New Tasting Notes
From a 25g sample. I found this very smooth and a bit sweet. Lots of woody/earthy notes but they blended in and formed more of a background rather than being assertive and upfront. The taste did not change much steeping to steeping but just slowly faded.
I was really hoping to find out what thistle tasted like, but it looks like I am going to have to wait a while longer. This tastes like a straight up black tea to me. If I hadn’t know which tea I was drinking, it just as easily could have been Scottish Breakfast.
The base is Indian, and rather mild. The malt and astringency are toned down to the point of this almost tasting like a darjeeling, but with a bit more power behind it. Overall, it’s not bad for a bag, but really nothing special.
Flavors: Bitter, Malt
This is a queued tasting note.
So like I said yesterday, the last week and a half or so I’ve not been that well physically, and by extension mentally. Basically, it all started with one or two weird bumps on my arm, and and a few days later that had escalated to more than 50% of my body covered in these horrible and incredibly itchy welts/hives/whatever you want to call them. It was scary, and terrifying and I went through a million possibilities of what they could be (bug bites, hives from an allergy attack, etc.) with nothing actually quite fitting the bill. I’ve also missed a lot of work since then because they’re super painful and itchy – and also kind of make me look like I have leprosy.
Turns out that the whole debacle basically boils down to being a “viral infection” that the doc says would have likely been caused by cutting or scraping myself with an infected/contaminated piece of metal. Well, what do I do for a living? I work in a thrift store sorting through donations 40 hours a week. Thousands of pounds of other people’s dirty/unclean donations. I cut or scrape myself on a pretty much daily basis. So, while it’s not possible to track exactly when or what caused this stupid infection it’s just incredibly frustrating to know that I’m dealing with all this bullshit because of a 99% chance I scratched myself on the one in a million item at work that was contaminated that some asshole decided to drop off.
The good-ish news is that I’m taking a few different kinds of prescribed antibiotics, and they should hopefully resolve all this bullshit within ten days or so. Fingers crossed, at least. In the mean time I just have to try not to scratch my fucking skin off… Yay!
As for the tea…
I made myself a small pot of this when things were in the in between stage of slightly worrisome and “holy shit something isn’t right here”. It was around this point that my tea drinking went a bit downhill, and I basically went to having one cup or mug of tea a day because I just lacked the ambition/drive to do anything more than that. The flavour of this was good; usually I drink it cold but this was hot so there were a few differences. The key one being that it read as a more tart strawberry flavour. Still lovely overall: strawberry, orange, bubblegum, and licorice type notes.
1st steep 160 35 sec
Brews to a light green color. Taste is grassy but not bitter. There is a sweet corn taste, like the fresh green husks of the corn, and corn silk. Steeped leaves a fantastic bright green color.
2nd steep 160 45 sec
Color of the tea is still lighter than I would expect of the leaves. There’s more grassiness here and less of the corn. A bit of a savory seaweed note has appeared.
3rd steep ~150F ~1.5 min
Sweeter, a light bitterness that coats the mouth
Very sweet, less bitterness
Flavors: Corn Husk, Grass
This is one of my all-time favorites, actually, and the one that really got me started on DT’s in general. We’d stopped in to look at the new store and this was on offer.
Hot, it’s a nice watermelon-y flavor, not too bitter, not too sweet, just balanced.
But when cold brewed? Oh yeah. That’s how I make this one. Load up the pitcher with some ice cold water, pop in the basket and let this baby chill in the fridge for 12 hours or so. There is zero bitterness this way and it soothes my throat like nobody’s business (important when you’re a Narratrix spending 80% of your workday behind a mic).
I love to take a huge glass of this into the studio with me. It’s perfect for summer.
I have to admit that I was afraid to try this tea after a mini session with LP. Putting 5 or so needles in a cup full of water yielded a pretty strong rum taste. What on earth was a full session going to taste like??
The dry leaves smell very strongly of rum, but there’s also a fungal, earthy sort of aroma beneath it. That aroma comes through in the scent of the brew and the flavor of the liquid.
Rum, of course, is the strongest flavor. This is particularly great for me because I like some aspects of certain alcohols, but hate that burn that comes with it. This tea allowed me to experience some of that great rummy flavor without the burn. This rum flavor lasted through several steeps.
The base is also nice. As with the dry leaves, the brew is a little fungal, but it is also sweet and woody. It’s rather clean and refreshing for a shou. Later steeps reveal the brew to be more like a dark brown bread, which pairs well with the subdued rum flavor.
This was my favorite of the LP blends so far. Great job!!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Mushrooms, Rum, Sweet, Wet wood
Today, I am drinking this tea. I am actually not here for a review. It is more of a tribute to Brenden and Whispering Pines. As I’m sure some of you have heard, his inventory had a flood hit it and he is trying to recover what he can but he seems to have taken a pretty substantial loss. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’m posting a link that you can go to in order to help Brenden get his company back on its feet. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/whispering-pines-tea-company-flood-relief-fund#/
So, cheers to you and to Whispering Pines. I hope to see the company recover soon so we can all order and drink those delicious teas again but even more importantly, so Brenden can continue his job and passion.
I’m still working through the oolongs I have acquired in recent months. This is one of my more recent purchases from Verdant and it has not been in my collection all that long, so I know it is still fresh. I’m beginning to notice that Verdant’s teas are very hit or miss for me, although the hits (Reserve Tieguanyin, Autumn Tieguanyin, Huang Jin Gui, Mao Xie, Autumn Laoshan Green, First Picking Shi Feng Dragonwell, Dark Roast 10 Year Aged Tieguanyin, Yunnan White Jasmine, and Laoshan Green Oolong) far outnumber the outright misses (Qianjiazhai Wild Picked Yunnan Black, Zi Mu Dan). Unfortunately, this tea was another miss for me.
