Tea type
Black Tea
Chinese Black Tea
Floral, Malt, Plums, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Butternut Squash, Molasses, Baked Bread, Caramel, Chocolate, Fruity, Berries, Cocoa, Grapes, Nuts, Dates
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Edit tea info Last updated by Whispering Pines Tea Company
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec 3 g 9 oz / 275 ml

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39 Tasting Notes View all

  • “This is one of those teas that when I have, I want to smack old me on the head. For some reason I used to avoid unflavored black teas like the plague. I guess I assumed all black tea tasted like...” Read full tasting note
    Mandyyyy 158 tasting notes
  • “I live in what is weather-wise, sort of the armpit of hell. For much of the summer it's close to 100 degrees with 100% humidity. It's during those times that the TV warns people not to go...” Read full tasting note
    Marzipan 217 tasting notes
  • “Whispering Pines is going to be the death of me, but at least I'll die a very happy, tea-drunk death. Method: 1.5 tsp, 8 oz, 203 degrees, 3 minutes, French Press Dry Leaf and Brewing Aroma: ...” Read full tasting note
    Sarsonator 153 tasting notes
  • “I got a sample of this from *Nicole* (I also have a sample from *Whispering Pines* and I have another ounce coming on Wednesday). I'm kind of anxious to try it since it seems to have quite a...” Read full tasting note
    CameronB 221 tasting notes

From Whispering Pines Tea Company

About the Tea
Ailaoshan Black Tea is one of the most breathtaking teas I have had the chance to indulge in. This tea is grown at over 2000 meters above sea level and shrouded in warm mist nearly year-round. It is harvested from tea bushes that have been cultivated on the edge of one of the most diverse subtropical ecosystems in the world — The Ailao Mountains (Ailaoshan) Nature Preserve. This nature preserve is home to at least 550 plant species and 460 animal species, including the black gibbon and bengal tiger.

Harvested in mid-spring of each year, Ailaoshan Black Tea is carefully processed and carries a warm aroma of toasted cocoa and caramelized plum. At first taste, a range of fruit notes can be identified amongst the delicious cocoa and caramel undertones. The most noticible fruit note is that of caramelized plum, followed shortly by a mix of black currant and longan fruit. A savory quality is experienced at mid-sip as well as in the aftertaste, and salted caramel with a hint of roasted fruit lingers on past the last sip. This is a truly memorable cup of tea and will please any connoisseur of rare and extraordinary black teas!

March 2014

Toasted Cocoa
Caramelized Plum
Black Currant
Longan Fruit
Salted Caramel

How to brew the perfect cup:
Steep 1/2 tablespoon of leaves in 8 ounces of boiling water for 3 minutes.
2nd infusion: 5 minutes
3rd infusion: 8 minutes


About Whispering Pines Tea Company View company

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39 Tasting Notes

158 tasting notes

This is one of those teas that when I have, I want to smack old me on the head. For some reason I used to avoid unflavored black teas like the plague. I guess I assumed all black tea tasted like McDonalds sweet iced tea (which, as much as saying so might get me stoned by the cult following said tea has down here, I can’t stand).
Thankfully, and to my total surprise, straight black teas can actually be good! Especially this tea. I get a great amount of cocoa out of this tea. Cocoa and caramel are the two strongest notes I get. I’ve never had caramelized plum (sounds divine) I can imagine that the dark, tantalizing, fruity undertone that I’m getting here is just that.

Absolutely amazing, this tea is a symbol for everything I was missing when I was shunning black teas.

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

I love this review Mandy…me and Aila have a very special relationship as you may or may not know :-)
If you like them, try eating fresh cherries with it….divine!!


Oh I can’t help but notice all of your favorite little tea babies. You’re definitely one of the reasons I have such a hard time not placing more orders for more tea!

I really need to get some cherries! Seeing you mention them all the time has got me craving some!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Cherries are the best. EVER. :)


It is cherry season…..

I have the same relationship with straight blacks, although not because I thought of McD’s sweet tea…but I have avoided them, but I’m working slowly on changing that. Mostly because people write all these amazing tasting notes.

Tea Sipper

Oh my gosh, you need to introduce those McDs iced tea fans to actual tea!!

