Tea type
Tea
Ingredients
Yunnan Black Tea
Flavors
Almond, Anise, Black Pepper, Brown Toast, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Cherry, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Herbs, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nutty, Orange Zest, Pine, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Astringent, Black Currant, Coffee, Floral, Grass, Jasmine, Leather, Sage, Salt, Smoke, Tangy, Thyme, Wood, Autumn Leaf Pile, Clay, Dry Grass, Forest Floor, Maple, Oak wood, petrichor, Wet Moss, White Grapes, Berries, Cocoa, Tea
Sold in
Not available
Caffeine
High
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Daylon R Thomas
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 oz / 109 ml

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14 Tasting Notes View all

From Whispering Pines Tea Company

Straight out of the oldest tea forest in Yunnan comes the finest wildcrafted black tea we have had the pleasure to taste. Picked from wild trees up to 300 years old, Ancient Spirit is a pure embodiment of deep, ancient wilderness.

Toss the leaves into a warmed gaiwan and you take in the aromas of an old growth forest in the summertime, with powerful notes of warm wood, citrus, and medicinal herbs among a slight floral background. The wet leaves smell herbaceous and hint at aged tobacco, malt, and wild berries.

The taste is huge and complex. Medicinal herbs and flowers take the front, with orchid and jasmine being the most prominent florals. A grounding bitter note pulls it together with a middle of tart and sweet — black cherry and elderberry. Near the finish there are notes of spruce and a touch of mushroom, finishing with a light mineral bite and spice not unlike that of fresh wintergreen berries. You may find yourself lost in the taste and the powerful aroma of petrichor, not noticing the immense energy this tea brings with it!

Please take time to savor this tea…it is truly a huge gift from nature and I have never been more excited to share such an incredible tea with my customers. Take from it what you will…but for me, this tea is transcendent and brings me back to my roots.

Sweet
Tart
Berries
Herbaceous
Florals
Aged Tobacco
Old Forest
Medicinal Herbs

About Whispering Pines Tea Company View company

Whispering Pines Tea Company is dedicated to bringing you the most original, pure, beautiful tea blends. We use only the highest quality ingredients available to create additive-free teas teas inspired by the pristine wilderness of Northern Michigan. Our main focus is on customer satisfaction and quality.

14 Tasting Notes

100
291 tasting notes

A name has never been so appropriate for a tea, one that transports me through environments and time. Ancient Spirit hits all the right notes and feels. Complex (see the other reviews!), substantial yet light, stimulating yet grounding. Performs well gongfu, western and grandpa and oversteeping is not disastrous. Good for breakfast, lunch or dinner if you don’t mind staying up past your bedtime.

I’ve had two harvests of this so far. The one I’m currently sipping on is 2017. I so, so hope Brenden continues to carry Ancient Spirit!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
annie

how dare you. I miss this tea so much.

derk

Who me???

annie

hahahaha, it’s been out of stock for a million years!! thanks for the reminder of how wonderful this tea is :(

derk

It really is great. Was this year’s harvest offered?

Mastress Alita

I see great reviews for Whispering Pines all the time, but any time I go to their website, their teas seem to always be sold out. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen them in stock. I’ve only ever tried their teas through cupboard sales/trades/teaboxes. Are they like this Black Friday ordeal that gets tea once a year and it sales out in one flash weekend, never to be seen again until the next legendary harvest?

derk

A lot of the blended teas, yeah, but not extreme like a weekend sell-out. He typically list the majority of plain teas in the spring, followed by blends and some other teas in the fall. This year had a different cadence to the tea releases. You can sign up for the mailing list at the bottom of the main page.

