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Recent Tasting Notes
Yum! Another hit for the day. In ordering this chai, I was hoping for a chai that didn’t need milk and sugar, since those are off limits for the time being. This fit the bill perfectly. Even though I am not crazy about the base by itself, in this tea it is perfect. The combination of spices and base are magic. I love it. The balance between base and spice is exactly how I like it. Strong spice.
I fell in love with this tea in Summer of 2014. I believe that batch was a combination of Fujian Black and Dian Hong. The first sip of this… damn the FB is not there. It is way more smokey/savory without the sweet deep chocolate note that I loved from FB. I quickly went to the website to see what was replacing the FB. Xiao Zhong, yep that would explain the smokey/savory note. I like it, but I am not as in love with it as I was with the Summer 2014 version. This is missing the sweetness of the other version and it seems a tad thinner than before, but without a side by side comparison I can’t say for sure. Still a wonderful tea, just a little different.
Still gathering my energy back after a bug this weekend. I took a night off from the gym and sat and read and drank tea. I enjoyed a gong fu sessions with this tea. With my expectations set right for the tea it was much more enjoyable for me. There is a spicy sweet flavor that I honestly have no idea how to describe, spiced raisin maybe? It was warm and calming. I am not sure that I would repurchase this one, but I am looking forward to enjoying the rest of the oz that I do have.
My WP order is here! Woot Woot!. So I ordered this tea not fully educating myself on it. I was thinking it would be a TWMBish tea or a PTAish tea. It is not. I have had a tea similar to this and I believe it was called a Red Jade. The spices in this are different, very different than your average tea. I am on the fence about whether I like this combination of flavors. My expectations were in the way this morning. I will try this gong fu and see what becomes of it with this method. This morning it was a cross between tomato soup with hints of cinnamon, mint and anise.
OMG! Amazing. This is like drinking silk. It is smooth and creamy. How does tea do that? It has a slight roast to it, in other words slightly less roasty than a few other DHP’s I have had and it is screaming with juicy flavor. I can never pick out the exact fruits, but juicy works for me. I really wanted to try the WP autumn jade and golden lilly so I might just have to order those and more of this. Yum.
From the Here’s Hoping TTB R5,
I don’t know if this tea is just old or not to my taste but I didn’t particularly enjoy this cup, which is sad in a way because I’ve been looking forward to trying WP vanilla teas.
There’s also something in this tea that made my throat very scratchy and swell up. It was not fun. I didn’t even attempt a 2nd steep. =(
One of the better chais I’ve had. Overall, fairly crisp and the notes on the website are accurate.Refer to his website for how to brew and the other notes. I just wish that I could taste the oolong a little more, but when I do, it tastes like a cooked, dark red delicious. The chai spices, especially the ginger, the tart tellicherry pepper corn, allspice, and cinnamon take over. Nevertheless, the oolong base is awesome…and I’ve always wanted to try an Oolong as a chai. I’m not sure If I like the Elder Grove or this one more. Elder Grove is more like a dessert cinnamon roll, while this is for the fall. Specifically, for Michigan’s fall which is the precedent of true cold. I’ve got to be prepared. Winter is coming.
Flavors: Apple, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Malt, Peppercorn, Spices, Sweet, Tart
I’m hesitant about dark roast Tiegaunyins because they typically taste like char and wood stain. This one had a little bit of a char taste, but only when it was oversteeped. That’s why I was afraid to try this one, but Brenden was generous enough to include a sample with my order. It is by far one of the best oolongs he has given me. Again, I followed instructions on his website, and got the following: caramel, spiced coffee, barley, oats, brown sugar, and cocoa. Translation of the tea notes: a really nicely roasted tea with a dark element to it. The second time I brewed was not as good as the first, but I was having issues with the water. Unfortunately, this tea does take care to brew, though not quite as finicky as other oolongs can be. The only other criticism is the price-if I wasn’t over budget already, I would buy 4 ounces of this and replace my morning coffee with it. This tea really does appeal most to coffee drinkers because of it’s roasted character and pleasant caffeine boost.
Flavors: Caramel, Char, Coffee, Roasted Barley, Sugarcane, Sweet
One of my hit list targets, and one of my favorites from Whispering Pines. I’ve never had a Pu-Erh that has relaxed me. The scent is like a twist of cocoa, leaves, walnuts, cream, and desert mushrooms if that is possible to describe. The taste resembles the scent, but with a stronger cocoa, moss, and hinted caramel note. When I brewed it lighter, the taste distinctly reminded of agave or maple syrup in later steeps Gong Fu. The times I’ve brewed it, both were 5-6 ounces, one time with 3 grams, the other 4 -closer to five. The more of the blend, the more chocolate. The less, the more pu-erh and the more maple and mushroom. And of course, I followed the instructions both times at a 10 sec rinse (which was really chocolaty!), 15, 15, 20, 30, 45, 1 min, 2 minutes.