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217 tasting notes

I live in what is weather-wise, sort of the armpit of hell. For much of the summer it’s close to 100 degrees with 100% humidity. It’s during those times that the TV warns people not to go outside due to the heat index, and we hear of people dying due to no a/c. I remember some of our Danish family sort of pooh-poohed the weather (how bad can it be?) and then then came here in July. They tried to walk to the end of our street and my brother-in-law almost stroked out because he was so hot. Amateurs!

So today it’s July 15th, and the temperature outside is 66! It’s so unusual, and so wonderful! We have the windows open and I am just thoroughly enjoying it. I don’t even mind so much my weather induced headache.

Oh yeah, tea! My first cup of tea this morning was a sample I was sent to evaluate, and it was a little disappointing. So I really didn’t want to gamble with the second cup, and I’m having this. I think I am getting a little tea spoiled, because I have so many awesome ones here by now and I am turning my nose up at the more pedestrian ones. It’s nice to be moving out of the “must try all the teas” phase though.


I couldn’t believe how nice it was outside this morning when I took the dog out. I’m LOVING it!


I so understand the hot humid weather problems. Enjoy your 66! It’s still 90 here


The ultimate cup of goodness!!

Enjoy the fresh weather :-)


It’s 66F in Pocono and lotsa rain


Same here boychik! It’s pouring nails!!! But I love it :-)


I dread to think what the UV index gets like where you live. My skin is very white and can’t tan at all, so UV is something I’ve learned to pay attention to! I buy the highest factor sun cream I can find. (Annoyingly, the higher the factor, the higher the price) If I were to visit you in July, it sounds like I would be pretty much stuck indoors for safety reasons. O.o I’ll stay over here, thanks.


Angrboda, my oldest dd and my son have such a pale skin you can see veins. It has bluish tone. While me and my middle dd have olive tone. They have to wear rush guards and SPF 50 and still burn. My middle dd tans naturally even with the same sunblock. Her skin looks like peach. My oldest complains cause she want to be tan. I tell her she looks like English lady, royal blood haha. We try to avoid sun all the time.


It’s 67°F here and currently cloudy. It is the week of the Ann Arbor Art Fairs (I work in AA) which is normally the hottest week of the year, although there is always one day with nasty storms. This is completely different than normal and it’s blowing my mind. I almost forgot Art Fair was this week because of the weather.


Angr – one thing our Danish relatives don’t understand is why we don’t spend more time outside and why we don’t walk more places. Once some of them visited, they understood. Not only is the weather awful, but the sheer scale of things is totally different. No bike lanes, so biking isn’t really safe, and we live on a state line, so there’s a huge, huge bridge that we have to cross regularly and it can’t be walked or biked across. You know that old saying, in Europe 100 miles is a long way (km I guess), in the US 100 years is a long time :)

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153 tasting notes

Whispering Pines is going to be the death of me, but at least I’ll die a very happy, tea-drunk death.

Method: 1.5 tsp, 8 oz, 203 degrees, 3 minutes, French Press

Dry Leaf and Brewing Aroma: light malts and honey

Flavor: Why, WP, WHY?!?!? Every time I think I’ve found my favorite tea, I end up with another beauty. And then I have to go order some. This was a sample from MzPriss(HoneyBelle) and I was dying to try it after her glowing review.

This tea is just lovely. Really wonderful. It has a very mild, smooth feel. It’s naturally sweet, and very noticeably so. It has a light malt flavor, but then there are these juicy fruits on top of that! I’m really amazed at how good this is. This is going on my list of teas that I want to drink every day.

I had a wonderful evening last night with dinner at the Macaroni Grill and then some RiffTrax Live Sharknado! I woke up in a great mood and this tea just enhanced my morning. I’m starting to think that MzPriss may be a Tea Secret Agent, writing amazing reviews and then sending out samples to make me buy more tea! LOL. And her co-conspirator is TheTeaFairy!!!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Whispering Pines Tea Company

They are both registered Teacret Agents. That is all I can say on that subject, the rest is entirely confidential :P


Laughing extremely hard


I KNEW it! I look forward to the day when I am recruited into the Teacret Society as a Teacret Agent. Wait, I mean, no. Not interested. You keep your Teacret Societies to yourselves. wink wink


All these people blaming my totally innocent self for their tea addictions. TeaTiff blamed me for her Golden Monkey problem this morning too.


I call shenanigans on your innocent act! :p

In all seriousness, I think we all love you and TTF and your passion for awesome tea. My bank account doesn’t appreciate it, but I know I do. :)

You two make excellent Teacret Agents. I hope you’re well-paid! With extra tea hazard pay!


