Whispering Pines Tea Company

Recent Tasting Notes

95

This tea was absolutely delicious! The dry leaves smell of chocolate and licorice, and the infusion is strong and dark. It’s a strong, earthy tea taste, with an aftertaste of chocolate. It’s deep and layered, like a forest floor, and wonderful!

Flavors: Chocolate, Wet Earth

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Hm. I am not as in love with this one as everyone else seems to be. When I slurped it, there was a scent of smoke though not the taste. I get a creamy feel overall, but this isn’t my kind of vanilla. It certainly smells strongly of vanilla and the taste is there, though not as strong as the scent. It’s a pleasant enough cup but it doesn’t send me over the moon. Thanks for sharing, Ost!

Veronica

I adore North Winds, but I’m not a huge GO fan because its not my kind of vanilla either. Oh well.

Greg_2tea

Yes, I thought that the Dian hung in it overpowers, primarily why I dig it

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95

Decided to take this with me to a meeting tonight. Forgot to ditch the leaves after it brewed. They stayed in my travel mug for nearly THREE HOURS. Tea still tasted good. A little over-steeped, perhaps, but very drinkable. Just slightly bitter.

That cheap travel mug actually kept the tea burning hot the whole time.

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95

Ack!!! I put this to steep and then my phone rang. 8 minutes later I remembered my tea. I was horrified! That beautiful tea, over-steeped and probably bitter! I tend to prefer weaker, milder tea because I can’t bear even a hint of bitterness, so I steep at the shorter end of the scale.

But no! The taste is stronger, but not bitter. Still enjoyable even at an 8 minute first steep. I think I enjoy this tea more with every cup.

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95

Sipping a cup of this before bed. Delightful! Naturally sweet, mild, and smooth. Delicious.

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95

I ordered this when several teas became available at Whispering Pines again a few weeks ago. I read so many glowing reviews of this tea that I was almost afraid to try it and find I didn’t like it. But I did! This tea was mild, smooth, and slightly sweet on its own. No bitterness whatsoever, no sour notes, no astringency. Just a beautiful dessert tea that I look forward to drinking again. Lovely tea!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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With my recent appetite for greens and green oolongs, I felt the logical next step was to try a Sheng Puerh. This one came highly recommended, so I included a small bag in my first order from WP.

I took it down to London with me, for my interview at Kings, whilst I was staying with my boyfriend. And it was absolutely sensational.

With it being my first Sheng Puerh, I was obviously a little apprehensive. It smelled very strong and unusual, to my unaccustomed palette. I made it roughly according to WP’s Gaiwan recommendations – I used ~3g in a 100 ml Gaiwan. I did lots of short steeps using water that was just off full boil. I think, next time, I’ll try to use slightly cooler water (to tone down the bitterness).

The tea was really delicious. In colour, it was pale-green/yellow and the scent was so unusual – kinda vegetal, a little bitter, camphor, florals… So complex! On the palette, it was much the same – there was a bitterness, but it was light and quite pleasant and really “worked” alongside the surprisingly savoury overall flavours. I do think I’d like to try it a little less bitter in future, though, so like I said above I’ll probably use slightly cooler water next time!

I drank this tea with my breakfast, before the interview, and then spent the afternoon drinking it, whilst reading Malcolm X and just generally enjoying my day.

As with the Shou puerhs I’ve tried, I’m not really experienced enough to give this a score that means much, either to me or to the community at large (I don’t wanna affect the overall scores etc). But I’d definitely recommend this tea, within the context of “tea” on the whole.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
mrmopar

Continue to experiment. You will find some good tea out there.

Red Fennekin

Thanks – and no doubt! :D I think I’ll really enjoy the rest of this bag, but it has definitely made me want to explore more sheng puerhs (and different brewing parameters for them)!

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95

My first experience with Keemun wasn’t a great one; I found it bitter and kind of smoky, and I’ve more or less avoided them ever since. I received this as a sample with my last Whispering Pines order, though, and based on the success I’ve had with their teas recently, I felt encouraged to give it a try. I followed the recommended parameters and used 1/2 tbsp of leaf, in water just cooled from boiling (about 200 degrees), for three minutes. No additions. The resulting liquor is medium brown, and smells of malt and chocolate.

Upon tasting, I’m instantly reminded of some of the Taiwanese black teas I’ve tried. This shares the same fruitiness, and has the undisputedly delicious bread and chocolate notes that I really enjoy in plain black teas.The initial flavour is chocolate, and while it has a creaminess and a lightness of flavour that put me in mind of milk chocolate, it also has a slight cocoa-like dryness that reminds me of a high quality dark chocolate. After the chocolate comes the distinctive taste of bread; rye like and a little yeasty.

