Whispering Pines Tea CompanyEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Cocoa Amore is a tasty and healthy drink that i would suggest and prefer. Its really yummy and no words to explain about its taste.
A cup of malty good liquor. I’m drinking the second half of the sample in my Gaiwan, and I must say that it’s pretty good stuff. I noted a few days ago that it released a lot of caffeine through my veins and kept me energized for the 50 students at Summer Camp.
However, this tea is wonderful. I enjoy the nutty-malty-chocolaty undertones to the brew; which fortunately will allow me stay up later tonight on the account that it’s Friday, and that I don’t need to be anywhere tomorrow morning.
On a side note: I had recently experienced a mishap to my electric water kettle, and had to purchase a second one—although much more fancy than the last—which allows me to brew to the precise temperature needed for each tea. Plus, it was a fairly priced pot that I was discounted due to the frequent stops that I make at the local shop. The owner even gave a few samples to try that he thought I’d like; which was thoughtful.
Generously received this sample as a part of my WP order.
Unflavoured black tea is currently resides in the “unfavoured” pile, along with sheng puerh, flavoured green (“sencha”) tea, and honeybush. That’s not to say I dislike those guys, or that I don’t have all-time favourites residing in those categories, but they do get a low priority stamp.
This Ailaoshan black is smooth, has some great flavours, and I can easily drink a whole pot serving, as opposed to a single mug steep and/or a gongfu session. Still, drinking through my black teas right now is a bit of a chore. My most voluminous teas are currently (mostly Chinese) black and rooibos blends, and I’m so very done with all that.
Maybe my tastes will change in the winter. Maybe I need to mix up the black tea section with a little darjeeling. Oh, hum.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Malt, Pepper
This tea has flowers that you can watch open while you steep it. That’s really fun — and an inkling of what’s to come.
This is a super foresty and earthy blend. At first sip, I didn’t care for it. I was like “am I eating dandelions out of my front yard? Am I a rabbit?” (No. But I am a philistine.)
But as it’s cooled, I really like the deeper notes in here. It’s a claylike*, round taste that I appreciate.
*Disclaimer: I don’t eat a lot of clay, but it’s what I imagine clay would taste like. And, oddly, “clay” is a flavor you can pick below. So I am not the only person that’s like “it’s, you know, a pottery-in-progress kind of taste.”
As I approach the bottom of the cup, I’m really coming around. This isn’t something I would have picked out, but I’m glad I tried it.
I’m going to take this home and try steeping it before bed sometime. I think it would be a nice evening tea. As, I suppose, one would expect from something called “Moonlight Sonata.”
Flavors: Clay, Dandelion, Dirt, Flowers, Grass, Spices
My excellent friend mtchyg sent me a giant bag of samples, so strap in and feel the G’s, kids. We’re going on a ride.
I picked Jabberwocky first because I hear the world of Whispering Pines, plus I liked the name. It’s a mix of Harvest Fujian, Ailaoshan and Wild Arbor Yunnan black teas, according to Oolong Owl.
I know what it is made of, because I couldn’t believe how flavorful it was. I had to look it up. This is just straight tea — not tea pus a zillion other types of hazzurah thrown in, which is what I usually drink. It’s got great flavors. Citrus and woodsy and a little bit sweet.
There’s also a rich note, hiding near the bottom, of a sort of chocolate/pu-erh/earth note. I’m not quite sure it’s there. It’s like the Loch Ness monster, where I think I spot it, but then it slides underneath my radar.
I had no idea that “plain” tea could be so good.
Is this a whole new world? Am I going to have to sing about it on a flying carpet? I’m already chasing down Pokemon in the real world, so I might as well fully grasp the nostalgia while it’s hot.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Citrus, Malt, Molasses, Wood
From a swap with Zennen. Thank you!
This one is unusual. It’s quite mild with a single teaspoon, so I think I might use two next time. It uses some ingredients you don’t see every day, which I do appreciate. I could definitely taste the ceder and the oolong, but I think I would be able to pick up on more flavors if I brewed it stronger.
This tea is really well done. I’m not a huge Earl Grey fan. Not that I have a distaste for it but I never look for or order it. I received some of this as a sample in an order. I decided to give it a try this morning and I’m really glad that I did.
