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Recent Tasting Notes
Heads up to anyone that goes for mainly strong shou puerh as this is a very light and delicate shou puerh. When using the vendors recommending gongfu brewging specs (and even with extra leaf) the puerh comes out as very light and delicate. The two main things about this tea that stand out to me is that is is both sweet and smooth. This tea also has a bit more complex flavor profile than most of the shou puerh. To me the “flavor notes” if you want to go there are more of of a little fruity and a little forest like which I think is what the vendor was talking about with the moss. The 3rd infusion does indeed have a bit of cocoa notes which to be quite honest I was quite skeptical of the claim in s shou puerh. Upon the 5th infusion I would say the tea had died and had produced “colored water” so one must really enjoy really really light tea to be able to get all 6 infusions out of this tea. Regardless I have to admit this is clearly a really high quality shou puerh even through it is much lighter than what I generally go for.
I will start by saying if you like stronger shou puerh than this is not a good tea for you. When using the vendors recommending gongfu brewging spects (and even with extra leaf) the puerh comes out as very light and delicate. The two main things about this tea that stand out to me is that is is both sweet and smooth. This tea also has a bit more complex flavor profile than most of the shou puerh. To me the “flavor notes” if you want to go there are more of of a little fruity and a little forest like which I think is what the vendor was talking about with the moss. The 3rd infusion does indeed have a bit of cocoa notes which to be quite honest I was quite skeptical of the claim in s shou puerh. Upon the 5th infusion I would say the tea had died and had produced “colored water” so one must really enjoy really really light tea to be able to get all 6 infusions out of this tea. Regardless I have to admit this is clearly a really high quality shou puerh even through it is much lighter than what I generally go for.
I was surprised by how many “Ambrosias” there were when I searched this name. I thought this to be a very original name. Anyways, onward to the review. This is my first western session in what seems like a long time, so it was a little awkward at first. I had told myself when this tea was released that I would hold off for some time on buying it. However, the tantalizing fascination for a liquor fit for Greek gods took a hold of me. I opened the package and took a peak inside. I was taking in an ocean of minuscule delicate gold strands and thin black wires.These soft velvety strands carried such an enticing scent! I was blown away by the pure aroma of marshmallow, malt, and the slightest fruit tone. I placed a good sized scoop in my glassware and rushed to the bubbling kettle. The moment my scorching spring water touched the leaves a delectable scent exploded from my tea-ware and filled my tea room. I was catching notes of sugarcane, vanilla, malt, baked bread, and some dark fruit. The taste is more than perfect. The brew fully encompasses the mouth and leaves the tongue feeling soft and lubricated. The flavor begins as a sweet melted marshmallow and then moves to a sweet yet dry vanilla. This is a more pure vanilla. This taste isn’t overly sweet or the kind that makes your stomach turn after drinking too much. This is a burly natural vanilla that is well balanced with both the sugared sweet tones and the dry wood tones. Then, the brew moves in with some uplifting dark berry, such as black cherries or over ripe raspberries. Lastly, the drink finishes with a smooth and soft malt the helps the mouth ease out of the velvety sweetness. The brew keeps this consistently throughout multiple steeping. The vanilla tone fades slightly, but is still prescient with each steep. This tea is perfection in a cup. I absolutely love how the flavors work and how well balanced this is. If you loved Golden Orchid, then this is the more intense and luscious version and you must try it.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Dark Wood, Drying, Malt, Marshmallow, Overripe Cherries, Raspberry, Smooth, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vanilla
This tea is amazing. I’m on my second pot as I write this (instead of doing my homework).
The leaf is a beautiful swirl of black and gold with a sweet, chocolatey smell. It’s kind of fun to watch it unfurl as it steeps. Definitely one for the clear glass pot. I used 2 tsp in my 16 oz teapot with boiling water. I let it steep for 3 minutes (5 on the second pot). The tea is a warm, rich, yellow amber with the most delicious roasted nut/malt/barley/baked bread smell (it kinda makes me want to bake actually). It’s hard to pin-point exactly what that glorious aroma is but every time I breath it in I get excited for the sip I’m about to take.
