Saturday, April 19, 2014

Genmaicha by Whispering Pines

I've read a few stories online about Genmaicha so I'm not really sure how this tea came to be, I think most likely the toasted brown rice was added to the tea to try and a little bit of tea into alot and make it more affordable, I also think its a Japanese tea. 
I found this really cool story on YaYa Teahouse's Blog section,
Genmaicha - tea with a history of blood and remorse
I don't wanna take their story or anything so I'll share the link for you to go and read it, it's about a Samurai.
I hope they don't mind me sharing it here with you :)

I like Genmaicha tea I've had lots of different variations of it, some with popcorn and other things in it, some of them are pretty good.

This is Whispering Pines Genmaicha, a simple take on it, just tea and rice nothing extra. 
Brenden uses California grown brown rice and a Chinese tea rather than a Japanese tea.
The tea used Xinyang Mao Jian made in Henan Province of China. Mao Jian has a history dating back to around 800 BC,
legend says that this tea was brought down from heaven by 9 faries and given to humans to enjoy, it also says that you can see the faries dancing in the hot steam of the tea, I didn't see any faries this time tho, maybe next time.

The aroma is really good and comforting cuz it smells like Sugar/Honey Smacks cereal, mmmmm memories :)
The flavor is really nice its nutty, toasty and sweet with a slight citrus note to it, taste like a good genmaicha to me.
The leafes are pretty to me also, very small twists that untwist into little bitty leafes some of them whole, the leaves are so small that each ounce of Mao Jian has nearly 3,000 leaves.

I like this version of Genmaicha better than my own blend that I usually drink, thats because Whispering Pines has good teas...
Good Tea makes Good Blends..

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Whispering Pines Tea Company
"Whispering Pines Tea Company is dedicated to bringing you the most original, pure, beautiful tea blends. Our main focus is on customer satisfaction and quality.

At Whispering Pines Tea Company, our blends are a pure incarnation of nature."
Go visit Whispering Pines Tea and get yourself some great tasting tea blends inspired by Nature, Speaking of Nature Did you know that Whispering Pines Teas will plant a tree for each Ounce of tea that your order?
Trees for Teas???
Effective April 1st 2014, Whispering Pines Tea Company has pledged to donate to non-profits specializing in sustainability.
"We pledge to plant a tree for every single ounce of tea you purchase from today forward. Many of these trees will be planted by non-profits in parts of the world where deforestation is a large concern for the ecosystem, and many will be planted directly by the staff at Whispering Pines."

Lance and I love Whispering Pines Teas, Our Favs include Sleeping Bear Blend, Manistee Moonrise, North Winds, Fujian Black, Imperial Gold Bud, December and October.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea

I was looking on Facebook last week and I saw a post from Red Leaf offering this Caramel Matcha on sale
so at like 80% percent off I couldn't pass it up I even got 2 instead of just 1 which proved to be a good decision.

Here at our house we drink Matcha in the mornings with milk and a little sugar, we never use water for our matcha But just to be fair I made this one with water and no sugar also just to make sure I tasted it the best I could.
First the Smell from the packet was incredible, a most wonderful caramel like Aroma with a hint of something that I honestly wasn't expecting which reminded me of Whiskey, I'll talk about that again later*.

Made cold with Milk and Sugar the Caramel Matcha was very Delicious and creamy sweet, no joke just like drinking a Caramel candy But the aroma while drinking still reminded me of Whiskey. The Aroma of the milk Matcha was pretty much the same as the aroma in the packet very nice strong Caramel like aroma that reminded me of whiskey in a strange way. I actually really enjoyed that tho, I didn't mind it at all.

*Now I'll say something about the hints Whiskey I get from the aroma of this Matcha, You may not get that at all But I'm sensitive to caramel coloring that is used it some whiskeys for some reason, I can smell and taste it somehow, most folks can't but I can and I believe that is the ONLY reason that this is reminiscent  of whiskey to me. It's just the Caramel :)

Made with hot water and no sweetener the way it is suppose to be made this one was still super yummy,
Still tastes very much just like caramel just not as sweet or creamy of course and this time with just a touch of bitter but not in a bad way. Also made hot killed the whole whiskey thing too.
I do notice a lingering sweet caramel aftertaste in the unsweet Matcha too, That is were the magic is for me, right there in the aftertaste, pure Caramel Perfection!
Any way you wanna try it, This is an awesome flavored Matcha and I bet it is delicious either way!

One more thing!
 I see on the Red Leaf site that you can kinda customize your Matchas flavor and strength there and I don't remember the details on This one that they offered on sale but I really couldn't imagine it any other way. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Medium Roast Jin Xuan by Whispering Pines Tea

I'm such a procrastinator I was suppose to post this days ago, anyways This tea is a Roasted Jin Xuan from Brenden of Whispering Pines Tea Company
Jin Xuan means "Golden Lily" also referred to as Milk Oolong. 
It is a wonderful roasted oolong, I tried it a few different ways and it was delicious every time.
I steeped this one is a clear glass Gawain, with hot water. My steeping times varied from just 30 seconds to 3minutes to even 10 minutes.

