This one is really intriguing. The smell of the dry leaves was a little off-putting to me, because I could smell a LOT of smoke with a little lemon thrown in. I once had a horrific experience with a Russian caravan blend with Lapsang Souchong, and I’ve been leery of smokey teas ever since. Reminds me of roasted pork or barbecue meat smell…ANYWAY, getting sidetracked. This tea doesn’t smell like barbecue. Just smoke, like woodsmoke. Campfire smoke. The brewed tea aroma is more gentle. I can pick out notes of lemongrass, red berries, a hint of spearmint, and it’s all tied together with this light woodsmoke aroma. It all reminds me of wet leaves crushed underfoot. Like a forest after the rain. Very outdoorsy. It’s an absolutely fascinating blend, and it’s making my mouth water.

Lemon and mint are the dominant flavors for me. It’s a much brighter, more “cheerful” tea than I imagined. And it’s very calming. Like I said, forest after the rain. I barely notice any smokiness from the tea—it’s soft at the end of each sip, like an afterthought. (Note that I did rinse the leaves for 10sec before brewing.) Woodsy, earthy, no astringency whatsoever. It’s really nice. It doesn’t blow my mind, but I can see myself keeping it around for a cold, rainy day. It really seems to lie in the fall-winter category. I would LOVE to take this tea on a camping trip. I think it would be perfect.

Now that the tea has cooled off a bit, the berry notes are more prominent. The spearmint and lemongrass are more balanced, whereas before it was like they were having a loud argument and lemon was winning. It’s a LOT softer now. Silky and smooth, rather than bright and chipper like it was when it was piping hot. Wow. Wow wow wow. It’s so much better now. I’m going to give it a higher rating than I originally planned. (:

Thanks so much for the sample Veronica!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Berries, Earth, Lemon Zest, Tobacco, Wood

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Whispering Pines Tea Company

You should try the new version! :)

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Whispering Pines Tea Company

You should try the new version! :)

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I am still relatively new to loose leaf, as I have only been drinking it since 2013. I’m amazed at how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I have met such lovely, kind individuals on Steepster and am so glad to have become a part of this community.

Pure black teas are my favorite. I drink black tea daily and I try to keep a variety on hand. I also enjoy white tea, puerh, and the occasional oolong. Matcha is something that I love though I haven’t tried a large variety. The very good matcha that I’ve had is quite expensive. In general I try to stay away from flavored teas—especially those with artificial flavorings—but I will make rare exceptions, and I do enjoy a well crafted blend of straight teas. Things I (usually) don’t like: green oolongs, rooibos, straight green teas.

Rating System
90+ The very best! Teas that I always need in my cupboard!
85-89 Teas that I enjoy immensely and will try to keep around.
80-84 Makes a very pleasing cup. I will enjoy drinking them, but won’t necessarily try to keep around. (There are exceptions.)
70-79 Decent, but could be better.
60-69 Mediocre.
40-59 Gross. I might still try to finish the cup.
39 & under Undrinkable. I probably dumped this cup. Depending on the specific rating, I probably threw the rest of the tea out as well.

Some of my favorite tea companies are:
-Whispering Pines Tea Co.
-Verdant Tea
-Mandala Tea

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