Sparrow — Heavily Oxidized GABA Oolong

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Almond, Apple, Black Raspberry, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Carrot, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Herbal, Honey, Mineral, Molasses, Oats, Orange Zest, Pastries, Pear, Pine, Plum, Raisins, Straw, Sugarcane, Toasted Rice, Vanilla, Cacao, Cantaloupe, Cranberry, Creamy, Fruity, Grain, Lime, Malt, Powdered Sugar, Sour, Stonefruit, Sweet Potatoes, Tart, Coconut, Potato
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by CrowKettle
Average preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 oz / 118 ml

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3 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I’m back after a long absence. A lot has happened in the last 2+ months. As some of you may recall, I accepted a position with the state back in November. That did not work out. Friday will...” Read full tasting note
    85
  • “Spring 2021 Harvest Ok, I’m trying this one gongfu style, because why not? I’m only two cups in and already encountering some vivid oddball flavours. Its like an Apple-Cherry Cobbler with a potato...” Read full tasting note
    76

From Whispering Pines Tea Company

This heavily oxidized GABA oolong is bursting with rich aromatics and a super complex body! First impressions are of chex mix and chocolate, and it actually strongly reminds me of a baked chocolate chex mix that my mom makes sometimes. Other notes are a tartness almost akin to cherry and some slight spice in the finish. Really active mouthfeel and a creamy sweet finish! One of my go-to’s recently, Sparrow is also one of the best cost/value ratio teas I’ve come across.

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.

3 Tasting Notes

85
1048 tasting notes

I’m back after a long absence. A lot has happened in the last 2+ months. As some of you may recall, I accepted a position with the state back in November. That did not work out. Friday will actually be my final day in the position. I am supposed to be starting a new job on Monday, but now a monkey wrench has been thrown into those plans. Earlier today, I was offered my first real position in my field. The Pike County Public Library District offered me a contract to fill the vacant catalog manager position and have asked that I provide an answer by Monday. I clearly have a very big decision to make. Anyway, I am way behind on posting tea reviews due to my two jobs, school, laziness, etc. I’m trying to get back into it now, but I make no promises as to how well this will go.

This was one of my sipdowns from early February and a tea that I had been meaning to get around to trying for some time. For whatever reason, I became very focused on Chinese tea in 2020 and 2021 and did not devote much time or money to teas from elsewhere in the world. The newer Taiwanese teas went pretty much totally ignored. I wanted to rectify that oversight and opted to try this one first. Honestly, it was a very solid GABA oolong. I have been a little surprised by some of the lower scores I have seen for this tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the loose leaf and bud sets in 4 fluid ounces of 190 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf and bud rolls emitted pleasant aromas of cinnamon, honey, straw, sour cherry, black raspberry, plum, and bread. After the rinse, I detected a stronger sour cherry aroma alongside novel aromas of roasted almond, raisin, and cream that were underscored by a subtle vanilla scent. The first infusion introduced a mineral aroma and subtler scents of toasted rice and earth. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, oats, butter, roasted almond, honey, sour cherry, bread, and minerals that were chased by delicate hints of banana, vanilla, toasted rice, raisin, and sugarcane. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of pie crust, oats, butter, orange zest, sugarcane, pine, and roasted carrot to the tea’s bouquet. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of raisin and sugarcane appeared in the mouth with impressions of pie crust, black raspberry, orange zest, chocolate, pine, apple, and roasted carrot in tow. I also noted pleasant, persistent hints of plum, straw, earth, molasses, cinnamon, caramel, pear, and horehound in the mix. As the tea slowly faded, the liquor began to emphasize notes of minerals, honey, cream, bread, roasted almond, sugarcane, orange zest, oats, and raisin that were chased by somewhat ghostly, lingering touches of sour cherry, plum, pie crust, apple, butter, caramel, vanilla, and pear.

At the time I was working my way through what I had of this tea, it had been ages since I had tried a GABA oolong. I was expecting something heavier, maybe a bit more like a Taiwanese black tea, but this tea immediately reminded me of some of the other GABA oolongs I had tried. I couldn’t really tell that the heavy oxidation had added all that much to it. That gripe aside, this was still a very likable GABA oolong. It displayed great complexity in the mouth and very respectable longevity. It also produced a lively, heavily textured tea liquor that shifted from syrupy and almost cloying to smooth and creamy to thin, sharp, crisp, and mineral-heavy over the course of a lengthy gongfu session. I’m not sure I would ever pick it over some of the other GABA oolongs I have tried, but I did enjoy what it brought to the table. It was a very solid, appealing tea overall.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Black Raspberry, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Carrot, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Herbal, Honey, Mineral, Molasses, Oats, Orange Zest, Pastries, Pear, Pine, Plum, Raisins, Straw, Sugarcane, Toasted Rice, Vanilla

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Courtney

Wishing you the best with whatever decision you choose!

eastkyteaguy

Thank you. I have no clue what I’m going to do.

Courtney

These decisions are always difficult! I am working on finding a job in my own field and it’s just tricky (I’m finding, at least).

Leafhopper

Glad to see you back! I think people either love GABA teas or hate them. They all seem to have a distinct profile.

Good luck with your job decision!

CrowKettle

Glad to see you here and wishing you the best no matter your future endeavours!

(cough) My personal rating system is weird, sorry; I tend to tend to group teas that I think are pretty good in a 76-85 range (and I’ll bump them up and down in that range on a whim because I’m imprecise). Like you, I think this tea is solid but would probably still opt to try a different GABA oolong next time. That bready vanilla sour cherry note is the bomb though, and I want more of that.

Your tasting note makes me want to steep a cup right now to see if I can pick out some of the subtleties that you tasted too. Wow! :)

mrmopar

Best to you on the decision. Hopefully it won’t be a hard one to make. Sad to know one door is closing but another may be opening up.

Martin Bednář

Your decision will be great one. I am sure you will choose well. I had no clue that I wanted to do that what I am now doing, but I see it was clever choice.

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76
1339 tasting notes

Spring 2021 Harvest

Ok, I’m trying this one gongfu style, because why not? I’m only two cups in and already encountering some vivid oddball flavours. Its like an Apple-Cherry Cobbler with a potato base, dusted with cinnamon (sort of hot fruity baked granola bread, but also with potatoes).

Continued…
No.3 smells and tastes like tart cherries. Like in my Western Steep note, I think this tea has major flavour blend potential. No.4 is still very cherry with powdered sugar, but also hints of cranberry. My good friend Roasted Oolong Ice Cream Cone is also back. No.5 is lightly cherry tart with mineral notes. No. 6 sees the return of apple (maybe pear?) and some of the cinnamon, along with the ever-present cherry. No.8 is like potato or coconut oil – thick but kind of flat except for some minor stonefruit notes; strangely, it reminds me of Potato Pancakes & Applesauce from good old Butiki.

Gongfu Style Steep Count: 9

Flavors: Apple, Bread, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coconut, Cranberry, Grain, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Pastries, Potato, Powdered Sugar, Stonefruit, Tart

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Evol Ving Ness

Wow, that sounds like quite a ride.

CrowKettle

Always an adventure with multi-steep oolong sessions!

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