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Recent Tasting Notes
Sipdown! I’ve had a reasonably bad cold since Thursday evening, so I’ve mostly been drinking comforting teas that I’m familiar with. There’s no point trying something new when I can’t taste it, after all. I’ve enjoyed this one, both with and without milk. It’s super smooth, with prominent chai spices and delicious creamy vanilla caramel. I’ll miss this one.
1 tsp, 2.5 minutes, boiling water. No additions.
Not the last of my unopened Whispering Pines teas, but one of the final few. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, because vanilla makes most things amazing and I kinda love it. I followed the recommended parameters for my first cup, although I added a splash of milk just because it brewed up pretty dark and that’s the way I operate (particularly when it comes to chai). I was pleased to see that the base of this one is Bi Luo Chun. I had a bag of plain Golden Snail from Whispering Pines a little while back, and it was one of my favourite black teas for a good while. It still is, but in memory alone for the time being – too much tea, too little time and all that. Anyway, it was good to see it here.
To taste, it’s pretty amazing. The Golden Snail is smooth and malty, with delicious baked bread and dark chocolate notes – it puts me in mind of a warm pain au chocolat! The spices are perfectly balanced, providing a spicy undertone without being overpowering. I can taste cinnamon and ginger primarily, with lighter notes of cardamom and just a hint of clove. The spiciness lingers well in the aftertaste, providing a tingle on my tongue and a spark of warmth at the back of my throat. The vanilla isn’t quite as prominent as I thought it might be, and in some ways that’s a good thing. It emerges mostly in the mid-sip, and adds a creamy sweetness that pairs well with the malt and chocolate notes of the base tea. It’s not too sweet or intense, though, so it remains well balanced and the proliferation of quite powerful flavours play nicely together. I’m really enjoying how smooth this one is, and how well put together. It’s truly a joy to drink.
1 tsp, 3.5 minutes, boiling water. Splash of milk.
I decided to try this tea because it’s the base of the Sleeping Bear blend, which I greatly enjoyed. The leaves are dark green twists, and the dry aroma is very heady and fragrant, like a good quality green tea should have. After brewing, the tea liquor is very light and clear in color, and the leaves unfurl in interesting ways—it was kind of fascinating to watch them move around in the cup. The first cup is vegetal, slightly sweet, with a faint (and pleasant) astringency. It fits nicely in the spectrum of other Chinese green teas I have tried. The second steep becomes more buttery and smooth, with a plum-like sweetness, and reminds me of what (in addition to the pine needles) had made Sleeping Bear special in the first place. Overall, a solidly good green tea!
Warm and bready and vanilla sweet, but not super strong. Vanilla is definitely more of an undertone, but it is still there. I enjoy this a lot, but I probably won’t reach for it over other offerings from this company, or other vanilla teas I have supercharged by adding lots of extra vanilla. I like my vanilla to be more in your face.
Today, I realized that I had yet to review any of the teas I recently ordered from Whispering Pines and decided that I needed to start on them. Not really being in the mood for anything heavy, I decided to brew some Yabao. All in all, I think it makes a good choice for a mild afternoon sip.
The first infusion poured a slight grey-green. The nose revealed a clean aroma with subtle mineral and floral undertones with a slight fruitiness. In the mouth, I detected mild notes of minerals, wet stones, and dried fruit (raisin and fig) underscored by woody, mossy, and grassy flavors that were joined by a fleeting floral note on the finish.
The second infusion yielded a somewhat more colorful glass of tea. The nose revealed an aroma that was woodier, spicier, and grassier than the first infusion. The mineral aroma lingered, but was not nearly as obvious, while subtle aromas of dried fruit were now joined by cocoa. In the mouth, notes of pine needles, cedar, juniper berry, fig, raisin, and prune were underscored by mellow cocoa and wet moss with mineral notes popping up again on the finish.
The third infusion yielded a slightly greenish tea. Aromas of moss and grass were now underscored by subtle scents of wet wood, dried fruit, and pine needles. In the mouth, I picked up more pine, cedar, and juniper balanced by grass and wet moss with a touch of minerality on the fade.
