Mark T. Wendell

Recent Tasting Notes

91

I’m always happy to see new teas from Mark T. Wendell. Hartley is one-cool-dude!

This smells like a greener-type-black/darjeeling with crispy notes!

The taste is a little like cracked pepper and green veggies with hints of fruitiness trying to hide underneath along with a few floral notes as it tries to cool at room temp for 2 or 3 minutes.

This is a really good Darjeeling. The end-sip hints at toast – I really like that!

Hesper June

Cracked Pepper? Green Veggies? Yum-o!!!

ScottTeaMan

Bliss, I really enjoy Darjeelings…… ALOT!! Most of my reviews for teas that I like are as descriptive as need be when describing a tea. I try to do that, and inject something interesting, so they are not boring for me or you or any other steepie who cares to read them. With that said, they do tend to be long sometimes! :))

I like your reviews, but for some reason I don’t always see them in my notices. Yours are interesting and short compared to mine. I just think it’s interesting and fun to see how reviews can be so different, entertaining, & fun here on Steepster.

My comment is starting to read like one of my lengthy reviews. :))

TeaEqualsBliss

Thanks Scott! Some are long – some are short – I try to mix it up quite a bit. A few of mine today will be pretty long winded tho! I think I already did 2 or 3 that way :) I have LOTS more to write and review today…so…time will tell with those :)

Thanks for the kind words! Your reviews are interesting and awesome as well!

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84

Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this.

Not bad, it tastes like … well … it tastes like Guayusa. No big surprises here, but it is invigorating and that’s what I need. Vegetal, but also rich and earthy, reminding me a bit more like a thinned coffee today – more so than usual. Who needs coffee when we have Guayusa?

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94
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
2345 tasting notes

I took a hint from Bonnie and steamed my brussels sprouts with a little of this smoky tea, then tossed them with a simple black fig vinegar and olive oil dressing. Topped with toasted almonds – very tasty!

Now that lunch is over I have homework to do, so I’ll be back later. :)

Kittenna

Lunch! You are clearly in quite a different time zone from me, hahaha… it’s 5pm here!

TeaBrat

It was a late lunch, but yes I’m Pacific standard time!

Bonnie

Sounds good Amy! I just went to buy more LS and the guys brewed up a pot for me. I’m smoked!

Scott B

You steamed it with brewed tea? Or you just had the tea leaves in the steamer basket with the sprouts?

TeaBrat

I put the tea leaves in the steamer basket, but perhaps I should try the other way too…

Bonnie

I initially made a mess and threw them in, then I put them under in the water, now I use a tea sac. CLEAN FREAK!

Scott B

I think whatever way works for you. One of these days I’d like to incorporate Hu Kwa into a homemade bbq sauce.

Joshua Smith

Mm, that sounds delicious! If you ever do try it, post the recipe or leave a few pointers.

Bonnie

I tried honey, vinegar, put a tea sac with some in pasta water, you can do sooo many things. Just strain it after or use a sac or metal basket for infusion.

Azzrian

Oh yummy!

Scott B

I have a good recipe for bbq sauce that I have used before. I could replace the liquid smoke with Hu Kwa in some fashion.

Charles Thomas Draper

Very creative recipe

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92

Just tried it iced and it’s very good!

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96

Ahh. Sharp attack with intense fruit overtones. Evolves into a medium bodied, full mouthfeel. Leaves sugary astringency and a long finish. Smells floral. Exquisite.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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93

This is a great tea for the afternoon if you’re up for something smoky and stimulating. I am trying to write a blog post and then do my homework for copy editing class, so I needed a good kick in the you-know-where!

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87
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
972 tasting notes

Tea of the morning…. (SRP #43)

This is the end of my sample of this tea, and I loved it while I had it. Thank you, again, narwhalclub!

It is probably about the smokiest I could handle, but it is very good with a little sweetner. I do have others that I like better that have a slightly smoother, more cocoa-noted base, so I will probably stick with one of them for the future. There really is only room for about 1 or 2 versions of Lapsang in my cupboard for the amount that I actually drink it.

Teapot method at 3 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I broke down and got the whole tin of this! I think it will take me a really long time to finish it off though.

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92

I almost forgot I had this one but am sure glad I found it yesterday! Backlogging! See previous notes…

Yes! It’s grand!

