Whispering Pines Tea Company

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Recent Tasting Notes

89

This is, of course, one of White Rabbit’s favorite teas. After all, ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
I think that says it all.

Flavors: Berry, Cherry, Eucalyptus, Malt

wapppictures

Very nice. Thank you

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Beware The following review includes insight about me:
Whispering Pines is a dangerous company because it is so easily to spend all of your tea budget (or more) very quickly without noticing; and there is no regret behind such a choice! I had this tea on my wish list just because it sounded cool, I didn’t intend to purchase it but once I saw it was in stock and someone was wanting it I went ahead and purchased it so I could split it with them. I will admit it was kind of unfair to do such a thing without asking them first… but they wanted it and agreed. I really like when I am able to help others on their tea journey.

Since this is a hard to get ahold of tea and I have a low quantity, I have saved this for a special occasion. Tonight is very special for quite a few people and I am not ashamed to admit I am one of them. You may laugh, but I have been in for this to happen for years: Tonight is the last episode of Degrassi on Nick. I first watched this show in junior high as a requirement in a Life Skills class. Ever since then I have just watched it as it came out. So yes, I have watched this show for over 10 years just as I have listened to Linkin Park. There is a part of me that is emotional over the aspect of what is happening with this show as I have followed it for so long. The series finale is going to occur tonight and it will be accompanied by this tea.
Whispering Pines and I have some interesting history… first of all, I somehow was lucky enough to randomly be on the side and purchase a Black Fight Box which I took to Tokyo with me. How funny is it that I was in Tokyo drinking black tea from Whispering Pines while others were drinking 2015 shincha?

So what is this tea like?
Well, it is the combination of the vibe that I get while I am in a hookah bar and the taste oolong that was roasted in some sort of butter cream ‘stuff’…
Maybe I am weird, but I find the aroma to be a bit odd and the taste to be splendid.
Like I said, Whispering Pines’ orders come s with no regret : )

Daylon R Thomas

I just sent you a sample of it….I think you might be happy with a little more :)

Liquid Proust

That’s awesome :) thanks!

Daylon R Thomas

Also, you’re right-it kinda reminds me of a vanilla flavored smoke from one of the hookah bars in Egypt.

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90

I enjoyed my sample of this very much. A new, fancy tea to celebrate a new, shiny job. I am really really excited, and equally stressed. I will be moving to Virginia ASAP and teaching third grade at what seems like a very nice school. I am packing like a maniac, while trying to run a million errands to transfer pet sitting clients literally overnight, and doing the paperwork type stuff that comes with moving and hiring and the like.

But I took time to drink this this morning as a small celebration. With all the stress of my first year of teaching looming as well as a big move, I feel like it will be difficult for me to celebrate if I don’t make the time. I find this tea to be extremely tasty. Cocoa, malt, and hay is what I taste, though specifically slightly damp hay. Normally I am not capable of being so specific, but this seems to have a slight tang or sourness that is similar to that of wet hay.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Liquid Proust

I fell in love with this tea in Tokyo :)
I will just throw my opinion out there: There is no better Dian Hong to be had

Marzipan

New shiny job! Congrats!

Nichole

Congrats! From a mom who recently had a third grader two years ago. . .Thank you! Third grade was hard on the kiddo. Teachers are awesome!

Leah Naomi

I appreciate the well wishes – I am excited. I hear third grade can be a tough year, but I hear it is one they make some of the most progress, so it sounds super rewarding. I am sure your kid’s teacher was so happy you are so supportive, it makes the job SO much easier, and it isn’t always the case.

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75

I got deep and earthy notes from this one, with dark, dark chocolate when I sniffed the dry leaves. The cocoa and cardamom dust quickly drifted from the tea ball to diffuse from the tea. After steeping, the tea is a deep, rich, blackish brown. It’s definitely one of the darkest teas I’ve ever seen.

The taste is earthy (Any time I taste nuts – it’s always pecans – guess that makes me a true Texan _), too, with the cocoa just deepening the tea notes.

I’m not quite sure what I think of this tea, honestly. i like it, but I don’t think it’s one I’d reach for too often. It’s almost like it’s a little too dark for me. I might try it next time with a bit of milk and sugar, see how I like it then.

