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Whispering Pines

Silver Needle from Whispering Pines

Usually, I’m like “WHITE TEA, WHAT IS THE POINT OF YOU?” but with this one, I think that I might have an inkling. I think that this tea bottles the spirit of that static electricity feeling that happens before a storm. It tastes like sweet flowers and quivering, excited air. It has a very distinct, kinetic-energy vibe.

My difficulty in untwisting this tea’s flavor is transparent. You, dear reader, are not sure whether you want to try this tea. My description is mangled and unhelpful, and I know it.

So I went over to the official description of the tea on Whispering Pines’ site for an assist. Surely THEY know what they made.

Um. They said, “Silver Needle has a dry leaf aroma of summer bluegrass and clover, where the wet leaf opens with wildflowers, jasmine rice, cinnamon, and a light touch of cannabis.”

This smells like… THE DEVIL’S LETTUCE? Really? I have a tragically limited knowledge of the Mary Jane, but I’m pretty sure this doesn’t. I sniffed it carefully and declare it Not Dank.

No, I’m afraid it smells like a summer storm on a bed of flowers.

But if you’re a more free-spirited type, please feel free to try some of this tea and get back to me about whether I’m right or wrong on this one.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  White
Where to Buy:   Whispering Pines

Our Silver Needle White Tea was harvested in early Spring 2017 and carefully processed to preserve the purity of the leaf. With pure nearly-opened buds covered in down white hairs, this tea is as beautiful to look at as it is to taste! Silver Needle has a dry leaf aroma of summer bluegrass and clover, where the wet leaf opens with wildflowers, jasmine rice, cinnamon, and a light touch of cannabis. The taste begins with a velvety sweet body with base notes of honeysuckle, horchata, and ripe pear. Mid sip presents a creamy feel similar to avocado and also hints at sweet clover and papaya. The aftertaste is reminiscent of osmanthus flower and a sweetness lingers on for minutes after the last sip. A fantastic silver needle!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Golden Snail Yunnan Black by Whispering Pines Tea Co.

goldensnailTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Whispering Pines Tea Co.

Tea Description:

This Yunnan black tea was harvested in early spring (2014) and carries a robust and delicious flavor profile! The first thing you taste is a thick honey flavor giving way to creamy cocoa with a touch of malt. A heavy molasses-like sweetness lingers on your tongue while juicy morel plays with a hint of gardenia in the aftertaste. This tea is delicious hot as well as iced and holds up very well to three or more infusions!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Black tea will always be my absolute favourite, and as I discover more Chinese black teas, they rise higher in my estimation. I bought this one from Whispering Pines in an effort to try more teas from Yunnan, which (of all black teas) seem to possess the majority of characteristics I really enjoy. High praise indeed! This one impresses from the moment the bag is opened. The scent drifting up is pure chocolate – so much so that I almost had to check I’d actually picked up a bag of tea. The dry leaf itself is beautiful – little golden black curls that really do look like miniature snail shells. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown. Since this is to be my first cup of the day, I added a splash of milk.

The initial flavour is a beautiful, creamy milk chocolate. It’s pretty hard to believe that this isn’t a cup of cocoa, but I definitely made it with tea leaves! I’m reassured when a sweet maltiness emerges in the mid-sip, along with the wonderfully comforting flavour of baked break. Tea it is, and a wonderfully sweet, smooth, chocolatey thing at that! The maltiness deepens towards the end of the sip, becoming an almost treacle-like molasses flavour. It’s rich and flavourful; a real treat for the tastebuds.

Chocolate and baked bread are my two favourite flavours in black tea, except perhaps for sweet potato and honey. To find a tea that features these so clearly is a real delight! This is a great example of a Yunnan black tea, and would make a good starting point for anyone looking to explore this particular variety. Whsipering Pines did well with this one – I’m left in no doubt as to the quality of their offerings, and it’s certainly a tea I’d be happy to repurchase in future. Well worth a try.

Campfire Blend from Whispering Pines Tea Company

campfire-blendTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black & Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Whispering Pines Tea Company

Tea Description:

It was late autumn in the upper peninsula of Northern Michigan. I had the campfire going steady with pinewood and maple leaves. A slight breeze off of the lake brought me closer to the embers while the call of a Barred Owl and crickets echoed through the empty lakeshore. The wind pushed the smoke towards the full moon. The smoky haze in the air played like the moonlight across the water, giving life to an empty sky. Then, as if rehearsed a hundred times, the entire landscape went silent. All I could hear was the crackling of the fire and my own steady breath. The wind had stopped, the owl and crickets wouldn’t dare make a sound. Even the haunting call of a loon was cut short, echoing across the silvery glasslike waters for what felt like forever. There was only the popping of a fire and the lonely breath of a woodsman. At that moment, sending chills down my spine not even the hottest fire could have warmed, the cry of a lone wolf sang out from the pine forest behind me. The silence was broken and, moments later, the orchestra of nature began singing once again.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Campfire Blend from Whispering Pines Tea Company represents a first for me, because I don’t think I’ve ever tried a tea with roasted cedar leaves before.  If I have, I certainly don’t recall it, and I have a feeling that I would have remembered trying a tea with roasted cedar leaves!

That’s one of the things that I really appreciate about Whispering Pines – their blends are crafted without artificial flavors and they utilize locally sourced ingredients like the roasted cedar leaves to create something completely unique, something that you’re not likely to find anywhere else.

