Whispering Pines Tea CompanyEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
TheLastDodo included some of this in her swap. Thank you!
Brewing method: gongfu session with a ruyao easy gaiwan and cup set. Steeping times: 20, 15, 15, 20, 30, 45, 60, 3 min, 6 min.
I have only drunk yabao once, almost three years ago, when I was a very new to Chinese tea drinking. I wasn’t impressed. There was a spicy note I didn’t take to. I chose this yabao as the first to try from Dodo’s selection because of my faith in Whispering Pines.
This yabao reminds of evergreen trees. It has notes of needles and sap, and lengthy aftertaste of juniper berries, followed by cherries. I would say it is excellent to drink all year round, as evergreens keep their needles. It evokes the green seasons and provides a sense of green in the middle of winter. I am enamored with the beauty of pines, spruces, cedars, firs, yews, and so on. When I am bird-watching and come across a cluster of evergreens in a deciduous woods, something pulls me away from the birds and I must stop. (Well, also, there is always a chance of a Red-breasted Nuthatch or an owl in them during wintertime.) It is a different kind of atmosphere. The wind sounds different blowing between needles.
This is a special note…
It’s my 3333th Tasting Note! What a fun number!
I chose this tea to write about for that tasting note for a couple reasons. Firstly, it’s definitely a more popular tea here on Steepster and I liked the idea (which I think was suggested by Equusfell) of dedicating a more monumental tasting note to something I’ve been saving for a special occasion or a tea that’s very well regarded within the community. Secondly, it’s sort of a miracle I’m trying this at all. And by that I mean that, when I placed my Whispering Pines order on Black Friday there was a definite goof made on my part. Instead of sending the order to my new address in Regina I accidentally sent it to my old Saskatoon address.
It shouldn’t have made it to me. By the time I noticed the error and managed to get in contact with Brenden the tea had already been shipped off and there was nothing he could do. I spoke to postal workers both in Canada and in the states and there was nothing they seemed to be able to do to reroute the package. Initially, my former roommate wouldn’t reply back to me about sending it my way either (we didn’t part on good terms). It seemed like a lost cause and a write off of an order. However, like a week after tracking was showing the package as delivered in Saskatoon I got a message from him saying he’d sent it my way. Three weeks pass and, well, nothing. Saskatoon and Regina are three hours away from each other so that’s not normal shipping times. Then, out of the blue, Whispering Pines order! I think that’s my 2016 ‘tea miracle’ all used up already. But hell; I’m not complaining.
So yeah; I think this tea has a fair bit of significance that makes it worthy of being note number 3333! And of course I drank it Gong Fu! Actually, I had the session with my mom who’s starting to appreciate pure teas quite a bit more as of late – though she still prefers, as she puts it, things that are “Coconut Cream Pie” flavored over “Mud Tea”. But we’re getting there…
Here’s the TLDR; of my tasting notes from the session:
- Eight+ Infusions
- Starts off very robust with a brothy, thick mouthfeel
- Very mushroomy with kind of meaty notes, earth notes, and wood notes
- Also starts off surprisingly sweet despite a strong savory/umami profile
- Evolves into a more lightly woody/earthy body sip
- With definite rich vanilla notes!
- My mom described it as a sweet pork rind flavour…
Very awesome Shou all around! I can see why people who are drinking WP Pu’erh as some of their first time pu’erhs fall for Pu’erh so hard. It’s such a unique and interesting kind of flavour and it really holds your attention.
Normally I’m not one for roasted teas and always underleaf because I find them too unbearable otherwise. Still I find myself being drawn to darker style oolongs lately for winter comfort. Wuyis are a perennial favorite yet it’s hard to find one that doesn’t taste like an ashtray. One of reasons I love this tea is because the delicate roast allows its wonderfully complex flavor to shine through.
The dry leaves in a warmed gaiwan exude an amazing fruity aroma. Wet leaf changes to a deep earthy aroma, like a wet forest after the rain, and produces a beautiful light amber liqueur. My first steep was smooth and rich. Soft roasted body, much lighter than a regular DHP. There’s some earthiness and mineral flavor there but not over the top. I’m getting some sweetness in there too. A very well-balanced cup.
The flavor really begins to pop at the second steep. This one is sweeter, and more mineral. The roastiness has faded as light florals begin to emerge and there is a pleasant honeyed aftertaste. It’s juicy, crisp, and clean. My favorite steep by far.
The next two steeps are fairly similar. The rock sugar sweetness intensifies and the tea flavors becomes clearer. I’m impressed by how full flavored the later steepings were even though it was brewed western style with just a pinch of leaves.
I had a Dan Cong earlier in the day and was struck by how much this tea resembled it with its honeyed sweetness, floral notes, and light roast.
