea :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

U R Funny!

Sil

Bonnie….naw just tired. Random stream of consciousness for the win. I did the gym today, then got home and the other half wanted to go for a bike ride… Loonnnnng day but it was good.

Indigobloom

hehe I believe this was from QuiltGuppy actually, but I could be mistaken on that!

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80

Thanks TeaEqualsBliss! This is a nice green tea :) slightly nutty but refreshing. Not a whole lot to say.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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79

I don’t know. I can’t force myself to enjoy this as much as other Yunnan’s i’ve tried. I like that it’s a tad smoky and earthy, but there’s the bit of sweetness I love about Yunnan’s that that pepperyness covers up. Still a good tea, but so far this is my least favorite Yunnan.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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84

It’s been ages since I’ve had a breakfast blend! I’m relatively familiar with the English Breakfast, less so with the Irish Breakfast, which out of the two I prefer because it’s a little stronger and a little heartier. Scottish Breakfast, however, is new to me, so I’ve been curious about it for some time. It’s the completionist in me. Getting the British Isles rounded of, sort of. (I wonder if there’s a Welsh Breakfast out there somewhere too…?)

Hesper June shared this one with me and her parcel arrived at the same time as a parcel from Auggy did. Lately I’ve taken to keeping unposted about teas on my desk, and I had just got it almost cleared from the TeaSpring order when this happened! Since Auggy in particular went completely ballistic and shared a whole tea shop with me, it seems like, the desk is now littered with tiny tins and I have my work cut out for me here. It makes it very difficult to work out where to start! O.O Exploring the selection a little, however, I found this and thought, ‘Gosh! How ideal!’

I still haven’t got any new Roy Kirkham (I’m working on it) pots, so I found the really rubbish tea-for-one pot in the back of the cupboard and resigned myself to the fact that this pot requires pouring over the sink, while trying not to despair too much about the waste.

Now, according to Hesper June this is a blend of Indian, Ceylon and China teas, which made me sigh, because really, how hard is it to be specific? I get that they don’t want to reveal too much of their secret recipe, but I just want to know which regions we’re dealing with. There are HUGE differences between regions in India alone. But then again, I expect the average consumer doesn’t really care about that level of detail, and likely it wouldn’t mean that much to most of them anyway.

Guess the ingredient it is, then.

Well, from the aroma alone I’m already suspecting the first one and the flavour strengthens that suspicion. I think there must be Darjeeling in here. It has that grassy, spicy aroma and the same sort of grassy flavour to it, along with a certain mineralness. I don’t think it’s very much, though. I can’t find it on every sip, but in the aroma, especially while I was pouring it, it seemed very clear.

Then there’s something quite sweet in the aroma as well. There is the Darjeeling note, in a sort of fleeting way, at the top followed immediately by something floral, and underneath all that is the sweet bit. It smells not like caramel but sort of along those lines. A bit malty and quite heavy too, as if the weight of it made it sink below those other notes. It doesn’t show up so much in the flavour as such, but it stands out in the aftertaste, again as a caramel-esque note. It rather enhances the impression that it’s heavier than the other notes and that I might reach it better when I get closer to the bottom of the cup. I have absolutely nothing to base this on, but get a strong impression that this note is from the Ceylon element.

Now finally, I mentioned a floral note, and here I think we have our China participant. Keemun, I think, which accounts to the malty element of what I imagine to be the Ceylon note and that floral note. You know how Keemuns, dependent on quality and leaf grade, can have either a pseudo-smoky top note or a floral one, or even sometimes both, yes? I tend to prefer the smoky one over the others. The floral element here, however, reminds me strongly of the way a floral Keemun tastes, so I think that’s what it must be.

So Keemun and Darjeeling to give it character, Ceylon to give it body, I think. I can’t really region-guess on the Ceylon, I’m far too inexperienced with that area to do that. I’m puzzled, though, as to why I can’t find any Assam in here. I thought Assam was pretty much a breakfast blend given. Of course me not being able to find it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Me being able to find something doesn’t even mean that it is there.

Now, I don’t much care for Darjeeling at all, so when I first smelled that in the aroma my initial reaction was to be a bit wary, but as it turns out there wasn’t really anything to be afraid of here. Yes, it has the Darjeeling notes that I don’t like, but they are not on their own. In a blend, they get spaced out a bit and complemented by the other ingredients. This way, I find it much more tolerable, so I’m beginning to think my dislike of pure Darjeeling is simply due to an overload of these particular notes. It seems to be going down just fine in a blend.

Daniel Scott

Love this breakdown! I’m always curious to read about what other people have found to be common to certain regions. I’d love to feel like I could pick them out; but I’m sure that I cannot, so I tend to avoid straight tea blends like the plague. I feel like I need far more experience with single types. The one Keemun I have tried indeed had floral notes!

Angrboda

It’s something that comes with experience, I think. I didn’t sit down and learn it, really. It all started with, ‘hey this reminds me of…’ and then I started wondering why it gave me those associations. (But yes, it does help to familiarise oneself with various regions first)

Hesper June

This tea had me slightly puzzled as well.
I just was expecting something of a more hearty nature.
But,was met with this tea,which I thought tasted more like a afternoon blend.
Very good review,you are much more experienced at tasting than I.

Angrboda

Perhaps it’s a breakfast blend for A type people? :p

Hesper June

Perhaps :-)

Auggy

Interesting breakdown! And it is surprising to have a breakfast blend with no Assam. I thought that was standard!

Also, yes, I might have been a wee bit enthusiastic. But I had been holding on to some teas specifically to send to you but I knew I was going to wait until after my LPdT and ATR orders… so you got bits of those, too. I was a bit surprised when I saw how many ended up in the pile, though. I had more new(ish) tea than I thought!

Angrboda

I know! It’s totally puzzling me. And it’s not like there’s anything else equally strong in there instead either. And yet somehow it still worked, although I would agree with Hesper June that it felt more like an afternoon blend.

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85

I can’t believe that I haven’t reviewed this tea yet. For me it was one of those sleepers. I bought it and tried it many times, but only realized how much I loved it when I ran out. At the time I was abroad and could not get any more until I returned several months later. Bummer!

It is a brisk tea as others have noted, but since I don’t use milk in tea it is still not too brisk for my taste. It has a wonderful taste/aroma that I can’t really find words for, perhaps floraly woody? All I know is I treasure it and love it as a break from my more often drunk teas. I do tend to steep it around 4 minutes to keep it from getting too brisk.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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