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Recent Tasting Notes
No other tasting notes for a Whispering Pines tea?!?! This is from Daylon R Thomas! Thanks so much! I have been drinking so many Nepal teas lately — all of them different tasting, yet so elusive in describing, that I’m skipping writing tasting notes for many of them… for now. This one is very good. Twisty black leaves with only a hint A HINT of auburn. (But it also looks like my sample has a stray sickle of white tea in there.) The flavor was surprisingly smoky in that first cup! I didn’t expect smoke at all. The brew is crisp, clear, sweet. A medium strength black. The next morning, finishing the dregs when the cup has cooled, the smoke is gone. The flavor is so different this morning that I forgot I didn’t steep a second cup yet. The second steep is much less smoky. I can appreciate the clearness of this tea, the crisp cleanness, which seems the opposite of what otherwise, is mostly a tea with a smoky note. Not bitter or murky at all, though usually I would prefer a murky tea, this one is just a gem.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a mug // 18 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min
Drank this yesterday after coming home from a tea tattoo(!!!)… I thought for a long time I was going to ink California sagebrush, and then a couple months ago I suddenly realized why I hadn’t quite settled into pulling the trigger. Because it was supposed to be tea. Duh.
Leaves and liquor smell of a Three Musketeers bar: sweet milk (not dark) chocolate and marshmallowy nougat. Wowza.
I admittedly came to this tea looking for deep cocoa and malt notes layered with vanilla, and that’s just not quite what this little one is. I initially brewed western with a resteep, then went directly for a heavy-handed gong fu session, thinking maybe I underleafed my western brew. But no — the base is just fairly light. There was also a persistent acidic/sour note that I had a hard time reconciling with the rest of the profile..
I am finding that very rich blacks work nicely in my morning routine, but this isn’t quite that… and that’s okay. It was more balanced with food; a garlicky Impossible burger broke up my session, and the steep following that was more rounded, with the sour note tempered. Might try this iced, too.
Flavors: Marshmallow, Milk Chocolate, Sour, Vanilla
Wow. What a revelation. Muscat complexity and depth like red wine. Steeped western while half asleep this morning; second steep didn’t slow down at all; wish I’d brought the leaves along to work for a third. Looking forward to bowling and sessioning this in a less-groggy state.
Coming back to add: 3rd steep about 24 hours later was cotton candy glorious.
Strong and comforting sweet and grainy aroma with a prominent cocoa note. First steep is sweet, grainy and nourishing. Second and third move into earthy territory with dominant tobacco and rye tastes as tannins and complementary bitterness present. A great breakfast tea.
It’s been years since I’ve had a straight up Yunnan gold tea. Thank you Whispering Pines for including this as a free sample with my order :)
Flavors: Beer, Burlap, Cactus, Cantaloupe, Cocoa, Earthy, Eggplant, Ginger, Grain, Leather, Malt, Malty, Orange Zest, Pine, Roasted Barley, Rye, Savory, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wheat, White Grapes, Wood
The tightly curled snails of black tea in this sample smell richly of honey with a touch of molasses and malt. There is a deep, rich baked fruit aroma as well.
The first steep was so rich and full bodied. Gorgeous color, and looked so pretty I decided to have it in my silver lined cup from Crimson Lotus.
I had just made zucchini bread with a mystery grain that was in the freezer. It looked a lot like hard white wheat but may have been spelt? I ground it into flour and also was combining two recipes I have made. The bread turned out great. Somehow it was almost like caramelized sugar on the outside even though the new recipe only had 1/4 cup more sugar than the old one, but the extra full cup of flour would have counteracted the sweetness, I would have thought. This bread needed a tea with body and flavor.
I preferred the first steep to the second, but the second was good. I gave most of it to Ashman when he got home from work to go with his slice of zucchini bread. I intend to keep using this flour, keep using this adapted recipe, and make sure I have a hearty tea like this one to go with it.
As much as I was looking forward to trying this little sample from beerandbeancurd, AJ seems to have an understanding of Earl Greys that necessitates getting to try this tea. That, and Whispering Pines is easily accessible for me in the States, so I gave this packet a good long sniff and taped it up with the ITCC Teas of Nepal box. Safe journeys, little golden Earl. May you enjoy, AJ :)
I’ve tried the ‘regular’ Earl Gold in the distant past and it was lovely. But this smelled divine. Just that whiff absolutely brightened my mood.
Got a little box full of delight from ashmanra (thank you!) just as Steepster borked itself, so this is a catch up. I was terribly excited to try this shou, as everything from Whispering Pines has positively astonished me thus far.
I think the most surprising thing about this tea is that it isn’t rich or even terribly complex. It’s just so clearly and simply and daintily mushroom. I’ve used “fungal” to describe some other shous, but woo — this just redefined the word for me. It’s a light mushroom, like white button or portobello. Clean, creamy, extremely drinkable. No compost flavor whatsoever — restraint in the piling? Feels respectful of the leaves. This might be a good introduction to ripes for a new drinker.
From beerandbeancurd – many thanks!
I had this for breakfast thinking it would be heavier on the bergamot than Ashman goes for, but I think this is one he would have liked. Too bad, I drank it all.
Sam and I had hard-boiled egg, toast with jam, and bacon. I actually had rhubarb and raspberry from Fortnum out, sniffed the dry tea leaves, and put it away and took out Burlington Breakfast fine cut marmalade. That’s how special this tea smelled…it had to have just the right pairings.