The flavor is amazing. There is a roasted malt, baked bread, nutty, earthy (but not bitter or dirty), complex flavor that is everything I want in this tea and more. It tastes almost exactly like it smells. I could rave about this tea all day. Safe to say I will be buying as much of this tea in the future as possible. Drinking this tea makes me feel amazing.
One note, sugar seems to destroy this tea. Mom tried a pinch in her tea and it was pretty gross. It turns the smell acrid as well. Very unpleasant.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Malt, Nutty, Roasted, Roasted Barley
I’m going to throw out there right off the bat, this isn’t a negative or positive review. For me, this was a pretty forgetful cup of tea. Neither good nor bad. I am going to mention, however, that I am aging the rest of my batch in the hopes of improving the experience.
The leaf is very pretty with it’s unusual shape and silver-white tips. It has a very gentle, subtle aroma reminiscent of sweet hay or grass. I brewed this tea several ways. Last night, before bed, I made a 16 oz pot using the temperature and steeping guides provided on the Whispering Pines website (2 tbsp at 200 for 3 minutes). The tea steeped to a pale gold with a mellow (almost non-existent) grassy flavor. The second steeping I left in for much longer (15-20 minutes) but it didn’t strengthen the flavor at all.
This morning I made another cup using the alternative method most people seemed to have used. I dropped a whole tbsp straight into my cup and drank it unstrained. I left this one to steep much longer than recommended and while this did make for a slightly more bold flavor and adding hay to those grassy notes, it still wasn’t enough to satisfy. Adding another tbsp to the second steeping and leaving it for even longer still didn’t produce more flavor.
While I do enjoy a subtle tea this was far too mellow for me to really get behind. I will eventually use what is left of my stock but if aging doesn’t help I likely won’t be purchasing this leaf again. If you like those subtle flavors however then this is the tea for you.
Flavors: Grass, Hay
Best bergamot scented tea I’ve ever tried! It’s been about 20 years since I’ve bought a flavored tea, and this one is quite good. Although I still prefer my tea straight up (like a fine aged single malt scotch), this will surely be a crowd pleaser this Thanksgiving. I found myself preferring this tea midday with 3 or 4 drops of Agave. Odd, since I rarely sweeten my tea. EG is well balanced, and the cocoa notes in the base are a perfect complement to the citrus. Think citrus flavored dark malt chocolate dusted in cocoa. I won’t rate this one due to my strong preference for pure tea.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bergamot, Citrusy, Cocoa
My order from Whispering Pines came in this morning and it took me all of 5 minutes to make a pot of this tea. I’m having to restrain myself from dipping into the rest of my order too quickly (I’ve ordered several teas from the same company and I’m really excited to try them).
The first thing you notice about this tea is the aroma. You don’t even have to get the bag near your face, the second you open the seal this tea makes itself known. It smells as sweet as it looks bright, with spicy ginger notes and the minty pine smell of eucalyptus.
I used the brewing instructions on the site and followed their temperature recommendations. I used my 16 oz cast iron tea pot with water from my tap. We’re on a private well with a filter system so the water doesn’t alter the taste of the tea. When I poured the first cup the tea was a VERY dark color, sort of reminiscent of green tinged coffee. The first sip yielded pine and eucalyptus but not much else in the way of flavor. It had the spicy mouthfeel of ginger though which I like, even if I couldn’t taste it. I added honey, lemon, and a little extra sugar. The tea immediately changed color from green mud to a lovely red amber. The whole flavor pallet changed as well. You could still taste the eucalyptus but it was joined by the sharp spice of ginger and the gentle sweetness of the elder berries. I also personally love lemon with my ginger.
Overall I have really enjoyed this tea and I can see why they recommend it when you are feeling a little under the weather. This tea has made me feel awesomely relaxed and has helped calm my stomach which was still reeling from a terrible hotpocket related life decision earlier this morning. I wouldn’t drink it everyday but I think it’s going to be my go to tea for when I can’t sleep late at night.
