Whispering Pines Tea Company

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Recent Tasting Notes

69

Thanks to Kawaii433 for this! Very glad I got to try this one. I’m primarily getting deep prune and raisin notes. There’s a bit of spice that balances the dried fruit flavor out very nicely. I enjoyed this one, but I’m finding I like more chocolate/malt leaning black teas.

Flavors: Dried Fruit, Raisins, Spices

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95

Wow. Another extraordinary offering from Whispering Pines. A huge thanks to Kawaii433 for this one as well. This is absolutely decadent. Pure chocolate and malt. Rich, creamy mouthfeel. It holds up to multiple steeps, but I found the first steep to be my favorite.

Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Malt

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100

Wow, this tea is pretty extraordinary. A huge thanks to Kawaii433 for sharing their stash of Whispering Pines with me. The jasmine is incredibly fragrant, and pairs perfectly with the cherry and stone fruit notes of the black tea. This is one of those teas that made my jaw drop.

Flavors: Cherry, Jasmine, Stonefruits

Shae

Wow, a solid 100!

amandastory516

Indeed! It’s pretty special.

derk

Made my jaw drop, too. Alice better be making regular appearances. I might be devastated if it’s no longer around when I start buying teas again.

amandastory516

I hope it doesn’t go anywhere! It seems pretty popular, so fingers crossed a sourcing issue doesn’t interfere.

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A bit of a dry mouthfeel, that I’m not particularly fond of. Definitely cherry and chocolate at first, and I’m getting a bit of the vanilla as the cup cools. There’s something almost stevia-like in the aftertaste.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Kawaii433

I like this one but my favorite WP is Cocoa Amore.

amandastory516

Cocoa Amore was incredible, thank you for sharing it with me. I’m definitely going to need to stock up on that one.

Kawaii433

You are very very welcome <3. Give me a holler if you want me to send more.

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77

I had a sample of this from the last Here’s Hoping Teabox, which yes, was ages ago now (I don’t have many samples left from it though, I think I’m only left with pu-erhs/aged teas now!) Thanks to tea-sipper for organizing that box and those individuals that shared their teas in it! It’s afternoon tea time… I should really fix a spot of lunch but just don’t feel up to it, so I figured I’d just have some tea instead.

I used the smaller 450ml ceramic glazed pot I got from my mom for Christmas and brewed this… eh… quasi-gong fu? I wanted to use up all the leaf which measured out at 6.8g, so these ended up at around 200ml infusions according to the water/leaf ratio app I use, which I realize are a bit large for typical gong fu infusions. It also meant that I filled up on tea after the third infusion, needed a break, and had to come back and finish up around dinner time. Oops.

6.8g / 200ml (ceramic teapot) / 185F / 20s|30s|40s|50s|60s

The first steep was lightly yellow and had a vegetal and herbaceous aroma with notes of minerals, wet stone, dandelions, honeysuckle, and hay. The taste was grassy with a strong hay flavor with additional notes of dandelion greens, flower pollen, honey, and wet stones. The second steep brought forth a stronger floral aroma, as well as a subtle fruity note on the nose, a bit like honeyed pears. The flavor was a bit softer and sweeter, too; the strong grassy vegetal notes felt a little more subdued and a strong honey sweetness filled the mouth, tasting of floral nectar, and subtly of pear and stonefruit, with the mineral notes now gone. The minerality returned in the third infusion, with wet stone, moss, wet hay, and sweet floral notes. I took the tea through two more infusions, the fourth tending a bit stronger on the floral notes and the fifth a bit stronger on the vegetal notes. It was a pleasant and filling tea… I probably could have pushed it further, but honestly I was so tea full and had been drinking on it all day and just felt it was the right time to wrap things up.

Flavors: Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Moss, Pear, Stonefruits, Vegetal, Wet Rocks

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 7 g 7 OZ / 200 ML
tea-sipper

Good on you for finishing (most) of those tea box teas. I still have a ton of even older teabox teas I saved (mostly because they were hanging around the teabox for more than one round.) sigh.

