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Recent Tasting Notes
Cool, slick mineral-pear sweetness. Very floral perfume with gardenias, vanilla, sweet pea and lilac. Some roasted almond and baked bread provide deeper notes. Creamy bulb flowers like narcissus and lily in the aftertaste. Cooling and drying in the mouth, warming in the body. Strong zoning out and calm followed by a caffeine rush. Plenty of longevity brewed gongfu with longer steep times. This was the best Zhangping Shuixian oolong I’ve had.
7.5g, 150mL glass gaiwan, 195F
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Creamy, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Gardenias, Mineral, Narcissus, Nectar, Pear, Perfume, Roasted, Sweet, Vanilla
I should have added this earlier when it was still on the website. The Dayuling was priced at $17 per oz, which is expensive, but not bad for a Dayuling. Hopefully, Brenden or someone can edit this note page appropriately. I also wanted to get it out there that WP did sell Dayuling.
From what I remember, the website described it in very general detail, focusing on the cotton candy texture and teas inherent sweetness. “Being in the know” about this type of tea cuts off the rest of the description.
I gotta confess, I love Dayulings despite being rivaled in flavor by the lower elevation teas in my opinion. All of the Daylings I’ve had are comparably fresher and sweeter than many Alishans and Shan Lin Xis, but it’s an effervescent sweetness that’s not thick or heavy. Not bubbly, but green and light as feather. Effervescent may not be the best word since it literally means to boil up with bubbles, but it works for the green and lively energy I get from Dayulings. I also tend to find that they are not very durable on average, but if they are, the have full stamina and a monster of a commanding price.
Some of the best Dayulings I’ve had were from Floating Leaves and Wang Tea, but even those on the pricier end that tradeoff the opportunity of other teas because of their cost. You could argue the same for this one, but it’s not a bad price for what you get.
I haven’t had the luck I wanted to with this one. I was impulsive and drank it immediately after I broke the air-tight seal. I could smell it, and it did have a green grape of cotton candy sugar cane quality in the dry leaf, but even Western, the flavor was muted. Light, effervescent, and green-absolutely. Flavorful beyond those notes? No, or at least not yet.
I did try again Gong Fu, but steep three was the only pronounced one. Lemongrass was the most prominent note, or for people who can see past tasting note pretension-a light green oolong. I do think the issue lies in the prematurity of breaking the seal, but more importantly, my water quality has not been the greatest for the past few months. I do use a water filter regularly that makes a difference, but I have had to do it through my city tap water which has a little bit too much minerals in it. The chlorine taste really blocks the flavors of my better teas, so I stopped drinking them for a time being because of it.
I ordinarily refill purified water from the local grocery store or Meijer, but since COVID, I can’t refill my bottles like I used to, and the sanitized bottles are regularly out, and restock is delayed due to increased shipping times.
Are there any economical recommendations of getting better water? I’ve managed with my blacks replacing my filter regularly and relying on my more basic profiled teas that aren’t altered too much by water quality, but it’s still problem. I should catch up with my 20+ of backlogged teas anyway.
Back to this one, I can’t judge it properly yet. I can recommend Brenden’s Taiwanese teas if you don’t want to wait for international shipping times in the U.S., and while they are slightly more expensive than I prefer, they are a good medium for high quality teas.
Flavors: Cotton Candy, Floral, Lemongrass
I honestly can’t drink this without comparing it to PTA (Premium Taiwanese Assam), which has swiftly become the tea I would happily drink forever.
Its got a lot of good qualities, rich flavor, not astringent, not bitter. I almost get the impression something maybe fruity and mild. Nice and easy to drink, I can easily see having this on an
Read more about review stating Nice and mild
early summer morning when everything is still and quiet and I can just sit there and listen to nothing but the birds chirping.
