Mark T. Wendell

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Recent Tasting Notes

80
drank Cheericup Ceylon by Mark T. Wendell
2815 tasting notes

I’ve always wanted to try a lemongrass/black tea blend so today I decided to create my own. I used about 1/3 lemongrass leaf and 2/3 cherricup ceylon. This was a good call, the lemongrass goes really well with the brisk and fruity ceylon and seems very refreshing. Note to self: This will make a great blend for summer time iced, with a little bit of sugar!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Ysaurella

sounds a great idea

TeaBrat

you should try it :)

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80
drank Cheericup Ceylon by Mark T. Wendell
2815 tasting notes

I found this tea in Baltimore and couldn’t resist picking it up.

It is brisk but not bitter, I am drinking mine with milk so I think that helps with the briskness. It isn’t my favorite Ceylon but is still pretty good. Slightly woody and earthy. I did try sipping on it plain and it was okay that way but I think I prefer it with soymilk. I also forgot how long I steeped this for so it got pretty strong, might try and steep a little less time in the future because it probably lost a lot of its subtlety.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
gmathis

That’s just a happy little name…Cheericup.

Indigobloom

sounds delish!

TeaBrat

I like the name too!

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92
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
169 tasting notes

Backlogging from yesterday.
What a way to start the new year.
We arose to temps dipping to 10 below outside and our oil heater had quit during the night.
The house was freezing.
Hubby went out to fix it (yes, the problem was outside in lines or something)
He bundled up and went to grab the door knob and it shattered and fell apart in his hand!
No, we do not use glass door knobs and no my husband is not the Hulk.
So, we both looked at each other shocked and now there was a gaping round hole in our door allowing the evil cold in.
We shoved a rag in the door and went out and I huddled around an electric heater in the house.
After a bit, I decided that I would start some laundry because the dryer would help heat up the house.
SO, tossed laundry in the washing machine and then decided to shower and get ready for the day.
THEN, while in the shower, the washing machine water backs up into the tub.
The water keeps coming, so I have to shut off the shower water and huddle on a ledge with a towel around me, shivering and of course, shampoo in my hair (nothing ever happens just after you rinsed your hair, does it?)
Finally, the water went down and I was able to shower.
SO, my whole point that this was just our first hour of New Years Day!
I needed a good tea to counteract this craziness.
I opened up my tea sample drawer and grabbed this and dumped the rest of it that was left in my tea infuser (about a teaspoon and half).
I needed its wonderful strength yet, polite gentleman like qualities to give me courage for the rest of the day.
Whew! Thank you Amy Oh and Thank you Hu Kwa.
Read previous note for on this tea.
Oh, and Happy New Year…I guess.

gmathis

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Thinking warm thoughts for you!

ashmanra

Oh my! Well, it can only get better from here! :)

K S

Sorry. hoping things improve rapidly.

Hesper June

Ha! Yes, I actually find it all quite humorous.
My Mother’s saying “trouble comes in 3’s” came to mind yesterday…I just didn’t know all three would be within an hour of waking and all before tea!:)

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92
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
169 tasting notes

Thank you Amy Oh for giving me the chance to try this tea.
What a elegant Lapsang Souchong!
The dry leaves smell of fine quality black tea and smoke.
Then when the water flows over the leaves, emerges this deep smoke.
If this tea were a Man, it would be a Gentleman, with some royal blood, yet totally is rocking a 5 o’clock shadow. Ahem, Anywho!
I have found since I started drinking LS’s, that each one has a bit different level of smoke, even a style of smoke.
Some LS’s are almost rough, others have a honey note, while others are not heavily smoked.
This tea is smoky, but the fine quality black tea shines through as well.
In fact, the first note I taste is the rich black tea, then the lovely smoke hits your tongue.
This tea is a delight to drink.
I also enjoyed reading about its rich history in my Mark T. Wendell catalog.
Thanks again, Amy Oh!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I’m glad you liked it!