When steeped light this tea had a nutty roasty taste with a creamy mouth feel, delicate and nice. 
When steeped a little longer about 3 minutes and so on the taste was very roast and nutty still a lot more so than on the lighter steep with pleasant vegetal notes and a creamy sweet almost buttery smooth mouth feel , very nice.
Steeped at about 10 minutes this tea is much darker still roasty and nutty but this time also slightly woody, the vegetal notes were still pleasant tho now slightly bitter but not in a bad way at all and the creamy smooth mouth feel was still very much present.

I think I preferred this one steeped at about 3 minutes or so without sweetener the best, it can be enjoyed for many steeps this way and you get the leafes full potential.

I also tried this one also with sweetener at one point and it was delicious and roasty with almost like brown sugar type sweetness, it kinda reminded me of raw chocolate chip cookie dough in some strange way, very tasty.
Once again another great tea from WP, this was a very delicious tea and I'm looking forward to having it again soon.
I took a lot of photos of this because I thought the leafe was pretty :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cold Brewing Tea

Does anybody cold brew their Iced Teas? 
I recently started to do so (this spring & summer) and I've realized that for Lance and I it is the best way to go.
Cold brew tastes so much better to us, it last longer and it is easier.
It really easy just add tea leafes in your pitcher, pour in cold water, a stick it in the fridge for a while, that simple!

I had 2 main questions about cold brewing before I started so I did a little reading online about cold brewing and founds lots of useful information. 

My first question about cold brewing of was -How long should I cold brew my black tea?- from my online reading I found many different brewing times and overnight seemed to be popular with lots of folks so that's the time I started with.

My second question was -should I use a Glass pitcher rather than a plastic one?- I know that's really all just a matter of preference but I still wanted to know what other people liked to use.
I discovered that most people prefer Glass over Plastic, I experimented with that also and I agree Glass container for some reason Does IMO make a tastier tea, but we have several plastic tea pitchers and my glass thing is a huge gallon jug with a small opening and it's not easy to get the leafes out, So we use a plastic pitcher still.
I'll be buying a glass pitcher soon.

A few months ago I saw a post on Steepster about over steeping cold brewed teas and I saw a reply that said Upton's Tea Imports recommends steeping blacks a minimum of 4 days So I went to Upton's site and found the article "A customer shares his cold-water iced tea method" in their General Tea Information section(I'm including that link on the bottom of this post).
In that article this customer states that 4 days was the minimum for cold brewing Black Tea and that you won't get the full flavor before then, he also said that the flavor would still get stronger after 4 day and it will be drinkable up to 7 days.
I at first thought No Way! but I tried it myself with Black Tea and from my experience I found his advise to be good and useful.

I only tried the 4 day brew a few times because although it tasted good it wasn't very practical for us for 2 reasons.
First and main reason is because We drink lots of tea and between the two of us we can drink an entire pitcher in one day sometimes specially if company stops by.
Second reason is that I'm too impatient to wait for 4 days every time lol 4 days is too long to cold brew a tea that we would just drink all up on the 5th day lol.
If i was patient enough to wait 4 days each time then for us to always have a pitcher ready to drink that would mean many pitchers of tea sitting in the fridge at one time cold brewing and that's just too much we don't have room for all of that. 
I will still brew some for 4 days from time to time probably just not often.

After reading this on Upton's site and trying it myself it brought up another question for me, Can I re-steep?
It just made sense to me that if I could leave it to cold brew for 4 days straight but overnight is sufficient for us then maybe I can just brew it overnight, drink it the next day and re-steep it overnight again a few times. 
I decided to just go ahead and give that a try and see what happens, What happened was it worked quite well and the second cold brew was tasty also.
Now We don't even strain the leaves anymore they just sit in the pitcher and I keep filling it back up and doing it over again, we use the same cold brewed leafes sometimes 3 or 4 times, after about the third time I usually ditch the leafes and start over unless I feel that it can go one more time. 

That's the way we cold brew our tea now, it don't get nasty or funky or anything it taste good all the way through. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has tried to re-brew and cold brewed tea.
This is just for black teas for us, but I've also cold brewed raw puerhs twice, Cold brewed tea taste really good.

So, Do you cold brew? How do you Cold Brew?
Please comment and let me know :)

P.S, we drink iced tea here all year round so cold brew is not only good for summertime but for anytime :)

Here is the Upton's link for "A customer shares his cold-water iced tea method"

Here are a few more links about Cold Brewing :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Zen Master Blend and Eucalyptus by Whispering Pines

I was going to write up a post about Ashes of Autumn Tea by Whispering Pines but it had to wait a little while because I've been dealing with some sinus issues but I've been drinking the Zen Master Blend and Eucalyptus a good bit during my illness so I can post about them instead.
I decided to just go ahead and post a double about both of these two because they both have helped me a good bit while I was going through sinus issues.
I don't usually drink teas or herbal tisanes for medicinal purposes and I didn't order the Zen Master Blend to use medicinally to start with it just happens that I was ill shortly after receiving my Tea in the mail and I figured it may help me a little bit So I drank it and honestly it surprised me because it actually helped me more than just a little bit.
I had originally bought the Zen Master because it sounded pretty good and I had never had a Tea with Eucalyptus in the blend, after drinking it I realized not only did it taste really good it also made me feel so much better so I decided to buy the Eucalyptus by itself to give it a try.

