Imperial North Winds

Tea type
Black Tea
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Bread, Caramel, Cocoa, Cracker, Malt, Molasses, Roasty, Salt, Seaweed, Strawberry, Tannin, Toast, Umami, Apricot, Butter, Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Mineral, Rye, Smooth, Vanilla, Wood, Butterscotch, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Scotch, Stonefruit, Sweet
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Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by Togo
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 5 oz / 134 ml

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6 Tasting Notes View all

From Whispering Pines Tea Company

I’ve been searching for the right teas to make this blend happen for the last few years, and I couldn’t be happier with the final product!

Imperial North Winds was made to be a super rich standalone breakfast blend to keep you warm in the winter and still interested in the summer ;-)

INW hits hard in the flavor and the aroma department, with base notes of rich, creamy chocolate and sweet cherry making their presence known immediately. More subtly, as you’re being taken by the smooth and seductive sweetness, a comforting note of toasted marshmallow floats through here and there. Other various stonefruit notes pass by, some hearty malt, and a soft lingering finish leaves your mouth watering.

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.

6 Tasting Notes

145 tasting notes

(Summer 2023) Black tea with a generous, complex mix of flavors. Has a meaty, savory quality that I admire, though am not yet fully in love with.

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392 tasting notes

Morning birthday cuppa yesterday. I was so happy to open the cupboard and see this still unopened, it felt like a gift. The tiny dry leaves were so beautiful, brown and yellow and places in between… and dense! I stopped at 5g in my 5oz pot, where 7g is my go-to for most things. The very first steep poured a crisp chestnut color, noticeably reddish. Later steeps lost the red and were more brown.

This little love needed no warm-up before the magic happened — the first steep was a symphony. And it seemed every flavor was detectable on the nose and in the mouth… remarkable. Reminded me of golden snails with extra tucked-away gems to discover. Toast, roast, umami, saltines, nuts, brown bread, seaweed, cocoa, malt, molasses… ripe strawberry and caramel at the bottom of the cup. Incredibly smooth. Some tannins finally popped in the third or so, and they were as delightful as everything else.

Because they were closed yesterday, we are heading over to Callisto Tea House in Pasadena today, for a gong fu session (and probably some plant-based goodies, who am I kidding). I’m pretty excited to share some tea outside my home and see what I learn today.

Flavors: Bread, Caramel, Cocoa, Cracker, Malt, Molasses, Roasty, Salt, Seaweed, Strawberry, Tannin, Toast, Umami

5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

Anything I have ever tried from Whispering Pines has been superb.


Happy belated birthday! May the celebrations continue today. :)


Happy belated birthday!


Thanks, y’all! And, gmathis, yes — I’m considering embarking on a hunt for the dud in Brendan’s offerings, hahaha! IT MUST EXIST.

Daylon R Thomas

Happy belated birthday! Well, the duds are subjective and depends on your preferences. I like all of them, and Imperial North Winds is honestly my top one.

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426 tasting notes

I saved this sample from Daylon for a special occasion and enjoyed it on Christmas Day. (I’m posting my note today because I had a couple more steeps to savour.) Given their high shipping cost to Canada, I haven’t had many teas from Whispering Pines and was very much looking forward to this one, particularly as I have a soft spot for fluffy golden teas from Yunnan. I steeped the entire 6 g sample in 120 ml of water at 195F for 7, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

As expected, these fuzzy black and gold leaves are pretty! The dry aroma is of rye bread, dark chocolate, caramel, and malt. The first two steeps have notes of rye bread, malt, caramel, cocoa, dark chocolate, butter, molasses, wood, and fleeting hints of cherry and apricot at the front of the sip. The chocolate really steals the show. The next couple steeps add hints of vanilla, although there is some slight astringency to complement all the decadent flavours. The stonefruit also goes into hiding at this point and doesn’t return. In subsequent steeps, the tea doesn’t change very much, though it seems to get more caramely and bready as the session goes on. The tea eventually fades into faint chocolate, malt, caramel, wood, minerals, and tannins.