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77

A pleasantly delicious tea and a first time trying this brand and blend of tea; good quality teas, you can tell in the taste.

I am not too familiar with this type of blend, but I expected a heartier flavor profile. It is very tasty but not what I thought it would be; I was expecting a smokier taste, not as much as Lapsang Souchong but at least contributing to the flavor. This Russian Caravan is smooth…actually, this is all I can say about it, there is really no depth or complexity to it. I am aware that this type of blend does have some Lapsong Souchong blended in for flavor and intrigue, but the only time you taste smokiness is in the aftertaste and then it’s only a whisper on the palate. When drinking, Russian Caravan is somewhat malty, again, not as much as drinking Assam alone but noticeable.

Not a hearty tea however, a good afternoon tea.

Would I recommend this blend, yes…for the afternoon or when you don’t feel like a heavy, malty blend. I would like to try this same blend from other vendors for comparison.

I would say try this for something different, quiet and refined.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec
j-k

On the write-up for this tea on the Mark Wendell website they state: “Our special blend contains no smoky aromas.” This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I find personally, because lapsang souchong can really be absolutely overpowering in blends. Also if you’re doing it “Russian style” in which you make a really strong zavarka in a small pot and use that throughout the day in small quantities, topping it off with hot water from the kettle…. Lapsang that steeps that way seems to release much more of the smoke flavor than wha’s released in the normal English steeping method of 5-5 minutes, The idea of Russian Caravan is that the Silk Road overland caravans exposed the bundles of tea to nightly campfires and that it took on a smokiness as a result. If the goal was to actually try to recreate that, I’d think the smoke taste would be extremely subtle. Lapsing is actually deliberately smoked. Its a taste unto itself, but is really difficult to incorporate subtly, without totally masking what’s there, imho. Anyway, in a tea like this, I find it’s far better to err on the side of subtlety, and this seems to be the deliberate decision they made.

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72

When I want an earthy but light tea I go right for this. It’s not as floral or light as I like my greens but it gets the job done without being too understated. Eating some plain jasmine rice with this tea is an excellent, simple meal.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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94

Goodness this is good! I love yellow tea! Thank you LiberTEAS for sending me some!
I am going to have to add this to my TO GET list as well!
A perfect example of yellow tea for those who may want to venture into yellows or anyone who is already a fan!
Sweet, buttery but not too buttery, creamy, slightly vegetal but not like a green, even a slight candy like flavor when cooled.
Full review on the 21st here: http://sororiteasisters.com/

LiberTEAS

Yay… I’m glad you are loving Yellows!

Azzrian

Oh I DO! I was lucky to be introduced to yellow tea the first time I ever purchase loose leaf! WOO HOOO its good stuff! :) Thank you for this!

LiberTEAS

You’re very welcome. :)

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83
drank China Yunnan by Mark T. Wendell
87 tasting notes

I can be an incredibly hard sell on green teas (they’re often a touch too bitter for my taste), but this one is mild, fresh, sweet, and agreeable. It also ices beautifully.

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80
drank Mandarin Rooibos by Mark T. Wendell
9065 tasting notes

So this tea, cold brewed? DELICIOUS! Sadly this is also a sipdown but this is a really enjoyable cold brewed tea. I’ll have to look into getting another similar rooibos sometime for those hot summer days. But for now this is just a great refreshing cold brew – with just a splash of sweetner to bring out the orange :)

Nik

Two of my favourite flavours! And I discovered from Della Terra’s Mayan Mist that they actually go great together, so I’m going to need to try this one. :D

Sil

on a side note.. i totally added some PAMA liquer to this one.. soooo good lol

Nik

Interesting, I’ve never tried that. As much as I love pomegranates, I haven’t yet found anything pomegranate-flavoured that tastes quite right. (And I really wish I would, because they’re such a pain to eat.)

