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Recent Tasting Notes
Shame on me. I’ve had this tea for a while and hadn’t tried it yet. This may just be the best herbal tea I have ever had. Sweet Cinnamon Pastry Treat. The bf and I devoured this one. So very good. I don’t see this one lasting long. We drank this while we watched Annabelle. It comforted me while I was scaring myself silly.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Pastries, Sweet
Today was a fun day, I hung out with one of my good friends (who in a few months will be a house mate with Ben and me) while enjoying a beautiful day. It was extra auspicious when at a thrift store I found a new tea-set, it is a kyusu with three matching cups which I am officially deeming our tea-set for when we hang out and all three have the same tea. After depositing said friend back at his domicile, Ben and I decided to lounge in bed with a giant pile of lasagna and watch All That and Gargantua 2, because we are nerds.
It has been a while since I took a look at a Shou Puerh, which is tragic, lately I have been on a Sheng kick since it evokes spring to me, and Shou evokes late summer and fall, and it comforts me during the cold months. But, it also reminds me of lush northern forests, which I am feeling the strong need for frolicking in, so with that I give you Whispering Pines Tea Co’s 2012 Huron Gold Needle Shou Pu-erh! From 2012, grown in Xishuangbanna and stored in a fancy temperature and humidity controlled vault by everyone’s favorite Tea Hobbit at WPT. The aroma of the rather pretty golden Puerh is something else, one of those reasons we need scratch and sniff technology, it is deep and heavy, sniffing it is liked sinking into a forest floor, one of those forests where the loam is so dense that the floor feels springy. There are notes of wet wood, loam, pine forest…and here is where it gets really fun, cherry wood and cocoa, yeah, there are cocoa notes in this, which is pretty darn cool.
Doing the usual toss the leaves into the elephant Duan Ni and then giving it a rinse, when I wrote the notes for this one in my tea notebook I was sharing with Ben and said tea friend (ok, his name is Fish, I am tired of calling him tea friend!) because we wanted to get tea drunk off of a Puerh. The aroma of the now soggy leaves is a very foresty thing, the notes are strong loam and mushroom soil, it is very much a mixed wood forest rather than a strictly pine forest like some of the puerhs I stick my nose into. The liquid is so foresty, it is really transporting me to a lush, heavily rained on forest with a thick blanket of loam and a finishing notes of really sweet chocolate.
Ooh, that first steep is fine! Delightfully smooth to the point of silky, like biting into a sweet chocolate bar accompanied by pine sap and rich loam. I am really loving the mouthfeel and chocolate notes the most I think, I mean yeah, that forest loam taste is great, but it is not often you get to mix loam and chocolate in the same tea.
Onward to the second steep, it is like an adventure, going deeper into the recently rained on forest, you smell the rich and very thick loam with notes of mushrooms and wet wood. This time around the taste is not as sweet, we are getting a full force of forest, I ate the chocolate bar at the beginning of the path and have now surrendered to the forest completely. The mouthfeel is still super smooth, and the sipping experience finishes out with wet pine wood and a touch of mushrooms.
The aroma of the third steep is not changed much from the second, still very potent loam and wet wood of a healthy forest. It very much so evokes the forests I rambled around in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Like the second steep, this one only has a glimmer of sweetness and a full face full of loam, the mouthfeel has become thick, and I feel like I am sinking into the forest, it is heavy and sleepy. I am loving the heavy chi coming off this tea, me thinks I will keep it around to drink when I have a serious chi stagnation, it feels very invigorating. Many steeps were had, tea drunkitude was very much so achieved!
I stumbled upon this leaf and once I saw the companies name I knew I had to try it. I love the inspirations behind each of these blends. This one in particular was unique from the others I have tried from this company. The dry leaf consists of small dark knots of black tea and herbs dotted throughout. I brewed a generous amount in my press. The brewed liquor carried a refreshing minty aroma. The taste was a sour lemon. I sat out on my porch watching the puddles form and sipped this herbal brew. This liquor carried a smooth body of lemon and mint and had a light undertone of BBQ. The best part was after every sip there would be a sharp tangy sweetness balanced at the tip of my tongue. I really liked this brew but by the second steeping it had faded. This was a great tea, and I assume it was better fresh. I believe this to be another success from this company, although not as good as its other counterparts.