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100
751 tasting notes

I am going to break a long-standing rule of mine with this review. I have previously made it known on at least a couple of occasions that I do not and will not assign perfect scores to any tea regardless of how great it might be. Honestly, I’m pretty free and easy with grades of 80+ because I tend to buy, drink, and review things I know and like from vendors in which I have some degree of confidence. You may notice, however, that it is very difficult to get me to assign numerical scores higher than the 90-94 range, and for those who are interested, that is because I have established different degrees of excellence in my head. A score in the 95-99 range is reserved for teas that I believe to be a step above those I feel to already be more or less exceptional. A score of 100 would then refer to a perfect, world-beating tea which could not be topped by any other tea of its type. While I have come close to assigning perfect scores in the past, I could never motivate myself to do so, but here I am doing it now because I really do believe this tea to be that special. It was excellent to start with, but if anything, it managed to improve considerably in storage.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of tobacco, clove, camphor, eucalyptus, black pepper, caramel, honey, brown toast, and malt. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of butter, cream, and raisin accompanied by stronger malt and honey scents. The first infusion then introduced roasted almond, roasted cashew, and pine aromas. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of tobacco, clove, caramel, black pepper, cream, malt, raisin, butter, brown toast, honey, and pine that were chased by hints of roasted cashew, cinnamon, camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol on the swallow. Subsequent infusions introduced cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweet potato on the nose. Roasted almond appeared in the mouth along with new flavors of black cherry, nutmeg, ginger, juniper, minerals, peat, orange zest, heather, anise, and sweet potato. The final couple of infusions offered subtler notes of cream, pine, caramel, malt, and brown toast that were balanced by somewhat less defined orange zest, raisin, ginger, tobacco, and camphor impressions.

If anything was missing from this hong cha, it was the familiar molasses presence I often find in teas of this type. There was, however, so much else going on in this tea that was so unique and special that it was not missed at all. This was a truly fantastic tea, and in terms of feel and the way it expressed itself, it was unlike any other Yunnan black tea I recall trying over the years. I would have no issue recommending it to anyone with an interest in such teas.

Flavors: Almond, Anise, Black Pepper, Brown Toast, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Cherry, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Herbs, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nutty, Orange Zest, Pine, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
derk

It’s zee best! So complex, even when brewed western. I pick up forest mushroom that way, too. Like a fresh king bolete (porcini) plucked from the fir duff.

Bluegreen

Wow. A 100. And it does not cost an arm and a leg. Will need to try.

Daylon R Thomas

It’s definitely my favorite black from Whispering Pines.

Daylon R Thomas

And a 100 really is not off for that one.

ashmanra

I am going to have to check this out.

LuckyMe

This sounds amazing. Off to check out Whispering Pines…

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96
57 tasting notes

drinking the last of this and I’m gonna miss this glorious forest.

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93
2 tasting notes

Ancient Pines is an excellent tea with a vast range of tastes and smells. I highly recommend this tea. It stimulates and satisfies the palate at the same so well the I’ve spent hours enjoying Ancient Pines.
Dry leaves have an intense yet pleasant smell of wood smoke, salt, caramel, and honey. Dry leaves are gold to dark brown in color and have length of about 1-2 cm, and are tightly rolled to form wiry-shaped leaves. Infused leaves untighten and uncoil, making them up to about 3 cm long. Leaves become a uniform light brown in color. Liquor ranges from light gold to deep red-brown depending on infusion time and amount of tea in the cup or gaiwan.
Earlier infusions are highly nuanced. Aroma and taste of a damp forest or decaying leaves, with a background of florals blossom on the palate. Expect clear honey and jasmine flavors, as well as cherry and black currant. The tea also has a grassy taste, not unlike the taste of lesser-oxidized leaves. Ancient Spirit has a vivid terroir, and mental images of the woods were at the forefront of my mind while tasting the tea. Later infusions contain a more muted floral taste with a less pronounced but satisfying sweetness. Other flavors are sage, thyme, Spanish cane, and sauteed almonds. Tea leaves begin to smell strongly of coffee, leather, and tobacco. The aftertaste has a mild astringency.

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Black Currant, Caramel, Cherry, Coffee, Floral, Grass, Honey, Jasmine, Leather, Sage, Salt, Smoke, Tangy, Thyme, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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92
24 tasting notes

Very vibrant caramel/chocolate/dark fruit flavor and thick coating mouthfeel in the first four infusions, and the sweetness and richness hung on better than most tippy black teas in the later infusions, though there was quite a contrast between the third, fourth, and fifth steepings where it got woodier and a little thinner

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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98
91 tasting notes

Well, I think this is my favorite black tea….it is amazingly complex, but very subtle, so one has to give it time and attention to really get everything from it. That said it is also a nice sipping tea if you don’t want to think that much about it. VEry much like a Wuyi yancha in character.
Nose; honey, sweet florals — violets, clover, cocoa, sandalwood ( very light ), vanilla, mushrooms, leaf mould, forest after a rain — ozone.
Palate; Very interesting , slightly full mouth and throat but not as much as say a Dian Hong, clover, alfalfa hay, vanilla, oak moss, mushroom, sassifrass, honey, ginseng, huckleberry, and a somewhat mineral character.
Yeah all of that is there and probably more!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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93
503 tasting notes