In the end, I found this tea to be somewhat confounding, but I wouldn’t call it bad. That would be both untrue and unfair because, for what it is, it is quite good. It’s just hard for me to recommend this tea without reservations. As far as white teas go, this is very mild, clean, and subtle. At the same time, however, it is very earthy and woody. It is a tea that will challenge you to really ponder the aroma and taste sensations you experience and reach for new ways to describe them. I do not think it would make a great introduction to white tea, but I think that it could be a very pleasant sip for those who have experience with white teas and appreciate them. All in all, I like this tea, I just wouldn’t recommend that someone looking to get into white tea start here.
Flavors: Cedar, Cocoa, Dust, Fig, Floral, Hay, Mineral, Moss, Musty, Pine, Raisins, Spicy, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood
30Mar- dry leaf malty, fruity, hay? wood? I’ve made this both westren and in a gaiwan. Both ways got flavor notes of chocolate, cherry, malt, and cream/thick body. Also some honey. Very complex tasting tea. No astringency, especially as at one point I forgot to time it. I was able to get 4 steeps westren style and I don’t know how many steeps gaiwaning. I lost count.
It was so good, it just kept giving flavor. I drank this until my kettle was empty.
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Creamy, Honey, Malt, Wet Wood
More tea! There’s no stopping me today :) I made up a cup of this after dinner, and I loved it tremendously. I wasn’t sure at first exactly what I was tasting, but a few sips sorted me out on that front! This is a fairly complex tea, to my mind, at least in terms of the flavour combinations it presents. It starts off smooth and sweet, with notes of blossom honey and a slight saltiness. The mid-sip is all about the chocolate, dark high-cocoa chocolate with some fresh baked bread notes. After this comes a reasonably strong fruitiness – I thought black cherry at first, but it’s deeper than that, and more reminiscent of plum or maybe damson at times. It ends fairly sweetly with a hint of caramel and just the faintest touch of cooling eucalyptus. I found it a very refreshing cup, and incredibly moreish. A tea I could (and will!) drink at any time of day. I’d forgotten how much I liked Whispering Pines, but this has been a timely reminder.
1.5 tsp of leaf, 3.5 minutes, boiling water. Splash of milk.
I allowed myself another Whispering Pines start this morning, because I’m off work and have time for second breakfasts and all that…I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it a good 4 minutes while I pottered around doing a few first-thing tasks. I added a splash of milk, just because.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but this genuinely is full-bodied and flavoursome while also somewhat light. I like breakfast teas that aren’t too heavy, especially if I’m drinking them on a mostly empty stomach, so this one fits the bill perfectly for me. The initial sip is very smooth and sweet around the edges. I definitely get honey and a touch of caramel, with a mildly fruity sweetness reminiscent of apricots. The mid-sip is lightly chocolatey, with just a hint of red berry – maybe cranberry or raspberry? There’s a slight sharpness at this point that cuts through the sweetness and is really appealing. The end of the sip had breadier notes, and tastes a little salty. All in all, totally delicious! It’s one of the more complex breakfast blends I’ve tried in terms of flavour, but I like that about it. I’m glad I chose to try it on holiday so I had time to sit and appreciate it! It’s thoroughly deserving of a much higher rating than it seems to have at the moment – it’s sweet without being cloying, flavoursome without being heavy. Perfection in a cup.
Cold steeped for 24 hours. STRONG notes of marijuana on the nose and tongue. Creamy and smooth bitterness, far more bitter than hot steep. I cold steeped by first washing with boiling water which definitely released tannins. Very surprised by strong marijuana notes which weren’t present in hot steep.
Another lovely gift from Whiteantlers.
Surprisingly enough, a part of my kinda liked the River Rain more. I tasted a lot more florals in that one which is probably why I lean towards it. Namely the jasmine like quality and the predominant spruce aroma and taste. It makes me think of the rain and the forests in Michigan.