For all the rich-sounding flavours, I’m actually finding this quite a refreshing, clean-tasting tea. There’s a hint of something almost eucalyptus-like right at the end of the sip which leaves a fresh coolness on the palate. I can definitely see why it’s called Pine Peak!

After tasting this one, what I’d really like it to breathe some mountain air. As that’s not possible, I’m going to settle for trying a few more keemuns. Hopefully some of them are as good as this one!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp
Sil

this one is really different than a lot of keemuns that i’ve tried. Sounds liek your first experience was with the smokey variety…

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87

Very good! The smell out of the bag is like a sweet candy, but the smell when brewing is earthy mushroom. The taste is great – I can taste an almost cocoa note but very natural. The cocoa/chocolate does NOT stand out like teas such as Florence from Harney & Sons. Not a fruity taste for me this first time around, although I smelled that in the bag.

Very comforting, smoothing, no astringency, no bitterness, such a pleasant, HAPPY tea :)

I’m also in love with the name. Will definitely order more of this and try out again. I think I’ll experiment with brewing longer than the directions

Flavors: Chocolate

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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79

Ok, third attempt. I think I can smell the vanilla, but the tea bag was really full. I feel like I have to explain. I put my tea in a tin, but couldn’t fit it all in, so I was left with a little bit extra in the bag. It’s hard to measure tea in the bag, though, when it’s that low, so I gave up and poured the rest of the tea in a tea bag. It was maybe enough for a tea pot. Anyway, I used my large mug. (I still haven’t replaced my elephant tea pot, but it’s a waste to brew tea in a teapot of that size if I’m going to pour a majority of it in one mug.)

Anyway, I don’t really taste the vanilla. Though, I did have a salad earlier with sautéed mushrooms, so I’m really picking up on the mushroom flavors in this now. On a side note, I do want to try the tea with the morels as well. This tea has a depth that I think fits a great forest – not that I’ve been in many in real life. North Carolina is 97% pine forest. I feel like this shows a real forest’s intensity, so now I’m wondering if Mirkwood could possibly taste any darker. Darker, like thick tree canopies and wet soil, not join the dark side, Luke. I imagine that would taste more like vanilla and caramelized brown sugar. Cookies. It would taste like chocolate chip cookies.

Anyway, what I really want isn’t vanilla. What I want is a vanilla drop kick to the face. Maybe I should try vanilla rooibos.

Can I say this tea tastes like Groot? Like the frosted flakes slogan, but instead “It’s Groot!” That sounds worse out loud than in my head. Trees have feelings too. The Ent will never talk to you now.

Flavors: Mushrooms, Wet Earth

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Sadly, I’ll likely never make a vanilla dropkick tea ;-) Tried it once and it tasted too generic for me. Instead, I use it to use it to accentuate the notes that are naturally in the tea. Also note that tahitian vanilla doesn’t really taste like vanilla…tastes like chocolate and cherries with light floral hints.

Glad you liked it and that the inspiration came through :D

ThainofBuckland

I didn’t know that. Thanks for the update. I didn’t know that about Tahitian vanilla. If you were wondering about the number, I’ve kind of rated my favorite teas 80 so I’ve kind of made an artificial barrier to rating. So, I guess it would be more like an 85. I really should just fix my numbers.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Oh, haha, I don’t care about the ratings, just sharing more about what this tea is about :-)

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79

Second attempt. I used a full tablespoon this time. Steeped it too long, because I forgot about it. I realized what it smells like, though. It kind of smells like barbecue. This does get bitter. I’ll need to be careful with it.

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79

I received this in the mail today. I was pretty excited about receiving this. I even got a North Winds sample with it, so I get to try that tea too. I opened Elderwood, and it smells sort of like sweet potato, but there’s something indescribable about the smell, sort of savory like chips. Maybe like sweet potato chips.

The tea is really lovely. It has a nice golden color. The flavor is pretty dark, and I don’t really taste the vanilla in the first steep. I think the next steep might have a darker color. So, I left it in a little too long. It’s not much darker. I don’t taste the vanilla either, so I might have to use more tea. I am using a large mug, so that could be the issue. So I’ll try more tea next time. I certainly have plenty of it.

I do think this tea has a nice woodsy taste to it. It’s definitely going to the top of my strong black teas list. I’ll write a new review later.

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90

Boy, this is becoming my Go-To tea. Brewed a full pot this morning. I have a dozen other teas in the cupboard, and another dozen little samples, but for the past week this is the one I want.

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90

Ugh! I have a terrible cold. Really bad, and it’s aggravating my asthma. Right now I’d reach for Cold 911 from David’s Tea, but I’m out. Instead I brewed a pot of this tea. I’m still loving it. It’s warm and smooth and comforting on a raw throat.

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90

2nd cup. Even better! I steeped it a little longer today, and the flavor is full bodied and smooth. I’m really liking this!