Flavors: Lemon, Smoke, Smooth, Spearmint, Sweet, Tangy
Backlog: I received this tea while doing a detox and all my teas were tasting off so I waited until I was done and was sure my taste buds were back to normal. I was really looking forward to trying this tea and it does not disappoint!
It definitely is pricey but due to low quantities it’s not something a person could stock up on either. That just makes it a special tea for once in awhile.
The leaves of this tea are sooo green. Almost luminescent when wet. I think I just brewed it Western style for 2 min at 185.
It’s a very light green tea. There is nuttiness which is in most green but the nutty flavour was subdued and brought to the forefront was a sweet spinach/asparagus. It reminded me of Japanese teas but not as much umami, lighter and more sweet. Most Japanese have very short infusion times and will become bitter or too strong if brewed over that. This tea can take a longer infusion time (brewed up to 3 min on 2nc infusion)and still remain sweet.
It does not taste like any maojian I’ve ever had. It tastes way better. Sooooo delicious. I wish this tea was cheap. I’d stock pile it.
It also has a major energy kick to it. You wouldn’t expect that from a green but it does. I notice with Japanese teas , they have a big caffeine kick too. Maybe it’s how the leaves are processed. I wonder if the leaves here were processed like the Japanese teas?
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!
I just got home from playing a Mother’s Day gig, & I’m finally sampling this tea, sent to me from Sil.
My taste buds have been off for awhile, thanks to horrible allergies this year, so I’m not gonna give a great description here, but what I can say is this cup of tea makes me think of a light spring rain. It has a delicate fresh quality to it.
Sipdown from yesterday!
I brewed this twice while watching a movie yesterday with the hubby. The smell of this tea is sooo good – rich and smoky and fudgy – but the flavour was not quite as layered. Steeped it twice, though, since this is a tea that would be difficult for me to restock.
I’ve heard that Tippy’s vanilla tea is similar, and since Tippy’s is Canadian, I may order it in the future. In the meantime, bye bye, vanilla!
Backlog from the weekend:
Goodness, this tea smells lovely when you brew it. I totally get the fudgy notes that people say this tea has. However, I’m not sure if vanilla is the most predominant flavour for me. I get instead a sweet sort of leather/smoke note, plus those chocolate notes. I steeped it twice and was pretty content with the results.
I have about 1 good serving of this left, and I’m looking forward to it. I think that the yunnan in this blend is the kind of yunnan I prefer: leather flavour over sweet potato.
How have I never reviewed this tea? I feel like I must have and it was in my cupboard, but no previous review to be found. This is a backlog sipdown, but I remember really enjoying it. It was also a pleasant transition straight black tea as the seasons change. During the Fall and Winter and found myself reaching for the bold malty/choco blends like Fujian and Laoshan Black, but come Spring and Summer- Ailaoshan Black is where it’s at. :)
I enjoyed this – it is very smooth, not bitter at all, and has a malty rich flavor. What differentiates it for me from other blacks I’ve tried is the hay flavor mixed in there, which I normally don’t taste in black teas. That said, it didn’t wow me enough to want to buy more.
This might be one of the most interesting teas I have ever had. It is making me CRAZY that I can’t pinpoint the exact herb/savory flavor that this so strongly reminds me of. It is food for sure. Makes me nuts.
Anyway, this is sweet while also being a bit savory and definitely has strong pine and herb components. I steeped it twice before needing to go to sleep and I enjoyed it very much. Here’s hoping I pinpoint the flavor or flavor combo that is evading me…
A big thank you to lolainred for sending me a sample of this one! I’ve loved every black tea I’ve tried from Whispering Pines and this one was no exception. It has a heady scent and rich, full-bodied flavor. Deep bittersweet chocolate is the main note, but I’m also picking up on some baked bread and malt…so delicious! And I’d be willing to bet this is one of those teas that I can keep on steeping all day long. (So I will…)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Malt
No more mimsy cups of tea, indeed! I have been on the prowl lately for pure back teas that are strong enough for breakfast but interesting enough for me to enjoy at anytime of day – this is definitely one of those. In the first steeping, I’m getting that lovely french bread flavor with an underlying taste of plum. Plus, with a name like The Jabberwocky, what’s not to love here?
