Mark T. Wendell
Popular Teas from Mark T. WendellSee All 63 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
This was a far lighter Lapsang Souchong than the usual campfire variety. There was even a welcomed floral presence I wasn’t expecting.
YUM YUM YUM! I was not expecting such a delicious oolong. I have a feeling that this tea could provide a lot of diversity in taste. Since I had such yummy results using boiling water with Samovar’s Wuyi Dark Roast, I went straight for the boiling water first. Apparently it was a good idea. I love it! I think the boiling water intensifies the roasted flavor. The liquor is dark amber. The taste is smooth and certainly robust…very flavorful for a dark oolong. The roasted notes are very prominent. I’m also picking up soba and a light sweetness like mild honey. There is also an earthy stoutness. I think if this tea was steeped at a lower temp and time, that it would yield a much different result. Milder and perhaps a little sweeter with heightened notes of orchid. I’ll have to play around with it. As it stands now, this is a power packed oolong…and great for breakfast.
Thank you TeaEqualsBliss for such a fantastic sample! :)
Full review’s now up:
…though it’s not one of my better ones, writing-stylewise; it has come to my attention that I’ve used the “pork rinds” metaphor to describe lapsang souchong perhaps one too many times. Mike was kind to post the review anyway. In the meantime, I’ll work on honing my adjectival vocabulary.
Wrote a more eloquent review for future posting to www.itsallabouttheleaf.com. Okay, maybe not eloquent, but at least more wordy and full of adjectives and verbs and things and even a lame attempt at quoting Shakespeare. But at any rate, here’s the first sip:
My first experience with lapsang souchong was pretty disastrous—-reminiscent of sucking pork rinds—-so when I first opened this tea packet and the first whiff that hit my nose was souchong-like “smoke,” I was very apprehensive.
But, intrepid tea taster that I am, I persevered and was pleasantly surprised. The big, black loose leaves brew up a luscious, clear red-gold color. At three minutes with boiling water (again, I erred on the side of caution thinking this was going to be really strong) the smoke taste does lead the caravan, but the other teas in the blend add a little sweetness and balance.
I agree and like what posters have already said. Kenya has these fine nuggets that feel like what I imagine the minerally, dry and delicate African soil it grows in.
It is a minerally, potent brew, cost effective and I keep it for when I am getting repetitive with other black-tea varieties. It is also on the cheaper side, so cost-benefit score is quite high. In my next life I want to be a broker at the Kenyan tea exchange.
I want to thank you Doulton for an ample sample of this green tea. Very mellow Chinese green. No astringency. Great iced and hot. It isn’t a weak tea, but it’s mild, if that makes sense. The second brew was even more likable. If I could personify this tea, I would think it would be the Dude from The Big Lebowski. Just laid back, doesn’t care that it’s mellow.
Thanks to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me this one (yes, I got the huge box! Thanks SororiTEA Sister)
This one… scares me. It’s smoky. I gave it a quick rinse before steeping (which I have found helps me enjoy smoky teas more). The aroma of the liquor still smells smoky but not too smoky.
This is not too bad… and I say it like that, because I was expecting it to be much worse than it actually is, but I can drink this. I’m not gagging, I’m not repulsed after taking a sip… it’s actually good. There… I said it. It’s good.
The smoky flavor is there, it’s strong, but it is not overwhelming. The smoky taste has a nice caramel-y back note that I find intriguing.
My heart filled with hope when I saw the post office guy brought a big tea package from Wendell. Tearing apart the package furiously (at the office by the way) I saw that I was sent a tea that I did not ask for as well- a vanilla flavoured tea.
Ok, perhaps I should put a disclaimer here that I absolutely positively hate flavoured teas, or rather smelling them. They smell artificial to me and overpower my – what I believe to be- overly sensitive smell buds. Moreover, I really really do not like vanilla flavours. So I might be biased here -just a little.
Nevertheless, I was determined to give it a try. At the very least it was Ceylon and Ceylon always deserves a try in my book.
I really do not want to base my review on the SMELL!, but I guess I am not that mature to see past the SMELL!. The dry leaves, for one thing, smell. A lot. If you can get past that smell (I could not) the steeped tea is smooth and the smell is somewhat placated.
Yet, after a day my infuser still smells like vanilla and that’s really cruel. Now I understand how some people might hate my beloved Lapsang Souchongs. If vanilla is your thing, though, you might like it. A lot.
The smell of steeped Hu Kwa reminds of childhood memories – smell of a small pile of tinder just before putting them in the heating stove at my grannies in good old times. Dry leaves, on the other hand, attack you with their heavy smoke – just like sniffing the remainders of the last night’s campfire and remembering all that fun.
Unlike some other LSs, you can actually taste the tea under all the smoke. It is easily over-steeped which can result in an astringent aftertaste.
Overall, this is a great find for those who appreciate LS.
When I look on my tea app this is the number one tea that I drink. Whatever I drink, I always come back to this one. It is an excellent Darjeeling. I have had a number of others: more expensive but not better, some too brisk for a Darjeeling, but this one really has qualities and price that make it the one I always reach for.
This is still my #1 favorite tea even though there are so many others that I like. On a day to day basis, this tea is wonderful. I just spent 2 weeks drinking an Assam tea because I ran out of my Darjeeling. It was so good to come back home and have a cup of this fine blend. Love it!!!
It’s hard to believe that I haven’t written a tasting note on this tea yet. This tea has become my favorite tea in the world. It should be admitted that good Darjeeling is at the top of my tea drinking list. I have tried many Darjeelings and I find the first flushes too light for morning tea and many are too coarse producing a cup that can only be consumed with milk or cream added to cut the excessive tannin. In the past I have had to go to the Extra Fancy grade to get a Darjeeling that has the aroma and smooth taste for my daily cup of tea. When I first ordered this tea two years ago I was immediately surprised that it was as fine as any of the Extra Fancy grade Darjeelings that I had bought. It has now become my daily morning favorite.
I am trying this today as a latte. The last time I tried it, I tried it sweetened but without the milk. This time, I went the whole 9 yards with it.
It’s very good. The steamed milk brings out the vanilla note nicely, and it is really creamy and delicious. Spices are well balanced with the other components in the blend and do not overwhelm the cup.
Thanks to TeaEqualsBliss for sending this my way!
Thanks to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me a sampling of this to try!
This is a fairly decent Masala Chai. It has a delicious balance of spice. Not overly spicy, and it’s one that can be enjoyed with milk (I’m guessing here, because I’ve not tried it, but it does seem to me to be strong enough to withstand the addition of milk) or without (as I’m drinking it now). It has a slightly creamy note to it without the milk because of the vanilla in the blend.
Slowly, very slowly, working my way through my TeaEqualsBliss tea gift bag.
I >love< Puttabong. That classic muscatel flavour that is everything wonderful about First Flush Darjeelings is abundant in Puttabong. Always a good choice. This leaf is no exception to my expectations, so I’m rather satisfied. Malty and fruity and divine.
This is a staple in my tea cabinet. I never run out of this one!! Dragonwell to me is like ambrosia/medicine. My body loves it as well as my senses and my taste. It just feels so good drinking it in the afternoon. I sometimes forget I’m drinking it and wonder where it went!
I often get a second steep off the leaves which is less grassy and rarely a third but it still shines.