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87

Hey, Steepster. It’s been a while. This is also a backlog I owe Brendon. I will try to back log the rest of the teas that I’ve spent too much money on, but I will keep each note short. If there’s something particular or flowery that I should describe in words I will. If not, concise but broad language will come out of my tealog from here on out.

I liked this on more than a few other 18 varietal teas I’ve had. I personally am not in love with this variety of white tea because the the menthol note can border on astringent for this type of tea. This one was a lot smoother, and I personally got a very strong note of a softer fruit like pear and apple amongst the menthol, autumn leaf pile, cassia, and maple notes. White Lotus remains as my favorite white, but this is my favorite #18 Varietal of it from the many companies I’ve had. I recommend it more for experienced drinkers. Newer drinkers might be thrown off with the menthol unless they are open to going more hard core in the world of tea.

eastkyteaguy

Where in the world have you been?

tea-sipper

WELCOME BACK

MadHatterTeaDrunk

Welcome back! It seems that some of us left, only to return a while later. ;)

derk

Dude, Daylon!

Leafhopper

Welcome back! Steepster can’t afford to lose members, and I also enjoy reading your reviews.

LuckyMe

Was wondering where you had been. Welcome back to Steepster Daylon!

Daylon R Thomas

Grading, lesson planning, working out, and watching netflix. I honestly have been off to limit my screen time. I’m glad to be back!

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95

Tea Advent Calendar – Day 25

This advent calendar swap with Shae was one of the highlights of my Christmas season! Such fun to try a new tea every day leading up to Christmas…especially since I ended up liking the vast majority of the ones she sent. :) And of all the yummy teas I got to try, this was one of my very favorites. In all the festivities on Christmas morning, I forgot about it and let it steep for far too long…probably 15 or 20 minutes. Many black teas would have been completely undrinkable at that point, but this one was still smooth and lovely without a hint of bitterness or astringency! It’s an exceptionally smooth, sweet and fruity black tea that obviously isn’t too picky and holds up to multiple resteepings. Wouldn’t mind having this one in my cupboard long-term!

Flavors: Apple, Caramel, Honey, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Kawaii433

Oh, I really love this one <3. It’s inexpensive relatively speaking too.

Shae

Our Advent swap was my favorite part about December! Already looking forward to the next one. :)

Inkling

Yes, we should definitely do it again next year! :)

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85

Tea Advent Calendar – Day 24

A lovely treat for Christmas Eve! The dry leaf is lovely…downy golden curls with a rich earthy aroma. The flavor is rich and full-bodied with notes of cocoa, malt, and baked bread. It also resteeps beautifully!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Earth, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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75

Tea Advent Calendar – Day 17

Such a pretty tea! Long downy golden buds that really do look like little furry tails. It had a delicious cocoa aroma while it was brewing, but I didn’t get much chocolate from the flavor, which was surprisingly light and delicate. It was very smooth (no astringency that I noticed) but not quite as robust as I personally prefer my black tea to be. Almost reminded me of an oolong, actually!

Flavors: Cocoa, Mineral, Smooth

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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85

Tea Advent Calendar – Day 14

I was excited to see a Whispering Pines tea in the advent calendar today and I was not disappointed! This is exactly the type of black tea I love: smooth and slightly sweet with notes of malt and sweet potato. It also re-steeps beautifully!

Flavors: Malt, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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65

I sometimes think the universe keeps plotting against me.

For 2 days now I have been drinking this tea so I can review it. And for two days life’s insanity has meant I’ve noticed little other than its hot or its cold.

Honestly, I think its ok. Nothing bad with it but at the same time, nothing exceptional either, at least to my tastes.

When its hot, there’s a flavor element there that I can’t really identify.

However, when its cold (which keeps happening more and more often) there is a mild pleasant sweetness to it. I think this might make an excellent iced tea. but for hot, I’d prefer something else.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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20

What can I say. Its green and I’ve finally admitted I just don’t like green teas. They reminds me way too much of grass and similar.

Shae

Same! I was to love green teas but don’t. At least not yet.

