Whispering Pines Teas

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drank Sparrow by Whispering Pines Teas
2456 tasting notes

I placed my first ever order with Whispering Pines! I am trying to get some small orders in during the quarantine to support the small businesses. I have had a number of their teas, but they were all ordered by other people as gifts to me.

I really wrestled with what to order and settled on the aged white tea pearls and a Bao Zhong, but I really, really wanted to try Sparrow. I guess Brendan read my mind across the miles because I had a generous sample of it in my box!

Now here’s the thing – I am not allowed to review it here yet because I reviewed it for Sororitea Sisters, so I won’t say what it tasted like but rather what happened after drinking it.

This is a GABA oolong, and those are supposed to be very helpful during times of stress. There might be a little of that right now, right? That is one reason I really especially wanted to try it NOW.

I made lots of steeps and shared it with my husband rather late at night. I went to sleep and had a vivid dream. I can see it all even now, and I really haven’t been dreaming much lately that I remember.

The Dream – I was across the street at my neighbor’s house sitting in the front yard with my daughter who lives with us. I do go there five days a week to let his dog out. Suddenly a neighbor came out of her home, very agitated and frightened. She told me that a woman standing on the corner was a vampire. I looked at the woman from the distance and she was dressed in a long white gown, not very vampire-ish but definitely anachronistically dressed. Women began hurrying into my neighbor’s house carrying crystals and brooms, all banding together for protection from the “vampire.” I did not feel alarmed or frightened at any point in the dream.

I looked across at my house and saw the cars of my oldest daughter and son. I was surprised to see them there and I hurriedly put away the lawn chairs and headed home, but when we got there, they had already gone. They were only stopping for a moment to get something and left quickly because of the social distancing orders.

I sat down on the sofa, leaning my head against the back, understanding that it had to be but sad that I missed them and wishing I had been there to see them even if only for that brief moment. Then I woke up.

As I puzzled over the dream, which may have meant nothing at all, I wondered if the ”vampire” was the coronavirus, or social distancing. I assumed my brain was just processing the fact that I am a little sad at not being able to see my kids who don’t live here. I haven’t seen those two since January 4th. My youngest daughter did come for my birthday in March right before distancing began, so I have seen her fairly recently.

So now I wonder – was it the GABA that made the dream so vivid? Did it help me realize how much it bothers me that I can’t see my kids when I didn’t realize what a stressor it is to me?Was it helping me process or understand what I am feeling right now or was it purely coincidence that I had such a vivid dream that night?

It didn’t fix anything – I still can’t visit my kids! But I was so calm in the dream. The “vampire” didn’t scare me, the odd neighbor didn’t worry me, I just wanted to get home to see my son and daughter. And then I wasn’t devastated, I was just a bit sad. Is that the GABA working? Has anyone else experienced anything like this with a GABA tea?

Since I just drank the rest of the sample, it will be interesting to see if I dream again tonight.

Martin Bednář

I don’t know if tea can trigger dreams like that…
But interesting dream and somehow frightening.


Hope you don’t have another dream like that!


Whooie. Chamomile for you tonight.


GABA always relaxes me but I don’t think it’s ever triggered such a vivid dream. I think anxiety and stress happening in the back of our minds interferes with our ability to dream normally. The calming effect produced by GABA might free the brain to dream more easily by removing some of those stressors.

This does make me curious about the effects of GABA tea again. I have a bag of Mei Leaf GABA oolong – a souvenir from my trip to London last year – sitting in my cupboard. I may just experiment on myself tonight :-)


National Geographic online just had an article about an increase in vivid dreaming during the pandemic – “The pandemic is giving people vivid, unusual dreams. Here’s why.” It’s about the subconscious mind handling the stress of this horrible situation – “For all their variety, the one thing many pandemic dreams have in common is how weird they seem to participants in the studies. “It may be one of the mechanisms used by the sleeping brain to induce emotional regulation,” says Perrine Ruby, a researcher at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center.” It’s a fascinating read. I have had some very strange and vivid dreams myself here lately!


Thanks for the link, Teatotaler!

To clarify – I didn’t mind the dream or find it frightening. It didn’t bother me. I really feel that I had not acknowledged how I miss seeing them, and being asleep gave my mind a chance to nudge my brain into seeing and admitting it. I think it may actually helped in that I realize it is a bigger deal to me than I thought and I want to stay in touch better and maybe video chat instead of just texting. I was just wondering if the GABA perhaps gave that awareness a little boost.


Okay, read the article. Based on that, the dream was classic reaction to the quarantine and probably had nothing to do with the tea, but since GABA is calming maybe that is why I was pretty chill about there being a possible vampire, and not getting overly distressed about not seeing my kids. And maybe the dream was just a statement of my state of mind – I miss my kids but I am dealing with it, and I am not frightened of the virus though I am exercising all the recommended precautions.


Okay, I read the article,

Martin Bednář

Interesting Teatotaler. Luckily (?), I haven’t got that vivid dreams yet. But I dream more than usual, that’s true!


My dreams are usually very vivid – just like real life. So I wouldn’t really notice a difference in these times.

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It’s been incredibly hot here, and I just got done with a nice rich black tea, so I wanted something light and fresh. I don’t have many green teas in my stash, as I don’t really reach for the anymore, so decided to try to take a whirl with this one again. Unfortunately, it’s just as mild as before. I tried higher temperatures and increasing the dry leaf, but it just lacks flavor for me. This one will be retiring to the trade pile.

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I’m finding this tea extremely weak, no matter how I brew it. It has a pleasant hay flavor and no bitterness, but the flavor is just far too mild. I’m going to try another session, using more leaf and some higher temperatures, to see what that yields.