Sil

seriously.. biggest fruit pain in the ass! To be honest it’s been so long since i’ve had real pomagrante i couldn’t tell you if it’s similar. I just love that liqueur. First had it at epcot in “france” pama + champagne! sooo yummy :)

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80
drank Mandarin Rooibos by Mark T. Wendell
9065 tasting notes

So another sample from indigobloom who may have incidently gotten this from Liberteas, but I can’t say for certain, there’s just a note on the package which leads me to believe so :) This is a really nice tea. It reminds me of…wait I think i figured it out while having that thought. I’m pretty sure this is similar to african red bush with a bit more orange but i’m sure i’ll second guess myself on that one forever.

Anyway, this tea doesn’t knock your socks off or anything like that but if you like orange and are ok with rooibos, it’s not too bad a tea :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

U R Funny!

Sil

Bonnie….naw just tired. Random stream of consciousness for the win. I did the gym today, then got home and the other half wanted to go for a bike ride… Loonnnnng day but it was good.

Indigobloom

hehe I believe this was from QuiltGuppy actually, but I could be mistaken on that!

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80

Thanks TeaEqualsBliss! This is a nice green tea :) slightly nutty but refreshing. Not a whole lot to say.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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84

It’s been ages since I’ve had a breakfast blend! I’m relatively familiar with the English Breakfast, less so with the Irish Breakfast, which out of the two I prefer because it’s a little stronger and a little heartier. Scottish Breakfast, however, is new to me, so I’ve been curious about it for some time. It’s the completionist in me. Getting the British Isles rounded of, sort of. (I wonder if there’s a Welsh Breakfast out there somewhere too…?)

Hesper June shared this one with me and her parcel arrived at the same time as a parcel from Auggy did. Lately I’ve taken to keeping unposted about teas on my desk, and I had just got it almost cleared from the TeaSpring order when this happened! Since Auggy in particular went completely ballistic and shared a whole tea shop with me, it seems like, the desk is now littered with tiny tins and I have my work cut out for me here. It makes it very difficult to work out where to start! O.O Exploring the selection a little, however, I found this and thought, ‘Gosh! How ideal!’

I still haven’t got any new Roy Kirkham (I’m working on it) pots, so I found the really rubbish tea-for-one pot in the back of the cupboard and resigned myself to the fact that this pot requires pouring over the sink, while trying not to despair too much about the waste.

Now, according to Hesper June this is a blend of Indian, Ceylon and China teas, which made me sigh, because really, how hard is it to be specific? I get that they don’t want to reveal too much of their secret recipe, but I just want to know which regions we’re dealing with. There are HUGE differences between regions in India alone. But then again, I expect the average consumer doesn’t really care about that level of detail, and likely it wouldn’t mean that much to most of them anyway.

Guess the ingredient it is, then.

Well, from the aroma alone I’m already suspecting the first one and the flavour strengthens that suspicion. I think there must be Darjeeling in here. It has that grassy, spicy aroma and the same sort of grassy flavour to it, along with a certain mineralness. I don’t think it’s very much, though. I can’t find it on every sip, but in the aroma, especially while I was pouring it, it seemed very clear.

Then there’s something quite sweet in the aroma as well. There is the Darjeeling note, in a sort of fleeting way, at the top followed immediately by something floral, and underneath all that is the sweet bit. It smells not like caramel but sort of along those lines. A bit malty and quite heavy too, as if the weight of it made it sink below those other notes. It doesn’t show up so much in the flavour as such, but it stands out in the aftertaste, again as a caramel-esque note. It rather enhances the impression that it’s heavier than the other notes and that I might reach it better when I get closer to the bottom of the cup. I have absolutely nothing to base this on, but get a strong impression that this note is from the Ceylon element.

Now finally, I mentioned a floral note, and here I think we have our China participant. Keemun, I think, which accounts to the malty element of what I imagine to be the Ceylon note and that floral note. You know how Keemuns, dependent on quality and leaf grade, can have either a pseudo-smoky top note or a floral one, or even sometimes both, yes? I tend to prefer the smoky one over the others. The floral element here, however, reminds me strongly of the way a floral Keemun tastes, so I think that’s what it must be.

