268 Tasting Notes

90

I was lucky enough to receive a sample of this with one of my many Whispering Pines orders. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t available for purchase yet. Thanks Brenden! His customer service always rocks :)
The leaves of this beautiful tea are long, twisty, and dark brown. Just check out the awesome picture on this tea’s Steepster page! They smell very nutty and buttery and brew up a light orangey-tan. I brewed it gongfu-style (oolongs are so great that way!): 15/15/30/40/60 sec.
The first steep was heavily roasted chestnut. I actually don’t think I have ever had a roasted chestnut, or a chestnut at all, but that is what immediately came to mind. I just went with it. And ooh, there’s butter on those roasted chestnuts too! There’s even a subtle character that reminds me of nut shells, but all this fades into a fresh floral finish. I have to say, I have not had a Whispering Pines tea yet that has not had a completely gorgeous finish. That’s one of the reasons I’m such a fangirl. For this steep and all subsequent steeps, I got a hint of astringency, but it only affected the tip of my tongue. Weird lol. With the second steep, the roasted chestnut flavor intensified, but honey also joined the party :). The mouthfeel was richer too. The third steep was similar to the second in taste, but the feel was different. The creaminess intensified, but only on my tongue like someone painted the center of my tongue with a creamy mouthfeel paintbrush. The tips and the sides of my tongue were a bit dried from the slight astringency. This tea is so interesting!! The fourth steep was much the same, but the nut shell taste faded, resulting in a really smooth taste (this steep was my favorite!). The fifth steep still had good flavor, but the creamy mouthfeel was lost as was almost all the astringency.
As you may know, I love oolongs but I have been unimpressed with da hong paos so far because the ones I have tried have been kind of one dimensional. This one, however, has a lot of complexity while still remaining just downright tasty! It’s a win in my book :)
And edit: Here’s a pic of it brewing!
http://instagram.com/p/riMZs7Km8U/

Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Creamy, Floral, Honey, Roasted nuts

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
boychik

oh, i gotta get some of this. i was recently “infected” with Yancha.

mj

I’m not sure when it’ll be available, but it’s totally worth it to pick some up when you can!

boychik

no pic showing ;(

mj

The instagram one? I deleted the link and then copied and shared it another way to hopefully make it viewable?

boychik

nice….

Hillel

mj, you have the observational skills of a scientist and the writing skills of a poet. Your review is both thorough and a delight to read. This one is going on my wish list for sure.

mj

Wow Hillel, that is such a nice compliment! Thank you so much :)

Ysaurella

yes absolutely agree with Hillel and it should go in my shopping list as well !

mj

Thank you so much, Ysaurella :) I’m so flattered!

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89

This lovely oolong came from Virginia. Huzzah, oolongs! (that’s me, every time I drink one). It’s a rolled oolong, which I enjoy for the presentation, with green leaves and some stems. The smell is very creamy and floral and the brew is a light yellow. It has a wonderfully thick, creamy mouthfeel with a creamy, almost buttery taste to match. It’s naturally sweet and you’re thinking, “oh this is nice, sweet cream tea” until halfway through the sip when delicate florals surprise you and lead to a clean, refreshing finish. You get the best of both worlds! I don’t like this one quite as much as I liked the Gui Hua from Tealux, but it was a fabulous oolong.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Nectar, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Ost

Love this tea!

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91

I had this tea couple of nights ago during a middle-of-the-night gongfu session, which are kind of my favorite. I enjoyed it with a book and some classical music and it was, as TheTeaFairy put it, a “perfect tea for a quiet moment”.
The leaves are quite eclectic: light grey-green leaves with quite dark green interspersed, a mix of long and thin with short and flat. The brew is light yellow and smells of very sweet, hay with a hint of mallow. I steeped it 15/15/30/40/60, but as the taste did not change much from steep to steep, I won’t describe each separately.
This tea is just lovely. It’s sweet, like most white teas I enjoy, but a smidge less delicate. The main note is sweet hay with a sugar snap pea highlight. The background is a slight maltiness, which builds with successive steeps. There’s a hint of minerals, which I enjoy, and an airy honey finish with a suggestion of cinnamon. Don’t worry, it’s barely even there and the furthest from offensive that cinnamon can possibly be. Overall, it’s a very enjoyable, uplifting, and relaxing tea.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Hay, Honey, Malt, Peas, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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93
drank Assam #8 by Tealux
268 tasting notes

This IS the assam you are looking for waves hand. I’ve only tried 4 assams, all thanks to awesome swaps with Ost and Virginia, but this one is where it’s at for me. Thank you to my TFF Virginia for sending it along!
The leaves of this assam are in the spider leg family, but not quite so spidery as the classic TWMB. They brew up a cheerful reddish brown and smell delightfully fruity! This tea is malty, because it is an assam after all. But I’m also getting lovely apricot and maybe a hint of peach?The fruitiness melds into a grain-like flavor with a honey sweet finish. I really love how smooth this tea is! This one definitely goes on my Tealux wishlist and will be the assam I stock!

Flavors: Apricot, Grain, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Cameron B.