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90

My package from Whispering Pines arrived today! I decided to try this one immediately as it’s a bit nippy in my apartment and I’m having a HELLISH day at work. This was great as a pick me up. As always, I can’t taste any particular flavor, but this tea strikes me as bold. Some teas seem weak or bitter no matter how you brew them. This one is just right, with a bit of something lingering in the corners of my mouth. I’m going to try a second steep and see how I like that.

ETA: Second steep was even better!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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86

Mmm tasty. Very chocolately and fruity, with a bit of a red wine intensity. Sweet and smooth. A bit of baked bread on the nose.

I was worried I under leafed this initially, but an extra 30 seconds of steeping was all it needed.

Drinking this around room temp, since I got distracted by phone calls just as I finished steeping this.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Fruity, Red Wine, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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88

I spent all afternoon with this one yesterday and it is my first pu-erh in probably 2 years or so. The only other experiences I’ve had were from David’s and a local store-bought one, both of which I PASSIONATELY DESPISED. Why would I want to drink stinky fish-dirt tea?!

Just wanted to give a background on my lack of good experiences with this kind of tea. The thing is, I love trying new things and I didn’t get how so many people love pu-erh when I absolutely hated it. I decided to give it another go. And this time purchase one that I had carefully screened for offensive fishy notes.

The dry loose (no cake on this one) leaves are tightly rolled, dried, almost powdery-looking. They are dark with lighter golden-brown hues mixed in. I don’t know how other pu-erh teas feel, but this one was heavier in my hand than the loose leaf black teas I am used to. It smelled a bit like a blend of dates and earth, but not in a moldy way if that helps (sorry!).

I brewed it with my lovely and delicate TeaVivre gaiwan and the steeped tea is a deep red-brown clear liquor. It is very aromatic with more of the prominent dates and earth fragrance- almost reminds me of piles of leaves after the rain.

The initial flavour is straight up walnut (with the shell and all) blended with a brown sugar sweetness. It still has the earthy background, but it makes it feel thick and full-bodied on the tongue instead of like a dessert. I followed the brewing directions exactly for this with 30/15/30/45/2 min/5 min and each time I was able to enjoy the walnut, brown sugar, earth combo, though it became notably weaker towards the end. I didn’t give this a higher rating only because I was desperately looking for the vanilla/cream/camphor notes described on the WP website and I didn’t find them. That said, I still really enjoyed it. Next time I am going to try Western style brewing and see if I can find those missing notes. As many of you know, I love true vanilla and even the faintest taste would be wonderful in a tea that is already a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon.

TLDR version: I used to think I hated pu-erh. Now I don’t. This one tastes like walnuts, brown sugar, and earth. :)

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Dates, Earth, Walnut

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 90 ML
Fjellrev

I’m glad you had a pleasant experience! Count me in as still being in the Pu-erh Tastes Like Stinky Fish-Dirt club, which colloborates with the Smoky Woodsy Forest Covered in Moss club at times too.

looseTman

Congrats on your first enjoyable shou! Welcome to the dark side! There’s no return!
Missing notes: What type of water are you using?

Nightshifter

Haha, thank you! I used Dasani purified water because my city water smells like a pool.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Nightshifter, if I looked up your order correctly, you’re an hour away from one of the most healing springs in the world. I’d recommend getting a big canister for water and filling up from there. It should produce absolutely phenomenal tea. :-)

http://www.findaspring.com/locations/north-america/usa/indian-springs-indian-springs-state-park-georgia/

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100

Another Whispering Pines sample! I needed a treat to make this morning at work even remotely bearable, and obviously I turned to tea in my time of need. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf, and gave it three minutes in water just cooled from boiling. No additions. While brewing, the scent is wonderfully savoury – I’m thinking rye bread, in particular.

To taste, it’s just as wonderful as I’d hoped. It reminds me of Butiki’s Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black (which I loved), and even a little of Verdant’s Laoshan Black (although that’s a relatively distant memory now). Initially, it’s quite chocolatey, although it’s an almost bittersweet dark chocolate/cocoa flavour. Then, in the mid-sip, the fruitiness emerges! Plum and blackberry are the descriptors best suited; a little tart, a little sharp, but with a wonderful juiciness that makes this an absolute pleasure to sip. In the aftertaste, I’m picking up mostly bread. It matches the scent almost perfectly, in a savoury, lightly malty way. It’s a wonderful combination of flavours – sitting here, it’s almost got me thinking of summer pudding. Or maybe craving is the right word, if I’m honest.

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but black tea like this makes me wonder why I bother with flavoured tea at all. This tea tastes vibrant and fresh, and is so utterly, perfectly smooth; almost like honey. Definitely one I’ll be needing to repurchase!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

Chocolately and malty, a bit of fruit.

I think I’ve been spoiled with some really excellent chocolatey teas lately, because this is delicious but doesn’t stand out in quite the way I was expecting it to.