So Keemun and Darjeeling to give it character, Ceylon to give it body, I think. I can’t really region-guess on the Ceylon, I’m far too inexperienced with that area to do that. I’m puzzled, though, as to why I can’t find any Assam in here. I thought Assam was pretty much a breakfast blend given. Of course me not being able to find it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Me being able to find something doesn’t even mean that it is there.

Now, I don’t much care for Darjeeling at all, so when I first smelled that in the aroma my initial reaction was to be a bit wary, but as it turns out there wasn’t really anything to be afraid of here. Yes, it has the Darjeeling notes that I don’t like, but they are not on their own. In a blend, they get spaced out a bit and complemented by the other ingredients. This way, I find it much more tolerable, so I’m beginning to think my dislike of pure Darjeeling is simply due to an overload of these particular notes. It seems to be going down just fine in a blend.

Daniel Scott

Love this breakdown! I’m always curious to read about what other people have found to be common to certain regions. I’d love to feel like I could pick them out; but I’m sure that I cannot, so I tend to avoid straight tea blends like the plague. I feel like I need far more experience with single types. The one Keemun I have tried indeed had floral notes!

Angrboda

It’s something that comes with experience, I think. I didn’t sit down and learn it, really. It all started with, ‘hey this reminds me of…’ and then I started wondering why it gave me those associations. (But yes, it does help to familiarise oneself with various regions first)

Hesper June

This tea had me slightly puzzled as well.
I just was expecting something of a more hearty nature.
But,was met with this tea,which I thought tasted more like a afternoon blend.
Very good review,you are much more experienced at tasting than I.

Angrboda

Perhaps it’s a breakfast blend for A type people? :p

Hesper June

Perhaps :-)

Auggy

Interesting breakdown! And it is surprising to have a breakfast blend with no Assam. I thought that was standard!

Also, yes, I might have been a wee bit enthusiastic. But I had been holding on to some teas specifically to send to you but I knew I was going to wait until after my LPdT and ATR orders… so you got bits of those, too. I was a bit surprised when I saw how many ended up in the pile, though. I had more new(ish) tea than I thought!

Angrboda

I know! It’s totally puzzling me. And it’s not like there’s anything else equally strong in there instead either. And yet somehow it still worked, although I would agree with Hesper June that it felt more like an afternoon blend.

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85

I can’t believe that I haven’t reviewed this tea yet. For me it was one of those sleepers. I bought it and tried it many times, but only realized how much I loved it when I ran out. At the time I was abroad and could not get any more until I returned several months later. Bummer!

It is a brisk tea as others have noted, but since I don’t use milk in tea it is still not too brisk for my taste. It has a wonderful taste/aroma that I can’t really find words for, perhaps floraly woody? All I know is I treasure it and love it as a break from my more often drunk teas. I do tend to steep it around 4 minutes to keep it from getting too brisk.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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83

This tea is excellent with milk as well as plain, I’ve discovered today. I keep expecting this tea to be more smokey-tasting than it is because the scent is full-on BBQ à la lapsang souchong. Luckily the other teas in this blend seem to dampen it down a little.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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83

I’ve had this tea in my cupboard for so long that I’ve forgotten where it came from. It must have been from a trade as I don’t recall ever buying from Mark T Wendell.

I really enjoyed this blend, it’s a great afternoon tea that’s light and smooth enough to be drunk without milk, but is still full of flavour. It’s not nearly as smokey as, say, a lapsang souchong, instead being more like a light Russian Caravan. It’s more than just a one note tea as well, there’s a fruity sweetness that blends nicely with the smoke and gives the tea more body and character.

Thank to whoever sent me this one!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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91

I’m always happy to see new teas from Mark T. Wendell. Hartley is one-cool-dude!

This smells like a greener-type-black/darjeeling with crispy notes!

The taste is a little like cracked pepper and green veggies with hints of fruitiness trying to hide underneath along with a few floral notes as it tries to cool at room temp for 2 or 3 minutes.