Yum, those are all of my favorite flavors! Wishlisted. :P

mj

It was similar to PTA, but I liked it better. That’s just my personal opinion though :)

Cameron B.

I haven’t tried PTA yet! I just tried the Wild Mountain and it was amazing waffle deliciousness! :D

Ost

That’s like one of my favorite Assams so far. And of course, Virginia sent a sample introducing it to me :P

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94

This was my first experience with shu. Holy Monkeys. I’ve tried one sheng too and it seems like I am way more of a fan of shu (shou? Is there a difference? This is the level of knowledge I’m starting with). First, I followed this handy dandy guide written by Brenden of Whispering Pines and it worked for me really well.
www.lifethroughthepines.blogspot.com/2014/07/gongfu-style-for-medium-shu.html

I have to be honest, when I first smelled this tea I was very apprehensive. It does smell a little barnyard-y when you brew it, but kind of a pleasant barnyard smell that reminds me of horses. I was slightly taken aback by my first sip just because I had never tasted anything even remotely like it before. However, the more I sipped the more I adjusted and the more I liked it. To me this tea is just LEATHER in a major way, which happens to be one of my favorite scents. There’s also a somewhat mossy note in there. There’s a lightly sweet finish with the cooling effect of camphor. That sounds like a weird combination. It IS a weird combination, but I freaking like it. The later infusions became smoother and sweeter and I legitimately felt high….not that I’d know anything about that of course 0:-). It definitely gave me a heady, buzzed feeling. There was happiness and giggles (by myself, like a crazy person). It felt too fun to be legal haha

Flavors: Camphor, Leather, Moss, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
boychik

Yay! so happy you liked it! But you in trouble then. its highly addictive!

mj

Thanks boychik! I’m always in trouble haha

Terri HarpLady

I’m glad you enjoyed it! The buzz is always nice :)

TheTeaFairy

Enjoy. It’s totally legal…for now!

K S

Oh yeah, she’s hooked. Room for one more.

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91

This tea is so totally second breakfast it’s not even funny. As soon as I tasted it, I was like “yep, Shire!”. The Shire magic comes from thin, wiry, and dark leaves that are medium length. When brewed, they smell almost like a yunnan black to me and they yield a pretty, cedar-y colored liquor.
At first steep, the flavors were huge helpings of malt and bread with cocoa. The tea is on the fuller-bodied side of the spectrum but definitely lighter than traditional breakfast blend. However, I recommend that you let your tea cool some (if you can!). Once the tea starts cooling, delicious flavors start emerging from their hobbit holes :). First came honey, bringing its friend butter along! Always a welcome addition in my book. Once it cooled a little more, a wildflower infused breeze joined in at the end. Just lovely. The tea was almost room temperature by the time I got to the last sip or two and all of a sudden BAM cherries popped out right in the middle of the sip. I wish I had more left at that point! This tea totally reflects hobbits: quiet and unassuming with a charming homespun quality up front , but revealing surprising depth upon closer examination.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cherry, Cocoa, Floral, Honey, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Cameron B.

I should try a homemade version of this since I have both of the teas involved. :P

mj

I would be super impressed if you pulled that off!

Cameron B.

The only problem would be that I have nothing to compare it to, so I would never know if it was right or not! :P

MissLena

Awesome review :D now I want to have a cup of this and watch the Hobbit movies. :D or re-read the book!

mj

Thanks, MissLena! I watched “The Desolation of Smaug” while trying this tea yesterday :)
Cameron B, I could send you some to taste if you wnat. It seems like it would be much less trouble to just throw some 2nd breakfast in your next order than try to make it yourself lol. Although, I would enjoy reading the tasting notes from all the iterations. Either way, I could still send you a sample :)

Cameron B.

I would just feel silly buying a tea that’s a blend of two teas I already have. :P

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92
drank Gui Hua Oolong by Tealux
268 tasting notes

I saved my leaves from yesterday morning to resteep today. I require more of this tea, which means a Tealux order in my future :-/. I don’t need another company that I regularly place orders with! But this oolong is fantastic. It calls to me.

TheTeaFairy

Lol, mj, their oolongs are fantastic!! I also foresee an order in your future :-o

TheTeaFairy

I can send you a list of my favourites, would you like that? Or maybe you already tried them from virginia…

mj

Yes, please! I would love that if it’s not too much trouble. Thank you :)

Cheri

That looks like a good oolong…I also don’t need more places to order from and more oolongs I love.

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100

OMG y’all. This tea is GOOD. No, GREAT. No, DELECTABLE! I was blown away despite the fact I was already expecting amazing things from Whispering Pines, obviously.

The leaves are dark green and tightly rolled, interspersed with cedar. So pretty! See?
http://instagram.com/p/rYOQWDqmzS/
Don’t fault the tea for my lack of instagramming skills. I’ve had an account for like 2 days.

The smell of the dry leaves is divine! I could not stop sticking my face in the bag for another whiff. It smells like a berry, but not one that is actually a real berry, wrapped in cream and vanilla. It brews up a light yellow green. The first steep tasted of sweet fictional berry (this is not a bad thing- trust me) and these berries come to you on a cushion of vanilla, cream, and butter. This is followed by a rush of pure, slightly mineral, spring water. This is what Rivendell water would taste like! The sip finishes with buttery toffee rolling in on a smooth, silky mouthfeel.