I didn’t think it could get any better than WP’s regular Da Hong Pao but their Wildcrafted varietal is really on another level altogether. This is truly an incredible wuyi oolong and hands down the best I’ve ever had.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Fruity, Honey, Mineral, Roasted, Wet Wood
This tea was released some time ago, and I immediately knew that I had to have it. I read the description, and it brought me back home. I was born and raised in Arizona, and I’ve been a long ways away from home lately. This description touched my heart, and I honestly had some rough nostalgia. So, I picked up an ounce and waited. I was planning on traveling back home for a week, so I kept this oz on hand to truly experience where it was born, like I was. I kept this bag full of spices hidden until the perfect moment. That moment was an experience I’ll hopefully remember for a long long time. My close friends and I were going on a road trip and hike while I was there on vacation. We picked a taunting mountain spire in Northern Arizona. I packed up my sac full with some beautiful Desert looking cups, my new tea press, Hopper, and an oz of this homey blend. We hiked for hours and climbed for longer. The desert was filled with the all too familiar red dust, smooth scents, and light sage in the air. The climb was pretty steep at 900 feet+ in .9 miles, so we were getting tired. We pressed on in anticipation of watching sunset at the summit. Finally, after climbing for most of the day, we reached the top. We couldn’t have planned it any better. I had the exact right amount of time to unpack the tea goodies and brew up a pot as the sun split at the horizon and blasted the sky with its pallet of colors. We sat on the mountain top and enjoyed some of the best chai I’ve ever had. The dry tea complimented the beauty of the desert with its delicate silvery curls, crimson red saffron, and small sand colored spices. The brew was sweet smelling with warm spiced tones. The taste was astonishing! My friends and I sat atop the mountain enjoying the landscape that inspired the beautiful blend we sipped on. They all were enthralled by its experience. This is what the magic of tea is all about! I could taste the dry desert floor as the wind carried the sage. I took in the spice of the mesquite and ironwood trees spread throughout the valley. I savored the sweetness of the desert and the beauty of one of the best sunsets I’ve ever witnessed. This tea made an amazing memory for me, and I will treasure that. I suggest others should try this out. There is nothing more special than being at a tea’s birthplace; whether it be a lush garden in Yunnan, or a dry desert in Arizona. It’s something special. I learned more deeply about the inspiration of this blend, and It’s beautifully thing to see how Cricket can bring so much joy and magic. This blend will be one for the books for me.
The Perfect Shot
Hopper joins in on the moment
Flavors: Cloves, Flowers, Green, Nectar, Sage, Smooth, Spices, Sweet
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Earth, Forest Floor, Mushrooms, Smooth
Had this tea first thing this morning, no milk. I enjoyed it, but I think I need a milky tea in the morning — it feels comforting and soothing and I need all of that that I can get in the morning! I think, for drinking teas without milk, I might prefer a brighter, fruitier tea. I’d like to get some good green samples to drink in the afternoon.
I also purchased some spring water to make my tea with at home because I made a cup of the Wild Grey with our tap water and felt like there was something in the way of the flavor, but then tried again with the spring water and liked it much more. Related: I learned online that Earl Grey isn’t traditionally served with milk! I feel like a doofus.
I’ve noticed that the Whispering Pines teas have made me quite jittery even from the first few sips, while teas from teabags usually give me a gentle energy. I’m a bit worried that loose black teas might be a bit too much for my body, which makes me sad. Especially since I just placed an order with Upton for an Assam sampler and a bunch of other samples.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Cream
Great, had with splash of milk. I don’t get much of the bergamot flavor.
Scrolled through all the tasting notes and added everything that I could kind of pick up. I really like that feature, as it’s kind of hard for me to identify the flavors off the top of my head. Like, there was a flavor I couldn’t quite put my finger on, and when I saw Butterscotch in the list, a light went off!
Used .5 tablespoon/1.5 tsp.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butterscotch, Chocolate, Hazelnut, Sweet, Taro Root
A very smooth and drinkable selection. Not super overpowering especially with a good rinse. An earthy creaminess is the best way I can think to describe it. A good tea buzz is achieved through multiple gongfu steeps. A solid tea overall.
Flavors: Cream, Earth
I got this from my sister couple months ago and finally made a cup last Thursday. This tea has a vanilla scent that’s very pleasant to smell but not too apparent when you sip on it. I like the tea base they use. It seems like some Jin Jun Mei (a Fujian black tea) or a golden tip Xiao Zhong to me. Malty and cocoa like. Goes pretty well with milk and sugar
Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Vanilla
noms. Western brew of this one for a treat. this one does more for me than the art of darkness. Vanilla and cocoa in the first steeping – looking forward to seeing what the ther steeps hold.
edit: second steep wasn’t as awesome as the first, so next time may just go straight to a 5 min steep :)
Final Count: 137
This is my first ‘real’ tea and I think I’m off to a good start! Not going to rate it on the point scale because I don’t have a clue how it compares to other stuff. Also definitely need to develop my ability to taste and identify notes.
First steep: 12 oz office boiling water tap, a little less than 1 T of tea, 3 min steep.
Yummy and rich.
Second steep: added a splash of cream. Feeling a little woozy from all the caffeine today — probably shouldn’t steep again. Get a chocolate-y smell from it this time. Perhaps mixing the cream into it helps with that?
Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Vanilla