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89
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

I pretty much wanted to try this tea once I saw their ancient-looking packaging. Look at that canister-it look a hundred years old! I only hoped the tea was new.

The bad thing about Wendell is their shipping is comparatively high (for tea merchants) and (as far as I can tell) you have to buy 4 ounces of most everything. However, I really enjoy Lapsang, and with all the good reviews, I figured there was little chance that I wouldn’t like this tea. The good thing about Wendell is that their 4 ounce teas come in their own tins-no looking for a tin and struggling to remove the scent of the previous tea-you are ready to go. The tins have their lids attached on back hinges and are filled to the brim so be careful not to spill any. And to be fair about the shipping, the tins are probably a little more expensive to ship than a pouch.

The dry leaves are medium in length, very tightly rolled, and mostly chocolate brown with some mahogany brown mixed in. I’ve gone into sensory overload comparing the dry leaf aroma of this to my other Lapsangs, so descriptors fail me now, but suffice to say it is unique compared to the others. It’s smoky of course, but spicy too, and I’ll leave it at that for now. Liquor is copper-colored and very clear.

Flavor is smoky and mild. Slightly sweet. Very smooth. It tastes like a Lapsang, but slightly different. Perhaps that is the Formosan base instead of a Chinese tea base? Perhaps they have a better technique of smoking their leaves. Maybe both. No matter, it’s delicious. Almost makes me long for 90 degree days-when I enjoy Lapsang the most. I have 6 Lapsangs in my house right now. 5 of them are one ounce or less, so Hu Kwa will be around long after I have finished the others-and I kinda like that.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
ScottTeaMan

I think this is Al Pacino’s favorite tea…….HUU KWAAAAA!

TeaBrat

ScottB – what’s your favorite lapsang so far?

Scott B

Amy-I think I am leaning towards Al Pacino’s tea being my favorite,but Teavivre is strong too. I think I need to have a Lapsang contest to see for sure.

ScottTeaMan

Scent Of A Lapsang :))

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87
drank Indonesian by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

Did you ever think you’d get buried under an avalanche of tea?

It seemed that might happen yesterday as package after package arrived. My dog was wearing her nose out smelling all the interesting boxes. When the torrent subsided the boxes were between knee and waist high and I was ready to brew.

This was my first order from Mark T Wendell. The only Indonesian tea I’ve ever had before was in TG’s disappointing English Breakfast blend, so it was nice to see an Indonesian tea get a chance to stand on its own.

I’m not sure if this is an estate tea or not. The web site says it’s from Kertasarie Estate but the label on the tin says it’s a blend. Do estates ever make their own blends from different teas?

Anyhow, the dry leaves are short, twisted and fairly uniform in size. Their color is very dark brown with a few medium brown specks in there. Dry aroma is pleasant and subdued, with maybe a touch maltiness and a hint of orange citrus.

Brewed aroma is more malty with maybe that orange citrus note. Can you smell tannins? I swear I smell tannins. Liquor is nice and coppery.

Taste is good, if a little generic and nondescript. A little malty, but that orange citrus note doesn’t seem to have made it. Somewhat robust, but no bitterness. I think this could be a decent breakfast tea. I will brew this a little longer next time and see if I can coax a bit more flavor out of it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Scott B

Yes, their web site says it’s from the estate. But the label on my tin says “A blend of exquisite teas from the island of Indonesia..”. I am just unfamiliar with estates making their own blends-perhaps they do.

ScottTeaMan

I m still pretty sure it’s single estate b/c other websites have it listed as such. Where on the tin does it say it is a blend? I saw no notice of it on their website.

TeaBrat

Buried under an avalanche of tea, sounds like the story of my life. Ooh – I hope you got the Victorian Afternoon blend. :)

Scott B

Scott-The quote I included is from a label on the back of their 4 oz. tin. The description of it is sounds like it was written a very long time ago. Maybe at that time it wasn’t an estate tea.

Amy-I’m starting to think that what I am doing here is just living in a tea shop or something. Alas, I must have missed the Victorian Afternoon blend. Is it similar to Harney’s Queen Catherine?

TeaBrat

Scott – the victorian afternoon is a Lapsang blend, I quite like it.

ScottTeaMan

Here’s to living in & being buried in…….TEA! If it wasn’t so delicious, I’d probably bathe in it.