Well the thing is there is awesome all over the place. The one thing you won’t ever see is me being passionate about tea that isn’t spectacular IMO. So whether it’s this or the Golden Monkey or Special Dark or Golden Orchid or Wee Snaily Yums (I mean Golden Snail) or Wild Monk or Laoshan Black (etc, etc, etc) I will assault you with superlatives – but I will also share amazing tea :D


No one will ever accuse you of being blasé about tea while I am around! Or else!


Hahaha! Too bad i missed this post this morning :-)
Oh, this is so hilarious.

Thank god me and MzPriss have some kind of credibility here…at least I’d like to think we do:-) (we’ve both been steepster members for 3 and more years)

I have tried and seen many companies through the years, I’ve also been approached by a few to get “involved” with them. I can tell you that WP is at the top right now with just a few other places I order from, and I would NEVER say this if he was paying me to say it. I buy and pay my tea (except for the occasional teacret samples:-)) and the day I try one of his tea I DON’T like, I will not be afraid to say so (but really, I doubt that this will ever happen!!)

Like MzPriss said, if the passion isn’t au rendez-vous, than you will never read a raving review from me.

(Sarsonator, I will strongly recommend your recruitment!!! You seem to be teacret worthy…or i never said that…wink, wink,)


I think it’s wonderful that you give totally honest opinions. And I know they are honest because when I later try those teas, they’re just as amazing as you said they would be!!!

Oh and thanks so much, TTF!!! I really want to learn the teacret handshake! :p


Haha! Will be working on that :-)
And I forgot to say, I’m really glad you liked the tea…I start my day with this one almost every morning!


I can see why! It’s really impressive. I may try this with a little maple syrup next time. Somehow I think it might be good that way!


Maple syrup gets the seal of approval in EVERYTHING!!


Yes, I have noticed that it seems to be the holy elixir of steepster! I assume that it is the official sweetener of the teacret society.


I call maple syrup in tea “Terri-style”

Terri HarpLady

Does that mean I get to be a teacret agent too? ;)


Absolutely. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if a tea technique is named after you, you won’t even need to do the interview portion. Lucky!


Teacret Terri-style

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221 tasting notes

I got a sample of this from Nicole (I also have a sample from Whispering Pines and I have another ounce coming on Wednesday). I’m kind of anxious to try it since it seems to have quite a following around here. The leaves are very dark and spindly – like a miniature version of Taiwanese black leaves. They smell of raisins and cocoa, with some malt, tobacco, and honey notes. Brewed according to the package directions.

The brewed tea smells strongly of sweet potatoes, with a malty edge. There’s a deep molasses scent, and a lighter raisin note that makes me think of golden raisins. The taste is pretty similar to the aroma. Lots of sweet potato with strong malt taste. There’s a fruitiness that reminds me of plums and raisins. I don’t get any chocolate from this at all. And there’s a floral aftertaste that kind of seems soapy to me? The body is lighter than a lot of other Chinese blacks I’ve tried, maybe a little bit thin.

Now I know that this will probably get me pelted with rotten vegetables, but I don’t love this tea. And I’m unhappy because I feel like I didn’t get the flavors that a lot of other people mentioned, like chocolate and caramel, and it makes me feel like I’m at fault somehow in my tasting of this. Frustrating…

Holding off on the rating until I give it a couple more tries.

Flavors: Floral, Malt, Plums, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I didn’t go mad over it either, though I did enjoy it! ’Twas no Golden Orchid though. Nor north winds.

Cameron B.

It just makes me sad when I feel like I’m somehow not getting the full potential. Maybe my concept of chocolate is just too ingrained in sweetness, I don’t know. :/

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I’ve noticed that the flavor of this tea changes DRAMATICALLY based on the quality of water you’re using. What kind of water are you using?

Cameron B.

Brenden, that’s a good idea. I generally just use tap water, but I’ve never had issues before. I can definitely try this one again tomorrow using bottled water and see if that makes the difference. I really want to love it! :(

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I know how that goes. I feel the same with about Laoshan Black. haha.

I have also noticed that sometimes when I have this tea, I don’t get any of the notes either. To me, it seems that this tea needs everything to be just right (mood, water, etc) for the best taste. I’d also recommend drinking this outdoors. :)


(Cameron – I’m probably going to get pelted too, but sometimes I find that a lower steep temp and long steep time will bring out the chocolate notes in back tea – I haven’t actually tried THIS ONE – but when I’m having problems “finding” the chocolate, I try about 85-90 for 5-6 minutes. If the bottled water doesn’t help, that would be my suggestion – or at least that’s what I would do….) Good Luck – hope you find steeping parameters that work for you….