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70

I need to kick myself. I had decided to take advantage of materialism money greed weekend and stock up on that amazing PTA. And, since the sales were good, I decided to go a head and try a couple of new things. One of the new things was this tea.

Only it wasn’t new. Because I had forgotten to rate it. And so when I checked, I didn’t think I had it. What I get for checking Steepster and not what I actually have. So I have most of an ounce already and another on its way.

So to avoid this kind of error in the future, here’s a review.

At least its a heavily oxidized oolong and its not bad. But when I drink it, I think that I have Golden Snail and PTA in my drawer and I’d rather be drinking one of them.

And to give an example, I arrived at work at 8am this morning and made my first cup.
Its now 4pm and I am not going to finish the cup.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I’m so guilty. I never (or almost never) follow the steeping instructions listed on a bag of tea. I have found a few things that seem to work and I’m such a creature of habit that I never want to try something different. This tea is no exception. It recommends a half teaspoon of leaves steeped in boiling water for 3 minutes. That didn’t happen. In fact, I goofed on this one completely, adding too much water and not enough leaf.

Just to make a quick note about the leaves – they are beautiful. Golden yellow, fuzzy, soft, fluffy. Really so nice. As I mentioned, I botched this cup so it is very light in color and in flavor. I’ll have to give this one another try later.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

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85

I broke this cake up last weekend hoping to add some variety to the tea I have at work. I’ve had this cake for maybe 3 years?
2X rinse, 205F water, 100 ml shibo, ~5g?
10s, 10s, 10s, 15s, etc… I need to remember to bring one of my strainers to work.
A hint of camphor and earth off the liquid. Early steeps – smooth, hint of dirt/earth, nut skin or shell, faint bitterness. No off flavors or weird finish. Easy drinking.
Later – still smooth, almost cocoa, some vanilla, earthy, but light.
I like it.

Flavors: Camphor, Cocoa, Earth, Nuts, Smooth, Vanilla

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75

I finally got around to tasting this tea from Whispering Pines.
The small brick was about 5.5 grams. I broke it in half to try in two sessions.

TL;DR Summary: Overall, this is a decent tasting tea. If you really like sweet fruity teas, then I’d recommend this to you. There’s hardly any astringency or bitterness no matter how far I pushed out the steep times. Personally, I liked the flavor profiles (with the dates & plums) but I really wanted more body and viscosity to the tea. IMNSHO, I think it’s a bit thin, which is why I’m not giving this a higher rating.
I think a leaf vs. water ratio would help or a CZ with a bit of crushed leaf. I probably should have just brewed the whole square instead of trying to conserve the tea. (Also, I really think this tea would be most excellent as a cold brew!!) The only other “ding” I would give it is that it didn’t last as long as I hoped, given the price point. Flavors started to wash out by steep 5.

I brewed this GongFu style.
Water: 90-100ml
Temp: 200+ deg
Steep times: 15s, 30s, 60s, 60s, 60s, 90;120

The dry leaf: hints of plum and fig
Leaf in warm gaiwan: Fresh plums, figs, prunes.
No wash.

- 15s – First steep is the color of medium red amber. The wet leaf smells of sugar water and plums. It’s very sugary sweet! Did I accidentally add sugar? Nope. It’s just THAT sweet.
There’s hints of plums, figs, apricots with a very mild astringency with a drying in the back of the throat & back of my tongue. However, the tea soup is very thin and the flavors are hints of what this could be. (Maybe this should have been a 20-30 second steep)

- 30s – a little bit more body but not by much. There’s a hint of Chinese salted prunes in the leaf aroma. Broth: The flavors of plums & figs are much more stronger and distinct. It’s still sugary sweet.

- 60s – Lets see what happens if I push it out? The color is much darker than the #1 or #2. I still get scents of plum and sugar from the leaf, but with the added scents of dates and fruit bread(?) The sugary sweetness is not as strong. Now I get the flavor of dates. I probably should have kept the steep to about 45seconds if I wanted to keep the sweetness of this tea for longer.