ZEN MASTER, As you can see from my photo I was very low on it because I had been drinking it so much But I did have enough left to have it one more time and to get some photos.
This tea is Awesome! It is a very interesting Tea that to me it is a high energy tea, it is very refreshing and can really get me awake and going in the morning. It taste slightly smokey and slightly "camphor like" and just really good, I honestly can't describe the taste of it very well but I love it.When sweetened a little bit it almost has a slight minty taste to it and the camphor taste isn't so strong. 
The aroma is also wonderful and hard for me to describe in words slightly "camphor like" I'm not sure if that is even a word but I use it because that the only thing I can think of to even try and describe the aroma.
So not only does it taste really good but I was correct in my assumption that I might help me to feel better, I honestly hate to talk about health benefits of tea and tisanes or any medicinal uses of any teas or herbals because I just don't usually drink them for that reason nor do I think that teas and tisanes that are sold for medicinal effect actually work for all people. Zen Master however really did help me very much during my illness, It actually helped to open up my sinuses and help me to breathe a lot better and just made me feel so good.

EUCALYPTUS, Not quite as tasty as the Zen Master but still tasty to me too,I think this is where the "camphor like" menthol taste was coming from in ZM blend .
What I mean by camphor like is hard to say too, kinda like menthol or Vick's vapor rub But Not in a Bad way at all in fact it is very pleasant and opens the sinuses up much better than any vapor rub.
The Eucalyptus was a lot stronger by itself with those type notes, much like a cough drop or something similar, and it was slightly bitter.
The aroma is also very much like menthol vapors and it was almost instant temporary relief of my sinus congestion and within about 20 minutes of drinking the Eucalyptus I feel so much better.
Sweetener in it cuts down the menthol camphor taste and the bitter some but it is still very strong. It works just like the ZM did with my sinuses but just a little bit better, I'd use it more for medicinal reasons while I'd drink the ZM Blend for the taste alone. 

I'll purchase both of these again on my next order which I'm sure will be very soon because I see firsthand that they are tasty and helpful.
I have been very pleased with my purchases from Whispering Pines and I think that Whispering Pines is one of my favorites places to order from already, I see some more Teas there that may also be good for me and I'll try them soon. I can't wait to receive my next bunch of teas from WP in the mail :)
                                           Zen Master


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Manistee Moonrise by Whispering Pines Tea

Manistee Moonrise by Whispering Pines Tea

The Manistee river is a river running 190 miles through the northern lower peninsula of Michigan. This beautifully peaceful river is home to very abundant wildlife and is a sanctuary for an endangered bird, the Kirtlands Warbler. A river fringed with flora and fauna — not much can give a person a deeper feeling of freedom.

I tried this one yesterday morning and I woke up with a my nose all stuffy and just not feeling very well, I naturally assumed that maybe the spearmint in this one would help to make my nose not so stuffy So This is the one the one that I decided to try first and I'm really glad i did :)
Ok so The aroma of this one is Smokey and Minty at the same time which was very pleasant. I knew from the description of this one that I could expect some smokeiness and of course spearmint But I did not expect to pretty much be blown away by this Tea, It is just So Good!!!

Seriously tho, This Tea IMO is a very nice blend; It has just the perfect amount of smokiness without overpowering other flavor or just being to strong itself, I know from exp with other blends the Lapsang-Souchong can mess up a good tea fast by being overly strong however that was not the case with this one, it seems to have just the perfect amount of lapsang in it.
The Spearmint is very bold and delicious in this blend and it actually compliments the smokiness of the Lapsang-Souchong  very well and makes for a very nice Tea.
I'm not sure if I'm able to pick up on elderberries,I'm Not even sure that I know what they taste like alone or in a tea lol But there was some very faint slight interesting spicey like fruity notes in this one to me, I can only assume that would be the elderberries but then again i dunno, the spicey fruitiness of it is almost like raisins or something to me But these notes were very faint. 

Overall i really really enjoyed this Tea and I plan on buying more ot it. I plan on buying more of this tea to share with my brother Perhaps we will go out into the woods near my house and share a pot of it together. My brother and I do things like that from time to time, he likes to make "wilderness" teas by picking some of the plants and shrubs and such that grown in the woods near the house, He knows more about that type of thing than I do. I think that he would enjoy to try this Tea next time we are Out-n-About instead of gather things for one of his "wilderness" teas.
I also think that this would be a perfect tea for taking on a camping trip or just for spening some time alone out in nature.
Anyways I've said enough, This is a wonderfull tea i love it, Will buy more and share it with my friends.


The Kirtlands Warbler sings for freedom and the river otter sips from the heart of the Manistee.