Cameron B.

Thanks for the helpful advice, everyone! I’ll be sure to try this one again in the morning and see if I can’t get it to taste like chocolate somehow. You’ve definitely cheered me up at least. :)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

:) You might also have luck trying to find the salted caramel and going from there. Search for the salt and then for the cocoa :P


Cameron, nothing to feel bad about. You just need to find your sweet spot, like everybody said, try different ways. And maybe it just won’t work for you, it happens.

For me personally, the water makes a huge difference, I never use tap. I agree with Dexter about the lower temp. I’ve had it almost every morning for the last couple of weeks and my favourite way to brew is 5 min at 190F. The first thing I smell and taste is salted caramel, and it’s very sweet. The cocoa notes are there but not as dominant, at least not to me. I think everyone gave good advices, good luck on your next attempt :-)


Cameron, if it makes you feel better no chocolate for me either. It’s more fruity to me, even grapes or longan,plums. Let’s blame it on NY tap water which is very good by all reports. We have perfect alkali

Terri HarpLady

I’m gonna chime in on water. Next week I’ll be going to visit my folks in FL, & although I usually avoid bottled water, I’ll go through a case or 2 while I’m there, because the tap water is so disgusting to taste & smell, plus it makes me swell up. I’m sorry to say this, but most bottled waters also suck, I never feel hydrated by it, & it tends to make tea taste flat, but better than having them taste like sulphur.


Terri you know FL water is bad when you go on a cruise and the water on the ship does wonders for your poor torchered hair. The first night I didn’t understand why my hair suddenly felt so much softer. I’ve also had family from New York complain about the water in Florida ruining their hair. As far as bottled water, I so agree. I can’t stand Dasani, especially. Zephyrhills is pretty decent though.

CameronB I found that with some teas with cocoa notes, loudly slurping a sip almost like your gargling it helps to draw out the cocoa note. This sort of aerates the tea and something about causing molecules going up the back of the nasal canal and improving the aroma and flavor or something. I don’t know I read something about it once a while back and it seems to help me.


I don’t think you’ll get pelted with anything. You like what you like and nothing tastes the same to anyone as it does to anyone else. Play around with it and see, but if you don’t love it in the end, you just don’t love it – not a thing in the world wrong with that. I feel the same way about several teas that get lots of rave reviews. There’s lots of tea out there to love :)


I completely agree with MzPriss. I have my favorites and they seem to be hit or miss with Steepster favorites. No pelting with tomatoes ever on here. For instance LB and Golden Fleece… I can’t rave over these like others can, but my favorites seem to be hit or miss with others. I really like this tea but I didn’t get chocolate out of it at all, it was more of a creamy malty taste for me and it seemed to be a mood tea for me. The first time I had it, it was eh, the second time it was really good. We will see what the third time brings.

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211 tasting notes

I got my Whispering Pines samples early! I checked the tracking this morning when I got up and was so excited that I rushed to the mailbox in my more-than-slightly sheer tank and some shorts that I slept in….oops. I seriously did not even think about it until I was almost there but luckily, I don’t think I was spotted. I love the packaging and the handwritten note, btw. That totally made me smile :-).

Anyway. THIS TEA. Let me tell you about how great it is. At first sip, a really nice salty caramel note hits that morphs quickly into chocolate all over a very malty, bready background that reminds me of a croissant. The sip ends with a burst of sweet fruitiness. Sorry I can’t be more specific about the fruit, but I don’t have magical Tea Fairy taste buds that can detect that level of nuance. The flavor then fades away to a really clean mouthfeel that I’ve mentioned in a couple of my tasting notes. I also feel like that’s not a helpful descriptor but I’ve thought about it a lot and that’s all I can come up with. I am a HUGE fan of that in a tea though.