I prepared this tea using the gongfu method outlined on the Verdant Tea website. I did, however, make one necessary modification. I used the same small gaiwan I used for the Mao Xie to brew this tea, so I adjusted the amount of tea I used (approximately 5-6 grams for the 4 ounce gaiwan). If I were to guess, I would say I probably used closer to 6 grams of loose leaves rather than 5. The tea was steeped for 10 seconds in 208 F water initially. This infusion was followed by subsequent infusions at 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24 seconds. I know that some people recommend that you try to get a minimum of 10-12 steeps out of Tieguanyin, but I rarely have the time, so I just end my sessions when I feel it is necessary. In the case of this tea, I chose not to press forward because I really wasn’t all that excited about where it was going.
At first, the tea presents a slight, but lovely aroma of flowers (orchid, violet, lilac, rose, jasmine), cream, custard, and vanilla. The initial infusions display a delicate, subtle combination of rose, orchid, violet, lilac, jasmine, cream, custard, and vanilla notes underpinned by a faint minerality. Later infusions see the floral notes fade, as the cream, custard, vanilla, and mineral notes are joined by subtle flavors of butter, hay, and grass. I did not pick up the almond, tangerine, or sweet snap pea notes described by the folks at Verdant. I mostly got flowers, cream, custard, vanilla, and minerals with butter, grass, and hay.
If the autumn harvest of Tieguanyin is the most robust and flavorful, then it stands to reason that the spring harvests are probably much less so. If that is the case, then my experience with this particular tea is not an anomaly. I generally love Tieguanyin, but this one did not move me in the least. It is so light and delicate that it is hard for me to muster much of a reaction to it. I know that quite a few people really liked this tea, but I just don’t see the appeal. I feel like its lightness and simplicity forced me to work so hard to figure out what is going on flavorwise that I didn’t really get the opportunity to enjoy it. That feeling coupled with my opinion that the tea doesn’t really offer any surprises over the course of a session (I did not notice any significant changes in aroma or flavor with each subsequent infusion, just a steady and prolonged fade) leaves me unimpressed. At one point I even noted that drinking this was like drinking spring air. That may seem like something, but I don’t mean it as a compliment. I mean that this tea was so light that it seemed to lack substance. In essence, I went looking for some depth and character with this tea, and quite frankly, did not find enough to suit me. Maybe I expected too much or maybe I missed the point entirely. I’ll leave that for anyone who reads this review to decide.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Hay, Jasmine, Mineral, Orchid, Rose, Vanilla, Violet
Great value at just $4.80 for 100g. Lychee scent is very pleasant and the fruit flavor does not overpower the tea. A nice change of pace for me, as I normally drink straight black teas. Has a slightly citrus flavor and aroma, even though lychee is not a citrus fruit. Great iced or hot, but it does seem to be lacking in the more complex and lingering flavors I find in my favorite teas.
Oh. My. Goodness.
I only bought one? Heading over to SBT to buy more now!
Strawberry. Real strawberry. Like you cut up strawberries, added sugar, let them sit a while and then puréed them and poured them in a glass of sweet tea. Somebody please stop me from drinking the whole gallon at once…
ETA: Alas! Out of stock! Weeping sounds…
Tastes pleasantly of an oaky bourbon barrel and toasty/roasted oolong. What it reminds me most of is the 30-year aged Tieguanyin from Verdant — among my favorite teas. This one is not quite at that level, although I’m still working out the steeping time and temp, given that J-Tea’s site provides zero guidance.
Flavors: Oak wood, Roasted
I am brewing this with 8g from a 25g sample. I started with a 5s infusion and increased by 5-10s for the first few, then went up by a minute or two for the last couple of steeps. The first few steeps were sweet and earthy with a hint of mushroom, wood, wet earth. Tastes like the scent of a forest after a rainfall, or a wet decaying log, but in a good way. I noticed a slight sour tang on the finish. Around the 4th steeping, the earthiness started to fade into a pleasant taste that reminded me of cooking rice mixed with roasted pecans. I ended this around the 8th or 9th steep doing around 5 minute infusions. For the price, I think this is worth it as a daily drinker.
Flavors: Earth, Loam, Mushrooms, Rice, Roasted nuts, Wood
I did multiple sessions of Tyler and I think it’s quite an elegant tea. It’s a great transition into the more complex teas, and it has amazing flavor. It’s still young, and it’s still temperature sensitive. I think that this is a great tea overall and is something I would highly recommend.
I did a full review of it on my blog here…
Flavors: Floral, Green, Herbaceous, Herbs, Honey, Sweet
Sample from Tea in Spoon’s stash sale. Thank you!
This definitely tastes like Birthday (pan)cake. It’s pretty much a maple vanilla rooibos. It’s definitely a solid tea, using good quality rooibos for the base, but it’s not the best maple tea I’ve ever had, and vanilla isn’t usually a flavor I seek out for it’s own sake. I’ll finish off this sample but probably won’t buy more.
Flavors: Maple, Rooibos, Sweet, Vanilla
Sample from Tea in Spoons stash sale. Thank you!
I definitely see where the name for this tea comes from. The combination of cool mint and hot cocoa does make me think about playing in the snow and coming in for a cup of cocoa. But the peppermint is definitely more like the herbal tea than the candy so the two flavors seem like they’re fighting each other a bit and this is definitely too sweet for my tastes. Fun to try though.
Flavors: Cocoa, Peppermint, Sweet