I expected strong bergamot but instead I got a face-full of the richest, silkiest golden tip tea with strong sweet potato and honey aromas, like a cashmere scarf came out of the pouch a la Bugs Bunny and caressed my cheek. Thus the move to a marmalade that would complement it. The rhubarb and raspberry would have been far too sweet to pair well.
This is a very full bodied tea with what Graham Kerr referred to as “mouth-roundness.” I made two steeps Western. The bergamot was subtle, refined, and elegant.
I went to the website and hit that NOTIFY ME button so fast…
TTB Review #55: Well, I was certainly very skeptical upon seeing “wet rocks” listed among the flavors. Smelling it…why, yes, it does remind me of wet rocks! Wet leaves is another apt description. Tree bark, mud, musky grass. The taste isn’t as harsh – woody, nutty, and with just a hint of wet rocks. Despite wondering if I’m drinking puddle water, I kind of like it!
Sample from Brendan. This is a beautiful black, an easy winner for breakfast. I don’t know what the exact blend is, but the citrus notes almost hit like a Keemun, or… familiar and light like the orange pekoe tea bags of my youth, too, but that seems insulting as it’s far more. Strappy brown bread, malt, cocoa, marmalade, toast, whispers of minerality. There was a flit of floral perfume on the steaming leaves that I couldn’t pin down before it vanished. My split-second thought was rose, but I don’t think that’s it. Suffice it to say, this manages to be both familiar and interesting.
Flavors: Bread, Citrus, Cocoa, Floral, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Toast
Brought this tea with me to Utah while visiting family this past week or so. I was so gooped to see that I still had some of this squirreled away! I almost left this behind in my cupboard, but I am trying to break the habit of letting particularly precious teas hide away until the either go stale or I completely forget and move on. Like the saying, “If you love them let them go,” but more like, “If you love them, DRINK EM FRESH.”
This tea still had it’s intense sweet maple candy aroma and woodsy scent on the dry leaf, carrying over to the subsequent steeps. So intoxicating! I grampa’d and gongfu’d this whenever I got bored of WP’s Silver Snail. I was able to continually brew this tea for a whole day/6-7 steeps damn near every time. The scent of the candy cap mushrooms didn’t fade a bit over the years, and dominated the first 4 steeps each time. The cocoa and woodland notes of the black tea only made for an exciting combination. I’ll be sad when i finish this one, but so glad to have been able to enjoy it as much as I did.
Flavors: Candy, Cocoa, Maple, Mushrooms, Wet Wood
Morning birthday cuppa yesterday. I was so happy to open the cupboard and see this still unopened, it felt like a gift. The tiny dry leaves were so beautiful, brown and yellow and places in between… and dense! I stopped at 5g in my 5oz pot, where 7g is my go-to for most things. The very first steep poured a crisp chestnut color, noticeably reddish. Later steeps lost the red and were more brown.
This little love needed no warm-up before the magic happened — the first steep was a symphony. And it seemed every flavor was detectable on the nose and in the mouth… remarkable. Reminded me of golden snails with extra tucked-away gems to discover. Toast, roast, umami, saltines, nuts, brown bread, seaweed, cocoa, malt, molasses… ripe strawberry and caramel at the bottom of the cup. Incredibly smooth. Some tannins finally popped in the third or so, and they were as delightful as everything else.
Because they were closed yesterday, we are heading over to Callisto Tea House in Pasadena today, for a gong fu session (and probably some plant-based goodies, who am I kidding). I’m pretty excited to share some tea outside my home and see what I learn today.
Flavors: Bread, Caramel, Cocoa, Cracker, Malt, Molasses, Roasty, Salt, Seaweed, Strawberry, Tannin, Toast, Umami
Visited my family this past week, and my parents still have this tea in a ceramic canister in the back of their pantry. To my surprise, this tea has aged really well since I first left it there years ago. It’s taken on more of a floral front on the dry leaf, which carries itself to the brew. Almost thought that it was jasmine tea for a minute! I grampa’d and gongfu’d this tea all throughout the day during my visit, super content with each steep. There was a bit of astringency with the earlier steeps each time I brewed, but by the third of fourth time around most of the bitter sting was flushed out. Maybe it’s good that I slept on this tea, it’s only gotten better with age.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Jasmine, Oats
Had the last of my ~5 months old sample this morning, and the bergamot was… missing. Hmm. It remained a solid and tasty black snail, but that glorious bouquet had up and spirited away.
It makes me a bit nervous about the four(!) ounces I just received. I had moved the earlier batch to a sealed glass container; I’ll leave this next one in its mylar, drink studiously, and hope for the best.
By best I mean gloriously nekkid barrel-aged angels bergamoting all over the place. Fingers crossed.
I sniffed the open bag and started laughing, as I haven’t been this overwhelmed by bergamot oil since I was a kid and every sip of Earl Grey tasted like an exotic perfume.
This feels like travel — waking up and teetering down creaky steps to breakfast in the UK. The proprietor’s homemade marmalade and fresh brown bread, hoofed back from the bakery before sunrise; a barely-sweet mug of cocoa on the generations-old oak table; that cozy buzz before heading out into an overcast day of wood beams and lichen-stone and drizzle and history.
Flavors: Bread, Brown Toast, Cocoa, Oak, Orange Zest
The first time I tried this I didn’t care for it, so I stashed it in a drawer and forgot about it. That was about 2 years ago, and I just dug it back out again. With some aging, the vanilla has become so strong, with just a touch of cedar. The oolong is bright green and fresh, with a pop of lilac. Really interesting base combined with the vanilla and cedar.