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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m finally trying out my sample (from Lindsay, I think?), and wow am I glad I did. This is such a unique tea.
The dry leaf smells strongly of sweet, fruity alcohol. I’m thinking brandy, a tawny port or some kind of liqueur.
Steeped, the tea soup has the same strong, alcohol fragrance to it, which carries through to the palate. In addition, there are also notes of Chinese medicine, dates, prunes, and lou han gou fruit.
This is definitely a rich and luxurious cup of tea. The ingredients combine in such an interesting way, that I don’t actually identify any of them in the flavour.
I don’t think I’d drink this often, but for a special treat, this is amazing.
Flavors: Alcohol, Brandy, Dates, Herbaceous, Plums, Red Wine, Sweet
With the caveat that I made a big mistake brewing my entire sample of this Western style — and too strong — I really like this tea. It tastes like baked bread, molasses and — something I haven’t seen anyone mention — roasted peanuts. I want to try it again in a gaiwan. It’s just really…interesting and unique and complex. I don’t love it as much as Whispering Pine’s super smooth new Yunnan Gold Tips, but it’s… Strong and makes a very solid impression. The nutty flavor really lingers. I’ll try it again. I think it would work really well with very spicy food.
The wet leaves smell like dark chocolate, but I don’t really taste that in the tea.
2nd infusion: Aha, now I taste chocolate and grain more strongly than peanuts.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Dark Chocolate, Grain, Malt, Molasses, Nutty, Peanut, Roasted Barley, Roasted nuts
Well allrighty. The Hobbit has been talking about this one for a while now and I have been very impatient to try it. Is it worth the wait? Oh my yes. It is. There is a distinctly malty aroma to the dry leaf. As that is one of my favorite notes in a black tea I am very happy.
The dry leaf is full of gold tips and when you open the bag it smells JUST like a chocolate malt. Not dark chocolate, a powdery chocolate and I want to just climb inside that bag and hang out a while.
I brewed it according to the bossy Hobbit’s very STRICT instructions. 2.5 grams at 200 in 8 ounces of water for exactly 3 minutes. I behaved and I was rewarded with a delightfully malty cup. Lots of bottom here. This is one of the Vanilla Dreams teas and so the vanilla is present. It is the lovely Tahitian vanilla so there is a cherry element, but it’s at the back after a wee bit of a cool down. It isn’t an in-your-face cherry like Cocoa Amore but it is lurking.
It is somewhat widely known that Golden Orchid is pretty much my favorite. This comes really, really, really close to GO for me. Less chocolate fudge and more chocolate malt. It’s got a nice creamy thing going too.
It sings and it has a really nice bass note that makes my bottom wiggle in the chair while I drink it and I hear this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn2PNlhvy8E
This is a delicious example of a Fujian Black tea as a type. Bready and caramelly and just very nice. Took half of my pot to work in a tumbler (stands up to that treatment very well) and drank the other half in the morning while taking meds (deserves better than that treatment). Just a really good tea.
Made correctly this time with 3 teaspoons (1 tbsp) per 500 ml (2 cups).
ETA: Second steep was just as good, though I’m not going for a 3rd.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel
This tea is hitting all the right spots today. It’s sweet, and chocolatey in the same way that Laoshan Black is, but I’m also getting something fruity, like dark cherry and honey from it too. I’ve been savoring this cup for an hour now, and I’m just going to have to resteep it. There’s nothing else to be done.
Dry: Fluffy golden leaves blended with tightly rolled deep matte black leaves. The smell in the bag is softly vanilla, sweet, and malty.
Steeped: The leaves unfurl in a very pleasing aesthetic way. There is a mixing of the colors and the clear amber liquor bathes them in a golden hue. The smell is vaguely sweet with a hint of cherry and malty vanilla.