I feel like I am not even allowed to say this on Steepster, but here goes. I like this better than Verdant’s Laoshan Black!! (cue the throwing of rotted fruits and veggies) I don’t even care, it’s the truth! It’s perfect and I love it. This is my new favorite unflavored tea. Thank you for the sample, Brendan!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Chocolate, Fruity, Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hehehe :) I think I need to go have some now, too! :D

So glad you liked it, and I’m also glad you like the packaging! I’m actually really proud of my sample pack packaging :)


This review rocks!! Lol, my tastebuds are no more magical than yours sweet girl. I’m glad more people are stating to review this wonderful tea. (And psst…it is this close to surpass LB by a notch for me as well. Right now they are neck in neck, so no rotten tomatoes from me!!)


My first sip of Ailaoshan Black is scheduled to arrive on Monday! :) These reviews are providing sweet anticipation.

I may rush to my mailbox, but for the sake of my neighbors I will hopefully contain myself and show some discretion. But then again, sometimes one has to do what one must do.


Brendan, the sample pack packaging is so cute! Rustic, but also refined :-). I didn’t just like it, I love it! And I need it. What have you done to me?? LOL

TheTeaFairy, I remain convinced that your taste buds are indeed magical.

inranger, I do try to keep exposing myself to the neighbors to a minimum, but you know sometimes things just happen. Sorry neighbors!


No tomatoes from me either – this one rocks

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106 tasting notes

From the unflavored TTB.
I used less tea than I normally do per the instructions in the TTB. I didn’t need more than 1 gram. Powerful nose is a blend of autumn leaves, chocolate, and smoke. The taste is similar. This is a very good tea, but I think I prefer the Yunnan stlye that is heavier on the chocolate. The finish is almost ethereal: the blend of the flavors changes subtly and it fades very slowly. Others’ tasting notes mention caramel, and the flavor now seems obvious to me, but I don’t see the honey, raisins, etc.

Although this isn’t my favorite flavor mix, the tea was so well made and interesting that it still rates a very high score.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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10 tasting notes

Malty with chocolate, caramel notes and a fruity sweetness. We hope to get more of this when it is available again.
I’ve enjoyed drinking warm in the evening times and I’ve had it as an Iced and It is a really nice and brisk. I love it.

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483 tasting notes

This is my 400th tasting note so I wanted to make it a good one!

I brewed up some of this for breakfast, about 3 min at boiling.

Very tasty! Flavorful, malty, fruity…no chocolate notes for me though.

I enjoyed the cup a lot and would consider it for a future order. It’s no Golden Orchid, mind you. I may have to drink the rest side by side with North Winds and Fujian Black to compare, then maybe I would have more to say.

In my memory, these tasty black teas all sort of become one. Except Verdant’s Laoshan Black. And WP’s Golden Orchid, but that’s flavored with vanilla so it doesn’t count as a straight black.

Also except anything Golden Monkey. Those are on a whole other level.

I tried a resteep of this one but the flavor just wasn’t really there for me.

I’m sorry, this is a crappy 400th tasting note. I liked the tea.

Thanks a bunch for sharing, Courtney!!


grats on hitting 400!


Yay 400! Another one I may consider sending you haha!


Yay 400! :)


Thanks guys!

Courtney you didn’t like it?


I did, just I can’t decide if I like enough to keep it.


Aw. I guess the question is do you dislike it enough to get rid of it?


Guess i really need to place a WP order soooooon…

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674 tasting notes

My Whispering Pines order has arrived! Yes!

I thought I would steep some of this up since I was measuring some out to share with whatshesaid anyway. The steeped scent reminded me, pretty near perfectly, of Premium Taiwanese Assam, however the taste is much more akin to Bailin. Very tasty, either way!

It’s a bit lighter than PTA and has that great Bailin taste I love, but with much less maintenance (in terms of Bailin). This one may be a keeper.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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213 tasting notes

I do love these Chinese black teas. I knew I would love this one as well although it took me three tries to be able to focus on tasting it properly (with the first one I got distracted with something, and with the other – the water was vile, not sure why, such a waste though).

Smells like piles of honey and caramel! The brew if of a beautiful mahogany color. Every sip is smooth, creamy and with no bitterness at all. I think there are some chocolate notes, although faint (yet they do not feel like a weak and funky chocolate notes that are often found in artificially flavored choco teas). Also some nuttiness that is more on the sweet side. It is just amazing how sweet this tea is. I think there’s a slight hint of fruitiness in the aftertaste like… a ripe pear?

I think there’s going to be different flavors in this tea every time I make it. Which is just great. This definitely belongs to my all time favorite black teas now. Whispering Pines are out of it at the moment, so I guess I am going to hoard the rest of what I have :D Hopefully they will re-stock it one day :)

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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