Flavors: Eucalyptus, Ginger, Pine, Spicy, Sweet
I didn’t try this for awhile because I dislike saying bad things abut small companies but I recently got some in a swap so I had to try it. You’re probably reading this questioning why I would say that about something I haven’t had before… good question: See, Capital Teas milk oolong is ridiculously good. Vibrant green and large.
However, this is great in another way. This is smooth without that odd flavoring. I really enjoyed drinking this down, enough so that it will be put up against BTT version to see who I buy some from.
Wowza! This has got to be one of, if not, the best black teas I’ve ever had. I only got a sample but will definitely buy more than a sample next time. It brews a beautiful “gold” color. The aroma is mesmerizing, chocolate. The taste, as if you were putting a piece of 70% cacao dark chocolate directly in your mouth. Just a very little perfect hint of sweetness.
Flavors: Cacao, Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Oak wood, Sweet
This tea is something special. I am not one for flavored teas. I have very few that I have enjoyed. I was told about this tea and the language used to describe it sounded like a flavored tea, so I initially declined. However, curiosity got the better of me, and I ended up with some. I opened up the package and was struck with some intense aromas. I experienced tropical tones with a vanilla and milky base. If I kept on sniffing I would get down to the creamier notes, and the tropical fruit tones would vanish. I placed a decent amount in my warmed gaiwan and let these little nuggets rest. I started shaking the gaiwan and the scents erupted from the vessel. My tea room was surrounded by a medley of juicy scents. I could take in pineapple, mango, and papaya. I opened the lid and took a whiff. These sweet and intriguing tropical scents were bathed in a sweet coconut milk. This was going to be a flavorful session. I washed the little treats once and prepared for brewing. The steeped leaves have transformed from their tropical paradise self to a spring field. They gave off a fresh green scent with light floral tones. I sniffed at spinach, fresh Swiss chard, tulips, and nectar. I was now ready to give this drink a taste. The initial sip has a full mouth feel and is deeply lubricating. The warm liquor is filling and creamy. The taste is vegetal like buffalo grass and juicy. There is an intense pineapple and mango tone that is present. I had to ask the owner of the company to clarify if it was flavored, and its not even in the least bit artificial. This intriguing brew presents itself with a beautiful tropical tone that is smoothed out with a rich cream. The sip ends with a drying and grass tone with a pleasant sugar cane aftertaste. The brew lasts for quite some time, and in later steeping moves more towards herbaceous tones. The tropical flavors remain present throughout the session but linger in the background later on. The taste of grass, spring, and vegetables take its place, while a soft floral vibe kills off astringency. This brew has quite a lot of depth and a smooth body. The leaves include some massive stems and the liquor is a beautiful aquamarine green. I really enjoyed this session. I am going to try and concentrate cold brew this for some late night sipping. I really want to bring out the creamy tones and concentrate the tropics.
I loved how this came out :)
Flavors: Buffalo Grass, Coconut, Creamy, Floral, Mango, Milk, Nectar, Pineapple, Sweet, Tropical, Vegetal
This. This……is already one of my favorite teas. I love a good Earl Grey, and I’ve tasted many different brands. Until my Whispering Pines order came the other day, I thought I had come close to tasting it all. You know that feeling you get when you come across something that fills a hole in your life that you never even noticed was there before? For me, that is Earl Gold.
Whispering Pines’ Golden Snail is already one of my absolute favorite teas, so I was beyond excited to try an Earl Grey with it as the base. I was curious to see how the unique chocolately flavor of this tea pairs with bergamot, and the result is delicious. The amount of bergamot in this is perfect: although it’s prominent in the scent of the dry leaf (making me wish I could turn this tea into a candle), it’s well-balanced in the brewed cup – not too light, but not so heavy that it masks that Golden Snail yumminess.