This is a really good Darjeeling. The end-sip hints at toast – I really like that!

Hesper June

Cracked Pepper? Green Veggies? Yum-o!!!

ScottTeaMan

Bliss, I really enjoy Darjeelings…… ALOT!! Most of my reviews for teas that I like are as descriptive as need be when describing a tea. I try to do that, and inject something interesting, so they are not boring for me or you or any other steepie who cares to read them. With that said, they do tend to be long sometimes! :))

I like your reviews, but for some reason I don’t always see them in my notices. Yours are interesting and short compared to mine. I just think it’s interesting and fun to see how reviews can be so different, entertaining, & fun here on Steepster.

My comment is starting to read like one of my lengthy reviews. :))

TeaEqualsBliss

Thanks Scott! Some are long – some are short – I try to mix it up quite a bit. A few of mine today will be pretty long winded tho! I think I already did 2 or 3 that way :) I have LOTS more to write and review today…so…time will tell with those :)

Thanks for the kind words! Your reviews are interesting and awesome as well!

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84

Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this.

Not bad, it tastes like … well … it tastes like Guayusa. No big surprises here, but it is invigorating and that’s what I need. Vegetal, but also rich and earthy, reminding me a bit more like a thinned coffee today – more so than usual. Who needs coffee when we have Guayusa?

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92

Just tried it iced and it’s very good!

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92

It’s not a bad green tea, and it smells flavored, but there is no noticeable flavor of pomegranate once you actually brew it.

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96

Ahh. Sharp attack with intense fruit overtones. Evolves into a medium bodied, full mouthfeel. Leaves sugary astringency and a long finish. Smells floral. Exquisite.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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89
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

I pretty much wanted to try this tea once I saw their ancient-looking packaging. Look at that canister-it look a hundred years old! I only hoped the tea was new.

The bad thing about Wendell is their shipping is comparatively high (for tea merchants) and (as far as I can tell) you have to buy 4 ounces of most everything. However, I really enjoy Lapsang, and with all the good reviews, I figured there was little chance that I wouldn’t like this tea. The good thing about Wendell is that their 4 ounce teas come in their own tins-no looking for a tin and struggling to remove the scent of the previous tea-you are ready to go. The tins have their lids attached on back hinges and are filled to the brim so be careful not to spill any. And to be fair about the shipping, the tins are probably a little more expensive to ship than a pouch.

The dry leaves are medium in length, very tightly rolled, and mostly chocolate brown with some mahogany brown mixed in. I’ve gone into sensory overload comparing the dry leaf aroma of this to my other Lapsangs, so descriptors fail me now, but suffice to say it is unique compared to the others. It’s smoky of course, but spicy too, and I’ll leave it at that for now. Liquor is copper-colored and very clear.

Flavor is smoky and mild. Slightly sweet. Very smooth. It tastes like a Lapsang, but slightly different. Perhaps that is the Formosan base instead of a Chinese tea base? Perhaps they have a better technique of smoking their leaves. Maybe both. No matter, it’s delicious. Almost makes me long for 90 degree days-when I enjoy Lapsang the most. I have 6 Lapsangs in my house right now. 5 of them are one ounce or less, so Hu Kwa will be around long after I have finished the others-and I kinda like that.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
ScottTeaMan

I think this is Al Pacino’s favorite tea…….HUU KWAAAAA!

TeaBrat

ScottB – what’s your favorite lapsang so far?

Scott B

Amy-I think I am leaning towards Al Pacino’s tea being my favorite,but Teavivre is strong too. I think I need to have a Lapsang contest to see for sure.

ScottTeaMan

Scent Of A Lapsang :))

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87
drank Indonesian by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

Ok, I got 3 orders of tea in yesterday and I felt so overwhelmed over which tea to try first I felt like Imelda Marcos trying to pick out a pair of shoes.

