Just as in last week's review, this week features another new (to Built from Ink and Tea) tea company - Whispering Pines Tea. Their handcrafted teas are blended in small batches, often using wildcrafted ingredients (see their article on this concept, here). Today's review focuses on their Wildcrafted Dian Hong black tea.
Per the recommendation on their website, I begin with steeping only a teaspoon of leaves in sixteen ounces of water for three minutes. As they give instructions for second and third infusions, I am looking forward to trying those. The dry leaves give-off a slightly-brassy, fresh grass scent. In some regards, it reminds me a bit of olive oil. The aroma is light, but it has some deep notes in the background, which cause me to draw long breaths of the dry tea, while the other leaves steep. Slightly chocolatey, slightly honey, there is only a touch of malt that I have experienced with other Chinese black teas. Yet dian hong is not just any Chinese black tea.
Other sources suggest that high quality dian hong will have no astringency to it, if brewed properly (which usually involves short steepings). My first sips of this Wildcrafted Dian Hong reveal notes of flavor that I would never have expected from the aroma. Whispering Pines Tea's website mentions the foremost flavor being sweet potato - they are spot-on. Honey flavors edge the body. The maltiness that was noticeable in the aroma is here in the flavor - subtly. The cup finishes with a hint of spice. If those sources I mentioned are to be believed - this dian hong definitely shows its quality. The taste holds no astringency.
During the second steep, a five minute infusion, I contemplate the amazing smoothness from my first brewing. Simply, I find this tea delicious, and I am already looking forward to more. The color of the second steep matches that of the first. The aromas have lightened a bit, but they seem sweeter. Likewise, the flavors are lighter and sweeter versions of their first steep. The sweet potato actually seems noticeable, now, in the smell.
A third steep for eight minutes seems to complete the tea, as the flavors diminish. The aroma is much weaker, now, and the flavors are only a shadow of what they were, originally. Tasting more like flavored water, the tea remains drinkable, yet not nearly as enjoyable.
On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate Whispering Pines Tea's Wildcrafted Dian Hong a 98/100. This tea was delicious, and I look forward to drinking many more cups of it. The flavors were so different than the usual Chinese black teas that I drink, I felt as if I had discovered a completely new aspect of tea that I had never previously encountered. I cannot recommend highly enough this find from Whispering Pines Tea.
Photo credit to Built from Ink and Tea.
Whispering Pines Tea's Wildcrafted Dian Hong is available from their website, here.
This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.
Text is copyright 2015, Built from Ink and Tea.