Mark T. Wendell
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Recent Tasting Notes
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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. :))
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!
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. ;-)
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.
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… :)
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.
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.