- 60s – The color is now lighter than #3; The leaf smells more of cooked plums/dates versus fresh plums & dried dates. There’s still some sugary sweetness in the leaf.
The tea brother definitely has more of a date flavor with the ever present plums. The sweetness is now in the aftertaste.

- 90 seconds — Flavors are starting to fade a bit. I don’t think the tea has that many longer steeps in it.

- 120 seconds — Flavors are definitely starting to fade. Still no bitterness and an extremely mild astringency.

Flavors: Dates, Fig, Plums

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72

I got this as a sample in my order from Whispering Pines. I brewed this GF style and will try the recommended Western Brewing at a later date. (I’ll update this review when I do)
[11/12/19 UPDATE: See Western style below the GF write-up]

Tea amount: 3grams / water amt ~90ml
Steep times: 20 seconds + 10 second increments per WP’s GF brewing guide.
Water temp: 202 -212 deg F (my kettle sometimes is variable on the temp.)

SUMMARY: This tea does okay in a gaiwan. The flavors are good and what I’d expect out of a Golden Needle, but I’m left wanting a tiny bit more from the tea than it can probably give. Also, the number of steeps was acceptable (topping out at 5 for me)

- The tea leaves in a warm gaiwan give off a scent of chocolate.
- The wet tea leaves have high-notes of a hot chocolate drink and have low-notes of spent cocoa powder that’s been toasted and slightly burnt.
- The tea broth gives off scents of chocolate & honey with hints of orange.

The tea really requires a higher temperature water (208-212) and longer brewing time. As my kettle doesn’t quite keep at the prescribed 208degF that it says on the display, so the temp varies a bit for each steep.

1) 20 seconds @ 208F — not bad. Color of the liquid is a medium orange. The tea is mild in flavor tasting of chocolate & honey. There’s very little astringency.

2) 30 seconds @ 202F — This steep is not as flavorful as the 1st. There’s still the flavors of chocolate & mild orange, but it feels a bit washed out

3) 60 seconds @ 208 — Here we go with the higher temp. The tea is now a much darker orange than the previous 2 steeps. The flavors are a bit stronger — bittersweet cocoa, a tad more orange. There’s a tiny bit astringency and a hint of bitterness but I don’t mind.

4) 60 @ 202F - Flavors are milder than #3..not quite washed out, but definitely not as flavorful.

5) 120 @ 208 — Reboiled the water for this and keeping for a longer brew. It’s not helping as much as I’d hoped. There’s less flavor and more astringency, but still no bitterness.

I’m throwing the rest of the tea into a cold brew to leech out of the rest of the flavors overnight. Who knows, this might be more excellent as a cold brew. It’ll probably be definitely be better as a Western Style

==0000==
WESTERN STYLE:
I followed the recommendations for Western: 1Tb (~3grams) @ 8oz @212F for 3/5 minutes

The chocolate notes are still predominately there, but I’ve lost the honey from the GF brew and there’s a slight bitterness, like burnt coffee grounds or really dark bittersweet chocolate. I barely taste any orange or citrus. The astringency is more present in this brew style than GF. I didn’t quite like the bitterness of #1 so increased the water amount to about 275ml.
This steep is a lot more mellow and less bitter than the 1st steep. I find myself preferring this one than the first. Similar flavor profiles to the first but much much milder.

I combined both of these steeps, and I have to say this combination is better than each individual part.

This tea is okay in either style, but I think there are better Golden Needles out there.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Honey, Orange

Preparation
0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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90

The first time I tried this tea I brewed it according to the package instructions. I found it pretty unpleasant. Strong dirt flavor, and not much else.
I decided to retry and this time stuck to 200degrees,1 min, and wow. A world of difference. Rich and malty, with sweet vanilla notes.

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90

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90

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60

River Rain is just okay for me. A weak green tea that quickly goes bitter if you let it steep for too long past the 2 minute mark. It’s just a little buttery and a little vegetal, but there’s nothing surprising or overly complex about it. It’s forgettable for me.

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