Flavors: Chocolate, Fruity, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I’m getting honey and fruits with a bit of chocolate and a touch of baked bread. It’s good but on the same note, it’s not as amazing as the hype had me believe. That’s not to say it’s bad, i just think my expectations going in were too high. Nonetheless, I am incredibly grateful to Christina for the chance to try this tea! 275.

Nightshifter

I had a similar experience. I like it, but I didn’t get the complexity and hype. Now Cocoa Amore on the other hand.. :D

VariaTEA

Thank goodness someone had the same experience. I thought I may have missed something

Dustin

It has such a cool name tho!

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This was a surprise sample in my swap with Tealizzy! She kindly included two extra teas that were on my wishlist. It’s been a while since I last had the Golden Snail base, but I do remember liking it (and really, it’s a Yunnan, what’s not to like?), so I’m happy to try this one even though I’m not a big chai fan. There are a lot of crushed spices mixed in with the base tea, though I don’t actually see any pieces of vanilla bean. Dry scent is very strong on the cardamon and ginger, which is not a good sign for me.

Happily, the steeped tea smells much milder and sweeter, and I can smell the vanilla and cinnamon now. Oof, the cardamon is strong with this one! A little too strong for me, as I don’t add sugar or milk to my teas. The clove is fairly strong here too, though I don’t mind that as much. I can taste perhaps a tiny bit of vanilla? And it’s a shame, the strong spicing is drowning out the base tea for me, which I know to be quite tasty. Oh well.

Flavors: Cardamon, Clove, Ginger, Spicy, Vanilla

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Tealizzy

I had the same problem with the base and I like my chai with milk and sugar, so I thought the milk was drowning it out, but maybe not, based on your review. Interesting!

Cameron B.

Yeah, I’m not a chai person in general but I find the WP ones to be very strongly spiced. Which is probably a good thing for most people, but not for me. Teehee. :P

TheLastDodo

too bad you didn’t like it! i love strong and spicy chai. Cardamom is also a good sign for me too :P

boychik

i didnt like it with milk but a little maple syrup (yes dear) does the trick!

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100

Another superbly wonderful tea from Whispering Pines. I’m adding my review here as I believe I have the old version. It seems sad to say that, because I’m enjoying this cup immensely. Still, seasons change and all that. Clearly I’ll have to try the new version to compare!

Anyway, the tea. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf, and gave it three minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk (just the tiniest one, though!) The scent of the dry leaf is wonderfully chocolatey, like opening a tin of cocoa powder and taking a sniff.

To taste, this is probably the nicest quality black blend I’ve tried in a good long while. The initial flavour is chocolate; quite dark and rich, but with a deliciously smooth, creamy edge. A mild fruitiness emerges in the mid-sip, initially cherry (chocolate covered cherry, anyone?), but ultimately turning more towards apricot. It’s light, fruity, and juicy-tasting, and the perfect counterpoint to the chocolate/cream richness of the initial sip. The end of the sip is heavily malty, with all the sweetness that implies, with a touch of honey. It’s also gloriously smooth. The chocolate flavour lingers in the aftertaste, making this an almost decadent treat. I consider my morning thoroughly brightened! This one is definitely going on my shopping list!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Whispering Pines Tea Company

Do you know when you ordered this? I’d be able to find out if it was an old or new one. :-)

Dustin

Are the two versions significantly different from each other?

Whispering Pines Tea Company

@Dustin, the old version was, in my opinion, pretty bland. To be honest I didn’t enjoy it at all, haha. I spent about 8 months searching for the right dian hong to replace the one in it with, and when I finally found it, North Winds became my absolute favorite tea. I pretty much drink it daily, which says a lot because I generally drink 3 or less teas each day. :-)

Scheherazade

I can see if I still have the invoice…

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I just looked it up! :-) It’s possible that you have the new one, but hard to tell. Around the end of June I started putting the new version in sample packs, so it’s likely you got the new one, but who really knows? :-P

Scheherazade

I liked it anyway :)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

:D woot! I’m glad :)

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89

200th tasting note, and a lovely tea for a rainy day!

I’m very happy to try this sample from beelicious. Having enjoyed several WP offerings in the past, I knew I couldn’t go wrong with one of their black tea blends. This one has dark spindly leaves and a rich, cocoa-and-malt aroma. Brewed up, it’s harmonious and smooth, with that “fuzzy”, almost textured malty undertone that I’ve come to know and love. I can’t quite decide what it reminds me of yet—this is a complex tea that will take much exploration. There’s a lighter, fruity accompaniment to it as well. It’s a blend that is both invigorating and soothing, and while I might love Second Breakfast and North Winds just a little bit more, I enjoyed this one highly as well.

Veronica

Congrats on 200!

Mikumofu

Thanks! :D

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