Tea type
Black Tea
Chinese Black Tea
Baked Bread, Cocoa, Malt, Cherry, Plums, Red Wine, Rose, Rosehips, Chocolate, Fruity, Honey, Smooth, Sweet, Anise, Autumn Leaf Pile, Cream, Flowers, Licorice, Orange, Wood, Caramel, Peat, Burnt Sugar, Grapes, Sweet Potatoes, Molasses, Raisins, Floral, Tobacco, Butternut Squash, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Herbs, Jam, Berries, 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 4 g 9 oz / 272 ml

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103 Tasting Notes View all

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

Whispering Pines Tea Company is dedicated to bringing you the most original, pure, beautiful tea blends. We use only the highest quality ingredients available to create additive-free teas teas inspired by the pristine wilderness of Northern Michigan. Our main focus is on customer satisfaction and quality.

103 Tasting Notes

37 tasting notes

I’m reviewing the Autumn 2014 harvest (according to the Whispering Pines web site), purchased in October 2015. I brewed it gong fu style using the timings recommended by WP (10/10/15/30/45/75/120/180 seconds)

Tasting notes on Steepster from a little over a year ago speak of cocoa and caramel notes. Other than a hint of cocoa in the aftertaste on steep 2 and a whiff in the aroma in steeps 5 and 6, no cocoa notes were found in this harvest and no caramel notes at all. Early in the session I was disappointed by this.

As the steeps went on, however, I gained an appreciation for this tea. It has good balance, with no one taste really standing out throughout the session. It’s a medium bodied tea with a moderate intensity of flavor.

There are other China black teas I adore because of a particular dominant note, but can’t drink them every day because I get tired of that note.

I will have to drink this tea a few more times before I can say for sure, but this feels like one I might not get tired of. It has a buttery mouthfeel and complex aromas of sweetness, malt, tart stonefruits, occasional spice, dried apricots, vinegar, and a few faint cocoa notes. And on the last steep (3 minutes) I smelled sauerkraut. Yep, that’s in there too.

The flavors were primarily tart stonefruits, honey sweetness, some sweet fruitiness, and Yunnan spice.

I’m not going to rate this until I’ve had it a few more times, but my initial reaction is quite positive.

Pix: http://instagram.com/p/9KrjCBli48

Boiling 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Terri HarpLady

It’s been awhile since I had this one, but I recall enjoying it :)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I’m really hoping for an awesome harvest of this in Spring 2016. Spring ’14 was the best so far for sure. The rains messed up a lot of the blacks this spring. Glad you still enjoy it! :)


I noticed a shift in flavor profile on many of the 2015 black teas I’ve ordered recently from various companies. Did not know why, but assumed it had something to do with the weather. Thanks for clarifying that.

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419 tasting notes

I don’t know how I haven’t already reviewed this tea…seeing as I’m down to half a bag! I clearly must have had some of it. Anyway I love this tea. It smells very dark and rich and malty to me…which as you know I LOVE. While the taste has hints of cocoa and…bread. Weird but so darn good.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Malt

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

This is a really nice one. I love the teas with bread notes.

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266 tasting notes

Thank you Brenden for this sample! I liked this one WAAAAAY more than North Winds. North Winds is much lighter as a Gongfu, and though I am actually starting to prefer this method of black tea brewing, there were times where I had to do it western because I was off by a few grams and the particular leaf wasn’t as strong. I like my dark teas bold, but complex and full of flavor. That’s why I typically enjoy Irish Breakfast more than say English Breakfast because it’s got more umph. Along the same parallel, the Aliashan is bolder, and more complex to me. I’m getting all of the tasting notes that are on here.

Toasted, whole grain bread is the best, first comparison I get, coupled with a malt like red wine aftertaste. Caramelized plum, though, is what this tea fully tastes like, and what I get the most. Again, it’s a very complex black tea that is sturdy though done Gongfu. I actually did the first steep in ten seconds which is fairly impressive, and it certainly filled my cup. A part of me even prefers it to the Golden Bud Dian Cong. I wonder what it would taste like as the Jabberwocky or Cocoa Amore. I also drank this as soon as I finished Rivendell, and this is the Aragorn to Rivendell’s Arwen.

This may be a more medium black tea, but it is a man’s tea, dang it (so wish I could use the full profanity)! For black tea lovers and would be the best introduction to an Ailoashan black for a newbie. If you want something robust with three dimensions, this is the tea to try.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Cocoa, Malt, Plums, Red Wine

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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813 tasting notes

I’ve had this tea three times now. It is tasty. There’s cocoa, but it’s not dominant, more subtle. There’s also some fruity notes, like cherry or plum. It’s incredibly smooth. I really enjoy it but have a hard time describing the notes. Maybe my tastebuds are messed up due to allergies. Anyway, I can safely say it’s good. Go get some! ;)


i get more cherries and plums in this tea than anything else


We clearly have similar tastebuds!

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251 tasting notes

How have I never reviewed this tea? I feel like I must have and it was in my cupboard, but no previous review to be found. This is a backlog sipdown, but I remember really enjoying it. It was also a pleasant transition straight black tea as the seasons change. During the Fall and Winter and found myself reaching for the bold malty/choco blends like Fujian and Laoshan Black, but come Spring and Summer- Ailaoshan Black is where it’s at. :)

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13 tasting notes

We got this tea in a sample from Whispering Pines Tea in our order of Golden Snail. I have to say its quite unique and does have a bit of fruity undertones.

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

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640 tasting notes

Warm cup of a mild black tea with notes of malt and bread. This is not as strong as the Jabberwocky so I wouldn’t drink it as a morning tea but it is a relaxing cup of tea. I still don’t like black teas but this is quality and I can appreciate that.

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149 tasting notes

Thanks so much for such a generous sample of this, Dexter! :D

This tea is earthy and malty, while being fruity and bright at the same time, which makes for a really fun sip. I’m really enjoying everything that is going on in this cup. I brewed this one up western style, but I’m thinking I’m going to use my gaiwan next time, thinking all these flavours would be really interesting that way.

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291 tasting notes

Mmmm, tasty. Smooth malt, bread, cooked fruit, and a bit of honey sweetness. Flavours linger on the palate. Very nice!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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94 tasting notes

Some of these well-loved teas get the most imaginative flavor descriptions in tasting notes. People taste orange, plum, blackberries – never just fruit. They taste particular loafs of bread and specific vintages of honey. I just love reading through them. My palate is not so finely tuned.
What I’m noticing most here is that this is a very “breathy” tea. After I take a sip, I can sit, breathing in and out for a few minutes, and I re-taste the tea on every breath out. The breathing is almost more pleasant than the actual drinking of the tea. Overall, the tea affects every portion of my mouth. Whether while drinking, or on the breath out, the flavor hits everything – my gums, all of my tongue, the roof of my mouth. My teeth? That is perhaps stretching the point… but my teeth do taste rather like this tea as I tongue them.

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

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

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