If this one is any indication, Whispering Pines has some wonderful offerings. Though I would have been happy if those stonefruit notes had stayed longer, the chocolate, caramel, and rye bread made for a cozy Christmas gongfu session.

Flavors: Apricot, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cherry, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Rye, Smooth, Tannin, Vanilla, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

Sounds like an excellent tea to save for a special day!


It definitely was. :)

Martin Bednář

It seems like a wonderful tea, even though some notes doesn’t last long.


It was. I haven’t had a golden bud/tip tea in a while and it reminded me how good they can be.


The photograph of the tea and your flavour notes makes my mouth water XD


Yep, it’s pretty! I’m sad I don’t have more.

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1708 tasting notes

Thank you, Brenden!

This is becoming a new favorite. I’ve done this western and Gong Fu. I have a slight preference gong fu so that I can enjoy it slower flavor by flavor, but it smoothens out well with longer steeps. I was surprised how small the leaves are, though it’s like looking at hairs from black sheeps golden fleece. In essence, pretty.

It does bear similarities to the original blend in all Brenden’s favorite profiles of cocoa, chocolate, cherry, un-added vanilla, CARAMEL, but this higher grade of leaves does make the blend more refined. The original had some rougher edges with occasional, but highly desirable astringency, bitterness and dryness. The Imperial blend has rye dryness, but not astringency or bitterness. Instead, it’s got malt done right-there where times where I had to remind myself that this was not Scotch. I personally got some present barley notes with butter, stonefruit and caramel. The fruitiness is very faint, but again, likes a scotch, serves as an accent.

I am glad I decided to get two oz since I am almost done with the first. It’s a perfect breakfast tea for when I don’t want to wake up. I like it as a soft lunch-rejolt, but it’s so great looking out at a cold, auburn and grey Michigan morning.

Flavors: Butter, Butterscotch, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Cocoa, Malt, Roasted Barley, Rye, Scotch, Smooth, Stonefruit, Sweet, Vanilla


Is this the version of North Winds you sent me a sample of?

Daylon R Thomas

This past year’s batch still has the cocoa/butterscotch, but not as fruity as the first time I got it.


I dug this out a while ago and am drinking it now. It’s full of cocoa and caramel, but those cherry/stonefruit notes disappeared after the second steep.

Daylon R Thomas

Well, I’m glad you got the fun notes at least in the first cup. It’s consistently good, but can get weak. I hope you liked it! I am currently in FL, but have been planning the swap box. I am excited to include some goodies, like a certain White Jade from Wang…


I’ve had about ten steeps and you’re right, it’s consistently good, in spite of the stonefruit’s disappearing act. (It’s getting late and I’ll have to finish the session tomorrow.) Can’t wait for the White Jade! I still haven’t received my Wuyi Origin order, so your swap box is still a bit thin. :( At this point, there will be a lot of green oolongs.

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1815 tasting notes

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


You’re very welcome! So glad you enjoyed it.

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33 tasting notes

Wow, this is almost too decadent for an at-work tea. I think it’d be better suited to a day of indulging in a good book somewhere comfortable where I could really enjoy.

First cup is a little malty and sweet with a whole lot of vanilla. Honestly reminds me of these chocolate scones at a local coffee shop – something warm and freshly-baked (there’s a hint of chocolate here, but it’s not the main point). Texturally, it’s kind of silky and easy to drink.

Second cup is way more intensely chocolate, with a little more dimension to the sweetness – it’s described as cherry, which I guess works as long as you’re thinking sweet cherries and not tart ones (so…not what I was expecting, oops).

Back to work I go, will make more tea later throughout the day, but so far this one is really lovely.

Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Malt, Sweet, Vanilla


I liked this one very much, and I really love the Ambrosia which is this tea blended with Tahitian vanilla. :D


I haven’t tried Ambrosia, but it’s tempting. Now that I think of it, I actually do have some vanilla I could experiment with myself. Time to see how much vanilla is too much vanilla…


hehe Keep us posted how adding vanilla goes. I have some Imperial North Winds left and maybe I’ll try too. By itself though, it’s yummy as you said.

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