Flavors: Baked Bread, Plums
Last night was the first night of the Dropzone Commander Tournament, but alas I did not play my game because my opponent because he had to take care of his baby, so instead I served the players tea. I have decided that mixing my passions is just a logical choice, luckily everyone seemed to like the tea, problem is I need more cups, but that problem is fixing itself as we speak. On the news of DZC, I won the league’s painting contest, so it is safe to say I am very pleased with myself, totally going to take my little award and hang it on my wall.
Today’s tea is a preview for a tea that Whispering Pines Tea Co will be stocking a small amount of in the near future, High Mountain Xinyang Maojian Green Tea! The name combines region and description of the leaf, it comes from Xinyang County in Henan, China and the Maojian part refers to the fuzzy leaf tips, yay for trichomes! I am going to start out by saying there are green teas and there are luminous teas that capture the essence of life…yeah, it is going to be one of those posts, so strap yourselves in. When I opened the pouch and scooped out the needed leaves, I let out a ‘whoa’ hopefully not sounding like Keanu Reeves, but I probably did, these leaves are crazy vibrant! They have beautiful silver fuzz which makes them almost look like they are shimmery, like the surface of water. Oh man, the aroma of these leaves is so fresh, like really super fresh, like did they just come straight from the field fresh! It blends notes of sweetly nutty chestnut and fresh green spinach, and the best part…like tea flowers. It smells like blooming tea flowers (I totally got to sniff them when I was in Charleston) they are subtle and honey sweet, smelling ethereal, just like this tea.
Into the gaiwan the leaves go, and they seem to become even greener somehow, which is impressive. The aroma of the now steeped and soggy leaves is so fresh and so green, blending clean mountain air, fresh growth, chestnuts, fresh asparagus, fresh spinach, and a distant hint of flowers, less tea flowers and more something slightly spicy like tulips. The liquid is also very clean, hmm, seeing a theme here? Blend a sense of cleanness with fresh spinach and asparagus, sweet peas, and a touch of growing bamboo for a very green smelling tea.
I am glad I was sitting down when I first took a sip of the first steep, because it is a tea that would have knocked me off my feet. It is so delicate while having such crisp and distinct notes, starting with a velvety smooth mouthfeel and moving right into a clean green sweetness. It reminded me of my favorite notes taken from Anji Bai Cha and Dragonwell and put into a super light tea. There are notes of sweet peas, chestnuts, a touch of spinach and a light note of asparagus, unlike a lot of Maojians I have tried, this one is only light on the savory, adding touches of sweetness and floral.
So, right after I finished that paragraph I wandered off to Tabletop to play my first tournament league, in case you are curious, I won on objectives, but my opponent did kill most my Scourge…my kill to death ratio is intensely bad! Also, as a side note, I had this tea in my travel steeper, it performed beautifully, no surprise there. Anyway, the second steep needs attention now, and the aroma of the gently steaming liquid is beautiful, it is the embodiment of clean mountain air, misty and green, fresh with new life in spring. Yes that is a silly poetic description, but this tea is one that fills my mind with images rather than with aroma notes, all teas do that to me, but some more strongly than others. The mouthfeel is just as velvety smooth as the previous steep, the taste more intense, starting off with sweet peas and chestnuts, the midtaste is smoothly green spinach and artichoke, with a tiny hint of mineral, much like spring water. The finish had a lingering note of floral, distant floral brought on a breeze rather than sitting next to a vase of flowers, meaning it was hard to identify.
