Whispering Pines Tea CompanyEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
The cold and strep throat stuff is going around here. Luckily, I’ve been able to ward off most of the symptoms. I’ve been doing some apple cider vinegar with garlic and water as an antiviral, lots of eucalyptus, frankincense, and citrus essential oils, and lemon and lime water.
I was happy to see that my WP order arrived today. This is a good tea. Good amount of ginger. I don’t usually add sweeteners, but I’m craving something sweet, and the site said adding honey increases the antimicrobial properties. ;)
Now, white tea and myself do not always understand one another. But when Super Starling! sent some of this my way, well, who was I to refuse?
So I brewed it up this morning, and boy, if this isn’t some good stuff. It had none of the muskiness that I can sometimes get from white teas, and a lot of really lovely, almost earthy flavor. I might be forgiven for thinking this was a black tea, for a split second. Its very rich, and I really enjoyed it this morning!
You know, I imagine that a spot of milk would not go amiss here. That’s a funny thought for me, as I usually take my tea black, unless its a very special occasion or a very particular blend.
This is not fussy or anything like that, but as I was sipping on this cup this morning, I was struck by the notion that it would be just a nice with a dash of milk in it as it is black. Maybe even a sprinkling of sugar?
Huh, now that’s really out of character for me. But maybe I’ll give it a go. I do have a bit more of this, and would be happy to give it a try.
Alright, Whispering Pines is winning my respect. Everything I’ve tried from them has been good!
I’m tentatively getting to know Earl Greys, and while they might never be my very favorite blends, when I find a good one I can certainly appreciate it.
And this is a good one! The base holds its own against the bergamot, and the flavors balance each other out really well. It was a smooth, tasty cup, and I can’t wait to try more!
Operation redo my entire tea area and most the bedroom began last night accidentally. Friends were getting rid of an awesome set of glass shelves that I gladly took off their hands, my teaware hoard is getting out of hand and taking over every spare surface in the room! Currently the shelf is loaded with my teaware, it will be thinned out a bit as soon as I get my shelf inserts for the curio cabinet (one day) then the tea storage shelf needs to have all the tea transferred to a different shelf which needs cleaning off, it is a big project. What is done though is my painting desk was rearranged, the bulk of the desk held my fishtank which was moved to where the teapots previously lived and now my big tea tray lives there. Sadly I realized too late that my tea tray is in a dark cubby so now I need a desk lamp. The things I do for organization in a very small space.
Today I am looking at a tea that is not only tasty, it is pretty! One of the things that first drew me to Dian Hongs is their beautiful golden trichomes, the fuzzy goodness. Whispering Pines Tea’s Golden Snail is definitely a beauty, nice tight little spirals covered in gold with bits of the dark leaf showing through…the color reminds me of my Tortoiseshell cat! Luckily (or sadly) the smell does not remind me of my cat (I wish she smelled like tea) the aroma is lovely, classic notes of malt and cocoa blend with sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and a delicate finish of cherries, walnuts, and cherry blossoms at the finish. It is sweet with just a slight nuttiness, reminding me of a loaded sweet potato that needs to be eaten by me…I clearly need food.
The steeped tea in my beloved Petr Novak pot smells super good, notes of walnuts and sweet potatoes (sweeter than the starchy yams) sandalwood, cocoa, and a woody undertone. The liquid is sweet and rich, notes of sweet potato, molasses, peanuts and walnuts, and a touch of cocoa waft up with the steam from my cup.
First steep is wonderfully rich and sweet, with a thickness that coats the mouth with honey and molasses. The dominant taste for the first steep is sweet honey and starchy but not too starchy sweet potatoes, specifically reminding me of those sweet potato patties that you buy frozen in the South (I assume they are elsewhere but I only ran into them growing up) and a bit of a woody cacao nib finish. The aftertaste is a hint of molasses that lingers for a while.
The second steep, while having the thick mouthfeel of the first, is also joined by a tingly camphor like texture, similar to drinking a Sheng, and something that just screams Yunnan to me. Granted some teas from that region have a stronger tingle than others, and processing does have an impact, but once in a while you get a Dian Hong that feels almost effervescent. The taste is very rich, strong notes of molasses and cocoa blend with peanuts and walnuts with just a hint of sweet potato. The dominant note is definitely dark chocolate, think like the 80% dark (I do love that stuff) with an aftertaste of molasses and cocoa.
