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Recent Tasting Notes
Got this with Dark Matter 2016. Used my whole 4.2g in my 60mL gaiwan with boiled water. I enjoyed this tea, but I continue to believe that I just don’t like shou as much as sheng or oolongs. Used more than I often would for a ripe, so I kept the steep times down a bit longer than usual, sub 10 seconds for the first 4 or 5 steeps. I only did one rinse, so the first steep was a little bit funky. By third steep, funk was mostly gone.
In the aroma of the wet leaves and the first 2 steeps I got hints of a sour almost fruity note that was barely there at all, but mostly this tea was an earthy, creamy sweet tea. Also got some mineral notes throughout most sessions and some brown sugar coming out in the final few steeps. Leaves were pretty small, but seemed mostly intact. Started out strong and dropped off quickly after around 9 steeps. Seemed like a good shou to me, but not sure I’d be inclined to pick anymore up myself.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Earth, Sweet, Wood
From 2016 Dark Matter
Gaiwan brewed, 1 rinse, gradually increasing infusions starting with a few seconds.
I was applying for jobs while drinking this so I powered through it…this is why I split my samples in two. So no great notes but man did I enjoy this. Leaf smells briney, but only a bit of this comes out in the beginning. Good full initial steeps. Lots of mineral flavor throughout. Brown sugar coming out in the end, although a little more unrefined like jaggery or picondillo. Nothing intimidating here.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Mineral
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This whimsical tea made its way over to my tea table. The leaves are a chaotic assortment of twisted black tendrils with light gold spotting. Their scent is powerful and aromatic of smooth anise, dry sugar, and chocolate. The scent takes me back to my grandmother’s Italian cookies. I warmed up my gaiwan and pushed these inside. The scent exploded into fresh baked cookies with cherries on top and a light but sharp tone of malt in the background. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. Now I’d like to state that I really dislike anise unless it’s in a cookie. I have a lot of trouble appreciating it, but this tea nails it! The flavor begins with a smooth sweetness then moves into a sharp kick of anise. The leave’s coco base pushes these flavors out and soothes them away. The aftertaste consists of caramel and burnt sugar that linger in throat. The qi is nice and powerful with a lot of red facing, haha. The spent leaves give off a wonderful aroma of baked bread. This tea packs a lot of flavor and lasts for quite some time. The anise is not as overwhelming as I assumed to be in the aroma of the dry leaves. This tea brings a lot of character to the table with no artifices. I really enjoyed it, even though I did doubt it quite extensively.
Flavors: Anise, Baked Bread, Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Cherry, Cocoa, Cookie, Malt, Sugar
OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH this tea is good.
I thought that my bias toward the Wild Grey would override, but I actually like this one just as much for different reasons. This is the higher quality tea, and a lot more people would like this because it is stronger and thicker.
I started Gong Fu-ing-and the first steep was a strong bergamot balanced by strong, fatty malt. It was almost salty.
The tea got stronger in the following two steeps with more cocoa, a strong sweet potato and salted peanut fatty taste again , and than a spicy aftertaste. I accidentally made the tea closer to a western style, 40 seconds, than 55, but dang was it still good and I will get a lot more out of the steeps following.
This is one of the best Earl Grey’s I’ve had. It definitely reminded me of a chocolate orange, and I can drink this either Gong Fu or Western with great flexibility. That was what Brenden intended making it. It is also by far one of the smoothest Earl Grey’s with its strong spiciness actually coming from the bergamot in conjunction with the tea. This is the regal Earl Grey, while the Wild Grey is the more humble.
Another awesome selection from Dark Matter 2016. Just under 7g in a 120ml bone porcelain pot with boiling temperature. Well over a dozen steeps beginning at 10s and gradually increasing to 90s before the leaf founds its end. Creamy, slight earth and straw, tingling camphor goodness, brown sugar hues. I admit that I will always enjoy sheng over shou as many a ripe tend to struggle for their own identity. This is not one of them and I would definitely pick up a cake when released in October 2016.
Thank you for sending a sample of this one a while back, NayLynn! I’ve had this one before but it wasn’t distinct enough for me to write a tasting note. This is the last of my sample, but I’m still not finding much to note. I think suddenly ripe pu-erh just tastes like ripe pu-erh to me. Its good, but it’s hard to distinguish from other pu-erh. That’s a shame. For a pu-erh, it is of medium depth and darkness. No offensive fragrance or flavors. But not unique enough for me to love it compared to other pu-erhs. Basically this is just a tasting note to remind myself that I tried this. I will have another pu-erh favorite soon to see if all pu-erh is so plain tasting now.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 9 minutes after boiling // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 3-4 minute steep
Gongfu brewed in my shiboridashi. The Huron Te Ji is the strongest shou puerh that I have encountered from Whispering Pines to date in a good way but still in the light medium range of how shou goes. Huron Te Ji has a sweeter mellow taste that is more of a clean mineral taste than earthy. I am looking forward to trying this again in cake form when they get released as I think the cake versions generally taste better than the loose leaf.
Gongfu brewed in a shiboridashi . This is a lighter shou puerh which is smooth with forest notes. As in it is nowhere close to what most people would call earthy but has just enough to give it a subtle complexity. Personally I enjoy the cake version of this tea more than the loose leaf version. It is hard to place what exactly is different so I wonder if it is a matter of the loose tea being kept in a bag vs the cake which was exposed to air through the paper wrapper & cloth bag the whole time.
From the Sheng Olympics 2015.
Very unusual visually. There are bright orange bits that I’ve never seen in a non-flavored tea. Looking at the website, I discovered that they are flower petals. The tea has an unusual vegetative taste that came to taste like peppermint. It wasn’t unpleasant but didn’t really excite me. Part of the problem may have been that I thought I was drinking an unflavored tea. Not a lot of cha qi, but i did notice a bit of effect.
