Today, I realized that I had yet to review any of the teas I recently ordered from Whispering Pines and decided that I needed to start on them. Not really being in the mood for anything heavy, I decided to brew some Yabao. All in all, I think it makes a good choice for a mild afternoon sip.

The first infusion poured a slight grey-green. The nose revealed a clean aroma with subtle mineral and floral undertones with a slight fruitiness. In the mouth, I detected mild notes of minerals, wet stones, and dried fruit (raisin and fig) underscored by woody, mossy, and grassy flavors that were joined by a fleeting floral note on the finish.

The second infusion yielded a somewhat more colorful glass of tea. The nose revealed an aroma that was woodier, spicier, and grassier than the first infusion. The mineral aroma lingered, but was not nearly as obvious, while subtle aromas of dried fruit were now joined by cocoa. In the mouth, notes of pine needles, cedar, juniper berry, fig, raisin, and prune were underscored by mellow cocoa and wet moss with mineral notes popping up again on the finish.

The third infusion yielded a slightly greenish tea. Aromas of moss and grass were now underscored by subtle scents of wet wood, dried fruit, and pine needles. In the mouth, I picked up more pine, cedar, and juniper balanced by grass and wet moss with a touch of minerality on the fade.

In the end, I found this tea to be somewhat confounding, but I wouldn’t call it bad. That would be both untrue and unfair because, for what it is, it is quite good. It’s just hard for me to recommend this tea without reservations. As far as white teas go, this is very mild, clean, and subtle. At the same time, however, it is very earthy and woody. It is a tea that will challenge you to really ponder the aroma and taste sensations you experience and reach for new ways to describe them. I do not think it would make a great introduction to white tea, but I think that it could be a very pleasant sip for those who have experience with white teas and appreciate them. All in all, I like this tea, I just wouldn’t recommend that someone looking to get into white tea start here.

Flavors: Cedar, Cocoa, Dust, Fig, Floral, Hay, Mineral, Moss, Musty, Pine, Raisins, Spicy, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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