So back to the comparison. Its not as sweet as PTA, though there is still no bitterness and no astringency at all, even after multiple steeps. The fragrance is milder as well. While I have not tried doing so (yet), I suspect this might make an excellent light iced tea. Maybe toss in a slice of orange or a few pieces of sliced strawberry to help bring out that almost fruity impression I get.
It looks like I might be building a liking for Taiwanese blacks.
Off the bat, I am not fond of white or green teas, so my impression of this one isn’t very good.
That said, it doesn’t taste like grass clippings, which most greens do for me. The leaves are also fuzzy enough that I keep feeling like I want to pet them. :)
I’m sure this will be the perfect cup for others, but it isn’t for me.
One of my favorite blacks from whispering pines so far, and one of many teas I’m behind putting. At this rate, I might just put the teas I really liked on here so I don’t have to fuss. The list will still be long, but there are some that definitely need to get on Steepster, especially from What-Cha, Wang, and Whispering Pines
Back to the tea. It has a very creamy texture and leans on the fruity end of black teas. For you tea snobs, it does have a lot of similarities to its less oxidized oolong counterpart when it comes to the tea’s osmanthus like florals and almost apricot like flavor. Nectarine is probably more accurate. There were times I thought of berries, though it’s more akin to the nectarine, but I would not say this is a intensely stonefruit kind of tea. Fruity and intensely sweet with creamy honeysuckle florals, yes. Mega peachiness? Maybe not. I was thinking more passionfruit. Creamed honey, maybe some caramelized sugar. Later steeps were lighter, and its oolong heritage shined through. Shorter steeps makes it especially resemble the oolong counterpart, but with more body and flavor.
It also lasts quite a bit of time western or gong fu. I use my longer 30 second intervals with 5 grams, and upped the by 30 sec each time. I know, not precise. Western was also a lot more experimental, staying in at 2-3 min for the beginning time, but then I did whatever afterwards. Thank heavens this one is forgiving. There are a lot of similarities to some Taiwanese blacks in how sweet it is, and reminded me of Nectar, another good tea that’s occasionally sold on Whispering Pines. This one is more complex in my opinion, but Nectar had a little bit more staying power and was thicker. This is thick, that one was THICC. I feel that there is more to say about the teas notes, but I can’t put it into words right now.
In terms of quality, the rating should be closer to a 90-93. It is also a lighter than average black with little to no astringency and moderate malt. Some might be iffy about it because it is a more mild black tea, but it is by no means as faint as a golden bud black. In terms of how I like my tea, it’s perfect because it’s light floral and fruity. In terms of price, I remember it being decent. Tie Guan Yin blacks are hard to find, and even with other big companies like Yunnan Sourcing and Verdant, they are pretty much seasonal.
You could of course try Tealet or finding vendors/farmers directly, but Brenden does a good job curating teas like this. Sweet tooths, rejoice. I would definitely buy this one again.
Flavors: Berry, Caramel, Cream, Creamy, Flowers, Fruity, Honey, Honeysuckle, Malt, Nectar, Osmanthus, Passion Fruits, Smooth, Sweat
Derk, you made my day with this one! Long, blonde leaves that meld into cocoa and sweet wheat toast. Definitely my gold standard! Off to try a second steep.
(My husband is used to me sticking dry tea leaves under his nose for him to smell, but this morning, when I pulled the packet away, he said, “Wait a minute! I want to smell that again!” High praise.)
This blend of wild purple black tea and lapsang souchong has a character that is deliberate —purposefully rustic yet refined. It reminds me of a gentleman from a world forgotten sitting in leather saddle in command of his horse. The lapsang souchong pulls the reigns on the wild purple black tea’s unrestrained energy and guides it into a respectable trot. There is a full flavor and body in the sip followed by cleansing tannins on the swallow but it seemingly cannot be oversteeped. Intriguing, buoyant mix of flavors with campfire, jerky, leather, wildberries and muscatel, dry grass, cocoa/cocoa butter and lemon-citrus. There’s certainly a lot I’m missing, like once I think I have a grasp on a certain flavor, it gets pulled back into the fold. The smokiness is moderate. It feels like that found in wild teas, rather than a heavily smoked lapsang souchong. The aftertaste lingers and I think that is where my imagination begins to unfold.
