181 Tasting Notes
This is a typical tea from East Africa, the only differentiating trait is its dry leaf appearance: the leaves are small and twisty, which reminded me of some Chinese reds like Keemuns.
Everything else is rather typical: not much of wet or dry leaf smell besides vague maltiness. The taste is robust but not rough: malt,bread, clear astringency. It is pretty much Lipton but how Lipton would taste if it prioritized taste and storage as much as cost-efficiency.It takes milk and sugar well and if one craves for that traditional English tea experience this is the tea that would suffice. On the other hand, this tea offers nothing original and interesting, so it would probably disappoint more adventurous tea drinkers.
Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Malt
I agree with most of the previous reviews for this tea: it is indeed smooth, not astringent at all and full of stone fruit (plum, apricot, cherry), raisins and baked apples. The best part is the dry leaf appearance: very intricately rolled into wavy, twisty curls.
When I took a first sip (Western style) I thought “Whoa, that’s a unique taste with its combination of sweet and sour!” – but that feeling dissipated quickly: this tea does not grow on you much as you drink it . The main flavors, why pleasant, come as somewhat underpowered, and the tail of the taste is disappointingly sour. It is not a bad tea, but I had decidedly more balanced and lively teas with the stone fruit profile.
Flavors: Apricot, Candied Apple, Cherry, Plums, Raisins, Sour, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes
I had it Western style. The dry leaf is long, remarkably wiry and gnarly, which is pleasant. Its smell is restrained, with notes of fresh hay,malt, honey and pepper. The wet leaf acquires undertones of ash, earth, molasses and overripe berries.
The liquor is pale and it takes some time for it to darken appreciably. The taste is similarly understated: baked bread, malt, molasses, smoke, dark cherries, citrus zest. It has a good lasting power and could be sipped for a long time at different temperatures. A nice and balanced aftertaste.
Overall, it is a very enjoyable restrained tea with the profile of mostly baked bread + cherry/molasses sweetness. No astringency whatsoever. It could be a reliable daily drinker.
Flavors: Ash, Baked Bread, Berries, Cherry, Citrus Zest, Hay, Honey, Malt, Molasses, Smoke
Now this is one divisive tea – based on prior reviews. I always thought that puehrs stuffed in citruses are just a marketing gimmick. Finally, I ordered this puehr-in-a-tangerine to try it and check off the box.
Well, I was wrong. This rather simple earthy, autumnal-decay type of puehr blends with the citrus peel in a very natural way – like bergamot, ginger or chrysanthemum do. I always add part of the peel to the brew. The result is a simple, calming, autumnal drink. Dirt, mushrooms, a smell of the lake in the woods full of peat and fallen leaves.
There is not much of complexity, and definitely not the best choice for precise gong-fu sessions – but it is perfect for leisurely drinking the grandpa style.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cinnamon, Citrus Zest, Clay, Dirt, Malt, Mushrooms
Oolong is a smooth, understated tea and this blend was designed to be smooth and restrained as well. It requires concentration and full attention to appreciate. The bread component is the most prominent on the nose, while on the tongue it mostly spices (nutmeg and allspice) on the backdrop of mild oolong and baked bread.
The taste profile is not especially complex and the spices take a bit more prominence that I would have liked. Also, there is no interesting lingering aftertaste. Overall, it is a solid blend but it’s not something I will look forward to drinking again.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Nutmeg, Smooth, Spicy
This is a tea that matches its name well. It does smell of seaweed and water and some undetermined spicy aromas of faraway tropical lands. The taste is savory and umami: seaweed, cooked spinach, succulent grass and some exotic spicy notes.
All strands blend well and create a unique and memorable taste that I had no desire to dissect. Very mermaidy indeed. Usually green tea-based desert blends leave me underwhelmed but not this one really impressed me.
It is a very clean, bright and cheerful puerh. Wood, molasses, camphor, limestone, a hint of dried apple. Some decay on the nose but none on the tongue.
It is a sunny-morning tea, full of optimism and promise. Kinda amazing how many dramatically different puehrs are there in the world. This is one of the better ones, but then again everything that I have tried from Whispering Pines was firmly above-average.
Flavors: Camphor, Dried Fruit, Limestone, Molasses, Wood
This is the most unusual tea. The dry leaf aroma is overwhelmingly strong – and it smells nothing like tea at all. It smells as I would imagine smelled that little bastion near La Rochelle in where the daring musketeers feasted and leisurely shot at advancing troops. Gunpowder, decaying branches, grass, saddle leather, savory dishes and a whiff of sweet deserts.
The actual taste of the tea is less exotic but nevertheless deeply pleasing. Fresh ripe plums dominate, but there is enough of a good red tea and the calendula weirdness. It is strong, charming and lasting.
I am glad that I tried this one.
I have never been a big fan of genmaicha: to me it tastes to ricey, strong and untamed. Not exactly what I expect from tea. This mix, however, skillfully balanced the unique genmaicha flavor and made it way more palatable for people like me.
The dominant flavor of this tea is still a toasted rice with all of its grainy pungency. However, there is a notable smoother strain of cinnamon at the tail which makes it less one-dimensional. The same is true of the taste: the green tea provides the tanginess, while cinnamon and vanilla add some much-needed sweetness. Overall, it is still a potent and strong drink but way more complex and balanced, suitable for a wider variety of moods. Well done.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Grain, Pleasantly Sour, Rice, Vanilla
I had this tea in my cupboard for a couple of month and it has changed quite a bit – despite being in a well-sealed Ziploc bag. It lost the fierce smokiness in both taste and aroma that precluded me from drinking it more often as it called for a very specific mood to enjoy it.
Now it comes off as very full-bodied, expansive and incredibly sweet. A lot of complexity and a good strong finish. This tea reminds me of fall, bountiful harvests, Thanksgiving, big dinners and camaraderie. I like it even more than before and will certainly reorder (bumps the original score up a notch).