Scott B

“This vibrant blend of Indian, Sri Lankan and Formosan teas is further complemented by a slightly smoky character” Sounds very interesting.

Scott B

Scott-People have been known to drink their bath water!

ScottTeaMan

That sounds thirst quenching!

Scott B

gives a whole new meaning to the Nestea plunge

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83

I like this tea overall.
It’s nose is not untypical of the ‘breakfast blends’.
However what surprised me was how it tasted.
For some reason I was expecting something fairly strong maybe even hearty.
But, what I found was that it’s like a English Breakfast’s shy little brother.
It is very smooth and almost a bit of brightness?? (sorry I am new at this)
I like it, but I have been letting it brew a smidge longer as well as making my measuring spoon slightly heaping when I make it and have been happier with the results.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Bright is in fact a term used to describe tea so good job! :)

Hesper June

Whew! Good, glad to hear it:)

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93

This is a great tea for the afternoon, especially when brunch involved drinking wine… hee hee.

I still like this one but it is a lapsang blend. Smoky, especially in the aroma but with a sweet aftertaste and very dark. I have a sensitive stomach and I’m not picking up on much bitterness at all. Nice for a pick me up, indeed but not for the faint of heart. See previous notes for more info.

ScottTeaMan

Can I safely assume that Hu Kwa is better than this one??

TeaBrat

They are different…

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82

Backlog: I started my day with a cup of this. Very energizing, and I love the delicious spiced tone – not what I’d call hot or spicy, but, just warm and tasty.

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94
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
2345 tasting notes

After a long week and a quick swim at the pool (trying in vain to get some exercise!) I am at home now. I can’t say what made me want to brew this one up but I was really craving it for some reason. Well, for one thing I was worried I might fall asleep before dinner started!

It is funny how tastes change. I never thought I would like a lapsang type tea OR a darjeeling, but thank you my Steepster friends for broadening my horizons & shrinking my bank account at the same time. :))

I think I made this a bit strong tonight as it seems extra dark and smoky but I am still enjoying it a lot… I still want to try cooking with lapsang one of these days!

Now someone please tell me how to get the water out of my ears!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
Azzrian

While hopping on one foot – tip your head to one side – as you are hopping gently mind you GENTLY tap your ear (the ear that is up not down) with the palm of your hand. It takes a little practice but it works. You have to “pop” the ear essentially.
If you need to get rid of hiccups ever – drink water upside down – works 100% of the time – I can explain this better if need be. :)

Thomas Edward(Toad)

The Hu-Kwa is yummy, i like it.

TeaBrat

@Azzrain – I tried that… boo hoo. I’ll keep tryin’!
@Tommy – it really is, isn’t it?!

Missy

I use rubbing alcohol. Very small amount, let it go until you feel the water bubble break, then dump out your ear.

ScottTeaMan

Whatever you do, leeches are not the answer. :)) I always thought Lapsang and eggs would be good, or with rice or noodles.

Scott B

I wonder if some hydrogen peroxide would help your ears-it’s great for cleaning stuff out of them.

I’ve really been wanting to try this tea (1904 packaging and all), but shipping is kinda high.

Bonnie

Nah I was a swimmer so get stuff at store for swimmers ear (drying ears) . Want to be careful or you get infections which I was sensitive to in 9 years of competition.

Missy

@ Azzrian I’ve done the hiccup thing. It’s still pretty tricky for me though. It just feels wrong lol.

Charles Thomas Draper

Use an ear candle.

TeaBrat

@Charles, I’ve heard ear candles can actually be dangerous, I think I’ll just go to the doctor. :)

Bonnie

Yes go to the doctor and if it does not clear up go back. The regular meds I was allergic to and my regular doc didn’t catch it for 6mo. The ENT Doc caught it right away and in 24hrs. relief!

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drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
1 tasting notes

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89

Tea of the afternoon…… (SRP #27)

This is my first yellow tea! It comes from my foodzie box from LiberTEAS.

Brewing parameters for this are very similar to green teas. Leaves are long, and bright yellow-green, and somewhat curled inward toward the center spine. I used about 170 water for three minutes. I am amazed how much this reminds me of Long Jing. I think similar to Long Jing but not nearly as vegetal. It has the buttery mouth feel, but not super heavy buttery like some oolongs. I can drink this one without adding sweetener which is a bonus.