I like when a tea can both prod at my mind’s eye and be a functional, energetic brew.
Flavors: Berries, Campfire, Camphor, Citrus, Cocoa, Dry Grass, Leather, Lemon, Meat, Mineral, Muscatel, Nectar, Oak wood, Rose, Tannin
I said I would try a third western steep, and I did! This time I invited my husband to drink it with me. He was more a white/green/oolong/puerh fan but is coming around on black tea fast – as long as it is not astringent. This one isn’t astringent at all.
Yes, it is weaker. Of course it is. But it was well worth steeping again and my husband really liked it even though he had not tried the first two steeps. I thought he would like it since the Fujian component is a tea he has tried before and liked a lot.
It seemed perhaps a little creamier or thicker in mouthfeel and I think that is because the cocoa note was slightly lighter and the dian hong was coming out a little more.
Great tea. Thanks, derk!
This is another sample from my surprise package from derk!
Two of my all time favorite teas blended together? Yes, please! But it was going to be too good to have it just any old time, so I waited. And yesterday I spent HOURS trimming and pulling down the dead vines from the back side of the wall o’ jasmine. It is gorgeous from the yard, but from inside the house and on the carport, it had become a tangled brown mess of all the old vines and was obstructing the view and what little light we get from that angle.
I had to be really careful as there are still some bird nests up high. With each tug, ancient pollen, dust, and debris showered down into my face and in my hair. I ended up filling three garbage cans – big ones – before stopping. My goal was to have a lovely view from my newly cleaned off carport which looks onto the back garden. I put a small table and a rocker there with a huge fan to keep it comfortable.
My hands were blistered, I was covered in dirt and pollen, and I was ready to relax HARD.
So as a treat, I made this tea last night and sat in the rocker until midnight, reading, sipping, and enjoying the newly re-exposed view!
This is a fantastic tea. It reminds me of a bygone tea I loved but can no longer acquire, Emperor’s Red from Premium Steap. What a tea that was! They never told what the blend was, but I think it must have been very close to this.
This was so smooth. A cocoa aroma not only accompanies the sip, but that powdery “raspy” feel is left on the tongue. It is not at all an astringency or a sourness, it is like you have tasted some dry cocoa powder. It has enough heft to use it as a breakfast tea, and yet is smooth enough to drink by itself in the afternoon or evening. (If you don’t need to avoid caffeine later in the day!) With the dry cocoa, like a perfect dance partner, the Dian Hong adds its full roundness and body, with an extra touch of sweetness and some middle and high notes to go with the low dark notes of the Fujian tea.
I resteeped the leaves and the second steep was wonderful, too. It was good enough that I have saved the leaves to give it one more go today. I will try to add another note for the third steep, as this is a rather expensive tea and getting three western steeps would make a difference in how I view the price for an order!
I need a t-shirt that says, “Mail is my love language.” This traveled to my house from derk in an envelope peppered with cheerful, artsy stamps. Furthermore, I have the luxury of some use-it-or-lose-it vacation time to burn before end of the month, so I am enjoying it at home, not in the office.
I tasted before I investigated the description, and couldn’t quite place the flavor, although the scent was deliciously rich. Come to find out, says Whispering Pines, this is a lapsang souchong variety. If so, it is the mildest one I’ve ever sampled—like the outside rim of a very lightly toasted marshmallow rather than campfires and bacon.
Thank you Brenden! And thank you derk for putting up the page!
I really liked this sample. The leaves were fairly small, like hairs picked off from a golden fleece. I plowed through it quickly over two days and kept on drinking it semi western in a large 12 oz mug and in increments of 1-2 minutes. I’m sorry if I’ve lost the usual specific description for notes….I’ve been backlogging….and I have at least ten more teas to do or more.