And this blend is really quite tasty!  I like the cedar!  It lends a very rustic, woodsy sort of flavor – as does the chicory and cloves.  These three ingredients work very harmoniously together.  This tastes like a walk through the woods.  Leaves crackling beneath your feet as you walk, the air is crisp and fresh.  There is a log cabin not too far away and a fire is burning in the fireplace, scenting the air with notes of wood that is roasting in the fire.  But mostly what fragrances the air is the smell of the trees that surround you.

This tea has a very autumnal sort of taste with it’s resinous cedar leaves, and the warmth of the cloves and chicory.  The black tea adds a rich, flavorful backdrop.  I don’t taste a lot from the rooibos … maybe just a hint of woodsy flavor from the rooibos, but it seems to lighten up the black tea flavor just a little bit so that the flavors of the cedar, chicory and cloves can be experienced.

A really nice cuppa to curl up to – any time of year!  Any time you want to evoke the thoughts of an autumnal walk through the woods, that’s the time to break out this tea and let it take you on that journey.

Glen Arbor Breakfast Tea from Whispering Pines Tea Company

GlenArborBreakfastTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Whispering Pines Tea Company

Tea Description:

Glen Arbor Breakfast is our classic, everyday breakfast blend. On those days that you just need a cuppa to get moving, this is the tea for you! This robust tea was inspired by riverside morning walks in the summertime with the perfect breeze whispering through the pines and the birds singing cheerfully. Glen Arbor Breakfast brews a smooth, sweet cup that can be taken plain or with sugar and cream, boasting a pleasant light stringency at the end of the sip and lasting aftertaste of cedar wood and malt! Second and third infusions morph into a beautiful earthy and malty cup with cooling eucalyptus notes!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I was excited to try this Glen Arbor Breakfast Tea from Whispering Pines Tea Company.  I had been reading some positive tasting notes written about this tea on Steepster, and I was interested to experience the tea for myself.

And since the description above suggests several infusions with this tea, I decided to take it through it’s paces.  My first infusion proved to be a hearty, robust cup of tea.  A bit more astringent than I expected – I wouldn’t categorize this as “light” astringency, it’s more of a medium astringency in my opinion.  I do get the aftertastes of cedar and malt, and those are quite pleasant, indeed.

The flavor is rich and earthy.  There are hints of smoke to this – not a strong, smoky presence, but, enough for me to envision a walk through the woods on a crisp spring or autumn morning.

My second infusion … wow!  I am tasting those eucalyptus notes as promised in the above description.  It’s a really cool and crisp sensation, and it evokes more of those thoughts of a morning jaunt through the woods.

This tea really should be infused at least twice, I think, because I’m finding the second cup to be more rewarding than the first.  The first was good – certainly!  But the second is even better.  The body is not quite as hearty, but, what it loses in bold, bracing flavor, it gains in complexity.  The astringency is lighter here, and the taste is smoother.  I love the malty flavor and earthy tones of this cup.

This is a little different from most breakfast type teas that I’ve tried – I can definitely taste the “woodsy” influence to this cup.  While I know that the teas of Whispering Pines Tea Company are inspired by Northern Michigan, as I sip them, I feel more connected with the beautiful Pacific Northwest that I call home.  This tea has a very rugged, outdoorsy sort of taste to it.  I like it a lot!

Whisper of the Woods Green Tea Blend from Whispering Pines Tea Company

whisper-of-the-woodsTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green Tea

Where to Buy:  Whispering Pines Tea Company

Tea Description:

The most beautifully soothing mint green tea. Imagine a crisp beautiful sunrise in a densely wooded pine-oak forest with sheets of trilliums and wild currant berries. You wake up, step out of your tent and breathe the last sliver of fog before the shattered sunlight wisps it away. Whisper of the Woods is an ideal green tea reminiscent of that crisp and floral serenity with just the perfect amount of heart-warming energy to induce prana and exploration. Enjoy.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Nice!  I don’t know why, but something about this Whisper of the Woods Green Tea Blend from Whispering Pines Tea Company made me think that there’d be smoke notes to it.

I don’t know if it’s just the name of it:  Whisper of the Woods.  It makes me think of a walk through the woods and the smell of the air that would surround me as I’m walking, and in that image that is playing in my head, the smell of the air would include a touch of smoke from a far off log cabin with a fire blazing in the fireplace.  Or perhaps it’s just the name of the company:  Whispering Pines Tea Company.  Something about this company makes me think of that aforementioned blazing, crackling fire in the fireplace.

But this isn’t a smoky tea.  And I don’t know that I’d want it to be smoky.  I like the notes of mint – a combination of peppermint and spearmint – and I like the hint of jasmine.  I like the way these flavors play together with the sweet, lightly grassy notes of the green tea.

And what I like best is that this isn’t overwhelmingly minty.  Sure, the mint flavor is there and it’s strong and there’s no mistaking it.  But, it isn’t a “toothpaste-y” mint.  I don’t feel like I just took a sip of mouthwash.  This was masterfully blended, and the result is a mint tea that isn’t too minty.

The jasmine essence builds as I sip.  I barely noticed it in the first couple of sips, but, now that I’m nearly finished with the cup, the jasmine comes through really well.  It’s not perfume-y, but it brings a beautiful floral note to the cup.  I like the way the jasmine and mint notes come together.

It really is a bit like a whisper in the woods.  Imagine a gentle breeze filtering through the woods, picking up notes of wildflowers and mint growing in the wild along with hints of grass.  A beautiful scent.  A delicious flavor.  That’s what this tea delivers.