This is a perfectly blended Earl Grey style of tea. Not too heavy on the bergamot and it blends really well with the Dian Hong. The bergamot itself tastes like a high quality version. There are also notes of malt and maybe a honey like flavor. It is very smooth. I would be very likely to order this from now on.
Flavors: Bergamot, Honey, Malt
Okay, this review finally catches me up on my reviews. I will undoubtedly have more reviews to post by the middle of the week, but I can relax for now. This was the last of the Whispering Pines white teas I ordered a couple months ago. It compares favorably to the others, but unfortunately I am not a huge silver needle fan. That may be why I put this one off for awhile.
I prepared this tea using the three step Western infusion outlined on the Whispering Pines website. I steeped 1 tablespoon of this tea in 190 F water for 3 minutes. The initial 3 minute infusion was followed by two subsequent infusions at 5 and 8 minutes respectively.
First Infusion: Delicate aromas of pine, raisin, minerals, honeysuckle, cinnamon, and eucalyptus were evident. In the mouth, I detected subtle, smooth notes of pine, raisin, honeysuckle, eucalyptus, cinnamon, hay, and butter underscored by a trace of minerals.
Second Infusion: Slightly stronger aromas of raisins, dates, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and honeysuckle were evident on the nose. I also detected a scent somewhat reminiscent of powdered sugar that I did not pick up on the first infusion. In the mouth, I picked up distinct notes of butter, cream, cinnamon, powdered sugar, honeysuckle, raisin, dates, hay, pine, fresh basil, eucalyptus, and minerals.
Third Infusion: Mild aromas of minerals, fresh basil, eucalyptus, pine, and cinnamon were present on the nose. Gentle, integrated notes of cream, butter, minerals, hay, basil, honeysuckle, pine, eucalyptus, and cinnamon were detected in the mouth.
Overall, I think this is pretty good for a silver needle. In truth, I am not a huge fan of this particular type of tea as I tend to prefer more robust flavors, but this is by far the most interesting silver needle I have tried so far. I found it interesting that the scents and flavors I was picking up were rather different from those detailed by others. I was initially expecting a very sweet tea, which this one kind of is, but I also found it to be somewhat earthy and herbal. Maybe it’s just my palate or maybe it’s the most recent harvest. Who knows?
Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Dates, Eucalyptus, Hay, Herbs, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Pine, Powdered sugar, Raisins
This tea is an unreleased sampling that Brenden gave me to try out. I don’t have/can’t remember much of the information about this tea so, Brenden, you’ll have to update it correctly :)
*Update, Brenden just told me it isn’t to be released until October of 2017 so… you’ll just have to PINE for it until then. (See what I did there? It may be the tea drunk talking)
He gave me an 11g chunk and I split it into an even two serving sizes of a little over 5g each.
With the leaves resting in a preheated gaiwan, the smell coming off of them was a really nice classic puerh scent but with almost a hint of vanilla wafting up. I gave it a ten second rinse.
1st steep, 12 seconds- The scent coming off of the liquor is, again, a soft and semi sweet puerh. Not really basement or heavy loam but an airy scent that is reminiscent of the smell you get when you take a walk in the woods right around mid October. The scent of the leaves falling and dying but not quite rotted leaf pile that sometimes gets described with puerh. I am actually taken aback by how smooth and drinkable this steep is. I keep sipping it and asking myself, “Is it really this smooth or am I just being a fan boy of Whispering Pines Tea?” But, I honestly do believe that this has a drinkability factor that is off the charts. It isn’t that the flavor is super complicated as of now. It isn’t. But it IS tasty. And it IS creamy and smooth. And I COULD chug this all day long.
Second steep, 15 seconds- I’m getting a little bit of a wet wood scent off of the leaves after this steep. Not heavy, mind you. The flavor on this steep is a little heavier on the soil/leaf mould but just as smooth. I find myself taking a sip and than before I can set my cup down, raising it back to my mouth for another sip. Oh man. This is good. Like, one of the best shou’s I’ve ever had good. Now, full transparency, I’ve had less than 20 different puerhs. But this… Mmmm. It is probably one of the only puerhs that I just want to gulp down because it is so good.
