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Recent Tasting Notes
Well, it’s the weekend at last! I must admit that it was a LONG week dealing with cranky kids. However, Summer Camp is going pretty smoothly, despite the small mishaps that happen with moody children.
Anyway, I wanted a tasty cup of tea (I must admit that I’ve been drinking coffee all week in the mornings). Ugh, I know. The ‘Art of Darkness’ from Whispering Pines was poking itself from the top of the cupboard. Therefore, I made a batch of it in my gaiwan.
Yum. There are so many chocolate/cocoa notes. Nice smooth dark chocolate flavors. Pretty sweet on its own. I’m thinking about buying more of this sometime before the summer’s over. It’d be a great winter/fall tea.https://www.instagram.com/p/BGfFtYlA-03/?taken-by=s.g_sanders1
A late night tea session with these awesome little furry creatures. Aromatics upon opening are rosemary, sage, bold black pepper, balsa wood, light oregano and subtle but present cotton.
Rosemary and sage flavor notes along with pine, extremely subtle smoke, an odd but not unpleasant lime like flavor and even stranger pickle like brine present that all seemed to work well in unison with each other. Light buttery hued liquor more pronounced as the buds start to open up during each subsequent infusion. This needs to re-explored to see if I get these same characteristics in a future session.
6g of happy little buds, 120ml bone china teapot, 190F with 30s, 5s, 10s, 20s, 30s and counting up for numerous infusions as the buds just would not quit.
The buds o’ love:
I get mainly orange blossom honey from this tea. Not too much in the way of sweet potato, malt, chocolate or spice.
Verryy citrusy actually! Almost as if it were blended with an essential oil, even though it’s really just pure tea. I can see why it is the base for their Wild Grey blend, where bergamot oil is actually combined with the Dian Hong.
It’s not my favourite but if you love a citrus note without actual added citrus, you’ll love this tea.
Puerh Tea TTB. This is a nice shou. But I think it is not as good as his 2012 Huron Gold Needle. It is good though. There was a little bitterness at first and there was a fair amount of fermentation flavor. This was not an unpleasant fermentation taste though. It was dark and rich in the early infusions. I’d say it had some notes of chocolate in there. I wouldn’t say it developed a fruity taste. It did get fairly sweet after the bitterness was history. The bitterness lasted only about two steeps. This is a fairly long lasting shou. I gave it fourteen steeps and it was not quite done. I could have gotten somewhere between two more and maybe four more steeps out of it. But fourteen steeps in a 120ml gaiwan is a lot of tea.
I steeped this fourteen times in a 120ml gaiwan with 9g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec,10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min, and 3 min. This is one I will have to look into buying eventually. It is my guess that he has a lot of these to sell. I think he really invests in his shou cakes.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Sweet
I thought I wrote a note on this a while ago. What I was going to say was that this was a clean black tea with a very light berry sweetness, a pine woodsy aged quality, and a calm qi. All thanks to Whiteantlers. Anyway.
First steep Gong Fu with a generous portion of close to 4 grams. 190 F.
Clear air, pines, and berries in the meadow. Smooth overall, and fairly light and sweet. There was a bit of a malty body, but a body closer to what tea noters call caramel. But a VERY LIGHT caramel. That is something that can be discussed…Oddly enough, it tasted similar to a Yunnan Moonlight, or a thicker body white tea. Interesting.
Much of the same thing as previous, but more of the allusive cocoa note this time. Good tea. Good, good, good tea.
Fuller body and smoother. More Yunnan sweet potato, but on a much lighter note. There’s a lot less tension in my shoulders. Interesting.
And more later. The last two steeps were fairly simple and plain. Good Yunnan black tea with the qualities of a Yunnan moonlight. I thank Whiteantlers for this gift. I would not pay the thirteen dollars for this personally, but I do think that this is an excellent black tea that is well worth a try.
Flavors: Berries, Caramel, Cocoa, Herbs, Malt, Maple, Pine, Tea
Wow. This tea is just wow. There’s just so much going on here I wish I wasn’t in such a rush to finish it off so I can get to work. Opens with very strong sweet potato notes followed by dark chocolate and caramel (actually very similar to some salted caramel truffles I made last week). Next there’s cantaloupe and white grapes and a faint hint of multi-grain bread and oats. This is quite possibly one of the first teas I’d be interested in re-steeping — perhaps next time if I’m in less of a rush.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cantaloupe, Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Grain, Oats, Salt, Sweet Potatoes, White Grapes
I should really explore white teas more, as I tend to really enjoy them.