This steep is pleasantly mellow, still has a thick mouthfeel, but no longer the tingle. The taste has mellowed out a bit as well, still has strong notes of molasses and stronger notes of sweet potato like the first steep, but the dark chocolate notes have calmed down. There is something new, towards the end with a note of peanut there is a delicate note of dried cherry. It kept teasing me in the aroma but has finally shown up in taste! This is a wonderful tea, an excellent example of a Golden Bi Luo Chun (or Hong Jin Luo, it has a couple names) being visually stunning and wonderfully tasting.
I get primarily a vegetal note from this tea. A bit of a umami note developed too. While I think this is good quality tea it just isn’t what I like to drink. But as I only bought an ounce it’s ok.
Steeped this two times in a 400ml Kyusu with 8g leaf and 175 degree water. I steeped it for 1 min and 1.5 min.
Got this the other day. There is some smoke to this but it is not overpowering. There is also a sweet note to it, not sure what to call it. It did not need milk but was fine without.
I steeped this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 minutes.
Flavors: Smoke, Sweet
Purchased last year, finished just now. Brewed in a ceramic tea pot or in a paper filter bag.
As I’ve previously stated before, I love masala chai and exploring unique blends. I’m a lover of ginger, and I appreciate the fact that the ginger Brenden uses in his blends is stronger than what I’ve encountered in teas from other companies. But the ginger in this case overpowers all of the other ingredients, both the base tea and the spices. Just barely I can taste the vanilla bean and the chocolately goodness from the black Bi Luo Chun (I’m a fan of his Golden Snail). And I did try to shake up the pouch.
It’s hard to fully comment every aspect. Nevertheless, this makes an excellent autumn tea. It is very comforting. I do recommend it for those who are curious or want a different masala chai. You would most likely get something different out of this.
So I’ve drunk this before, but apparently did not bother to log it when I did so. Whoops.
This smells amazing. Absolutely rich, fudgy, and lush. Its a earthy combination of coco and mushrooms, I’d say, and yes, maybe a touch of wood as well.
It brews up “paler” I’d say then it smells, and the coco note is gone completely. That’s not a terrible thing (chocolate and myself in teas do not always get along), but its a bit of a disconnect.
But this is still a lovely cup, strong without overpowering, and rich without being too much. I’ll enjoy this for sure.
Well boy, was I wrong about that. it still tastes like its trying to take the crown for the most floral TGY on the planet.
I personally love floral Oolong. I love that they taste of nature, flowers, or of flavours I have never experienced before, & I love how they steep for ages & even when the taste goes, the aroma is still there.
I’m at about steep 6-7 & i will go some more.
Its not the creamiest ive had, nor is it the most natural tasting (but those can often be a little more vegetal, at least for me), but for mega super floral aroma it is way up there.. its so perfumed you’d be forgiven for thinking its a Lilac-flavoured Oolong. Also hints of sweet pear in there but the flower does seriously overpower these, you really have to search for them.
Also the liquor is almost hard like UK water. I’m used to hard water, & while some teas seem to soften that aspect, this one seems to be accentuated by it, which is quite interesting. I’ve got no idea how that translates to other water types.
at about steep 10 the leaf finally begins to smell like steamed spinach & the liquor loses the fragrance, but that is pretty good going imo :)
I liked it, another that can be used in the arsenal of teas to convert non-believers.
So glad to see whispering pines getting back on their feet after that flood!
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Pear, Spinach, Sweet
Thanks to Phi for giving me some of this! It’s been on my wish list for ages.
I had enough to try this gong fu style and western style. The dry leaf smells awesome: dark chocolate with a hint of malt and maybe some dark cherry. I got four steeps out of this gong fu style. They all tasted similar, except that subsequent steeps were fainter and mellower. Dominant notes were milk chocolate and, weirdly, cotton candy. But chocolatey cotton candy. It sounds terrible but was actually delicious. Still, I liked this better western-style. I added a teaspoon of turbinado cane sugar and it amplified the flavors beautifully. It’s just creamy dark chocolate-covered cherries. I can’t pick out the vanilla flavor per se but I think that’s where the creaminess comes from. Nom nom nom.
