Mark T. WendellEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
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.
I’ve had this tea in my cupboard for so long that I’ve forgotten where it came from. It must have been from a trade as I don’t recall ever buying from Mark T Wendell.
I really enjoyed this blend, it’s a great afternoon tea that’s light and smooth enough to be drunk without milk, but is still full of flavour. It’s not nearly as smokey as, say, a lapsang souchong, instead being more like a light Russian Caravan. It’s more than just a one note tea as well, there’s a fruity sweetness that blends nicely with the smoke and gives the tea more body and character.
Thank to whoever sent me this one!
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?
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.
Ok, I got 3 orders of tea in yesterday and I felt so overwhelmed over which tea to try first I felt like Imelda Marcos trying to pick out a pair of shoes.
So, I punted and chose this as my first tea today. I’ve developed a lot of affection for this tea since I first reviewed it about 2 months ago. It’s kinda Assam-like which is good for first thing in the morning. Malty and tannic, but not bitter or astringent. I feel there are some notes of nondescript spices in the tea-as if there were spices growing near the tea garden. Somewhat robust, but not too strong. It’s full leaf which means it’s higher quality and not insane on the caffeine. It appears to be an estate tea so I usually get 2 steeps out of it. Other than that, it’s nothing fancy, but it’s reliable. This is my “first cup” tea more than any other. Upping the rating.
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.
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.
Tea of the morning. As I was sorting through my stash today I realized how few straight black teas I have on hand, which is really goofy because I drink those more often than any other kind. I guess there’s a reason why I need to restock them fairly regularly.
This tea is a blend of black tea and formosa oolong, I am enjoying it this morning especially since the formosa gives it a nice, peachy note. I find if you steep this with boiling water it can get kind of overly bitter/tannic so it’s best to use water below the boil.
Here’s a pic of my new teapot, I swear I am already in love with this thing. I am definitely going to use it in a painting someday. It holds about 10 oz. of tea. I am running out of excuses to get more yixing since I already have four! But this is definitely the largest one I own…
Ugh… I definitely overdid it on the caffeine yesterday because I couldn’t fall asleep until 2 am and then had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. I had to start the morning off with a coffee and now I’m drinking this brew, which I haven’t had for a long time.
Mark T. Wendell has some very solid teas, especially black teas. I’m surprised they aren’t more popular on Steepster. I was thinking about ordering some of their assam recently, but there’s so many places for me to buy tea in San Francisco it seems a bit ridiculous to have it shipped all the way from Massachusetts unless I’m ordering a bunch of stuff.
Anyway, this is a blend of black teas with formosa oolong, and that gives it a lighter and more fruity taste. This is a good afternoon tea, or a lighter morning tea. I find it very flavorful. This morning I am getting lovely malty notes. I shouldn’t be neglecting this so much, it’s really a delightful cuppa. I’d get this again if I place another order with MTW.
This is an interesting tea I haven’t been drinking too much of lately. It has such a light base and it was really meant to be more of an afternoon/evening tea according to the company. I’ve been trying to drink my black teas in the morning and drink lighter things after noon. I find it is good with additions or without, it doesn’t really NEED them. Might be good with a squeeze of lemon also since it has a bit of a citrus-y note. I should really try this one iced to see if I like it that way.
Still feeling under the weather but need to find the energy today to do my homework for writing class – wish me luck!
Tea of the morning here, a nice standard black which is meant to be an afternoon tea, but is also good for the morning.
I also did a new blog post about tea and painting at the Zen Center if anyone wants to read it:
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. :))