For the third steep, oh man, the aroma is still so delightful, though I am able to piece together more than just images and emotions this time, there are notes of crisp vegetation, chestnut sweetness, and a finish of peas and asparagus. The taste is still pretty fantastic, going strong, it has a wonderful peaceful Cha Qi, this could be a great tea to meditate over, or to accompany you while doing something thoughtful (like painting and wargaming?) there are notes of asparagus and sweet pea, chestnut and a touch of bok choy at the finish. It is safe to say many steeps were had! The best part of this tea was sharing it, Brendan of WPT was awesome and shared some of this beauty with me, so letting my friends at gaming night try it seemed the perfect thing to do. They all agree, this tea is a thing of beauty.
Greens have arrived at Whispering Pines!
Green teas aren’t usually my go to teas and I’m quite critical of them. I don’t like the grassiness and overly vegetal taste they often have.
Having said that, I do appreciate some of them, dragonwell being my favorite.
When I received this maojian to sample, I was really excited and curious about it. We all know that Brenden settles only for the best so if he decides to sell something, I have high expectations for it.
This tea doesn’t disappoint.
Perfect vibrant green leaves, they look like mini longjing sticks.
I used gongfu brewing method.
First steep and wow! How to describe it?
This is not your typical grassy green. It’s very sweet and fresh at the same time.
I get a sweet minty taste, with notes of artichokes maybe. Asparagus might be noticeable as well, those fresh crunchy asparagus you get early spring.
None of the seaweed saltiness often associated with greens.
Anise is present, but very very subtle. I feel that at the tip of my tongue.
I forgot steep three and it steeped for a good 3 minutes. I was expecting bitterness. But it seems impossible to mess up this tea, it was still sweet and delicious.
Warning though: this will provide some kick ass energy boost. DO NOT DRINK AT NIGHT like I did the first time I had it…Let’s just say I felt woozy for a while!!! ;-)
I’m very happy with this green, it’s a keeper!
Thanks for the generous sample Brenden :-)
From the Sheng and Shou TTB.
Blech. This one is just not for me. The dry leaf was really pretty…twisty sheng leaf with a nice sheng smell. The brewed liquor, however, tastes like a really vegetal green tea, with some smokiness and bitterness. I’m not a fan of this kind of green tea flavor. So weird. Oh well, now I know! That’s what TTB’s are for, right?
This tea sums up why I don’t buy much shou, but why I still keep trying it.
After two rinses, the tea smelled wonderful. In fact I wanted to go back and drink the rinses. There was a lovely black raspberry aroma, with a hint of chocolate. While this flavor carried into the taste, it was accompanied by an underlying bitterness that I didn’t care for. I found myself dumping the tea because the bitterness overwhelmed the fruit. I kept steeping and while the fruit faded the bitterness faded much faster.
I’m on about my 9th steep now and it is really pleasant. Next time I’ll try 3 rinses.
I’m not generally a fan of shou, but this is the kind of tea that keeps me trying them.
Started with 2 5 s rinses. 1st steep at 210 degrees: Wow, this is potent. Filling the room with a powerful earthy aroma: wet loam with an undercurrent of ash. The taste is amazing: that loam/ash flavor with hints of fruit underneath. The finish starts with raspberries, but ends in bitterness. Sadly, as I drank, the bitterness seemed to overwhelm the fruit. I decided to use shorter than usual steeps and reduce the water temperature to 200 degrees: I love the smell. Taste is more subdued; I no longer sense the berries, just an earthy taste, but the bitterness is more acceptable. 3rd (10s): More fruit, less bitter. By the 4th steep (15s): The raspberry flavors seem to be winning the battle. I got another 6 steeps, which were pleasant, but not special: both the berry and bitterness faded.
I was really excited by the fruity flavors, but put off by the bitterness. Overall, it was an interesting and enjoyable experience. Someone who likes a bit of bitterness might love this.
This is my first tea by Whispering Pines, and unfortunately it doesn’t live up to the hype for me. I’m not sure if it’s the vanilla or the base itself that I’m objecting to, but I didn’t love this. The base is a light, smooth black with cocoa notes, but they don’t taste quite right to me. They taste artificial, which is odd since this doesn’t contain artificial flavoring at all. Well, it was nice to try anyway. I’ve been really curious about Whispering Pines teas, but they’re very expensive. At least I won’t waste money on a tea I don’t care for.