Flavors: Cocoa, Earth

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I’m drinking this western-style tonight, which is probably heresy, so… serious pu-erh people, avert your eyes. ;) 3g in an infuser basket with my 10oz mug, boiling water (but it cools down to low 90’s pretty soon after hitting the mug), steeps of 3min, 4min, 5min, etc. I forgot to rinse (seriously, avert your eyes, this is ridiculous).

For the first couple of steepings, the primary flavour was that earthy “shou pu-erh” flavour, which made me think that I must just completely lack a palate for pu-erh because I wasn’t tasting any of the other flavours listed. The texture/mouthfeel of this tea is pretty cool though, definitely light and silky-smooth, and then creamy in the aftertaste.

A few steepings in, the earthy/musty flavour has decreased substantially, and a light sweetness is coming through, accompanied by some fruity notes. I think I’m getting a bit of that minty-ness in the aftertaste as well. I’m glad I stuck with this tea and am looking forward to trying it gongfu style. :)

Flavors: Creamy, Earth, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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What a smart idea… gift a wild dianhong to the guy who drank the Imperial Gold Bud in Tokyo this year and wanted more but it was out of stock… that guy was also nice enough to not purchase 10oz like planned so others could have some.
Anyways, this is like a mini-me of the dianhong… aka it doesn’t hit as hard but it still has the resemblance of the good good. In this picture it’s the dark one :p https://instagram.com/p/5sktHzxYEc/

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96

I don’t know how I haven’t already reviewed this tea…seeing as I’m down to half a bag! I clearly must have had some of it. Anyway I love this tea. It smells very dark and rich and malty to me…which as you know I LOVE. While the taste has hints of cocoa and…bread. Weird but so darn good.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Nicole

This is a really nice one. I love the teas with bread notes.

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Steeping this one western-style this morning, so I’m probably not getting the full experience, but it’s still very tasty. :) Creamy, malty, and slightly sweet to start out, and then a fresh fruity tartness kicks in. Sweetly floral, like honeysuckle, in the aftertaste.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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95

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Rose, Rosehips

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95

Thank you Brenden for this sample! I liked this one WAAAAAY more than North Winds. North Winds is much lighter as a Gongfu, and though I am actually starting to prefer this method of black tea brewing, there were times where I had to do it western because I was off by a few grams and the particular leaf wasn’t as strong. I like my dark teas bold, but complex and full of flavor. That’s why I typically enjoy Irish Breakfast more than say English Breakfast because it’s got more umph. Along the same parallel, the Aliashan is bolder, and more complex to me. I’m getting all of the tasting notes that are on here.

Toasted, whole grain bread is the best, first comparison I get, coupled with a malt like red wine aftertaste. Caramelized plum, though, is what this tea fully tastes like, and what I get the most. Again, it’s a very complex black tea that is sturdy though done Gongfu. I actually did the first steep in ten seconds which is fairly impressive, and it certainly filled my cup. A part of me even prefers it to the Golden Bud Dian Cong. I wonder what it would taste like as the Jabberwocky or Cocoa Amore. I also drank this as soon as I finished Rivendell, and this is the Aragorn to Rivendell’s Arwen.

This may be a more medium black tea, but it is a man’s tea, dang it (so wish I could use the full profanity)! For black tea lovers and would be the best introduction to an Ailoashan black for a newbie. If you want something robust with three dimensions, this is the tea to try.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Cocoa, Malt, Plums, Red Wine

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

This tea is the reason why I went over budget. This is why I am going to be much more careful with my tea selection. And this tea is important to me. I was just starting to get into Tie Guan Yin’s and oolongs became my new obsession. I wondered if there were any that were Lord of the Rings themed, and low and behold, I find an entire community devoted to all things tea, and the very first review in my sight was Rivendell. This is the tea that introduced me to Steepster, and the oolong that I was determined to try. Like many have said before, it’s named Rivendell, and it has to deliver the promise of a cup from Middle Earth. I waited over a year. I missed some times it was back in stock. Now, I have it.

Does it deliver on the hype? Not quite, but almost. I’m sorry, but it just didn’t. The Tie Guan Yin from Mandala tasted very similar to this, and it is significantly cheaper-cheaper by seven dollars per ounce. It has the same notes, nuances, and aroma in the first steep. I may have gotten lucky with the Mandala sample, being a spring harvest one, and being from a good year. I understand that the majority of the cost is because of the quality of Tie Guan Yin, which can be one of the most expensive teas in the world, and the quality of the Tahitian vanilla bean and cedar leaves. On top of those huge expenses, this product is in very little supply, and there is a tremendous demand for it as clearly apparent on this very site and the frequent times that it is out of stock. Yet the woodsy cedar and vanilla notes are ones that can be found in a high quality Tie Guan Yin-the later steeps are the more complex ones that allow this tea to be different from others. Nevertheless, the price remains as my main point of criticism.

Otherwise, it certainly is a drink that Lord Elrond would offer. It is very Elvish, smelling and tasting like described. The Vanilla and Cedar are the dominant scents and flavors in the tea, with the Tie Guan Yin’s natural orchid, creamy sweetness blending both scent and flavor together. Brenden’s description if pretty accurate. Again, Cedar and Vanilla are immediate. Lilac, or orchid, takes the previous two together and grinds them both with minerals. Caramel is more in the smell. Cherry and chocolate are approximately there, but you really have to search for them. The last three or two steeps really brings out the cherry, and the final one is like pine nut and mint, or menthol. It is a very light tea, and like any Tie Guan Yin, the taste is delicate but distinct. The most impressive aspect of this tea is that it is able to yield the same floral relish of a Gongfu in five western style brewed cups, which partially staves off the price in reusability. I actually let the later steeps soak in for 20-45 seconds more than recommended and got more flavor though this is western.

I thoroughly enjoy this tea. If it weren’t for the incredible price, this tea would have probably been one of the best I’ve had, and one of my favorites. I am very glad that I have it and pretty satisfied that I do, because the quest to have it finally ended in full circle, and it’s a good cup. This is the tea I would have given a 100 to, and this is my tea 100, the hundredth cup I’ve reviewed, the first cup that I saw on this site.

Now, for the audience that this tea aims for. You have to be a fan of Tolkien to fully enjoy this tea, or a huge fan of Tie Guan Yin oolongs and lighter teas. This is the must try tea for you guys, and probably no one else. Because the taste is so delicate, and so specific to Rivendell, a person who prefers stronger teas, someone who has no idea who Tolkien is, or someone who is newer to the over active imagination that is tea tasting would be severely underwhelmed. And if you are in a rush, you cannot possibly savor this tea. You’ll be reminded of the stark reality that you are just drinking a flowery glass of water. You have to slow yourself down, and travel to Middle Earth. You must let go, and allow yourself to escape.

Flavors: Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Chocolate, Creamy, Floral, Mint, Orchid, Rainforest, Vanilla, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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89

This tea reminds me of chocolate covered raisins. It’s sweet and chocolaty with a subtle dried fruit flavour. Love it!!

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94

Thank you Brenden for this sample!!!!!!
I really, really enjoyed this black tea. It is naturally sweet, smooth, and soooo much like caramel, in smell and in taste. This tea has so much character, and with only a barely noticeable touch of astringency. I smell again, caramel, hay, butter, sweet potatoe, popcorn….and sip the same notes. And that’s just on the first 15 second steep. This is actually one of my favorite black teas thus far. I would not drink this again and again because I want to savor it, and enjoy it as long as I can before its gone.

Another tea that is great in Gongfu style, and I think that almost anyone would like it, newbie or tea master. This is the tea to learn to enjoy without sugar for beginners. And this is a delicacy for the tea snob. I don’t think that I could ever drink black tea the same way again. I now prefer more golden leaves…..I am now a tea snob. Curses!!!!!!

Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Creamy, Hot hay, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 7 OZ / 207 ML

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90

So much better since I added more leaves. Last time, I poured two tea spoons, but they were far from being full. I thought that since the leaves are so stringy for this tea that they would open up bigger, but I was wrong on that front. I used a heaping half of a tablespoon, almost a full one really, and it tasted way better.

Like I said in the previous review, North Winds is the best suited name for this tea. It smells exactly like the wind in Northern Michigan, even the woods here in Port Huron closer to Canada and the Lake. Wood, maple, cocoa, and campfire is what I personally smell when I take a single whiff of this. Last time I drank it, I tasted a cocoa, roasted black tea that was not that different from a Keemum. This time, with more leaves, there is so much more flavor. The taste is the same as the rustic aroma, being a pure breakfast blend having a simpler, yet more genuine quality than a usual English Breakfast. It’s almost like a less astringent, smoother version of an Irish Breakfast. I am glad that I decided to try this one again, and getting more out of it. My only criticism is the expense, as there are better teas that are near the same price on Whispering Pines website. Also, my sights are honed in on Golden Orchid when it comes back in stock, so I am anticipating what this particular tea base will be like with a vanilla accent. North Winds still needs another note to really fill the cup to its impressive potential, and vanilla might be the finishing note to crescendo it to greater heights.