This one was a nice, light pre-dinner/post-work cup. Oats are definitely the dominant flavour with a honey sweetness that makes it very similar to an oat bar. Light, velvety floral (violets or similar) notes towards the middle/end.
This was good, but I’m finding it difficult to describe. There WERE lots of different flavor notes, but they were all quite subtle and melded together and I can’t really but my finger on what they were, except I could identify a sort of eucalyptus note. So I would say this is advanced level tea, whereas I am still at intermediate level (at best). Also was never convinced I was preparing it properly since I only have a small gravity steeper, none of the gongfu equipment that was recommended.
An afternoon tea session covered in chocolate, roasted nuts, brown sugared roasted sweet potatoes, baked bread and so much more. This tea is full of happy notes and amazing aromatics. Beautiful dry leaf and gorgeous wet as well. Syrupy mouthfeel. This is an entire meal in a cup and just when you think it’s done a nice Guinness like malt after taste comes on. This is one happening black…
6g of leaf in a 120ml Seong-il, with 212F water, an unusually longer first steep of 30s and subsequent steeps at 10-15s with 10s climbs for over a half dozen steeps.
Okay. This makes the list of one of my top teas ever.
I wrote an extensive note about it some time ago and my laptop shut down by itself when it was almost complete. So here it goes again, albeit a little less detailed.
The vanilla note is one of my favourite things in Da Hong Pao. Vanilla isn’t listed as a note on the website, and it’s definitely not an ingredient either but it is what I taste. A light vanilla, with a fair amount of oak and lots of pure minerality. Throw a little bit of white wine in the mix. But what makes this particular DHP stand out to me is just how juicy it is. That, and the qi.
So juicy. Like stonefruit nectar. And the qi. It’s a calm, happy qi.
It is a little on the light side though, and so the flavour does start to peter out by perhaps the fourth steep Western style. I follow the website directions for Western ( yixing, 87C, 1tblsp, 150ml for 2min, 2min, 3min, 4min, 6min and then I rest the leaves for a few hours in the yixing and try for 7mins and 10mins).
I have purchased this twice and simply can’t afford to purchase anymore due to the cost of shipping to Australia. It ends up being $AU4 per session which is pretty damn high.
As Brendan hasn’t answered my question on the future availability of this product, I assume it’s a limited offering.
Go on guys. Buy the last six ounces left on the website. I’ll just have to hoard what I have left.
This was my first Shu Pureh and I quite enjoyed it. Of course It was unlike other teas, but I can say now I prefer ripe to raw, but I still have to experiment with other raws, and ripes for that matter. I have lots of stuff from other vendors. but this one I liked. dont remember brewing specifics but i assume everyone here knows how.
Flavors: Artichoke, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Camphor, Caramel, Cocoa, Creamy, Dark Wood, Mocha, Molasses, Musty, Roasted, Smooth
If Golden Snail and Earl Grey had a baby this is it. True story. It’s the best of both worlds.
Baked Bread, Bergamot, Citrus, Malt, Citrusy, Cocoa, Anise, Camphor, Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Orange, Wet Wood, Caramel, Peanut, Yams, Fruity, Sweet
New to gongfu style, so any tips are appreciated :)
4g leaf in 100ml, 96C/205F. Timing is approximate.
First infusion (15s) : Scents of earth, smoke, caramel, cinnamon and nutmeg. Taste is like watery espresso, colour a dull light brown. Maybe I should have poured away this steep as a rinse. I’ve read in another review that someone was rinsing these a few times over because the pellets are quite tightly wound.
Second infusion (20s): Scents of burnt coconut emerge. Slight fruitiness appearing. Sweeter profile. A little drying in the mouth.
Third infusion (30s): Smells and tastes like darkly burnt brown sugar with water aged in an oak barrel.