Back to the tea. This one was more floral than normal for me compared to some other golden hong cha, but it was very satisfying. I got the same notes derk did in terms of the cocoa,grains, creamed honey, and pepper. I also got some fruity melon ones that were vague but noticeable like cantaloupe. The tea was still predominantly floral, sweet, cocoa, caramel, and balanced by even malt, though it was not overly tense like an Assam or even some Keemum. Viscosity was also nice, and while it was on the lighter end overall for a black, it still provided plenty of body. It’s personally been one of my favorite gold strands blacks from whispering pines so far.
This is the second tea I am trying from my surprise care package from derk!
I really, really like smoky tea and this blend is named for Strider the Ranger, aka Aragorn from The Lord Of The Rings. I decided to gong fu steep this one because I wanted to get everything out of it I possibly could, and I am not disappointed.
I warmed the gaiwan and put the leaves in and waited a moment to smell the aroma the leaves were releasing. I have read reviews where people talked about smelling tomato in tea but have never caught that myself, and I think perhaps it was a “by association” type thing. When I smelled the gaiwan, it was like inhaling the scent of rich steak sauce, the deep reddish brown kinds.
I didn’t do a rinse but drank the first steep on my own. The flavor was more complex than I expected. Yes, it is smoky, nicely smoky, but there is much more. Already the purple tea is underneath but not yet prominent. I hesitated but decided to call in my husband to join me since he has started enjoying some black tea more. (More on husband and tea in another note soon.) He did try a lapsang with me not long ago and liked it.
He usually prefers from the second steep on in any gong fu sessions we have and that was where he started with this one. He made faces at first, but then he said….”It isn’t bad, it’s just…..so different.”
He hit the nail on the head. As we steeped again and again, the smoke was disappearing and the purple tea flavor became more and more prominent. I don’t know if I can describe it well, but it is like thin tea body with a hint of lemon and a hint of lime and a tiny touch of grassiness. That’s what purple tea usually tastes like to me.
This tea was really interesting and one that I would recommend drinking on its own and not pairing with food, because there is so much to experience here. If it were paired with anything, I would think it should be cheese or nuts. I don’t feel it would reveal all of its beauty and complexity if paired with sweets.
Thank you, derk! We really enjoyed this one, and it was a surprise for me that my husband liked it as well as he did, not being a smoke or black tea guy.
Typical light and clean gold bud character. It has a very clear, pure malt grain taste and sweetness. gmathis mentioned burlap sack before, though in regards to Keemun. I get that note here plus a bit of lightly floral cocoa and some of that creamed honey Brenden mentions in his description. Second steep brings out baked bread and black pepper. Super smooth.
Now that’s an easy sipper.
Thanks for the sample, Brenden :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Cocoa, Floral, Grain, Honey, Malt, Round , Smooth, Sweet
Sipdown! I’ve been drinking this fairly regularly for the last week or so, and I could have sworn I’d written a note on it, but I guess not… This is an unusual one because, at least to me, it’s very chocolatey but low in malt. The chocolate predominates, and there’s some sourness alongside woody notes of pine, cedar and a hint of smoke backing it up. The sip ends on a whisper of nuttiness, maybe even coconuttiness, which lends a little sweetness to what is primarily a fairly savoury tea, even with the chocolate notes. Is it weird for me to say that this reminds me of a sexy men’s cologne? There are certain colognes which smell delicious, and this tea tastes like those smell even though it doesn’t actually smell like cologne (and tastes way better than they would!) I don’t know, it’s just a feel I get from this tea. Sexy man smell. Lol. Anyway, thanks Sil for sending me a very generous sample of this tea! It’s helped me to pinpoint that some things I like in a single origin black, and some teas I might pick up again in the future.
this is just /chef’s kiss/
malty, creamy, bittersweet chocolate-y it does remind me a little of Ancient Spirit which is a good thing bc that is my absolute favourite tea. I was so excited to see this sample in my last WP order and am patiently waiting for this to be restocked.
edit, here is a nice song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abKBYZX_1sM
I thought I tried this one before. Anyway.