This one was just a bit too vegetal for me. I enjoyed it but not quite so much as I’d hoped.
I did three infusions of roughly 30-35 seconds each. The liquor was light and aromatic but mostly all I could get from it was the spinachy vegetal taste and aroma. If you like that then then you’ll really enjoy this green tea. If it isn’t then perhaps not so much.
I came across a sample of this from Sil, and since I’m still working on clearing out all my samples and smaller quantities, it was a good day for this one, going with short steepings.
The early steeps were wood, with a matte finish (don’t ask me what that means)
Then wood and earth melded, and the color was a rich mahogany.
I didn’t take extensive notes, but I can say that this tea developed a satisfying depth, mildly bitter & almost coffee like in depth, though not in taste.
That’s all I got! Sipdown!
This was the last of the samples sent to me by a kind steepster. Smells great but the tannins quickly overwhelm my tastebuds. Fortunately, a bit of honey tames the Jabberwocky making a nice Saturday morning cup.
I’m afraid the black tea tannins pretty much mask the other tastes and smells or my olfactory and taste systems just aren’t that subtle. However, this was enjoyable. I could easily see myself sipping this on a cold winter morning. Even on this not quite chilly Saturday morning it’s a nice warming cup.
Flavors: Malt, Tannin
This was wonderful!
The gaiwan lid smelled of lilac which surprised me. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled that from a tea before (in my brief tea career). The liquor was buttery and light and refreshing. I must have had at least 10 infusions from the same 3 grams of tea and it just kept going and I didn’t want to stop drinking it.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Spinach, Vegetal
heres a tea ive had for a while but have never reviewed.. so time to write one.
it looks like its rolled a little and its a darkish brown color, un brewed.
after a rinse the aromatics are heavy with roasty notes, like burnt toast and with nuttiness such as roasted almond maybe.
the first steep fluffs up the tea in the pot more. the liquid is an orange-y gold color, and its really nice to see that much color on the first steep. i just taste old stuff when i drink this tea.. of coarse theres a kind of burnt toast taste, but it really makes me think of old stuff, antiques, books, and egyptian tombs- which i can only imagine the smell of.
on the second, im thinking now that maybe this has some herbaceousness as an under note, and with some definite malt. the flavors have mended and are coming out and oh it is smooth, “so much so me brothers, that all the melanky little hairs now stand up on me arms, they do, me brothers.”
this is the first time ive gongfu’d this tea and now i know that western brewing doesnt do this tea justice. im using my cracked sky blue porcelain pot- Neptune, to brew this, with 4.20g of dhp in the mix. despite what i said earlier, i think ill steep this tea in my tumbler tomorrow morning and drink it at my class.. i brought WP’s rivendell this morning, unfortunately i should have brewed it a couple extra minutes. i digress..
3rd- and i get some astringency but it is thin and is noticed at the front of the mouth. the body of the tea is med- light in presence, as it almost evaporates. for me this tea plays out all around the front of the mouth. its not super active- kind of flat actually, but theres flavor there.
ill stop here and enjoy the fourth in peace, jk- not really. reviewing as i drink is a love/hate thing, so i may halt a review early if i just want to sip and re-watch breaking bad.
this is a good tea but i dont know when or if ill purchase again.. there are too many teas to try and not enough time.
This one came out a bit more tannic than the Imperial Buds but was not astringent. I still feel like I have a lot of room to improve my brewing of black teas to avoid the need for sweetener. This one required a bit of sugar to be able to enjoy it but was quite nice with sugar.
I know I’m in a summer sipdown sprint, but its the first properly cold morning in ages. I had to reach for something warmer, mellower, and just more cold weather appropriate today.
I can see why this one is rated so highly among us Steepsterites. Its rich, almost decadant in its flavorings, and has a very strong chocolate/malty flavor, tempered by vanilla.
Add me to the list of its fans!
I’m a sucker for vanilla. I love vanilla probably beyond what is reasonable. I love it in all forms, but I especially like it in tea. So I was almost guaranteed to put this in my basket during my whispering pines order.
And oh man, this leaf smells glorious! What an absolutely amazing scent, so rich and lovely.
The flavor is a bit less vanilla-y than the scent promised, but it is a rich, layered, wonderfully complex cup that does not get carried away.
I’m holding my rating so far, but I’m looking forward to my next cup!
This was not at all bitter and much less tannic than other black teas I’ve had. I did two western style steeps, the first was 3 minutes and the second was 5.
This tea really heated me up inside and got me going. I was amazed how warming it was even after the cup had cooled so perhaps more suited to cooler weather, but it was nice to drink a black tea where I didn’t need to load it up with sugar to be able to drink it. Though I guess there is a sharpness to all black teas that sugar or honey complements. I’m sure a touch of sweet would go well with this.
It’s been a few hours since I’ve had the tea and I still feel the effects. Potent stuff! I’m not sure how to rate it yet. I think I can brew it better but definitely one to explore more!
So now we’re back to oolongs for awhile. This is a tea I have been looking forward to reviewing. I love Wuyi rock oolongs, and Da Hong Pao, in particular, is one of my favorite teas of all time. In my opinion, this one is a stellar example of a fine Da Hong Pao.
I brewed this tea gongfu style. Following a quick rinse, I steeped approximately 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 190 F water for 5 seconds. I followed this infusion with 10 additional infusions, with an increase of 3 seconds per infusion. Steep times were as follows: 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, and 35 seconds. Note that I rotated the leaves in the gaiwan after the fifth infusion.
On the initial infusion, the liquor showed a brilliant golden amber in the cup. I immediately detected the unmistakable aromas of wood, char, minerals, wet stones, mild spice, and stone fruits that I immediately associate with Wuyi oolongs. In the mouth, I discovered rich notes of mild cinnamon, wet stones, moss, wood, char, burnt sugar, brown butter, minerals, apricot, golden raisin, nectarine, and yellow plum. There was also something of a subtle creaminess that balanced some of the minerality. Subsequent infusions saw the butter, spice, and stone fruit aromas strengthen. On these infusions, I noticed the emergence of slight cardamom, anise, and black peppercorn notes, as well as an intriguing and unexpected white grape note on the finish. Infusions 5-7 saw the mineral, butter, sugar, char, spice, and stone fruit aromas and flavors become more balanced. The touch of white grape on the finish remained, accompanied by stronger presences of stone, minerals, and wood, as well as a slight vegetal taste. The later infusions saw the complex aromas and flavors slowly fade, leaving fleeting impressions of wood, wet stones, mild spices, char, and minerals underscored by a touch of vegetal flavor.
This tea is a rich, deep, and incredibly complex beauty. It really rewards a lengthy session and demands one’s full attention to understand and appreciate its finer qualities. I’m not sure if I would recommend this as a starter Da Hong Pao, but I would have no problem recommending this to established fans of Da Hong Pao and other Wuyi rock oolongs.
Flavors: Anise, Apricot, Black Pepper, Burnt Sugar, Butter, Cardamon, Char, Cinnamon, Cream, Fruity, Mineral, Moss, Plums, Raisins, Vegetal, Wet Rocks, White Grapes, Wood
Generously provided as a sample by WP many moons ago, I only cracked open this tea in the last little while. There’s somewhat of an evident flavour fade, but the chocolate and malt notes are still distinct. There’s also a bit of honey, although it’s more washed out.
I won’t rate this because of the age, even though the tea is still pretty fine albeit not particularly exciting (to my palate anyways). I’m still in a bored phase when it concerns chocolatey Chinese black teas.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Honey, Malt
Brew of my morning!
This is one very flavorful tea. It keeps surprising me with new dashes of flavor that I hadn’t noticed before. Sometimes its a bit sweet, then theres a touch of something savory, even spicy!
This is all very lovely, especially for a flavored tea drinker, such as myself. Its good to know that dept and complexity lurk in black teas as well has their flavored counterparts. It inspires me to try more!