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Recent Tasting Notes
So today I decided to pull out something different and make my brother drink it with me. I kind of lied about it because I told him we were going to drink mushrooms straight up. He gave me an ugly look… but he does trust me with tea so he went with it. To his, and my , surprise this tea is one bold cup of comfort. The black tea used in this is of course a Whispering Pines tea and therefore, from my collected data, it will/is/shall/can/may/has/moreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee great.
This is a tea that I would not buy on my own because I would see the mushroom and pass it up, but I am glad I tried it because it is wonderful.
I will be honest: While drinking of this I knew it would be better if a frog was drinking it with me ;)
Thanks Brenden! :D
Very clean shou, no fermentation flavors. Strong notes of caramel, cocoa.. slightly sweet. Didn’t last as long as I was hoping – only got about 8 steeps before the color faded, but still good flavor in the following steeps. Great entry-level shou for those who might be new to puerh. No off-putting flavors, delicious consistency.
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Sweet
a lovely tea!
when i smell the leaves dry, they have a chocolate/musty smell.
when i smell the leaves wet, they have a stronger chocolate smell.
when i look at the brewed tea, the tea looks chocolaty brown.
when i smell the brewed tea, i smell earth and slight chocolate.
when i taste the brewed tea, it tastes like earth and slight chocolate.
i rate this tea a 100 because of the tastes, aromas and that its smooth.
im not sure if this came from scribbles or amanda’soggyenderman’wilson, but id like to thank both just in case.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Smooth
Wonderfully thick and rich.. Notes of earth and spice, a nice little kick. Smooth and creamy textured shou, mostly clear of unwanted fermentation flavors. I think this one would get better with even more age.
Thank you Brenden for this delicious sample :)
Flavors: Earth, Spices
I am multi-tasking to the max right now! As you may or may not know by this point, my move has been delayed for several months…so I unpacked my painting stuff and I am diving in to the miniatures! While painting I am also playing Terraria and blogging, and of course guzzling tea like a boss. I am really excited because one of the pieces I am working on is the Wyrd Miniatures Malifaux Dawn Serpent…it is basically a Chinese dragon, and I will use it some in my Ten Thunders army, but mostly it will live on my tea desk. Finally the tea desk will have a dragon!
Today I am looking at Whispering Pines Tea Company’s Imperial Gold Bud Dian Hong, ah yeah, all about the fuzzy Yunnan tea today! A while back my mom ordered some and sent me a bit to try, my mom and I have this tendency to send each other piles of tea, I currently am filling a box up for her now, tea friends and family really are the best since we all seem to have this tendency to share our hoard. Good heavens, these leaves are luscious, thick and fuzzy, loaded with fuzzy golden trichomes, like happy caterpillars. Now that I have probably weirded all of you out comparing these fuzzy things to caterpillars, please know I accept donations! All kidding aside, these really are quite pretty. The aroma is peppery and sweet, strong notes of candied yams and sweet roasted peanuts. The finish has a touch of malt and a delicate note of rose as well, those yam notes though are killer, great a tea that makes me hungry!
On a Terraria note, I just killed the stupid Brain of Cthulhu eight times in attempts to get the trophy, ugh, what a pain. Steeping time brings out strong notes of malt and roasted peanuts, candied yams, a touch of vanilla beans, a dash of pepper, and that tiny hint of rose at the finish. The liquid is delightfully sweet, malt and sweet yams, vanilla beans, and a finish of pepper.
First steep starts mild and creamy, surprisingly there are no fuzzies floating around in the cup, they all sank to the bottom so the usual gentle tickle I get with fuzzy teas is not present. The taste starts with gentle malt and sweet yams, a touch of molasses. This moves on to roasted peanuts and a gentle finish of pepper.
The aroma of the second is peppery and malty with a strong yammy presence, I honestly love this yam note. I think it might be thing thing that makes me love Dian Hong so much. The texture is much thicker, a tiny bit of fuzziness in this steep. It is very heavy and rich, like a decadent treat, notes of malt and cocoa start off strong, that moves to candied yams and molasses, and the finish is a delicate mix of pepper and malt with a cooling finish.
Third steeping time, the aroma is pretty intense, strong notes of yam and roasted peanuts with a tiny bit of pepper. It is a much sweeter aroma this time around. The taste is also much sweeter, like molasses and syrup thickness mixed with sweet yams and rich malt. The midtaste has a strong yam and cocoa note and the finish is cooling with pepper. The pepper note fascinates me, the taste of pepper without the warmth of it is a quirky thing!