I highly recommend this for Pu-Erh newbies. This lacks the fermentation odor that many do, and is incredibly smooth. Again, there twisted desert mushroom is there, but it is a smooth, fall forest sweetness.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Chocolate, Cocoa, Creamy, Maple, Molasses, Moss, Mushrooms, Nutty, Smooth, Walnut
Yes, first to review!
This was an interesting session. I’ve had a few offerings of this type of tea, and I had no idea that Sun Moon Lake was the actual name of it. I assumed this name was a brand or something. Anyways, I was very excited to give this a shot. The leaves are massive! These long black tendrils are highly aromatic. I opened the pouch, and I was greeted with an intense sweet brown sugar scent, warmed bread, and mild spices lingering in the background. This was going to be a treat! I placed a bunch in my warmed gaiwan, and I prepared for a heavy brewing session. The warmed leaves gave off a pronounced tone of sweet potatoes and ripe plums. I washed these black beauties once and got ready to do some steeping. The steeped leaves have the most unique scent. This aroma begins as a light red wine with smooth notes. Then, there is warm baked bread in the background. Furthermore, the unique scent is that of camphor. This peculiar cooling scent follows throughout the entire session. It is prominent in the aroma and fills my tea room. The drink begins with a slight peanut flavor and wooden tone. The camphor scent appears in the flavor, and it makes itself known. The unique tone fills the mouth and follows down the hatch with a brisk cooling sensation. I also noted a mild chocolate note that filled the tongue, and this taste ends with spices. This brew is intensely stimulating and carries a thick mouth-feel. The spices in the liquor narrow to cloves or allspice. The flavor lasts long after sipping, and in further steeping a burnt sugar aftertaste follow. This smooth and flavorful session lasted quite some time. This was a wonderful brew, and it was such a special experience. The other Sun Moon Lake’s that I’ve had are quite different. This tea certainty makes an impression.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Camphor, Chocolate, Eucalyptus, Spices
This is such a relaxing and contemplative cup of tea. I am so tempted to brew it so many ways, and have enough left to do just that. I’ll be reordering, although I’m not sure what I’ll be reordering along with, as I haven’t been a huge fan of the current incarnation of North Winds. But I imagine there will be some other really good blends coming up, so I need not worry.
This tea. Still lots of lilacs and fresh, pure air.
When brendon said this tea was vacuum sealed, he wasn’t kidding. I had to pry the package apart and my efforts only became more savage when the package wouldn’t open. With a combination of teeth and some grunting, I broke into it.
And. Honestly? I don’t even care how this tea tastes. The smell alone is worth buying it again and again. It’s literally like being in a wind-swept garden just overflowing with lilac bushes. I told brendon I wanted as floral a tea as possible, and his words were “my TGY tastes like a thick lilac soup” and I cannot tell you how spot on he was. I fell in love with tea all over again this afternoon, guys. And isn’t falling in love the best part?
It really does taste like a thick, creamy lilac garden, complete with a hint of fresh air if that’s even possible. Brendon, please say there’s more of this. I added a bit of rock sugar to amp up the florals and it was perfect.
I drank this tea while listening to a podcast that I’ve subscribed to for years now (dan savage’s lovecast). A girl had called in, and was crying. A few months ago, she’d told her parents that she was a lesbian, and they’ve since stopped talking to her except to share literature with her about how people have been cured of their homosexuality. Her desperation and heartbreak was so palpable, and I cried with her. Regardless of how well-intended people can be, it’s so devastating to think that some people would actually rather die than be who they are. I don’t think there is ever an excuse to isolate your children, even if you whole-heartedly believe they are sinning. I have been extremely lucky in my life: I’ve made life choices that I imagine my parents would rather I’d not made, but they loved me so much more than they disliked anything I did, and because of that, were always a soft place for me to land. I just wish that were the case for everyone.
Anyway, enough of that. everyone who loves drinking flowers should get this tea. And everyone who doesn’t love drinking flowers should start thinking about loving drinking flowers! I would rate this tea in the high 90s if the rating scale were accessible, but alas it still isn’t. But there you have it!
Nearly finished this now, and while it’s been fine, it’s not nearly strong or flavourful enough to warrant a reorder. I can definitely taste hints of all the suggested notes, but would be so much happier if they’d been amplified to about twice their strength, as I typically expect that from my unflavoured blacks. That said, it was certainly worth it, and I’m saving the last little bit for indigobloom for when I next see her, which will hopefully be sooner than later!