So, I punted and chose this as my first tea today. I’ve developed a lot of affection for this tea since I first reviewed it about 2 months ago. It’s kinda Assam-like which is good for first thing in the morning. Malty and tannic, but not bitter or astringent. I feel there are some notes of nondescript spices in the tea-as if there were spices growing near the tea garden. Somewhat robust, but not too strong. It’s full leaf which means it’s higher quality and not insane on the caffeine. It appears to be an estate tea so I usually get 2 steeps out of it. Other than that, it’s nothing fancy, but it’s reliable. This is my “first cup” tea more than any other. Upping the rating.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

You know you need just one more tea… or 50. :-P

Scott B

I think I’ve given up the fantasy that one more tea or one more order is all I need. I could stop drinking tea tomorrow if I wanted to-right.

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87
drank Indonesian by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

Did you ever think you’d get buried under an avalanche of tea?

It seemed that might happen yesterday as package after package arrived. My dog was wearing her nose out smelling all the interesting boxes. When the torrent subsided the boxes were between knee and waist high and I was ready to brew.

This was my first order from Mark T Wendell. The only Indonesian tea I’ve ever had before was in TG’s disappointing English Breakfast blend, so it was nice to see an Indonesian tea get a chance to stand on its own.

I’m not sure if this is an estate tea or not. The web site says it’s from Kertasarie Estate but the label on the tin says it’s a blend. Do estates ever make their own blends from different teas?

Anyhow, the dry leaves are short, twisted and fairly uniform in size. Their color is very dark brown with a few medium brown specks in there. Dry aroma is pleasant and subdued, with maybe a touch maltiness and a hint of orange citrus.

Brewed aroma is more malty with maybe that orange citrus note. Can you smell tannins? I swear I smell tannins. Liquor is nice and coppery.

Taste is good, if a little generic and nondescript. A little malty, but that orange citrus note doesn’t seem to have made it. Somewhat robust, but no bitterness. I think this could be a decent breakfast tea. I will brew this a little longer next time and see if I can coax a bit more flavor out of it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Scott B

Yes, their web site says it’s from the estate. But the label on my tin says “A blend of exquisite teas from the island of Indonesia..”. I am just unfamiliar with estates making their own blends-perhaps they do.

ScottTeaMan

I m still pretty sure it’s single estate b/c other websites have it listed as such. Where on the tin does it say it is a blend? I saw no notice of it on their website.

TeaBrat

Buried under an avalanche of tea, sounds like the story of my life. Ooh – I hope you got the Victorian Afternoon blend. :)

Scott B

Scott-The quote I included is from a label on the back of their 4 oz. tin. The description of it is sounds like it was written a very long time ago. Maybe at that time it wasn’t an estate tea.

Amy-I’m starting to think that what I am doing here is just living in a tea shop or something. Alas, I must have missed the Victorian Afternoon blend. Is it similar to Harney’s Queen Catherine?

TeaBrat

Scott – the victorian afternoon is a Lapsang blend, I quite like it.

ScottTeaMan

Here’s to living in & being buried in…….TEA! If it wasn’t so delicious, I’d probably bathe in it.

Scott B

“This vibrant blend of Indian, Sri Lankan and Formosan teas is further complemented by a slightly smoky character” Sounds very interesting.

Scott B

Scott-People have been known to drink their bath water!

ScottTeaMan

That sounds thirst quenching!

Scott B

gives a whole new meaning to the Nestea plunge

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83

I like this tea overall.
It’s nose is not untypical of the ‘breakfast blends’.
However what surprised me was how it tasted.
For some reason I was expecting something fairly strong maybe even hearty.
But, what I found was that it’s like a English Breakfast’s shy little brother.
It is very smooth and almost a bit of brightness?? (sorry I am new at this)
I like it, but I have been letting it brew a smidge longer as well as making my measuring spoon slightly heaping when I make it and have been happier with the results.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Bright is in fact a term used to describe tea so good job! :)

Hesper June

Whew! Good, glad to hear it:)

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