This tea has a lot to give, and I went for a second and third steep. I stopped because it was late and I need to sleep tonight. The 2nd infusion brought a more intense creamy vanilla berry element that replaced the buttery toffee finish. The third infusion had more cedar coming through, just peeking past the creamy berry goodness and a stronger pure mineral water finish.

This tea is my new precious. It’s a must buy!

Flavors: Berry, Butter, Cedar, Cream, Vanilla

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Stephanie

Oh my goodness! What a rave review! Nice!

mj

It was that good! I’m pretty sure I’m going to wake up looking like Liv Tyler as a result drinking this tonight ;-)

Stephanie

Ow ow!!! Haaaa!

Lariel of Lórien

It turns you into an elf princess? I want!

TheTeaFairy

Love the review!!! And the pic :-) CANNOT WAIT to get my order of this…Beloved oolong. Mixed with dreamy vanilla…mmmmm.

mj

Total elf princess tea :). TTF, I hope you like it as much as I did!

MzPriss

I want mine too!!!!

mj

MzPriss and TTF, I know you two are not traditionally resteepers, but this tea definitely should be steeped more than once! The full flavor definitely did not come out in the first steep.

Megan

This sounds amazing! All of your Whispering Pines rave reviews makes me want to order some.

mj

You should order! They have free shipping now :)

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I kept a tsp of this back from the Educational TTB2 and am finally getting around to trying it. The only other Keemun I can remember trying is Teavivre’s Organic Superfine Fragrant Keemun. This is waaay different, and I have to say that I prefer the Teavivre one. I’m not getting any of the chocolate notes I got with that one, although the earthiness is comparable. I am, however, getting full on mushroom from this tea. I’ve never had a tea with mushroom notes, but I actually kinda like it. Also, thankfully the smoke beast is absent.
Disclaimer about this note: This tea may have been brewed weird. I don’t know the temperature of the water because when I went to make it, I discovered that my kettle that I keep at work was gone. Not cool. I kept it in the common area for everyone to use and now it’s missing. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. Anyway, so the water temp may have been off so I won’t rate it.

Tealizzy

Wow, definitely not cool. I hope someone returns it soon!

Nxtdoor

Shitty human behaviour!

Cheri

I’d leave a note where the kettle was and ask for its immediate return, no questions asked. That usually gets things replaced at my office quickly.

mj

So, I found the kettle like this: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByLDTxpzm4N2a2VzYlRra2t0WFY5YkN4dnRfcjdvTExRM25j/edit?usp=sharing
hidden way in the back of one of the cabinets (it has always just lived on the counter before).
The label is correct, it is broken :(
If whoever it was had just told me, I would have understood. Things happen! But hiding it is just kinda offensive.

boychik

I’m so sorry. I would hide the kettle from now on.

Cheri

:( I’m glad you found it, but I’m really sorry that it’s broken. I agree with boychik – if you get a new kettle, hide it.

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92
drank Gui Hua Oolong by Tealux
268 tasting notes

This oolong came from Virginia in the last box o’awesomeness she sent me :). On the label, she wrote “SO GOOD” and I must say that I agree!

The smell of this tea is just lovely- lightly floral and sweet. It really does smell amazing! The taste does not disappoint either. There’s a delicate peach flavor that comes through, wrapped in beautiful floral and cream notes. It’s no where near the creaminess of a milk oolong, but it works perfectly with peachiness. Nothing about this tea is overdone. It’s just so dainty, graceful, and alluring. I love it :) Thank you Virginia!

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Peach

TheTeaFairy

This is so peachy, I love this tea!

mj

I thought about you when I first tasted it because I remembered you saying that you like peachy oolongs :)

TheTeaFairy

Haha! That’s sweet… It’s actually one of the Tealux teas I suggested to Virginia!! :-)

mj

Haha we’re all puppets on your TeaFairy strings :-P

TheTeaFairy

No puppets, just the most awesome tea friends :-)

mj

Aww thanks TTF! You got me right in the feels. You’re definitely one of my favorite tea friends :)

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Profile

Bio

Tea-obsessed, book worm scientist.

I love black tea, especially Chinese black tea- I’m looking at you Fujians and Yunnans! I also enjoy Indian teas, mostly first flush darjeelings (and a select few assams).
I think I’m recently starting to like oolongs better though- gasp! I’ve been cheating on my black teas with all these lovely, alluring green floral oolongs. Sorry I’m not sorry.
White tea gets a lot of love too! I am particularly fond of silver needle whites.
I can’t seem to appreciate green teas and rooibos is foul, IMO.

Other interests: Books! Board games! Nerdy entertainment like Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones, Sherlock, all the nature documentaries, etc etc. Also Disney!

I’m up for swaps!

Follow me on instagram if you like tea, food, and animal pics plus some other randomness:
http://instagram.com/mj1851

Location

Minneapolis, MN

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