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Cocoa Amore was recently restocked, so I grabbed 2oz and decided to try a couple of other teas I had had my eye on. Green teas used to be my favorite, but the more involved I’ve gotten with tea, the more I gravitate towards oolongs/blacks. I couldn’t resist the 50% off of the Whispering Pines greens, and decided on this one and Huangshan Mao Feng. The orchid in this comes off as a bit perfumey for me. The base is mild and pleasant, with notes of wet hay, artichoke, and edamame. The base notes aren’t really working with the orchid for me. The flavor is also quite mild.

Flavors: Artichoke, Hay, Perfume, Soybean

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I tried this on a whim, and wasn’t disappointed. It’s a consistent tea, especially if you want something very light & clean tasting. It’s not overly complex, nor will I classify it as a “simple” tea. It’s probably most excellent cold brewed for a hot summer day.

I brewed this gongfu style as follows:
Tea: 5.05 grams
temp: ~195
WP’s directions on the bag are for Western Style (3g tea/ 8oz water @ 190F) for 2,3,4 minutes

The dry leaves smell of cream/milk with that oolong undertone.

1)30 seconds: The leaf smells of heavy cream & honey and have barely even opened up!. The liquid smells of warm milk and looks like pale ivory. Its flavors start off with a subtle vegetal followed by honey then cream. There’s a mild viscosity and very clean finish.

2) 1 minute: I really wanted the leaves to open up more; hence the longer steep time. The leaves smell of cream with a vegetal undertone….and funny enough, it tastes exactly that! The initial cream flavor followed by a vegetal undertone and a floral finish.

3) 2 minutes: This tea seems to be able to take the increased brew time. WP’s directions are for western for 2-4-minutes, so I’m okay with the increased time. The flavors are the same as #2 but with a very mild astringency.

4) 3 minutes. The tea is pretty consistent with its flavor profile. Cream, honey, with floral undertones. Mild astringency.

Overall, this is a pretty decent tea to drink; not overly complicated, but with enough flavors to keep your taste buds entertained if you don’t want a full tea session.

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Thanks so much, Kawaii433! Always happy to sample… even if it takes me a while. I really need to focus on new-to-me teas! I haven’t even been caught up on reading any tasting notes for at least a week… I was doing well with that for a long while too! So I hope everyone is doing okay. A hot day seemed like the perfect day to brew this one up. The leaves are the brightest green (did I ever mention green is my most favorite color? Probably because of tea… mostly because of trees… and from a young age… Return to Oz when Dorothy had to touch all the emerald items and say “Oz” to get the heck away from the Nome King.) ANYWAY this tea is fantastic. As lovely as an oolong can be: all four steeps are fairly steady. No astringency or bite. Throughout I’m tasting mostly fruit, like pineapple or pear. Then hints of floral, but only floral in the way of something like a buttercream frosting infused with flowers might be. I don’t know if that’s a thing, but it should be. Minerals and sweetness throughout every sip. I haven’t had many Lishan oolongs but this is certainly what I expect of them. The unraveled leaves are huge, full and healthy… and taking up the infuser basket — quite a feat since I started with only a teaspoon. An awesome tea for awesome weather.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug // 20 minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 18 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // 15 minutes after boiling // 2 min
Steep #4 // just boiled // 3 min
2019 sipdowns: 51 (and almost the middle of the year… how the heck did that happen?!?!)


:D You’re very welcome. Glad you enjoyed it!


Yum! Those fruity high mountain oolongs are glorious! I might have to order from this company eventually…

Daylon R Thomas

The High Mountain Sampler is a deal if you can get it. Otherwise, the teas run pretty high on that site. They are the kind of teas you want to savor.


Yes. Shipping to Canada is also $15, I think.

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Kawaii already nailed the notes on this one. I got this on pre-sale, and I can safely say it compares to other high quality Li Shans.

I was not too impressed at first because it hit all the trademarks I associate with the varietal gong fu, including a strong umami and an ever shifting fruit blossom character in the hints and midsips, shifting between melon, mango, and apple amidst a creamy texture. Florals, greens, and umami characterized the tea overall. Western, it was much the same, but thicker. The Evergreen Oolong was becoming my preference for the past few days, but that eventually changed. Grandpa style surprisingly brought about some more complex notes out of this tea.

The florals, fruits hints, and thick viscosity combined into something very close to coconut water. The finish was sweeter and more pronounced, but it was thick and a hint acidic in the aftertaste without being sour. There was some evolution in the florals, between lilac, iris, honeysuckle, and hyacinth, but not too much. It lasted me four more rebrews grand pa.

Although I haven’t paid full attention to the exact notes yet gong fu, I know that the tea is durable and flavorful. This is no surprise given the giant size of the leaves. I am a little critical of the price on the regular website, but it’s not unreasonable for what you get. Some companies might charge as much as $15 or $20 for the same quality. Like my other notes of late, I will write more in the future. I’m rating it as a solid 90 to show it’s a quality tea worth trying.

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Wow. Super super silky Lishan.

The light to medium green leaves were tightly rolled into little balls. Some tea dust, nothing major. Some stems, nothing major. The wet leaves were highly aromatic: Floral, orchids, vineyards, cream, vegetal, umami.

The liquor was a very light, clear, yellowish-green color. I found it had a really great flavor profile that suits me. Light floral (not heavy at all), some mineral, umami, buttery, cream, steamed greens. The super silky, creamy texture, the rich body with very light floral notes that were long lasting, as was the natural sweet aftertaste. It continued to linger in my throat and back of my tongue. Throughout the infusions, no bitterness, light or no astringency, and remained silky smooth throughout. Sometimes some Lishan has sour notes at the end, this one didn’t at all.

6g, 190°F, 110ml, rinse, 9 steeps: 10s, 15s, 25s, 35s, 45s, 55s, 65s, 75s, 120s

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Smooth, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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