They’re already sold out of this online, but I will be ordering more as SOON as I can.
My grandparents raised me on the cold hard English Earl Grey. That cooling tea is still one of the very few flavored I enjoy. I saw this tea, and I knew that I needed to give it a try. I still get excited when I discover new Greys. I picked some up with plans to try a little, and then pass it along to my Grandparents to judge. I didn’t even have to open the package to be greeted with the enlightening scent of the Earl. I tore open the package, and my tea room was filled with an intense clean aroma. The crisp scent of citrus and camphor filled the air. I took a sniff at the leaves and took in this pleasantly powerful scent. I noticed a slight underlying malt and baked bread that curbed these intense aromas. I warmed my gaiwan and placed these soft velvety curls inside. The scent deepens to hot fluffy bread with honey drizzled on top. I took in the bittersweet chocolate in the background. Then, I noticed the ever slightest hint of anise creeping forth through the chocolate. This would be a new spin on the typical Earl for me, and I was pretty excited. I sat and enjoyed these scents for quite some time before I washed the leaves and prepared for brewing. Once the hot spring water hit these golden curls the tea completely changed. The tones of the wet leaf changed to a smooth malt and wet wood. The chocolate became dark and drying. The background was misted with a sharp cooling tone. The taste was spectacular. This tea gives the impression of sharp and powerful bergamont tones; however, the actual flavor tells a different story. The fist sip begins with warm and concentrated honey. Then, it moves into a smooth but brief malt and lubricates the mouth. The brew develops in the mouth with light wood tones and a chocolate sweetness. This brew fills the mouth and gives some great feeling. This is a thick and syrupy brew. The smooth body can be felt all the way down to the stomach after sipping. The cooling sensation from the bergamont is slight but it withstands throughout steeping. The nice cooling action is present most in the aftertaste, and it combines well with the heavy malt tones of the snails. The later steeping sessions have a slightly sour tone, but it continues to have some decent mouth action. This was a fantastic re-representation of The Earl. I’m very happy to have tried it. The steeped leaves are intact and long. This makes a perfect companion with the morning breakfast or a late night snack. I will be sending some off to my Grandparents to get their two cents worth.
Flavors: Anise, Baked Bread, Bergamot, Camphor, Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Orange, Wet Wood
I was inspired by Brenden’s “Art of Darkness” blend to try mixing this with Tisano cacao shells. So, I started with 1.5tsp of this shou in a brewing basket and gave it a quick rinse with boiling water. Then I added 1.5tsp of the cacao shells, put it in my 10oz tea mug, steeped western-style with boiling water. I did… 4 steeps: 3min, 5min, a long time (I walked away and forgot about it), and 10min. It was really delicious – chocolately and creamy and a bit earthy. I’ve steeped cacao shells with chocolatey black teas like Laoshan Black, and it’s pretty good, but I think this is my favourite combination so far. Highly recommended!
I brewed this one gongfu using the spects recommended by the vendor. I am impressed as this is the first time that I was able to call gongfu brewing a black tea a success. The first sip of this tea brings a surprising mix of smoothness and sweetness. The flavor notes do indeed have a bit of cocoa and molasses as described by the vendor. As the infusions the flavor of the tea increased as the light sweet smoothness faded away.
This definitely gets better as it starts to cool down! Initially i couldn’t taste any of the chocolate notes everyone keeps mentioning but then suddenly, around 15 minutes after brewing, BAM, there’s that delicious chocolate note! I brewed this western style as I’m feeling super lazy today (probably because its another day of sorting, cleaning and throwing in preparation for, our now pretty much guaranteed move… the only thing still unconfirmed is where??). The tea has a great creamy mouthfeel, elevated by a splash of milk, and there are some great malt, chocolate and honey notes once the tea has cooled down to just above luke warm…. yum! Glad I have a little more of this stashed away to enjoy.
Brendan included this as a free sample in my order. Thank you so much!
I had a gongfu session with a ceramic gaiwan. Did a quick rinse. Steeping times: 7, 7, 10, 10, 15, 30, 45, 60, 120, 240.
