So I’m doing a comparison of some shu I got from Whispering Pines. I ordered a few ounces of the loose leaf a couple of days before the cakes were released. I’m not going to do a full review until another time when I can focus on one tea at a time and I’m in the right frame of mind for it. The 1357 Ontario loose is a smooth and mild shu. Clean, no funk. Wet leaf aroma is dirt, forest floor, mushrooms. Not terribly pleasant to be honest, but the flavor is decent. The flavors are primarily mushrooms and earth. WP also sent a small sample of the Ontario cake with my order. I’ll be honest, I don’t detect a huge difference between the loose and the cake. The chunk of cake I got was a small 10g sample, but still, it’s quite similar to me. The Gold Needle has a much more pleasant wet leaf aroma. It has a pleasant sourness but it’s not what I would call funky. Earth, mushrooms, a bit of hay. I prefer this one to the 1357, but not by much, and probably because there’s a tiny bit of sweetness present that I find lacking in the 1357, and if there’s one thing I like in a shu it’s sweetness. Overall, these shu are collectively not my favorite, and I’ll be honest I’m a bit crestfallen b/c so many others have raved about them. They are ok, but I’ve had better. I think a couple of years crock aging might be in order.