Flavors: Malt, Molasses, Peanut, Pepper, Rose, Yams
Another lovely sample thanks to Nichole!
I liked this one. Did this one exactly as instructed on the Whispering Pines Site. First brew, there was a creamy mouthfeel and it kinda reminded me of a really light milk chocolate. There was some caramel and honey to me, but then it became very malty, then broth like. I’m guessing the broth is the morel note. Steep two again had malt and broth. Three, there was a weird, fruity character that reminded me of the grape in North Winds, but different and very faint compared to the malt. Four, more like a raisin. Five, it starts to taste like any other golden tea in the later steep, with the same faint malt but again, a little bit of raisin.
This was good, but I agree with Liquid Proust and like the Imperial Bud more. To me, it wasn’t quite as sweet and I don’t like the raisin quality too much. More of an experienced drinker’s tea, or one that you’d introduce golden teas to a newbie with. I also think that people who like Darjeelings might appreciate it a little bit.
Flavors: Broth, Caramel, Chocolate, Creamy, Honey, Malt, Raisins, White Grapes
Thank you Nichole for this one!
This is the highest rated tea on steepster as of now, but I’m not quite sure about it. I see why people enjoy this one: it tastes like Mackinac Island fudge with a thick malt, smothering over chocolate and vanilla. First time, I used half a tablespoon in about seven to eight ounces. I do get the chocolate and vanilla notes, but they are overwhelmed by the malt for me western after three minutes. I did it again after five, then eight minutes and I got a full vanilla fudge feeling at around 175 to 180 degrees in the second steep. Unfortunately, that disappeared into the malt. I tried to steep it for less time and less leaves, at about a teaspoon in four ounces. I tried it after a minute and twenty seconds, and I taste the vanilla more with a little bit of the breadish base, but the other natural notes of the tea being jumbled. I added about another minute, and again, fudge. Second steep, a changing flux of the vanilla and the malt and the chocolate, one overwhelming the other. Third, still a little too light, but less vanilla, and more of a light malt, perhaps white grape.
I had fairly high expectations for this one and I didn’t because this is a slightly older sample. I’ve also had North Winds which is a really complex black tea, one that really had to grow on me before I absolutely enjoyed it. I also had to use more leaves to get the full profile on it, and though I said in the review of that one that it needs something else like vanilla, I’m not sure if the vanilla fits because it kept on getting confused in the cup. Maybe the inconsistency is because the vanilla weakens with age, but the black tea should still be fine.
I tried it again today on the 25th with a teaspoon, and let it steep for about four minutes in five ounces. I made it significantly lighter than before and I was then able to taste more of the flavor. It was now a balanced fudge. I liked it more this time, but again, the same flavors but more evenly paced-still too drying.
I do like this tea, but it’s not the best I’ve had. Oddly enough, I preferred the North Winds in Gongfu because I got more flavors that were balanced-this was confused under malt. Hopefully this review isn’t obstructed by age (I think it’s from this year). I also think that it’s an issue of preference…I’m not a huge of a fan of vanilla chocolate fudge. I’m the one that opts out for fudges like chocolate walnut, orange, white chocolate, pistachio, amaretto, chocolate cherry. More than likely, I would probably like the Cocoa Amore more because it has an Ailaoshan base, giving cherry to compliment the vanilla and cocoa….darn it being more expensive.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Drying, Malt, Vanilla, White Grapes
Thank you Nichole so much for this tea! This was one I really wanted to try from Whispering Pines for obvious Tolkien reasons. The description is very accurate for this one; it is like picking berries in the Shire. Very light and short, like a halfling of a black, but fully packed and prepared to take you on an unexpected journey.
……..sorry….I had to. I’m such a geek! XD
The first infusion at 20, it reminded me of blackberries and a little bit of malt thrown in, and wildflowers. Second at 15 one was more like black currant in throughout with a chocolaty surprise in the middle of the sip. Third at 30 was more floral, less chocolate, and more currant. Fourth at a minute and 15 seconds was mostly malt with a caramel like texture and honey sweetness. Fifth at two minutes was too faint, so I upped it another 30 seconds. It reminds me of a later steeping of a Dian Hong because it has lingering sweetness that’s kinda like a very watered down sweet potato. The final sixth is light and very similar to the first brew. I’m there and back again, looking for the last few berries in the Shire, but it’s different. It’s a faint memory now, a memory that drifts nothing…then towards grey shores….
