Savory, smooth, cocoa, peat, bakery, a wisp of smoke and the faintest bit of anise. Medium-rich for a black, full-flavored. A nice cup, would be delighted to find this tea in a restaurant.
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Smoke
“Savory, smooth, cocoa, peat, bakery, a wisp of smoke and the faintest bit of anise. Medium-rich for a black, full-flavored. A nice cup, would be delighted to find this tea in a restaurant.” Read full tasting note
“Sipdown (143)! Thank you Scheherazade for the sample! I drank this one on the commute to work this week, I’d have loved to brew it Gong Fu but I was a little hesitant that...” Read full tasting note
“This was a super fragrant, incredibly flavorful, very generous free sample from Whispering Pines Tea Co. This tea session felt like walking through the semi damp forest in Autumn. Dark brown sugar,...” Read full tasting note
“This is the third Whispering Pines black tea sample I am reviewing. I mentioned that I found them all to be a bit generic, that is generic to eachother, not among tea in general. Now the other two,...” Read full tasting note
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!
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
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.
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Thank you Scheherazade for the sample!
I drank this one on the commute to work this week, I’d have loved to brew it Gong Fu but I was a little hesitant that the sample wouldn’t be quite enough leaf and my session would be a little week. And, in the end I ended up putting the rest of the sample in the GCTTB because Jillian had asked to try it, and I just had to take advantage of the chance to share a WP tea since everyone wants the chance to get to try them. Usually for good reason.
You’ll have to forgive my lazyness; I’ve built up a queue of posts this week and I’m feeling too tired to reword all of the jot notes into paragraphs, so these next few notes will likely just be copy and pasted jot notes for convenience/speed.
- Brisk/Astringent at first
- More of a round/clean flavour as it cooled
- Malt/Raisin/Honey top notes
- With some woody, cinnamon, and nut body notes
- Little bit of a sweeter marzipan finish?
This was a super fragrant, incredibly flavorful, very generous free sample from Whispering Pines Tea Co. This tea session felt like walking through the semi damp forest in Autumn. Dark brown sugar, fall spice, dark ripened and dried fruits, malt and subtle yam, butternut squash and sweet potatoes hiding in there as well. Towards the end woodsy autumn leaves took over. These are some seriously feel good leaves of love…
5g, 100ml Purion, just under boiling and then up to boiling temperatures for 10s and counting up till around 3m for over 6 infusions.
This is the third Whispering Pines black tea sample I am reviewing. I mentioned that I found them all to be a bit generic, that is generic to eachother, not among tea in general. Now the other two, I was very curious to try, but this one I just KNEW I was going to like. Why? Because I have had cocoa amore, and other black teas from the same region, with similar notes, and this one was a shoe-in. I am still not sure they send me the correct tea Haha. Bad is definitely not a word I would use to describe it, it was decent, but really, really weird. My first reaction was “This is what they use to make cocoa amore”? MY second reaction was “This tastes like pesto” No I’m not kidding, it really does, I think primarily like pine nuts but with some earthyness too that makes it very pesto-y. Very little chocolate or cocoa at all. I brewed it pretty strong but still, just not as I expected. Very fruity, very floral. Not bad by any mans though, I’m going to give it a lowish grade for now but reevaluate with the rest of my sample.
Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Floral, Fruity, Olive Oil, Pine
I just got this sample from Whispering Pines Tea Company yesterday! I am so excited to try the other teas I ordered (look for tasting notes on Port, North Winds, and 2013 Ontario Pu-erh coming soon). This tea is a smooth, sweet treat. I’d like to add a longer tasting note at some point but we are starting case rounds so ta-ta for now!
I brewed this based on Brenden’s recommendations!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Creamy, Honey, Molasses, Smooth
Had this tea first thing this morning, no milk. I enjoyed it, but I think I need a milky tea in the morning — it feels comforting and soothing and I need all of that that I can get in the morning! I think, for drinking teas without milk, I might prefer a brighter, fruitier tea. I’d like to get some good green samples to drink in the afternoon.
I also purchased some spring water to make my tea with at home because I made a cup of the Wild Grey with our tap water and felt like there was something in the way of the flavor, but then tried again with the spring water and liked it much more. Related: I learned online that Earl Grey isn’t traditionally served with milk! I feel like a doofus.
I’ve noticed that the Whispering Pines teas have made me quite jittery even from the first few sips, while teas from teabags usually give me a gentle energy. I’m a bit worried that loose black teas might be a bit too much for my body, which makes me sad. Especially since I just placed an order with Upton for an Assam sampler and a bunch of other samples.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Cream
I am really enjoying my Whispering Pines order! All the teas seem to be very high quality!
This kind of tea is quickly becoming my favourite…malty chocolate.
This tea is malty chocolate with some caramel in the forefront. As the tea cools, the fruity notes take over, primarily plum and raisin (it says current in the description though). I have no idea what longan fruit is, so I can’t pick that note up. I also don’t really get the salted caramel but that’s ok, it’s probably just my palate. It isn’t that refined.
Resteeped at 5&8 minutes.
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Malt, Plums, Raisins
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.
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
The weather finally cooled, and I finally got to Gong Fu the generous sample. The longhan fruit quality is overpowering. Still salty and caramel like for a black tea, but the robust fruity quality is practically ripe. It’s a stronger version of what introduced me to Whispering Pines, but now I have a hard time with the strength. I continue to recommend this highly, I just don’t know if I can drink it as often. Maybe as a robust wake up brew.
Because of how I felt about this tea, my preferences really have changed. Perhaps its the season, or perhaps high mountain oolongs have changed my world. It’s official anyway: I like lighter teas with few exceptions.