Taste: Honestly, the best description I could think of would be a more complex version of Cocoa Amore, which is one of my favorites from WP. I really like the depth of flavor with cherry, cocoa, and vanilla featuring most prominently followed by a hint of wood and morel. I don’t think I would like it at all if there really was a lot of the earth/oak across the palette, but it does a good job of hinting at them. The biggest downside to this tea in my opinion is the pricepoint. At just shy of $22/ounce (excluding shipping), it is one of the most expensive teas I’ve purchased. I am dinging the rating a little bit only because the tasting notes on the website indicated moss, plum, pine, melted chocolate, etc. and I couldn’t detect these. That may not be a bad thing though because pine can be overwhelming as a scent or flavor. Unfortunately, I’ve also found that this one doesn’t hold up to resteeps without going a bit bland and losing all the delicate nuances. I did enjoy the initial vanilla, cocoa, cherries, oak, and morel though and I am glad I was able to finally try this.
Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Malt, Mushrooms, Oak wood, Smooth, Vanilla
Thanks for the sale a while back, Kimquat! This certainly tastes like a Fujian. Somehow with this one, it seems like there is more fragrance to the dry leaves than there is flavor. The flavor is good, but this light amber cup is LIGHT. The caramel notes and the flavor that can only be found in a Fujian tea is there but it certainly isn’t a kick enough in the morning. This one might be lighter than the Laoshan Black, especially since I usually use one teaspoon with that one rather than the 1 1/2 teaspoons I used today. The leaves here do look larger and longer than the Laoshan though. I think I like the Jabberwocky better – it has more of this flavor profile but more depth (which is probably because it’s a blend of three teas). I’m happy to have tried this one anyway… and there is one serving left.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 tsp // 4 min after boiling // 3 min steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 6 min
I have all my samples from Dexter (THANK YOU!!), but I needed something I could make quick, and the brewing directions were written on the baggie, so I went with this one. My daughter was waiting for me, since she wanted to watch Doctor Who together (she picked out “End of Time Part 1”…she just likes to see me get weepy over that cafe scene with The Doctor and Wilf….every time. it gets me every time!).
I sat down with my mug and took a sniff and was blown away…. this smelled like the most REAL vanilla…high quality vanilla…I have ever smelled in a tea! And the chocolate notes swirling with it… just Soooo unbelievable amazing in scent.
Sipping, I was just as amazed… Right now, this could possibly be my favourite flavoured tea… it has everything I want in a flavoured tea!
So unbelievably good!
So I like to stack my activities on my ‘get up from the couch and computer’ periods because evicting the cats from my lap is a time consuming and guilt inducing process and I try to limit that. So this period involved (in order): bathroom, panning for gold in los rios gatos, trash (including bathroom trash and the big stupid plastic bags in the bedroom that the cats keep licking in the middle of the night, I hate that noise), setting up the laundry, making tea, going for a 15 minute walk on the demon hill, coming back to made tea (yay!) and then sitting down again.
I told you this so you would understand why I keep coughing. It is below 50F right now (which is ridiculously warm compared to the rest of the US, but still cold when I only sort of put a coat on and then go for a walk in the dark). During my walk, which was a bit more strenuous than I’ve been doing in my surgery recovery process, I was breathing through my mouth and since then I haven’t been able to stop coughing :(
Anyway, this tea is helping with the coughing a bit, since it’s a warm liquid on my poor throat. I’m glad I read the reviews before sipping for the first time because I was expecting a bit more vanilla in this vanilla tea but the third review down, WP put in a comment that he blends to accentuate the notes present in the base tea rather than attempting a face-punch vanilla flavour. I prefer the latter, usually, but this is definitely the former and it’s none the worse for it because it DOES, in fact, accomplish that goal. The base tea is definitely a really really nice black tea and the milder vanilla is really very nice with it and makes it seem like there isn’t a vanilla ingredient at all, but just that it’s a really vanilla-y black tea, if that makes sense.
Anyway, I’ve figured out how to enjoy the first cup of my pots of WP tea now, which is to ignore the instructions on the bag and add approximately a teaspoon per 250 ml instead of half that. Perhaps once I acclimate my tastebuds again, I’ll be able to go back to the milder flavours, but right now they’re used to soda again and I haven’t had much tea these last few months.
tl;dr: this is a good mild vanilla-y black tea. Approved.
Flavors: Vanilla, Wood
This is a sample from Zack. Thank you!.
I have been a little leery of ordering the blended teas from Whispering Pines, because the pure tea is oh so good. This is a combination of Alioshan Black and Keemun. The Keemun is what stands out to me in this blend, but with the Alioshan, it seems to be a much softer cup. Slightly fruity, a rounded bread flavor with hints of chocolate. A great morning cup.