Pompous hyperbole aside, a lot of people would like it. Breakfast tea, southern sweet iced tea, and European black tea lovers would enjoy it. Though it’s slightly better Gonfu, a Chinese brewing method, it’s more reminiscent of a European drink to me. Newbies might require cream and sugar anyway, but it by no means tastes bad with the additives. I just prefer drinking my tea without sweetener.

Flavors: Campfire, Cocoa, Malt, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

First black tea from Whispering Pines, and I’m fairly impressed. I was hoping to try the Golden Orchid for some time, but vanilla is one of those hit or miss spices for me, and I wanted to try it without the flavoring. It does indeed smell like the winds up here in northern Michigan, thus having the perfect name. I smell woods, cocoa, and when I taste it, it is dominantly cocoa. I can see why vanilla was added in the Golden Orchid version now. This tea is very smooth and has no astringency, though it really needs another accent like vanilla for more flavor. Nevertheless, it’s probably one of the better black teas that I’ve had. I very rarely drink black tea Gongfu style, but I got more of the flavors drinking this method. It might be overpowering in Western.

This is a go to black tea for people to try, and definitely a good base or personal stock for higher end black tea. Personally, I don’t think that I would purchase this again now knowing my preference for oolongs, but I am glad that I tried it. Thank you Brenden, for your very kind service and high quality tea!

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Smooth, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 7 OZ / 207 ML

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89

This is a delightful shu. It reminds me of Mandala’s Special Dark. It is silky smooth and very rich. Small plantation leaves hold up to a good number of infusions. I look forward to aging some of this, and to buying more when it becomes available again.

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Drinking quite a bit of this today to see how I like it. I believe that wet earth is the best description that can be applied to this, but by saying ‘bold wet earth’ may actually do more justice.

This is a fine pu’erh that looks rather young still. While it may not be my favorite, yet still taste great, this may be one of those teas that mellows slightly over the years to provide a warm honey pu’erh brew. I will look into trying this a few years down the road :)

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Sipping this for the first time with a tea chum…musty, smooth, creamy, and mmm-inducing.

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No idea who sent this to me… but my brother and I really enjoyed it last night. Very smooth with a spice taste that didn’t take away from the golden brew.

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85

This smelled beautiful as I scooped it into the teaball. Sort of earthy and floral at the same time. (I’m not normally a fan of “earthy” smells but this one worked.)

There’s a grassiness and almost butteriness to this on the first sip. As it cools, the grassiness is more pronouced, and it’s approaching bitter, but not quite hitting it. There’s just a touch of sweetness to it.

This is beautiful. It’s calming and serene. This makes me happy to sip it.

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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80

I really enjoy the pine in this – it is definitely creamy and grassy with the green tea, and very aromatic when it is warm and refreshing as the cup cools down. I am really glad I got the chance to try, pine needles aren’t exactly a common ingredient in tea. Resteeps nicely too.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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93

A fine drizzle has overtaken athens today, making me especially excited to head out west for family visits tomorrow! For now, I needed something comforting, and pine needles definitely felt western!
I’ve been wanting to try this blend forever, and my recent order from Whispering Pines put me in the mood to. Thanks goes to MissB who generously sent me the remainder of her bag!
The first steep was light, but had a distinct flavor, almost like peppermint. That must be the pine I’m tasting. The aftertaste had a lovely sweetness and vanilla notes. While I was brewing this up, the scent reminded me of western homewares stores, or the Yellowstone NP gift shops, complete with log benches, a fire place, and antler chandeliers. I’m much enjoying this cup!
The second steep was more pine-forward, but still a nice sweet aftertaste!
The third steep smells much more floral. The pine has transformed into a blend of jasmine and mint! So yummy! The aftertaste cools my tongue with far away sweet mint.
The fourth steep (5 minutes) was very lightly flavored.
This is one of those teas that is really good when you’re not paying attention to it, but the second you focus it becomes incredible and complex. I’m really enjoying it, and I hope it comes back in stock at some point in the future.

Flavors: Jasmine, Pine, Sugarcane, Vanilla

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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