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Recent Tasting Notes
First steep at 190 F with 1 tsp of leaves for ~2 min. The dry leaves smell strongly of lilac, as if you’d buried your head in a lilac bush in the middle of a springtime garden. After steeping, they remain half-opened, again the strong scent of lilac. The brew is the palest shade of jade and the scent is lightly floral. The floral taste comes mostly in the aftertaste to me. There is no hint of bitterness at all, although the taste is so light I think perhaps I didn’t steep it long enough or use enough leaves.
Second steep of ~3 min. Leaves have opened more fully, showing off their beautiful vibrant green color. They look mostly complete, with very little broken leaves and some missing just a bit around the edges. The color of the brew is a darker shade of jade now, although the taste remains light. Still not as much floral or creaminess as I was hoping.
Third steep of ~4 min. Leaves look as if they are fully opened, although I no longer smell the lilacs from them. The shade of the brew is perhaps a touch lighter than the second brew, and less aromatic too. It does taste creamier though than the previous two brews, although less floral as well.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Honeysuckle, Sweet
Here’s Hoping TTB
The dry leaf of this tea is so pretty! Long, fuzzy pale green buds that give off a faint aroma of new-mown hay. The liquor steeps up to a clear light yellow-green color without much of a scent. The flavor is light and sweet and slightly fruity. This definitely seems to be a quality tea, but it’s also a reminder that white tea just isn’t my favorite. I prefer a more robust flavor.
Flavors: Fruity, Smooth, Sweet
Forgot to save my previous note on this, so this will be just a short and quick review.
I prepare this tea mainly gongfu style, but I have also done it western
With gongfu, early steeps contain a very fruity apricot taste (specifically dried apricot). But subsequent infusions adopts a heavier wood-like taste with malt and dried apricot background. I haven’t seen how it tasted following the end-stage infusions, so can’t give much of a comment on that.
I did prepare this western style once quite a while ago, and I do have to say that western style is the recommended way to approach this tea. It had a very complex yet harmonic taste, consisting of fruits (with apricot as main), honey, general sweetness, light wood, chocolate, and a maltyness around it. I believe gongfu style doesn’t allow the blend of leaves to steep sufficiently enough to have the combined flavour from all of them, but instead prefers the faster steeping leaves over the others.
Not a bad tea, but not recommended if you prefer tea gongfu style.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Dried Fruit, Malt, Wood
I’ll write a more proper tasting note when I drink this Gong Fu, but for now here are some jot notes from the Western styled mug of this that I happily slurped on whilst watching Jungle Book:
- Thick mouthfeel, smooth profile
- Earthy, wet wood, walnut, dark wood, cocoa, brown sugar, camphor
- Just slightly roasty
- Full bodied; clean finish
PS. I totally recommend watching the new live action Jungle Book. I thought it was really well done, and I loved pretty much all of it – except Christopher Walken kind of creeped me out a lot as King Louie. Which I suppose is the point. I don’t know; that ONE aspect didn’t work for me.
I really don’t like this tea. It’s malty, but super tannic. I thought I just oversteeped it, so I tried a second cup with a shorter brew time. I don’t enjoy breakfast teas (too brisk for me), so I’m not surprised. I generally avoid African and Indian varietals because I find them too strong and fairly boring. Undertones of grain and coffee, no sweetness of “baked bread” as others have found. Maybe it was my sample, but it tasted like any grocery store English breakfast. Very underwhelming for such a high rated tea.
Flavors: Coffee, Malt, Tannic
Since my recent cocoa nib awakening, I have been obsessed and, in turn, delighted with the sweet, creamy, chocolate flavors I have found that they impart.
This tea falls right in line with all of this. A puerh that is also sweet and chocolate-y? Well, yes, I would like to drink that all morning. And I have! This tea really does combine the best of both ripe (smooth, creamy, dark, earthy) and cocoa nibs (creamy, sweet, chocolate).