Third infusion (1min 15s): Burnt coconut is back with a woody aroma. Sweet and surprisingly refreshing. I wonder why my other steeps had a drying quality to the mouthfeel and this one not so much.
Fourth infusion (1min 45s): More balanced aroma, very sweet. This one tastes like a good quality batch brew of light coffee. Favourite infusion so far.
Fifth infusion (2min 15s): Taste is same as above, but a tad lighter and a little oakier. Bit of dryness coming through again. Colour of liquor gets slightly brighter with each steeping, which is interesting.
Sixth infusion (3mins): More or less the same again, but lighter still.
Seventh infusion (5mins): See above.
I’m inclined to believe that any more steeps would be quite similar and I’m rather full of liquid now haha so I might stop here..
Oh what the heck, I’m gonna try for one more.
Eighth infusion (7mins): Yep, same but lighter.
Overall, I’m glad I got to try this tea as the session was quite enjoyable, even with my lack of experience in gongfu brewing. It was my first darkly roasted tieguanyin and it was quite educational to see the different levels of roasting in an oolong.
Will use Western method next time and see if it brings out that golden coffee note I liked so much.
Either the leaves were sitting in my cupboard too long or I oversteeped/overleafed this one. Turned a bit bitter :(
In my other experiences with this tea, it was a solid chocolatey-note black tea. However, I much prefer (and miss) North Winds for the added complexity of a blend, or Golden Snail for the gardenia note.
This is a good tea though, and a good representation of Fujian style black.
Whispering Pines order has arrived! Huzzah! I’ve been wanting to try this one for a while so decided I’d give it a go first.
First sip is malty, chocolatey, and salty with a hint of some kind of stone fruit. After that it turned to sweet potatoes and sweet corn/corn husk. Surprisingly light a refreshing for a black tea, not to mention remarkably smooth. Would definitely consider picking up more of this (though shipping to Canada is sadly a deterrent).
Flavors: Chocolate, Corn Husk, Malt, Salt, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes
This is my first Da Hong Pao. No real expectations here as a result, although a cursory sniff of the dry leaves smelled like roasted oolong, kind of like the tieguanyin I tried earlier this week, got a bit of a cool wild dry fly away look to the leaves. It also does NOT taste like the tieguanyin at all, safe to say.
3.5 grams to 100 ml gaiwan. Just off boiling water. 30 seconds to start.
The aroma of the amazingly thick, darker gold liquid that comes out of this is reminiscent of roasted floral oolong with notes of honey. The soup is rich, thick, and lingering in the mouth, with a very heavy buttery, mineral-y, honey taste, but without the intense sweetness of honey. There are also floral notes/tastes in the aftermath of the initial, as well as an increasing sweetness across the steeps. A lot like what I would expect nectar to taste like. Very interesting, I like the richness, I’ll be trying this again.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Honey, Mineral
This tea is such a flowery tea it’s like a garden in your cup. it’s total Spring or Summer. The leaves are huge unfurled and so vibrant. I’m sad it’s out of stock so I’m hording the last of mine.
Flavors: Cantaloupe, Citrus, Cream, Cucumber, Cut grass, Floral, Flowers, Fruit Tree Flowers, Gardenias, Honeysuckle, Nectar
This is a wonderful fruity and creamy oolong. I will concur with a previous reviewer here to be able to take a single tea unprocessed without adding anything to it and get a result such as this and the pleathera of other teas both black, oolong, etc is amazing. which is why tea for me blows coffee out of the water. It’s flowery, rich, fruity although i didn’t notice much coconut.
This is a rich warming blend, malty creamy deep cocoa flavor from the real nibs, not fake at all. When I was running low on both this and one of the plain black teas i just mixed them up, it brewed up nice, so actually this tea can be a multi tasker. nice to get a few steeps out of too.
I’ve made 4 decent purchases from Whispering Pines so I have like 20 types of teas and this is the only one I didn’t like. I’m still new to the tea scene and sometimes you have to learn by not liking a tea, we all have had it happen, but I LOVE the other teas which will be reviewed soon. Too much smoke and fish pond funk, and I hardly noticed the flavors everyone else does.
Flavors: Ash, Asparagus, Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bamboo, Camphor, Char, Earth, Fishy, Green Wood, Honey, Musty