Also, I have a most unsightly cold sore and kind of hate being out in public (at work) with it right now. What a dumb problem.
Just here to confirm that I think this tea is quite delicious, and distinct enough from other blacks that it deserves recognition. Had it with my croissant this morning and it was a lovely pairing. I kind of like not having too too many teas in my cupboard at once—it really forces me to drink down what I do have, and to enjoy it while it’s still fresh. I have some more tea on the way through a friend who’s visiting her boyfriend in the states, and I think I’ll be done at least some of my stash by then.
That said, I am fantasizing so, so deeply about when next I’ll be able to enjoy WP’s TGY. This afternoon, maybe? and also all day Sunday?
Yaaah it’s Friday!
I had this with breakfast again this morning. This time, I made sure to get a nearly heaped table spoon and used just under boiling water for three minutes. The tea, as with many teas, only tasted better as it cooled, and I definitely got a nice balance between sweet and tart. The sugar and cream I added just took it all up a notch, and I think I’ve found the sweet spot. That said, I wish I didn’t need as much leaf for one cup. And while I generally enjoy the flavor profile, I don’t think I’ll be reordering this one, which is fine because there are still so many other wp teas I need to try (that, and I’ve started a recent love affair with WP’s Autumn Jade TGY, aaaahhhh). So my wallet can’t exactly heave a sigh of relief just yet. And I’ll certainly not have any trouble finishing off this pouch!
First let me say how amazing communicating with brendon regarding my order has been. Knowing I wanted a few different teas, he kept track of what I was looking for and messaged me when everything I wanted was in stock. And then helped me decide what to get to replace GO, which I unfortunately flat-out forgot to do. Anyway, I was really excited to try this tea, not only because of the rave reviews and romantic descriptions, but also because my cupboard is sorely lacking in black teas. Anyway, I think I did something wrong in the way I brewed it this morning, because I felt as though the tea was rather weak. I think I’ll use slightly less water next time (I used a davids tea heaped perfect teaspoon in about 10 oz of water). I am beginning to be able to identify the ways in which Chinese blacks differ from Indian blacks, which is kind of neat, and definitely picked up on the honey-raisin sweetness. I want to comment further, but honestly think I need to have another stab at it to get the full effect. So far I’m impressed and excited, though!
I am definitely getting a nice balance of tart and sweet and bready, which if I can coax more out of it would blow my mind.
Thanks to boychik for this sample! Without your generosity, I would not have known to pick this one up, and now I happily have an ounce all to myself. This tea is awesome. It steeps up with a pretty orange color. It’s roasty and incredibly juicy! The flavor notes are complex, with toasted coconut, peach, and citrus. It’s incredibly aromatic and has a lasting aftertaste. Yum!
I finally have a cake of this in my cupboard! Yes! I enjoyed the loose leaf and was waiting to get one of these and finally the timing was perfect. This Shou is so yummy! Absolutely no funk, but thick and inky, and so creamy! This is definitely a Shou that could be a “go-to” Shou for me. I had it the other night and I wasn’t even in the mood for Shou and it was awesome. Oh, and did I mention how adorable the wrapper and cloth bag are? Love it!
You could be forgiven for mistaking this for a flavored tea. The fruity, tropical notes are the first thing to hit your tongue. All of the flavor descriptors that Whispering Pines gives are present. There are pineapple, peach, and coconut tones complimented by a buttery body and subtle milkiness.
This tea has none of the floral or mineral taste that I’m used to with green oolongs. It’s all tropical fruit and cream. It took a few sips but my palette quickly acclimated to the unique taste of this tea. This is a very pleasant after dinner tea and fantastic iced.
Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Peach, Pineapple, Tropical
I opened the bag and notes of milk chocolate hit my nose immediately. I brewed this gong fu and I get cacao, malt, dark chocolate. I also got a surprising sweetness to it that I have not gotten from any other black tea I have had. Pretty decent black.
Flavors: Cacao, Dark Chocolate, Malt
Fluent in gibberish from quite a young age (my mother read Lewis Carroll, among many other great authors and poets, to us as children), I was greatly anticipating sipping this tea. The charming poem for which this tea is named is delightful, whimsical gibberish. This tea however, is no nonsense! I’m convinced this concoction could soothe even the snarliest of beasts. The aroma comforts with the scent fresh baked Tuscan bread drizzled in raw wildflower honey and melted, malty chocolate (or perhaps Prince William’s groom’s cake, made with McVities Rich tea biscuits and chocolate ). The flavor further subdues with plums, toffee and a rich warm mouth feel. The cooling, lingering aftertaste of eucalyptus may just lull one into a trance . . . . .
Not a morning person? Try this tea! It will certainly assuage the morning beast in you.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Eucalyptus, Honey, Malt, Plums