3rd steep, 12 seconds. Scaled the time back by a few seconds for the 3rd steep as the leaves are starting to really be penetrated by the water and release more color and flavor. I guess I haven’t really been describing the color. It has been a consistent dark hickory for the first two steeps. This one, however, is pretty dark. Almost like a cola that had a few ice cubes melt into it. Not the complete black but maybe like a dark chocolate caramel color. I was right to back off on the time by a few seconds. The flavor is intensified. There is a little loam coming in on this steep. Still smooth though! And, pssst, the tea drunk feeling is starting to sink in. A little fuzzy head feeling, loose-y goose-y, singing along to Pandora. This’ll work, ya’ll.
4th steep, 15 seconds- The liquor is still very dark. The flavor is still fairly consistent. It is a little heavier on the leaf pile flavor but in the best, smoothest way possible. You’ll need to forgive me. As much as I would love to be a word smith, I sometimes fall short on descriptions when the tea tends to be so consistent. What I can add is that while the flavor intensity has ramped up, I don’t get a lot of aftertaste. In this instance, I think that is a good thing. Sometimes when I have had a puerh, especially one with more of that basement fermentation going on, there tends to be a bit of an aftertaste that isn’t all together pleasant. This doesn’t have that. If anything, after my cup is empty, I find myself brewing as quickly as possible to get the flavor into my mouth again.
5th steep, 20 seconds- The liquid seems to have lightened up by a shade on this steep. It is still dark but now it is more of a walnut brown. Another way to put it is that I can see the sides of my cup about 1/4 of an inch down into the tea rather than just staring into a black abyss. The flavor intensity has leveled out a little as well. This is the first steep where I felt it was slightly watery. I’ll step up the steep time.
6th steep, 30 seconds. The color is about the same as last steep but I’m not getting watery anymore. Alright guys… I’m going to wrap this up.. I’m probably the most tea buzzed I’ve ever been and I’ve got stuff.. and things.. to do. I’ll still be sipping on this though. Or chugging.
Summary: This is a homerun. Keep this tea in mind because I feel like it is really going to be a hit when it is released. Bravo, Brenden.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Creamy, Forest Floor, Loam, Smooth, Vanilla
Okay, now that I have eaten myself silly, it is time to get back to catching up my reviews. I received this one as a free sample a couple months back. I think it was right around the time this tea went out of stock for the season. Now that I have finished this one, I have finally consumed all of the white tea that I have purchased from Whispering Pines this year. I will be moving on to the blacks and oolongs shortly.
For the purposes of this review, I steeped a rather heaping tablespoon of this tea in 190 F water for 3 minutes. I infused this tea two more times for 5 and 7 minutes respectively. To be completely honest, I had to guess as to how this tea should be prepared as I forgot to log the suggested brewing method and could not find it on Whispering Pines’ new website. I should also note that an absolutely wicked storm hit right as I was preparing the third and final infusion, and with my power going in and out, I had to time it with my phone. It may or may not have been a full seven minutes. I’m pretty sure I got close.
First Infusion: The infused liquor was a rich gold. Aromas of oatmeal, grass, hay, honey, and butter were apparent on the nose. In the mouth, I picked up strong notes of oatmeal and honey underscored by cream, butter, grass, hay, and flowers.
Second Infusion: The infused liquor was again a rich gold. Milder, smoother aromas of oatmeal, grass, hay, honey, and butter were joined by a subtly floral aroma. In the mouth, I picked up notes of honey, butter, grass, oatmeal, and hay balanced by slightly more pronounced notes of flowers and cream. I also detected a very subtle minerality on the fade.
Third Infusion: The infused liquor was a slightly paler gold. I detected mild aromas of oatmeal, honey, cream, and butter. I also detected a slight mineral scent. In the mouth, I detected smooth, refined notes of oatmeal, cream, honey, and butter. The grass and hay notes lingered in the background, but were not nearly as strong. The floral and mineral notes showed back up on the finish and nicely balanced the lingering impressions of oatmeal, honey, and cream.
I’m not really sure how I feel about this tea. I generally like the white teas offered by Whispering Pines, but this one did not leave much of an impression on me. As a matter of fact, I found it very mediocre compared to the other white teas I have tried from Whispering Pines. To me, it just seemed to be lacking the depth and complexity of the others. I will concede, however, that my brewing method may not have done it justice. I really just cannot say with certainty that I got this one right. I think I will go ahead and give this one a middling score in my personal rating system as a mediocre Whispering Pines tea is, in my opinion, still better than many others out there, but I will do so with the caveat that I will be trying this one if and when it is offered again to see if my opinion changes.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Flowers, Grass, Hay, Honey, Mineral, Oats
Brewed with a Western method, in a ceramic tea pot.