There are so many teas in my backlog. Most of them, I need to add to steepster myself. Cheers to trailblazing!
I hesitated on this one for a while since I was not quite sure how I felt on Jasmine Blacks. They tend to be too malty for me personally, but I given how smooth the Golden Snail is, I’d give it a try. I have only brewed it very lightly via western with 3-5 grams in 8-12 oz, but my initial times tend to be between two and three minutes, and then I add 30-45 seconds, and then minutes afterwards. I have gotten between 4-6 solid cups followed by fainter ones. I can see this as an easy Gong Fu tea, but I’ve been working a lot online (TEACHING), and have needed French press to power me through sessions.
First of all, this is a very well balanced tea, and naturally extremely creamy, sweet, and dense with jasmine flavor. The body is viscous, but not overwhelming thick or malty. Like other reviews, I could still taste the sweet potato and cherry malt underneath the jasmine. The cocoa nib notes a little bit more subdued, but they are there. Middle brews give me caramel notes, and later ones lean to honeysuckle from the black tea rather than the jasmine. The first and second steep remind me of buttercream frosting due to its voluptuous sweetness. Sometimes it reminds me of cantaloup, but I point that to the sensation when my buds go from Jasmine to black tea.
When I bought it, I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to buy more Lorien, or more of this one. I wanted the Nepal Gold, but it was sold out right when I went to go through checkout. So I doubled on Lorien because Jasmine Whites are my favorite, and if White Lotus was any indicator of Brenden’s tastes, Lorien would be really good because he topped it above Lotus. So I got less of this one…though I wanted to add more. Curse expenses and my propensity to diversify my Dragon’s Horde of Tea!
So, after trying both, I like both equally, but I prefer the Jasmine to tea ratio on this one’s taste. Lorien can be perfumy if you ever brew it like I did the first time, and I like that this jasmine is not nearly as vegetal, but better yet, not super malty or astringent if you brew it lighter. I like that I can taste both tea and jasmine, and this is the perfect pick me up tea. I used it before work this morning to power through parent phone calls (I HATE talking on the phone), and sustained me through my meeting.
1. Expense (WHICH IS ALWAYS THE CASE, BUT I SUPPORT BRENDEN AND HOLY CRAP DOES THIS ONE HAVE A HIGH DEMAND)
2. Longevity. Lorien’s main advantage over this one is that it yields more cups than this one. It can start to get week around cup 4-5 whereas my other teas tend to get weak at 6-7 western. It’s honestly a nitpick that depends on my leaf ratio.
3. Strength. This is easy to avoid and not a complaint from me, but I can see some people not liking this one because of the florals. It’s balanced enough to win people over and jade them to other Jasmine teas, but if you up the leaf too much, the Jasmine could get to your stomach. It’s more forgiving than most black teas, but it’s still a black tea, and can get astringent if it is over done.
I personally did not entirely picture Alice when I drank it unlike the Jabberwocky, Rivendell, or Lorien, but after reading the notes I can see it depending on how I picture it. When Alice drinks tea at the Mad Tea Party, I always imagine something more British like a breakfast tea, but then thrown in with something whimsical. The jasmine is more otherworldly than whimsical for me. But when I picture her with the caterpillar or with the flowers, this blonde tea makes more sense (ironic because I picture her more as a Brunette in the books over the blonde in the series). This little Geek rant has nothing to do with my enjoyment of the tea though, and Alice is one of the best blends that Whispering Pines has had. I like it more than Earl Gold, but that’s personal preference.
Flavors: Cantaloupe, Caramel, Frosting, Honey, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Malt, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes