Whispering Pines Tea CompanyEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I need a t-shirt that says, “Mail is my love language.” This traveled to my house from derk in an envelope peppered with cheerful, artsy stamps. Furthermore, I have the luxury of some use-it-or-lose-it vacation time to burn before end of the month, so I am enjoying it at home, not in the office.
I tasted before I investigated the description, and couldn’t quite place the flavor, although the scent was deliciously rich. Come to find out, says Whispering Pines, this is a lapsang souchong variety. If so, it is the mildest one I’ve ever sampled—like the outside rim of a very lightly toasted marshmallow rather than campfires and bacon.
Thank you Brenden! And thank you derk for putting up the page!
I really liked this sample. The leaves were fairly small, like hairs picked off from a golden fleece. I plowed through it quickly over two days and kept on drinking it semi western in a large 12 oz mug and in increments of 1-2 minutes. I’m sorry if I’ve lost the usual specific description for notes….I’ve been backlogging….and I have at least ten more teas to do or more.
Back to the tea. This one was more floral than normal for me compared to some other golden hong cha, but it was very satisfying. I got the same notes derk did in terms of the cocoa,grains, creamed honey, and pepper. I also got some fruity melon ones that were vague but noticeable like cantaloupe. The tea was still predominantly floral, sweet, cocoa, caramel, and balanced by even malt, though it was not overly tense like an Assam or even some Keemum. Viscosity was also nice, and while it was on the lighter end overall for a black, it still provided plenty of body. It’s personally been one of my favorite gold strands blacks from whispering pines so far.
This is the second tea I am trying from my surprise care package from derk!
I really, really like smoky tea and this blend is named for Strider the Ranger, aka Aragorn from The Lord Of The Rings. I decided to gong fu steep this one because I wanted to get everything out of it I possibly could, and I am not disappointed.
I warmed the gaiwan and put the leaves in and waited a moment to smell the aroma the leaves were releasing. I have read reviews where people talked about smelling tomato in tea but have never caught that myself, and I think perhaps it was a “by association” type thing. When I smelled the gaiwan, it was like inhaling the scent of rich steak sauce, the deep reddish brown kinds.
I didn’t do a rinse but drank the first steep on my own. The flavor was more complex than I expected. Yes, it is smoky, nicely smoky, but there is much more. Already the purple tea is underneath but not yet prominent. I hesitated but decided to call in my husband to join me since he has started enjoying some black tea more. (More on husband and tea in another note soon.) He did try a lapsang with me not long ago and liked it.
He usually prefers from the second steep on in any gong fu sessions we have and that was where he started with this one. He made faces at first, but then he said….”It isn’t bad, it’s just…..so different.”
He hit the nail on the head. As we steeped again and again, the smoke was disappearing and the purple tea flavor became more and more prominent. I don’t know if I can describe it well, but it is like thin tea body with a hint of lemon and a hint of lime and a tiny touch of grassiness. That’s what purple tea usually tastes like to me.
This tea was really interesting and one that I would recommend drinking on its own and not pairing with food, because there is so much to experience here. If it were paired with anything, I would think it should be cheese or nuts. I don’t feel it would reveal all of its beauty and complexity if paired with sweets.
Thank you, derk! We really enjoyed this one, and it was a surprise for me that my husband liked it as well as he did, not being a smoke or black tea guy.
Typical light and clean gold bud character. It has a very clear, pure malt grain taste and sweetness. gmathis mentioned burlap sack before, though in regards to Keemun. I get that note here plus a bit of lightly floral cocoa and some of that creamed honey Brenden mentions in his description. Second steep brings out baked bread and black pepper. Super smooth.
Now that’s an easy sipper.
Thanks for the sample, Brenden :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Cocoa, Floral, Grain, Honey, Malt, Round , Smooth, Sweet
Sipdown! I’ve been drinking this fairly regularly for the last week or so, and I could have sworn I’d written a note on it, but I guess not… This is an unusual one because, at least to me, it’s very chocolatey but low in malt. The chocolate predominates, and there’s some sourness alongside woody notes of pine, cedar and a hint of smoke backing it up. The sip ends on a whisper of nuttiness, maybe even coconuttiness, which lends a little sweetness to what is primarily a fairly savoury tea, even with the chocolate notes. Is it weird for me to say that this reminds me of a sexy men’s cologne? There are certain colognes which smell delicious, and this tea tastes like those smell even though it doesn’t actually smell like cologne (and tastes way better than they would!) I don’t know, it’s just a feel I get from this tea. Sexy man smell. Lol. Anyway, thanks Sil for sending me a very generous sample of this tea! It’s helped me to pinpoint that some things I like in a single origin black, and some teas I might pick up again in the future.
this is just /chef’s kiss/
malty, creamy, bittersweet chocolate-y it does remind me a little of Ancient Spirit which is a good thing bc that is my absolute favourite tea. I was so excited to see this sample in my last WP order and am patiently waiting for this to be restocked.
edit, here is a nice song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abKBYZX_1sM
I thought I tried this one before. Anyway.
There are so many teas in my backlog. Most of them, I need to add to steepster myself. Cheers to trailblazing!
I hesitated on this one for a while since I was not quite sure how I felt on Jasmine Blacks. They tend to be too malty for me personally, but I given how smooth the Golden Snail is, I’d give it a try. I have only brewed it very lightly via western with 3-5 grams in 8-12 oz, but my initial times tend to be between two and three minutes, and then I add 30-45 seconds, and then minutes afterwards. I have gotten between 4-6 solid cups followed by fainter ones. I can see this as an easy Gong Fu tea, but I’ve been working a lot online (TEACHING), and have needed French press to power me through sessions.
First of all, this is a very well balanced tea, and naturally extremely creamy, sweet, and dense with jasmine flavor. The body is viscous, but not overwhelming thick or malty. Like other reviews, I could still taste the sweet potato and cherry malt underneath the jasmine. The cocoa nib notes a little bit more subdued, but they are there. Middle brews give me caramel notes, and later ones lean to honeysuckle from the black tea rather than the jasmine. The first and second steep remind me of buttercream frosting due to its voluptuous sweetness. Sometimes it reminds me of cantaloup, but I point that to the sensation when my buds go from Jasmine to black tea.
When I bought it, I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to buy more Lorien, or more of this one. I wanted the Nepal Gold, but it was sold out right when I went to go through checkout. So I doubled on Lorien because Jasmine Whites are my favorite, and if White Lotus was any indicator of Brenden’s tastes, Lorien would be really good because he topped it above Lotus. So I got less of this one…though I wanted to add more. Curse expenses and my propensity to diversify my Dragon’s Horde of Tea!
So, after trying both, I like both equally, but I prefer the Jasmine to tea ratio on this one’s taste. Lorien can be perfumy if you ever brew it like I did the first time, and I like that this jasmine is not nearly as vegetal, but better yet, not super malty or astringent if you brew it lighter. I like that I can taste both tea and jasmine, and this is the perfect pick me up tea. I used it before work this morning to power through parent phone calls (I HATE talking on the phone), and sustained me through my meeting.
1. Expense (WHICH IS ALWAYS THE CASE, BUT I SUPPORT BRENDEN AND HOLY CRAP DOES THIS ONE HAVE A HIGH DEMAND)
2. Longevity. Lorien’s main advantage over this one is that it yields more cups than this one. It can start to get week around cup 4-5 whereas my other teas tend to get weak at 6-7 western. It’s honestly a nitpick that depends on my leaf ratio.
3. Strength. This is easy to avoid and not a complaint from me, but I can see some people not liking this one because of the florals. It’s balanced enough to win people over and jade them to other Jasmine teas, but if you up the leaf too much, the Jasmine could get to your stomach. It’s more forgiving than most black teas, but it’s still a black tea, and can get astringent if it is over done.
I personally did not entirely picture Alice when I drank it unlike the Jabberwocky, Rivendell, or Lorien, but after reading the notes I can see it depending on how I picture it. When Alice drinks tea at the Mad Tea Party, I always imagine something more British like a breakfast tea, but then thrown in with something whimsical. The jasmine is more otherworldly than whimsical for me. But when I picture her with the caterpillar or with the flowers, this blonde tea makes more sense (ironic because I picture her more as a Brunette in the books over the blonde in the series). This little Geek rant has nothing to do with my enjoyment of the tea though, and Alice is one of the best blends that Whispering Pines has had. I like it more than Earl Gold, but that’s personal preference.
Flavors: Cantaloupe, Caramel, Frosting, Honey, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Malt, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes
Good morning :) I realized today I hadn’t made a bacon and eggs breakfast since moving from the city. I flipped my egg and it flopped under the range grate. What the heck? At least the smokey bacon covered up the smell of burning albumin on the grate. I ate the egg anyway.
Been a while since a song pairing.
The Diamonds — Little Darlin’
The share timer function on youtube isn’t working for me. 1:38 is where it starts.
This group came up at work Saturday after one of my older coworkers received a phone call Friday from Tommy Smothers of the Smothers Brothers to chat about the pandemic.
Needed a sweet tea to pair with a salty, savory breakfast. You wouldn’t think mushrooms would be the solution but these are candy cap mushrooms. Pure maple syrup without the sugar. The aroma is so dense and penetrating, I had to store the swap from ashmanra (thank you!) in a mason jar. No added flavorings to create what smells like a maple syrup soaked buckwheat pancake. As for the taste, I honestly don’t think I could paint a better picture than Brenden (the owner of Whispering Pines) did in his description for this tea. It’s more a malty and mineral cleansing taste perfect for cutting the bacon grease. The aroma gives an impression of strength in sweetness but it’s actually lightly sweet. Cocoa-vanilla hangs out up by my sinuses. Notice the cherry on the swallow after it cools down a bit.
This is how you do a maple-flavored tea.
Hope y’all are doing ok today. Two of my friends are ill, one in Ohio and one in Seattle.
Have another song, why not.
Red Hot Chili Peppers — Tear
Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Earth, Grain, Malt, Maple Syrup, Mineral, Mushrooms, Oak wood, Pancake Syrup, Vanilla
This smells incredibly chocolatey, to the point where I had to check if there was something added to it. Flavor-wise, it’s not nearly as chocolatey (which was a bit of a disappointment). There’s an underlying bitterness that’s coming through no matter how I steep it.
On a side note- this coronavirus situation has become quite scary. My store has closed for at least 2 weeks (I’m very lucky to still be getting a paycheck during the closure), and my boyfriend’s show was already on hiatus. So, we’ve been staying home with our cats. I’m picking up a foster cat today as well. I’ve been drinking lots of tea as a distraction.
It’s quite rainy out (a rarity for Los Angeles), which has been making me crave black teas. I generally like more malty/chocolate forward black teas, and for some reason I was expecting that from this. However, I got quite the opposite. Very bready, with some mild floral notes. I’m finding it to be a bit astringent, with a particular acidic feeling in the throat. It’s okay, not something I’d really want again.
Just finished up my first 1oz bag of this beauty, and I can’t get enough. The fresh vegetal flavor has developed into this insanely gorgeous floral bouquet. I have to agree with previous reviewer, Linda, this tea smells like lilacs. I too have never experienced this flavor in tea form before, but it’s magnificent. I can’t get enough of this.
I was watching some tea vlogs this morning, and one talked about using tea leaves in cooking. I haven’t really experimented with using tea in savory dishes (outside of tea eggs and Busmese tea salad), and was suddenly very struck with the urge to experiment. Having already enjoyed a pot of this Spring Jade Tieguanyin from Whispering Pines and finding it very vegetal and savory, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to experiment. I cooked up some garlic rice, made a quick sauce, poached an egg, and flash fried the tea leaves in some sesame oil. Turned out delicious! A super quick meal that I’d be happy to eat more often. I love being able to use the remaining tea leaves, rather than just tossing them. Next time, I’ll be adding some fresh veggies as well.