New Tasting Notes
I am currently drowning my sorrows in terribly Hip-hop and Rap, it seems growing up in Atlanta means I never really lost my taste for Krunk, though in my defense I love good Rap, the bad stuff is just a guilty pleasure. Why am I drowning my sorrows you ask? My variable kettle went on to a glorious afterlife, I am sure it is heating water in Valhalla now with all the Warboys, all shiny and chrome.
Today’s tea is a fun blend of tea techniques and cultures, Yunomi’s Chakouan’s Ureshino Kamairicha, a Japanese Green Tea where the familiar steaming step is skipped and the tea is pan fired instead, similar to the way green teas in China are made. This technique was brought from China in the 15th-16th century and is a specialty in a couple southern regions, Ureshino in Saga Prefecture being one of those regions. The aroma of the curly leaves is quite nutty and sweet, it has a distinct note of sesame seeds which give the leaves their gentle sweetness. Underneath those notes of sesame seeds is a sharp leafy note of raw spinach and a bit of fresh kelp, adding an umami tone.
Into my pseudo-houhin the leaves go, luckily the leaves are fairly large so they don’t all go out the somewhat large holes, always glad when that happens. The aroma of the soggy leaves is a blend of cooked spinach and kelp, reminds me a bit of seaweed salad, but with a whole lot of extra sesame seeds. Just the right amount of green and seaweed to make me salivate. The liquid is nutty and sweet, like toasted sesame seeds and not much else, seems like all the aroma is in the leaves.
Tasting time! The texture is very smooth, and just a little bit on the thick side. It is surprisingly sweet and nutty, ok, not really surprisingly nutty, but the honey sweetness was a pleasant surprise. This initial burst of sweetness moves to a combination of sesame seeds and chestnuts, after that we have a nice burst of steamed spinach and a great finish of fresh kelp. The aftertaste surprisingly is a gentle fruity nuttiness that lingers for a while.
Second steeping time! The aroma is not changed much from the first steep, notes of toasted sesame, but there is a gentle undertone of fresh grass to go along with it, still pretty faint. This time the taste starts out green and crisp, no sweetness or nuttiness, crisp bell peppers and spinach with a finish of kelp. This tea is a fascinating thing, you have the familiar notes of a Japanese green mixed with the nutty toastiness of a Chinese green, I really appreciate the blending of techniques.
This tea is tasty but quite bitter in the early steeps. I steeped this tea twelve times and it slowly evolved from bitter to mostly sweet with some bitter aftertaste. It hadn’t aged much yet. The color of the tea was a light yellow. I suspect this one will age well. I did not quite develop what you would call an apricoty sweetness but it did become more sweet than bitter. As to qi, I didn’t feel much from this tea although it did relax me. I could go out on a limb and say it has a relaxing qi.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 60ml gaiwan with 4g leaf and 200 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. As to this tea being Gushu, I could tell when drinking it that it was a high quality tea but the only confirmation I have for it being gushu is the word of Yunnan Sourcing which I trust.
Flavors: Bitter, Sweet
BREWING STYLE: Western
I will do two reviews of this tea in both Western and Gongfu style. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything necessary for Gongfu-style steeping — gasp — but I do have the standard stuff needed for Western style.
First Infusion — 3 Minutes
What a lovely, woody scent. It reminds me of a wet forest, in a perfectly good way. I’m in love with the scent, and my expectations for the taste were pretty high too. And boy did it live up to those expectations.
The flavors are simply amazing. I must say that this is, so far in my novice tea-tasting, the best I have ever had. It’s creamy and, like the scent, woody. I also taste a bit of a chocolate-y flavor. I am very impressed as a first-time customer of Whispering Pines. There is just this overwhelmingly good flavor I can’t describe. It’s slightly flowery, woody, mossy, chocolate-y. Very creamy, silky feel. This tea is not bitter or astringent at all.
Overall: Silky, creamy feeling with an intense and complex flavor, which I may or may not think for being a novice. Chocolate hints and sweet notes, but also very woody and flowery. Very impressed.
Second Infusion — Five Minutes
The scent is similar to the first infusion, though it somehow leaves a cooling sensation in my throat. I was intensely curious about how the flavor would change, but I was feeling slightly full from the first 8oz of water.
The tea takes on a more subtle flavor, reminding me more of malt this time around. Slightly milky too, and just as creamy. It’s not as pleasurable as the first infusion, but it is definitely tasty and palatable, very good. More of a tea flavor this time too.
Overall: Still silky, creamy, with a more subdued flavor that is slightly malty and milky but not quite as pleasurable, for me anyway, as the first infusion.
I was too full to do a third infusion, though! I’d love to have tried it again, but my stomach wasn’t cooperating nearing the end of the second cup. However, I’d have to say that this was an awesome experience and a very good first buy from Whispering Pines. I will definitely be a returning customer.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Milk, Moss, Tea, Walnut, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood
grandma made shortbread cookies with starter matcha from “red leaf teas”. all i can say is, mmmmm.
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus
This morning, I’m drinking another tea that I should have consumed much sooner. Again, though, this is still pretty good. It’s missing something in the mid-palate, I’m not sure if it’s from age or what. There is a moment in imbibing this tea that is all tactile and no taste. It’s odd. But this tea has a great, long-lasting, sweet, floral aftertaste. I’ll probably be ordering more of this in the spring if I can sipdown enough of my stock.
Feeling gross today. Happens every time I eat well cooked eggs for breakfast, and maybe even with sunny side up if I don’t have much besides that. Today, they were scrambled. Delish, but holy queasy :/
I’m the only one I’ve ever known with this issue. Anyone else out there?
So I didn’t really care about which tea I had. Figured anything would be good, I guess I was in that kinda mood. So when I made this, I didn’t expect it to be fab. Last time, I found it somewhat weak. But today? It was great! All semi sweet yet slightly tart and creamy strawberries with a lovely green base. Wonders never cease.
Its the birthday of my little niece! Hurrah, little one! Another amazing year.
I remember drinking this least year on her birthday, and so I thought I’d do it again this year. Maybe a tradition is born?
This is soft, warm, comfortable. A hug in a tea pot. One of my favorite cold weather teas. I expect cinnamon teas to be somehow bolder, but this is just the delicate warmth I really want when I think cinnamon tea.
You know you have too much tea when you find a Sun Moon Lake sample at the bottom of the stack boxes. I can understand losing a lesser tea but few teas hit all my buttons like Taiwan Sun Moon Lake black tea. Dry it smells of cocoa, honey, kind sweet potato, with a Darjeeling like muscatel. The whole mix has a baked quality to the scent. Mmmmm.
Tasting is similar to the scent. It is an easy sip that builds to what I am going to call a presence. It isn’t a hefty bite. Its more refined than the raw bite of some teas.
The second cup had me mentally thinking cinnamon candy. It is so sweet and feels syrupy on the lips. The cinnamon image is welcome but weird, in that there is not so much a cinnamon taste, and certainly no cinnamon burn, but the image remained after several sips. I love when a tea does that kind of magic trick. Even in the second cup I still catch grape notes under the cinnamon, honey, sweet potato.
Complex and delicious.
mmm a small bit of this from variaTEA was a nice opportunity to revisit this one. I still prefer it as a latte, but it’s a nice cup of tea on this dreary sort of morning. …er afternoon haha. So glad that it’s a long weekend AND my other half has at least 2 of the 3 days off! woot woot! Maybe we’ll get a bike ride in this weekend.
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Jasmine, Orange Blossom