This tea has strong butter/chestnut notes and a bit of spinach notes. It has a bit of bitterness to it that’s not entirely unpleasant but not something I usually like in my green teas. I might try this one with less brewing time for next time.
I know this is quite a quick review but I think I’m having caffeine overload and might have to eliminate teas for a few days and then only stick to 1 or 2 cups a day. I am just not feeling myself lately. As for this tea, there are some elements of this tea which I tend to love in green teas (butter, chestnut, spinach) but the bitterness is throwing me off.
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Spinach
I’m having this tea this afternoon. Silly me. I was thinking this was a shu. If I had known it was a black tea I would have waited for a different day when I only have one black tea (had one this morning). One black tea a day is my limit for black teas.
I also botched the brewing a bit. Wanted to use my new fancy teaware and it was hard figuring out the difference between that and the directions from Whispering Pines as I had a reduced water capacity. All in all , it still came out pretty decent.
Just like everyone else I was amazed when I smelled the dry tea. It had a wonderful maple candy aroma.When it’s really hot I mostly just get the sweet maltiness of the black tea in the taste but the aroma is all maple candy. As it cools , that sweet maple taste comes through stronger. Wow! I couldn’t make too many infusions because my stomach was a bit upset having a 2nd black tea for the day but enjoyed what I had.
Next time I plan on just using the Western brew before I rate this tea. I bet this tea would be pretty amazing cold brewed too.
Flavors: Candy, Malt, Maple Syrup
This tea tastes luxurious, and it’s making me think about other luxurious things. While sipping and letting my mind wander, I thought about going to the grocery store. Instead of my usual spare fare, I pictured buying steaks for dinner. Though the tea doesn’t have any meaty flavors, it somehow makes me want to go on tasting decadent things.
Flavors: Bark, Chocolate
This was a sample from Whispering Pines with my last order. I had lost this sample but finally found it last night. It had slipped in with my green tea bin! I’m glad I finally found it.
This tea is delicious. It’s chocolate & malt. Not too strong of a black tea which suits me just fine. It is also very sweet. Some others got bitterness with this tea which surprised me. I brewed according to WP’s directions and I got no bitterness. Maybe it sets in when it cools down. I had finished mine before it could cool. A lovely cup of tea.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Sweet
I taste this tea mainly with my tongue and the roof of my mouth. It feels somehow like there are rows of complexity between the two (which is perhaps my breath). My tongue tastes sweetness, while the breath and roof carry a light bitterness.
I definitely taste chocolate, but it feels more balanced than other chocolaty teas. A milk chocolate with a small amount of sweetener, or maybe white chocolate. Usually I take time enjoying my tea, but this one was gone before it even got a chance to cool off.
Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Sweet
Between being busy and getting new samples I have forgotten to leave reviews on some of my Whispering Pines teas I got this month.
There are so few herbal blends out there (all natural with nothing artificial) for the evening that are really tasty. This one fits the bill. The cinnamon is done so good in this tea it just mixes and enhances the whole taste. Definitely not over done. Along with the cinnamon I’m getting the elderberries & marshmallow root. It’s all wrapped up with a toasty warmth, wonderful for a cold winter evening. I love this blend and do not want to be without it.
Flavors: Berries, Cinnamon, Marshmallow, Roasted
Possibly due to the fact that I haven’t had any tea in 4-5 months except bad restaurant iced tea, but this tastes thinner than I was expecting.
Still good though. Because I am going to have to readjust to bitterness levels of tea, I added more sweetener than normal but otherwise enjoyed.
Definitely vanilla with chocolate and I’m enjoying the fujian notes I’m getting. Weird taste in the back of my throat after swallowing though.
Newest offering! :-)
Our Traditional Tieguanyin is a medium-roast oolong from Anxi, China. With a very satisfying mouthfeel, this tea opens with clean mineral notes followed shortly by wafting florals comparable to honeysuckle and orchid. A touch of pear is notable mid-sip, and a warm, toasty finish is also present. Traditional Tieguanyin is rounded out with hints of honey, nutmeg, and cinnamon. A very satisfying and fresh oolong that reminds me a lot of springtime! :-)