At the same time, this had a great simplicity and clarity. And less astringency which makes me hesitate. The Xinyang Maojian was another clean green tea that wasn’t quite as astringent but still light with florals. Kale and mineral were more dominant to me-like rain on cliffs near a lake. The middle brews brought out a quality that distinctly tasted like water chestnut. This is good and it cleared up my headache quite a bit. That must be the cha qi. ``
I’m really glad to have tried these, but I like Whispering Pines blacks and oolongs more. Maybe it’s just preference for those types of teas, never mind I reap more health benefits from green tea. The cha qi balances me out more. It could also be I’m pickier with green teas now. And I eventually want to try the Sleeping Bear anyway.
Renamed Moondance, but I’m pretty sure its the same tea. Another lovely offering from White Antlers.
All the notes on here pretty much describe it and I agree with the tasting notes. It tastes like a fruitier moonlight tea with the added bonus of buttery later steeps. Cinnamon butter is a weird description, but it really does taste like you’re drinking a light glaze of it. I’m personally impressed with how the honeydew melon and peach note are stronger than the malt note.
I am very glad to have tried it, but I’m not sure if I would get a full ounce of it. If it were cheaper, I might make it into a seasonal staple.
Just before I left yesterday, I got a wonderful package from Whiteantlers. She spoiled me thoroughly and I thank you so thoroughly! A package with Harry Potter stamps no less, and a wonderful sampler of a few teas that I was actually looking to try. Four of them were from Whispering Pines.
River Rain is a good name for this tea. The look and smell of the dry leaves was like a usual green tea. I gong fu’d with about 2 grams in 3 ounces, first 10 second rinse, then 5 and five again. I felt like I was drinking rain water or dew because it had a really clean mouth feel and body. It was a little bit vegetal, but not nearly as grassy and vegetal as the leaves smelled. It was closer to being crisp, more like pine than grass alone. There was a bit of a lighter creamy feeling quality to it, but a fresh snap pea creaminess. I had to stop at those three cups because this tea had a focused cha qi. As in, power clarity energy cha qi.
I looked up the instructions online and Brenden described the powerful cha qi that I got. He also recommended to Grandpa Style it which I totally did not do. Some of his notes were more accurate to me than others, but I have to finish a few cups before I make judgement. I am getting a floral quality in the tea bordering jasmine, yet nothing quite like a jasmine scented tea.
So far, I agree with Liquid Proust in that it tastes like a good version of a standard Chinese Green Tea, specifically like a Dragonwell but cleaner. It is a Bi Luo Chun after all.
Flavors: Floral, Peas, Pine, Rainforest, Vegetal
“…much like Arizona My eyes don’t shed tears, but, boy, they pour When I’m thinkin’ ’bout you”
PS: This tea is currently available. Not sure why steepster says it is not.
This tea truly does awaken the senses. I feel a picture of Arizona’s Red Rocks would be a fitting accompaniment for this tea if you’re not so blessed to be able to enjoy the Arizona desert landscapes in person. http://everypictures.blogspot.com/2012/07/red-rocks-arizona-united-states-of.html
There is a beautiful picture of red and orange dust being carried over the red rocks by the wind in the above link. That’s what this tea reminds me of. The flavours of the tea come to your tongue like a warm desert breeze. As you let the tea roll over your tongue you will notice the different tasting notes. The spiciness of the ginger and tellicherry peppercorns. The comforting embrace of cinnamon and cardamom. The sweetness of white tea. An overtone of Sage completes the flavour profile as it brushes over and cleans your palate.
I was worried that this tea may be similar to evergreen spice due to a similar ingredient list, but it really is uniquely it’s own. The white tea really makes a difference giving it a sweeter taste than evergreen spice which has oolong as its base. Evergreen spice’s flavours seem to come in layers that are separated in time. Conversely, Cricket is like a warm breeze that carries that flavours to your tongue in one beautiful swoop.
Give it a try.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Peppercorn, Sage, Sweet
This tea brews a beautiful fiery amber colour and tastes of wild honey. Note: I tend to steep my tea for longer than specified, usually around 5 minutes. The sweet white tea is balanced by the floral notes of Snow Chrysanthemum Flowers. It seems to have a calming effect on me, much like chamomile tea.