A very interesting tea that was a gift from a friend. The dry leaf smells of strong herbaceous grape leaf, fresh rain fallen forest floor, white grapes, clay, and milk thistle. A medley of unique scents. I warmed my gaiwan and placed some inside. The scent opens to slight menthol, malt honey, hot hay, and dark cherry. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The taste is of pure earth. I don’t mean soil or wet clay, I mean Earth. The naturalistic taste begins with oak, maple wood, and autumn leaf pile. A soft tone of supple soil rises up with a cool sweet sap pushing out of it. The cooling sensation envelops the mouth and moves down the throat. A long lasting sweet honey tone rises from the back of the throat and lingers on the tongue. The background consists of blood red roses. This tea reminds me of early morning autumn hikes in the woods by my house. This is a fantastic nostalgia tea. The tea lasts steep after steep and ends with sweet harsh tangs that nip at the tongue. A very good tea.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BC5gOFQTGTR/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel&hl=en

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cherry, Clay, Dry Grass, Eucalyptus, Forest Floor, Honey, Malt, Maple, Menthol, Oak wood, petrichor, Wet Moss, White Grapes

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
huealex

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72
2736 tasting notes

So, in addition to sipdowns, I’m really keen to actually, you know, try the teas in my cupboard. I’ve got more than half of my stash that’s currently listed as no tasting notes, and I’ve not yet tried. This is so silly! I’ve got all this tea so I can drink and enjoy it, so I should get started on that.
So, this, which is me being brave and venturing into unflavored black teas again. I picked it up on a whim with my last Whispering Pines Order, as they’ve not steered me wrong with unlfaovred teas yet.
This is almost creamy. I don’t mean that there is a creamy or vanilla flavor to it, but the richness of the sip is the same as a “creamy” tea.
That said, the flavor is not too dense or heavy. There is admirable lightness, and so the slightly woody, slightly floral flavors of this blend have a chance to stand on their own.
Unlike some unflavored black tea, where I can see why people add milk or sugar, this one I think would work best as it. Additives would just weigh it down.
Yep, Whispering Pines has not steered me wrong yet.

Fjellrev

I’ve been in that boat so many times, having so many teas in my cupboard without any tasting notes. So ridiculous!

Rosehips

I know! I am determined to do better.

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100
514 tasting notes

This tea is so good!

Yet again, I’ve had a hiatus from serious tea. And also again, I have turned to Whispering Pines to break the hiatus. What can I say? I’m a sucker for inspirational names and tea stories. :p

It has been so long since I have used my Gaiwan, that it had collected debris, despite the lid being on it. I cleaned it out, threw some of this tea in without measuring, poured some water at 200F in and waited about a minute. I wasn’t being to particular about parameters. I was just desperate for some tasty tea! And my tea brewing skills have gotten rusty anyway.

But this tea survived my hasty technique and it tasted amazing. Like an ancient forest in the late afternoon. The first steep was bright, peppery maybe, woody, but with an air of secrets and mystery. I steeped it again for three minutes. The second steep was less bright, with a heavier mouth feel. Very smooth. I liked the first steep best, but next time I have this tea I will have to be more careful about parameters and give it the proper attention Brenden suggests! Stay tuned!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C

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1049 tasting notes

I thought I wrote a note on this a while ago. What I was going to say was that this was a clean black tea with a very light berry sweetness, a pine woodsy aged quality, and a calm qi. All thanks to Whiteantlers. Anyway.

First steep Gong Fu with a generous portion of close to 4 grams. 190 F.

15 Seconds

Clear air, pines, and berries in the meadow. Smooth overall, and fairly light and sweet. There was a bit of a malty body, but a body closer to what tea noters call caramel. But a VERY LIGHT caramel. That is something that can be discussed…Oddly enough, it tasted similar to a Yunnan Moonlight, or a thicker body white tea. Interesting.

20 seconds.

Much of the same thing as previous, but more of the allusive cocoa note this time. Good tea. Good, good, good tea.

30 seconds.

Fuller body and smoother. More Yunnan sweet potato, but on a much lighter note. There’s a lot less tension in my shoulders. Interesting.

More later…

And more later. The last two steeps were fairly simple and plain. Good Yunnan black tea with the qualities of a Yunnan moonlight. I thank Whiteantlers for this gift. I would not pay the thirteen dollars for this personally, but I do think that this is an excellent black tea that is well worth a try.

Flavors: Berries, Caramel, Cocoa, Herbs, Malt, Maple, Pine, Tea

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
brushben

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