I am going to have to play around with my own cocoa nibs and other “plain” puerh and see what I can create. Thanks for the inspiration and great tea, Brenden!
Flavors: Chocolate, Creamy, Earth, Sweet
Dry leaf: Sweet, small leaf material, well compressed. A little grassy, but clean, like a forest after a cool rain.
Taste: Sweet, clean, white grape juice, nice floral aroma. Very slight bitterness with a nice sweet aftertaste.
Liquor: Clear, light buttery yellow.
Spent leaf: Small leaves and buds. Very good quality and I was surprised to see so many buds. The leaf texture was very soft with an even medium olive color.
Vessel: 125ml clay pot (actual water 100ml)
Happy 5th anniversary Whispering Pines Tea and happy first raw cake production! I was very excited to get this cake. The wrapper artwork was beautiful and the pressing and leaf material were very nice.
As recommended, I went with 190F/87C water temp. This helped work around most of the young bitterness and I also went with a little bit shorter steep times. This tea had a nice light, juicy body that thickened up a little bit in later steeps. It had a nice warming effect and very nice sweetness.
While this tea wasn’t super complex, I’m betting it will age wonderfully and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops. (I’m planning on saving about half the cake to taste next fall.) Thanks Brenden for this beautiful tea!
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Sweet, White Grapes
I don’t have much experience with white teas, and most groups, say for instance Bai Mudan, or most of the silver needle teas, taste very similar to me even from different vendors. This one really stood out for me though.
Nose; Blood orange, honeydew, light hay, clover, bergamont ( for you earl grey lovers ), red raspberry.
Palate; mandarin orange, clover honey, sweet grass, peach, lime, very nice finish and throat.
I found this one really fascinating.
Nose; I got a definite really good cigar note, now I used to smoke cigars so for me this was more nostalgic than off putting, be warned…sweet potato, leather, earth, toasted grain.
Palate; nice full mouth, slight cigar again — so unusual, molasses, malt, sweet potato, a light floral note.
Ok, so I need to get caught up on posting some tasting notes….
This one seemed to have some almost Darjeeling or Assam characteristics, I do not drink Indian teas much, but that was the impression.
Nose; sweet potato, light honey, home made chicken soup, light malt.
Palate; Brown sugar, sweet potato, very light floral, slightly bitter.
IMHO nice, but nothing out of this world.
Flavors: Chicken Soup, Honey, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
I got a sample of this, along with other Whispering Pines Teas, as a gift. Unfortunately, I didn’t review it when I drank it, but I remember loving every sip. IIRC, it was smooth and full-bodied, with hints of sweetness.
Reviewing it here to remind myself to buy it again.
This is overall a very nice tea. It was bittersweet in the start. The bitterness was not too strong or too long lasting. There was a fair amount of fermentation flavor. There may have been some chocolate notes but I wasn’t paying close attention to the specifics. Just the fact that it evolved into a nice sweet tea. I think I can say that by the twelfth steep it had developed a bit of a fruity taste although I could not pin it down to a specific fruit. Overall I really liked this tea. It has been so long since I have drank the loose of this tea that I couldn’t tell you how they compare. This one is definitely worth picking up a cake.
I steeped this twelve times in a 150ml Ru Kiln Shui Ping teapot with 13g leaf. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 minutes. There were maybe three or four steeps left in the tea but twelve was enough for me.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
My tea experience began in with a Jasmine Iron Goddess from a wonderful San Francisco tea shop last December. I am so thankful I wondered into the shop on an afternoon away from my meeting. The tea was really good, but I wanted to taste it without the Jasmine. After sipping several wonderful teas from Whispering Pines I decided to purchase a teiguanyin from him. Boy, am I happy I did! A sip of this liquor is like spring becomes alive in your mouth. What a beautiful tea. I got two vacuum packages and think I too will squirrel the second package away.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Grass, Honey Dew