Okey, bit of an exaggeration. I’m not apologizing at all for that. Now, for what I think of this tea.
I’m surprised that this one doesn’t have a higher rating. Maybe people expect something stronger and maltier like North Winds or an Irish Breakfast, but this is a lighter black tea that is packed with flavor. I tasted no astringency or bitterness, it was just sweet and smooth. I actually preferred this much more to the Golden Orchid sample I have, though I’m going back to that one to figure out my preferred brewing parameters. This one might the same age though, and it’s brewing fine as an older tea. Also, preference: I had this one at night, so I want something lighter.
Another GIANT reason why I’m rating this one so higher and why I think that the rating should be higher is the cost. Yes, I got this one in a trade, but it’s priced at $7.75 on Whispering Pines. This is so much more affordable than a lot of the other teas that Whispering Pines offers, and it’s honestly just as good as some of the more expensive selections I’ve had from the company. It’s a pity this one isn’t in stock.
The only other two that I might prefer over this one so far are the Ailaoshan Black and Imperial Bud, though again, I think it depends on my mood. They are altogether very different teas. Ailaoshan is like having fine currant wine with buttered bread and a side of chocolate. The Imperial Bud is like cooked, almost caramelized sweet potatoes lightly sprinkled with butter and brown sugar with coconut water to wet your mouth. In a Tolkien narrative, the Ailaoshan is like Aragorn, the Strider, and the Imperial Bud is the one ring, the one tea to rule them all. After I had Imperial, my taste preferences for blacks completely changed. I can imagine it turning some people into Gollum like creatures because it’s so…precious. I’m so tempted to get some more, but I need to budget better. There’s a lot I want to trade or sell, though I’m not sure how much of them I am able to.
Flavors: Berries, Black Currant, Caramel, Chocolate, Flowers, Honey, Malt, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes
I finally have been giving the chance to try some the budz!! I am most grateful for this opportunity. This is by far the best Dianhong I’ve ever had. These is beautiful tea in both aesthetic value and brew quality. The buds are long bright golden strands that are chaotically intertwined. This tea is velvety smooth and soft to the touch. They give off a thick and pure cacao scent. I placed a bunch in my gaiwan and shook it up. The scent deepened to something like coco puffs. I could take in oats, chocolate, raisins, and an underlying leather scent. I washed these beauties once and began my brewing. The initial sip was incredibly full bodied. This brew gives a thick and complex mouth-feel. I took in a sweet honey taste that was mixed with chocolate cacao dust. The brew then grew deeper in color and broadened in flavor. This sweet liquid gold moved to a fresh wood tone. This was unlike other wood tones. This flavor was in the background and complimented the sweet and light malt of the drink, rather than an over- powering bark taste. Also, this brew gave a light and alert qi feeling. I’ve only felt noticeable qi from pu-erh. It was a unique experience to feel qi from a red tea. The best part of this tea is that it held up very well against multiple steeping. Usually, dianhong falters off at about the fourth steeping. This brew just kept going. The brew grew ever sweeter and smoother with each subsequent steeping. I am so happy to have finally tried this wonderful brew! Thank you again!
Flavors: Cacao, Honey, Malt, Oak wood, Raisins, Sweet
I bought a cake of this ages ago (February) and am very sorry I have not gotten to it until today! After a crazy busy week again at work, I needed the ultimate in comfort. It is a cold rainy day too, so I knew it would be shou. So I finally took the plunge and tore into this cake and steeped it in my Crimson Lotus teapot, which I also haven’t had a chance to season yet, but we are taking the plunge!!
I rinsed the fresh Jian Shui teapot with boiling water for about 45s to begin with, inside and out, and then let the leaves sit for about 30s in there to warm. Then a quick 7 min rinse (this teapot pours wonderfully quickly!!) and I then did a 30s steep. The liquor is dark and rich. The liquor smells dark and rich and sweet, so rich it’s almost buttery to me. And OMG, the flavor is dark and rich and sweet too!!
My gosh, dark chocolate, aftertaste of brown sugar and caramel, a thick mouthfeel..creamy and thick. Earthy too, and I didn’t mention…SOOO SMOOOOOTTTHHH. It actually is so smooth and thick, one of the most intriguing mouthfeels I’ve had in a tea ever. The earthiness is more on the mossy side too, as per the description.