Very lovey and enjoyable. Just what I needed was another kind of tea that I need to buy!

Mug method with 170 water for 2 minutes. No additions.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

Nice – I was curious about this one also. Sounds tempting!

SimplyJenW

It is like green tea with no astringency. Dang…another type of tea to obsess about….looking at TeaSpring’s offerings….

TeaBrat

ha – I had one from Upton which I did not care for so much..

SimplyJenW

Second steep is good, too.

I did just order a yellow tea from Harney. I also needed some Decaf Paris!

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80

Mark T. Wendell claims this is a good after dinner tea but I’m trying it now anyway because I’m a rebel! No really!

This is a blend of Formosa, Ceylon and India tea (most likely Assam). I steeped my tea in a glass mug for 5 minutes. I still like glass for tea tasting and would have a glass teapot if I wasn’t so absolutely sure I would break it (I’m also a klutz)

I’m taking this tea sans additions today. The wet leaf smells slightly floral and earthy. I think perhaps the floral note is coming from the Ceylon. I’m not sure what kind of black tea comes from Formosa (now Taiwan) aside from the Sun Moon Lake Tea type variety. The Assam I think is lending a slightly malty and pungent flavor here. I do think this is a very enjoyable blend, although I’m not thinking there is anything overly unique or exceptional about it. May not repurchase this one but I will certainly finish off what I have. It’s also enjoyable with a splash of soymilk (or regular milk, if you prefer. :))

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

Scott- lol. I think I prefer this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U16Xg_rQZkA

ScottTeaMan

YES!!.LOL…….That’s the song i was trying to think of. :)) I had actually never heard the GD song before, but the Bowie son, that’s the song I wanted.

narwhalclub

TOTAL REBEL. I’ll confess, I’ve never actually had any of this after dinner either (black tea=too much caffeine for that time o’ day), but I did have a pot after lunch today and it was yummy. I really like this one with a bit of lemon. I like almost all black teas with lemon though, so take what you will from that. I’d agree that there probable isn’t anything overly special about this blend, but it’s one of the first black blends I ever tried and liked a lot, so it will always have a nook in the corner of my heart.

TeaBrat

@narwhal I will try the lemon, thanks!

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94
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
2345 tasting notes

After Narwhalclub turned me on to this I had to get my own individual tin from Mark T. Wendell.

San Francisco weather was beautiful today and we went for a 3 mile hike in the Presidio. I haven’t been walking much since my plantar fasciitis diagnosis but I’m hoping I am on the mend now.

We are going to the theater and dinner later tonight but I needed a mid-afternoon pick me up. This tea smells so strong in the tin but after you brew it up it’s delightfully sweet, clear and less smoky than you’d think it would be, and yes it still reminds me of barbeque sauce. I can’t believe I am turning into a lapsang fan. I had to raise my rating today – Too bad they are not all this good!

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93

yay, continuing my exploration of tea that are smoky but not too smoky…

I am finding this to be a delightful blend. I do see why people saw this is like Hu Kwa’s little sister. It has some of the same flavors as hu kwa, a slightly smoky barbeque-y type flavor but blended well with some other black teas – I think perhaps a ceylon and assam?

It’s a dark red lovely liquor to the tea. There is a lot of smoke but also a lingering sweetness in the finish. Mildly brisk but not overwhelmingly so, notes of tobacco present. This is another tea I would have to drink plain because milk or sugar would ruin it. I think between this and Russian Country from Harney I will have enough lapsang blends to last me for a while.

I did also do a second steep using the same leaves for only around 1 minute, the smokiness is mostly gone but it still has a light, sweet flavor kind of like a darker oolong. NICE!

This is really nice for an afternoon pickup! And yes, I really need to stop buying tea for a while. ;-)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
narwhalclub

I think I’m going to have to try this one next time I order from MTW, it sounds delightful. And I totally know what you’re saying about Hu-Kwa’s barbeque-y flavor. When I try to describe it to people that have never had it I always tell them it’s like really good barbeque sauce, not in the sense that it actually tastes like barbeque sauce, but every positive attribute that you would use to describe good barbeque sauce applies: smokey, tangy, somewhat honey-like, etc.

TeaBrat

Yep, that about sums it up! Hu kwa is not a tea I would drink every day but it’s really good… :)

Dylan Oxford

Man, where do all these tea companies come from! One more for the list!