I let the dry leaf sit in the heated bowl for half a minute. That brought out an aroma of milk chocolate cocoa, with loam underneath. After the rinse, the leaf smelled of bread, and somewhat sour. Later in the session had black grapes and earth.
It takes a bit for this shou to come out. The first few infusions taste mostly sour. The liquor is rusty colored. At the fourth, the liquor turns very dark red and is cloudy, but then it clears beginning with the fifth.
It is at the sixth infusion everything falls into place. The texture is thick and soft, and the the body is full. At first I taste cream of mushroom soup, which then develops into a maple syrup sweetness. Seven through nine are sweet with cocoa and earth, with an aftertaste of plums. A heavy feeling. After this point, the shou weakens in flavor and color, but the texture and body remain the same.
Like cocoa bread in a cup. Not chocolate bread, mind you, but cocoa bread. The kind that doesn’t have sugar added to it. Reminds me very strongly of Golden Fleece. A cup of pure wow. Thanks to whoever included this with a swap or a stash purchase – I’m thinking either Marzipan or Liquid Proust.
Juicy! This brew is pure life water! I opened up the package and was blasted in the face by a sweet aromatic nectar and fresh greens scent. This took me back to the spring harvest from earlier this year. The scent was so fresh and green. I was reminded of the bi lo chun from April. The scent was deep and rugged, yet it was also still floral and sweet. I placed some inside my warmed teapot and gave it a shake. The scent deepened to heavier greens alike, spinach, kale, and artichoke. These bulky greens was wrapped up in a syrupy floral fragrance. This tea is bringing me back to spring. The tea is super hardy so no need to worry about over brewing. The liquor is beautiful. The brew is a delicate translucent white. You can spot only the slightest of difference in water color. The taste is phenomenal The initial sip begins intensely sweet. The brew fills the mouth and gives a nice floral finish (lily or tulips). The base consists of watercress, chestnut, and brief apricot. The brew is so light and clear, but it tastes so thick and syrupy. There is a light drying sensation that follows each drink, but this feeling is soothed by a silky mouth feel. The easiest way to describe this brew is the taste of mountain air during the spring. The tea gives off such life, and it’s delicious. I was able to re steep this brew about four times, which I find to be a lot for green tea. The brew continued to be almost completely clear and fantastically sweet. I’m very happy to have been able to try this, and I still have a little left.
Flavors: Artichoke, Chestnut, Floral, Green, Kale, Nectar, Nutty, Smooth
An good daily drinker and probably a good intro to ripe pu’er cake!
I got notes of bitter sweet, wet earth, cream, and mostly walnut. With each steeping the tea got more brown sugar sweet and nutty. Very smooth texture! I didn’t get much cha qi/ tea drunk’n so I ended up drinking this late into the evening. A very friendly, ready to drink, daily drinker ripe that is smooth and easy to chug!
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2013-ontario-1357-ripe-shou-puer-from-whispering-pines-tea-co-tea-review/
GRRR…something’s up with dashboard or my browser but this is my third attempt to review this tasty tea. I’d read a few great reviews of Whispering Pines teas so placed my order. While I was a bit bummed that most of their blends seemed to be out of stock (!), I ordered a few chais and two herbals including this one.
This was the first out of the package and the minute I opened the package the freshness hit me in the nose. Pow! I could imagine the guy at Whispering Pines having poured the magick right out of his mortar and pestle and into the little ziploc paper envelope.
I was also delighted when the minute the hot water hit the tea, it blossomed with color. This is some FRESH tea! The website listed this as a good night-time tea and 30 minutes after having a cup my partner is snoring on the futon in the living room. So, take that as some kind of seal of approval. I’d definitely get this tea again although it did seem a bit on the pricey side. But I can’t complain with the freshness of the tea, so that probably explains it.
Flavors: Berries, Cinnamon, Licorice, Marshmallow, Smoke, Smoked, Wood