The 100 g cake is a fantastic deal. Many of Brenden’s high quality teas can be a bit pricey, but this tea strikes a perfect balance between quality and economy. It is also beautiful to look at with beautiful orange, midnight blue and deep purple colours against a backdrop of silvery white tea.
Brenden’s beautiful description of this tea is what inspired me to sample his teas and I’m glad I did. Come to think of it, although the title of this post, “Honey Wildfire”, was meant to describe the colour and taste notes of the tea, it also melds beautifully with the description of Brenden’s love interest. She is Honey Wildfire.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Orange Blossom
I brewed up about 5grams in a 100ml gaiwan at about 190f. I gave one rinse and actually tasted it and it was of course watery but left some fruitiness lingering. My first few steeps were a bit light for my taste so I ended up adding about another gram or so to the gaiwan. If you like tropical fruits and a creamy coconut taste then you will love this one. This was very lightly oxidized and tasted more like a green tea that an Oolong to me. The Oolong flavor itself was not my favorite as like I said it was more like a green but the crown jewel of this tea is its aftertaste. It is so sweet and tropical that I was wondering if it was a flavored tea. But the consensus is that it is not and that alone makes this one a tea to try. To be able to grow and process a tea without flavoring and get those kinds of notes is insane. Its a great tea and would be even better in the spring and summer as it is really refreshing. If you are a fan of green tea or lightly oxidized oolongs I would say give this one a go and you won’t be disappointed. I am not really a fan of green teas anymore as I have been tainted by the dark side (roasted Oolongs, blacks, and Pu’erh) but I did enjoy this tea. Quite creamy with a remarkable amount of tropical fruit flavor. Like a hot Pina Colada! Bear in mind these are notes that linger in the nose and mouth not actual sugary fruit flavors of a tea with chunks of fruit.
Flavors: Coconut, Grass, Mango, Pineapple, Tropical
So I picked up some teas from Whispering Pines for the first time. I got them today and I started with this one. I am a fan of Black Tea and use it to give me a break from my ripe pu’erhs. I brewed up about 5 grams gongfu style in a 100ml gaiwan. I feel it was a bit light so maybe a bit more leaf would be better. The wet leaf smells sweet and woody with a bit of some kind of fruit. I could tell this was a blend as it tasted like two other teas I have combined (a Jingmai Wild Arbor Black and nice malty Yunnan Black). This was quite enjoyable and had a lingering sweet aftertaste that was really nice. There were notes of baked bread and brown sugar along with a little wood. I also got into some floral notes in the middle steeps. It gave surprisingly well considering leaf size and it being a black. I think I will try this one again Western style as I often like my blacks brewed that way. Not sure what to think about this vendor yet and I have about 3 Oolongs I also bought from them to try. All in all I would say if you like black tea give this one a try. Pretty tasty.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Malt, Stonefruits, Wood
I received this tea as a sampler in an order. I really love Moonlight Whites so I was pretty excited to see this arrive in the mail.
This isn’t going to be an in depth review because I am drinking it while watching The Walking Dead. It is very good though. Good enough that I felt it deserved at least an actual review mention.
Seriously, if you like Moonlight Whites and you understand the quality that Brenden brings to his tea than you know why you need to pick this up.
This is the first thing from the Sheng Olympics that I have enjoyed. The others have been interesting, but overall, still not my thing. This is not really a sheng, is that correct, but rather a pressed, age(d)-(ing) white tea cake?
The scent is dill and herbs and flowers. Interestingly, as opposed to several others, I don’t taste much dill in the steeped liquor. I get a ton of citrus and floral. It does have a drying effect for me on the 3rd infusion.
It’a a lovely tea, both in the leaf and the liquor. So glad to have tried this! Thanks, LP, for including it with the share of the group and to James for sending a share of the group to me! I shall keep soldiering on as I try these shengs. I’m not reviewing most of them as I don’t feel that I know enough about them and don’t want to skew impressions for true pu-heads. :)