Tea 5 from my 2016 Dark Matter
I don’t know that I love it, but as far as shou goes, this is the best one I’ve had. Thick and comparatively sweet. I’m pretty sure I like my shou brewed inky black, as I have enjoyed those infusions on this one more. That being said I’m still just not a fan. Too earthy/minerally. I quit on this one early because there are so many teas and life is too short to drink tea you don’t love.✌
If you are a shou-head, this one is probably pretty good.
Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Sweet
Whiteantlers, I see why you like this Western.
I tried Gong Fu for 15 sec, but it was kinda flat. Muscatel with a bit of that black tea malt thick with tannin and bitter like dark chocolate, but flat. The teas complexity wasn’t being fully realized. I had to push out the sophistication.
Well, it was not quite as complex as I anticipated. It was, however, close to wine for a tea. At first, it was pretty similar to a darker red wine, maybe a Merlot or Chateau (I do NOT know my wines-I just turned 21 a week ago) with some of the same type of muscatel cherry and oak wood quality. Later brews out of five got smoother and closer to cocoa. Creamier texture later, but that’s about it in terms of infamous bean’s profile. I did get salty hints and maybe caramel, which a lot of you can ignore as sensualist imaginings.
Translating my verbiage into sane English, this was a malty black tea close to a dark red wine with its own nuances to a straightforward profile. It is a pretty good black tea, but I actually prefer some of Whispering Pines other selections like the Wild Grey…which surprised me. That one personally had more of the elusive “chocolate” note that I really enjoy.
I am so glad I tried it. Yet another accomplished tasting note.
Whiteantlers spoiled me again, and I got her package on my 21st birthday. Fortuna smiles upon me :).
I quite enjoyed this green tea. It was like a jasmine green with a pine smell and aftertaste. The rest of the tea was actually a little bit more complex, shifting between different green tones, florals, and some nuttier tones. I would recommend it and probably want to own some, but there are jasmine teas that are just as good for different reasons and for lower prices.
Trying a target accomplished.
Gongfu brewed this tea is very unique as it is the first chocolate puerh which I can honestly say is really good. The light bodied puerh base blends nicely with the raw Cocoa Nibs with a smooth chocolate flavor that matches the “gongfu curve” of the puerh nicely. Along with the puerh stuffed mandarin oranges, this is the only other flavored puerh that I find good enough to reorder.
9Apr- broke in the new gaiwan with this tea. I threw it, so the shapes not quite right. It’s slightly bigger than my other one at about 175 ml. I may need a bigger teacup.
So tea…I think this may be the first earl grey I’ve ever really liked. Most earl greys I find to be too harsh. The bergamot is usually coarse and overpowering. This was light in both the bergamot and the base tea.
175 ml gaiwan, 205F, 6g ish
Leaf smells of bergamot, a clean citrus smell.
10s- tastes of sweet and gentle bergamot. 20, 35s, & 50s- sweet, gentle citrus, sweet potato, honey that lingers. Little bit of malt on later steeps. Steeped it 5 more times.
Perfectly scented/flavored. Really good. 93
Flavors: Bergamot, Honey, Malt, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes
Steeped Western style.
I didn’t realize the base tea is oolong until after it arrived. I was skeptical, since I would never imagined oolong and spices being infused together.
This is one well-done ‘chai’ blend. It has common ingredients – ginger, cardamom, cinnamon – and not-so-common: allspice, tellicherry back peppercorn (these peppercorns are mighty interesting to behold). For me, the ginger and peppercorns stand out the most. A biting, peppery taste. The ginger tastes so fresh that it seems like it was just cut. The oolong, from Indonesia, is complex and reminds of me a rolled bug-bitten oolong. It offers a thick, smooth textures, and, most importantly, a blend of fruits. Nicely sweet. Strawberries, peaches, apricots…apples. I suppose apples comes to mind because of the power of suggestion from the website’s description! But it really does taste apple-y. It’s a bit like mulled cider, but not as fruit-filled.
This blend is very autumn. Every ingredient works so well together. I was confused when I drank the last it in the office today (4/6/16). It’s early April, not mid-October! I love autumn…
This is for the Spring 2016 harvest, generously provided in sample size with my recent order.
Holy cats, this is an awesome tea. This reminds me of all I adore in golden tippy teas. The malt, the cocoa, the cream. This one has a smooth, rich, buttery feeling to it. A truly exceptional harvest with what had to be some masterful processing. Second steep was not as mind blowing, but I did steep the first cup for at least 4 minutes, Western style.
Thanks OMGsrsly for letting me try this. I’ve been curious for a while but it always seems to be sold out or out of season when I go to look at it.
I had enough loose leaf for about five different sessions and they were somewhat varied in the tasting and aroma notes despite the same parameters. All the cups where pretty awesome in their own way, although the smooth, almost creamy jasmine note wasn’t consistent. Sometimes I got more vegetal chestnuts, which while good isn’t as much of a draw for me as the well balanced jasmine cups (2/5).
Give me that smooth, balanced cream of jasmine in a cup and I won’t need to rip apart the neighbor’s well tended garden for flower butter, nectar of the gods.
Flavors: Jasmine, Sugarcane, Vegetal
Sipdown! I’ve had a reasonably bad cold since Thursday evening, so I’ve mostly been drinking comforting teas that I’m familiar with. There’s no point trying something new when I can’t taste it, after all. I’ve enjoyed this one, both with and without milk. It’s super smooth, with prominent chai spices and delicious creamy vanilla caramel. I’ll miss this one.
1 tsp, 2.5 minutes, boiling water. No additions.