I fed a second short 10s steeping to the exterior of my teapot to help season it, since I didn’t go through the long seasoning process.
I am excited to steep this all afternoon and enjoy. So happy I finally opened up this cake. Going to thoroughly enjoy it, and hopefully make it in this cute little teapot every time! Overall, currently a supremely delicious tea. This and Noble Mark are probably pretty close in ranking, although I need to have a few more sessions of this one to truly compare them.
Oh, and the third steeping is even smoother and more delicious. :D
I gong fu brewed this with the directions on the Whispering Pines website. One last tea time with Dinosara before she’s officially moved!
Steep 1: Vanilla, sweet midsip, florals. Cedar on the out. Sugar aftertaste
Steep 2: Perfume with vanilla in it in the aroma cup. Way sweeter, very vanilla. Still cedar on the breath out. Oolong opening up.
Steep 3: Pretty much the same as the last steep. maybe a bit more cedary.
Steep 4: Still very nice. The mid tones seem to be falling out, I think the oolong is starting to go over.
Steep 5: Fading, for sure. The vanilla and sugar seem to be all that is left.
Steep 6: Same as above, but maybe more green.
You know, I can tell this is a really good tea. It would make a good perfume, but I’m not blown away. It’s super tasty, and I thoroughly enjoy drinking it, but I don’t feel like I NEED it, like a few of the other floral teas that I’m currently in love with. It’s not disappointing, and maybe I’m glad I’m not in love, because it’s expensive, but I’m glad I got a chance to try it and I will enjoy drinking it down.
Edit: I threw the spent leaves in a cold brew pitcher for about 15 hours and it came out very tasty! Floral, almost juicy light fruit, like a white peach, maybe? Pretty sweet for spent leaves, this tea has a lot to give!
Flavors: Cedar, Perfume, Sugar, Vanilla
Good morning! I’ve been meaning to get to this and today seemed like a good day. The small little pebbles carry a woody scent. I brewed these up western in my tetsubin. The brew is thick and aromatic. The flavor is unique. This brew has a toasty flavor like hoijicha, but its mixed with an assam malt. Lastly, it finishes with a heady sweetness. This helped a lot in waking me up. I feel ready to take on the day. Happy Friday as well!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Dry Grass, Sweet, Toasted Rice
Apparently I’m on a roll, finally trying all these Whispering Pines black teas (purchased during the “pure teas” sale). Same as before – 4g in 4oz gaiwan, 95-100 deg water, hmm what did I do… 30, 45, 60, 90, 120 sec. Now that I’m looking at Brendan’s brewing instructions, he suggests 1.5g per oz, so I guess I underleafed it.
These tea leaves are neat – long, skinny, and dark. The dry leaves smell malty and bready, and the scent just intensifies in the wet leaves. Surprisingly to me, he first steeping in particular was quite light, creamy, and sweet – like vanilla or caramel flavoured whipped cream. With subsequent steepings the malt and bread notes came out, but there remained a lovely sweetness, like toasted multigrain bread with honey. Then some fruity, citrusy notes came in so it was like the topping on the toast switched to marmalade. A few steepings in, I went to read what other people had to say about this, and maybe my tastebuds are just broken, because I seem to have lost the ability to appreciate chocolate flavours in tea! When I concentrated, I could appreciate a raw cacao or cocoa powder kind of thing, but it certainly wasn’t what I would consider the dominant flavour. So weird. :)
Anyway, this is a yummy tea, I was thinking “nom nom nom” while drinking it. :) I’ll definitely try more leaf next time to see if I can get a richer flavour.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Fruity, Honey, Malt
4g of tea in a 4oz gaiwan. Boiling-ish water. Steeps of 30sec, 15sec, 60sec, not sure what I’ll do next.
Interesting! I definitely get pine notes from this – not pine needles, but an impression of freshly-cut wood. I don’t know how to describe this flavour, but I think it’s more woody than smokey. Unlike everyone else, I’m not getting any cocoa from this at all, lol. It’s also much lighter than I’m making it sound right now – there’s a really interesting crisp, juicy, cucumber note that I would associate more with white than black teas. Also some mineral notes, especially in the finish, and and all the flavours linger quite a while in the aftertaste. Drinking this tea feels like drinking from a cool mountain spring – very light and refreshing. I think that overall I tend more toward richer, more robust black teas, but I’m glad to have this in the cupboard for when I’m in the mood for something different. :)
Flavors: Cucumber, Pine, Wood