TeaBrat

Hey, this company has been around since 1904! But I agree, so MANY tea companies are out there!

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80

I like this tea a lot. Hot, it’s a decent blend of black teas, nothing spectacularly mind-blowing, but good tasting and certainly hearty. The only problem I have with it is that I am prone to getting severe bouts of nausea if I drink it before I’ve had any food. The same applies to almost all black teas though, especially blends with an Assam in them. I find this tea to be spectacular iced. I’m not sure if I want to continually stock the 8oz tin that I have of this, but I wouldn’t mind it being consistently in my cupboard.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I was interested in this one as well. Just ordered some stuff from MTW and it didn’t make it onto the short list. :)

narwhalclub

Ooooo, what’d you get?

TeaBrat

Hu Kwa, Victorian Afternoon and Manhattan Tribute (should arrive today!)

narwhalclub

Nice! I’m curious to see what you think of the Manhattan Tribute :)

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94
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
2345 tasting notes

I also owe my sample of this to Narwhalclub! I’ve been wanting to try this tea for a while after I read about it in “The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide”.

This was very smoky and I was already scared of it since you could smell it through the envelope… :)

I steeped this for 5.5 minutes and then let it decant according to the instructions of the website. I was not overly generous with the leaf – I had about 2 teaspoons for a 16 oz teapot. I knew I wanted to share this one with my boyfriend. He says it reminds him of cigars or single malt scotch, specifically Laphroaig.

I don’t drink scotch (ick) but I agree with the reviewer that mentioned this was like barbeque sauce. It’s smoky but also a bit sweet at the same time with some molasses/honey type of flavors in the finish. I figured this would knock me over with smoky flavor but I’m happy it isn’t too strong. I never thought I’d find a Lapsang Souchong type of tea I would even remotely tolerate, but this is good! It seems like according to the other reviewers it is also a bit on the lighter side. The flavor is a bit intoxicating the longer I sit here and sip on it. I might have to pick some of this up someday…. and on the list it goes… :)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

I like the sound of this one….

TeaBrat

I think you would like it…

ashmanra

Have you tried Baker Street Afternoon Blend by Upton? It is yummy. My youngest daughter loves it.

TeaBrat

no. have not had that yet. :)

ScottTeaMan

I’m all for a lighter LS. :))

narwhalclub

I’m so glad that you liked it!

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I’ve had this tea for several years, but never wrote a note on it. This tea is full bodied with a nice, light smoke. Truely something I enjoy for “Afternoon Tea”. Brews quickly and can be overdone. Cheese and Crackers with VA, mmmmm.

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87
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
972 tasting notes

Tea of yesterday afternoon…..

And thank you so much to narwhalclub for this sample. I have been curious about this tea for a long time.

This is a very good smokey tea. I don’t think the blend of teas in the base is quite as sweet as Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon from Upton, but it is still great. I love how smooth it is, and how balanced the smokiness is. I don’t feel like I am drinking a bitter campfire like the first few lapsangs I sampled. This one is definitely a keeper.

Usual mug method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

ooh, I still need to try mine :)

ashmanra

Thanks for reviewing this one! I have been curious about it also, and have wanted to try Black Dragon as well. This will help me choose who goes first!

narwhalclub

I’m so glad you liked it! :) And I eagerly await your samples to try.

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80

So I tried this a while ago when I first got it last September, and it made me super nauseous because a bunch of leaf-bits slipped through the holes of my strainer in my teapot and I drank them. Recently though, I discovered that I have a teaball (I know teaballs are lame for the most part, seeing as the leaves don’t unfurl properly, but this tea doesn’t have that problem) in my house that has small enough holes to prevent that from happening. Since then, I’ve had a few cups of this almost every day, and I really like it. It’s very bold and invigorating, and makes for a great morning tea. Too bad that I wake up around noon on most days and don’t get to drink it in the literal morning :P I like it with a bit of lemon, but I like almost all of my black teas with a touch of lemon, so that isn’t saying too much.

On a side note, the reason I ordered this tea in the first place was that it comes from the base of Mount Kenya, and I actually flew over Mount Kenya in a small passenger airplane when I visited Kenya years ago. So I actually got to see where it comes from, which gives me a sense of a special connection to the tea, which I think is rather cool.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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