I had to purchase this from reading the ingredients list. I like trying interesting herbal bends, and this blend seemed too irresistible not to purchase. I’ve been drinking down the two ounces since last October.
When I had my first cup, I didn’t know what to make of the taste. The combination of flavors created something very knew to me, and I was confused. I wasn’t sure if I liked it. I’m not good at picking out certain flavors for certain teas, and this one was one of those teas. But the more I drank from my initial ounce, the more it grew on me.
The infusion is purple-brown dark and opaque. It feels thick in the mouth. It tastes fruity and sweet from the elderberries, and like licorice. (I’m not licorice fan, but I also don’t dislike it. For any licorice-haters, you might want to take the chance anyway.) The chicory and marshmallow root contribute a bitterness to counteract the sweetness.
The interactions among each of the ingredients must have been what tripped up my taste buds the first few times I drank this blend. I now consider Elder Grove a permanent addition to my stash. It’s a wonderful winter evening drink. Comforting and warming. A must-try for herbal blends lovers.
Brenden gave me a 5g rolled ball of this to try out (The Spring 2016 harvest, I imagine). And holy cats this is good. It has a very sweet syrupy scent to it mixed in with the malt. Almost like a pancake and syrup breakfast. The taste is just as good. While not quite as sweet as the scent on the nose, it still has that signature malty sweetness. I would venture to say the taste of it is close to a honey than syrup. Still delicious either way. And it lasted a good 6 or 7 infusions with solid flavor while brewing gongfu style. This is what I look for in a black tea.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Maple Syrup
This is actually a special review for me. I had been in contact with Brenden back and forth recently and we had discussed getting together for tea, being fellow Michigan based tea lovers. This past Sunday, that day came. We met up at a local park and talked and drank tea for a few hours.
This tea was among the teas we took in. Maybe it was the fact that I had the owner of Whispering Pines brewing tea for me while we sat in a park but man… this tea was spot on. Sweet, nutty, clean. Completely delicious.
We ended up getting rained on a bit after finishing this tea. It was pretty awesome. And certainly an honor. So, get this tea. My next order will definitely have this in there.
Thanks again, Brenden. Until next time! Cheers.
Flavors: Green, Nuts, Sweet
Again, I have to say that Steepster has changed my life. Thanks to this wonderful community, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy 100x what I would have on my own; through recommendations, swaps, stash sales, and even gifts. This was one of those swaps :)
I drank this every morning for an entire week at work and found that it does best to brew bold and less than 4 infusions. Taste somewhat like what I would expect sweet bread made with dianhong with citrus splash ontop. Baked bread more than malt which is just fine, but it was a bit surprising. A warm cup in the morning. The one downside to this is that it doesn’t taste all that great when it is either lukewarm or cold; but I think this is true with all earl’d teas.
Thank you Scheherazade for the sample!
I drank this one on the commute to work this week, I’d have loved to brew it Gong Fu but I was a little hesitant that the sample wouldn’t be quite enough leaf and my session would be a little week. And, in the end I ended up putting the rest of the sample in the GCTTB because Jillian had asked to try it, and I just had to take advantage of the chance to share a WP tea since everyone wants the chance to get to try them. Usually for good reason.
You’ll have to forgive my lazyness; I’ve built up a queue of posts this week and I’m feeling too tired to reword all of the jot notes into paragraphs, so these next few notes will likely just be copy and pasted jot notes for convenience/speed.
- Brisk/Astringent at first
- More of a round/clean flavour as it cooled
- Malt/Raisin/Honey top notes
- With some woody, cinnamon, and nut body notes
- Little bit of a sweeter marzipan finish?
I really don’t get this one. Tried this both westren and gaiwan and I haven’t been able to get much out of it. Dry leaf smells sweet and floral and hay. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, but it doesn’t have any taste.
190F, 180F, long steeps, short steeps. I can’t seem to find the right brewing conditions. Very confused by this tea.
Flavors: Creamy, Thick