Mark T. Wendell

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Recent Tasting Notes

90

Purchased both this tea and “Flowery Jasmine Before the Rains” from Mark T Wendell. Both are wonderful teas. The Yin Hao has a mellower take on the jasmine scent I think, with a lovely base tea. The Flowery Jasmine has both the jasmine and the base tea on full blast. I think I prefer the Flowery Jasmine, so I rate this one a bit lower. I am sure there a many who could just as easily favor this one.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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80

Great lower-priced oolong! Has a nice buttery caramel sweetness to it, with orchid notes. The roasted notes are not prominent at all and stay very smooth throughout. The tea is medium-bodied and has some mineral notes as well. Not my favorite, but nice to have it around once in a while.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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80

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80

Decent green tea with delicate spring-picked characteristics. But kind of the bare minimum for falling into the category of premium spring green teas. A little sweet, a little nutty, and the barest hint of some florals. Nothing about it really seems to stand out too much for me, and on top of that it feels a little stale; like it is losing its essence. Maybe this was an older lot? I don’t know. The vendor does not give dates of production. You can definitely find better teas at a lesser price.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML
Keemunlover

Does have a bit of a buttery quality to it, and lasts for two or three steeps western style.

Keemunlover

After drinking this one quite a few times, I’ve noticed it is far more drying than most of my other teas. Which is honestly a little annoying sometimes. On the plus side, though, on the back end of this drying effect I notice a pleasant bouquet of florals which can be quite strong. Finnicky, though. The florals really come out sometimes and other times not so much. I’ll bump my score up another 5 points for this uniqueness.

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85

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85

A really nice green tea. Maybe a little bit too nice to become a favorite of mine. It has a nectar-like sweetness, but doesn’t feel quite as thick as some other sweet green teas I have been impressed with. Light pleasant floral-fruity osmanthus notes and a whisper of nuttiness, but so far lacking in any interesting quirks or twists to win me over. I’ll keep trying with this one. I’ve often changed my mind on a tea after a few brews.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML
Keemunlover

Well, had a Chritsmas-time bout with Covid in our family, and now I no longer have a sense of smell. Greatly impact my ability to appreciate/taste tea. All my teas are more or less the same for the time being. Boo! Glad I did not yet place the big Yunnan Sourcing order I was planning on making! Might wait a little while on that one and hopefully my senses will return.

Keemunlover

Still drinking a lot of this tea, though, and I guess it does the trick under these circumstances.

ashmanra

I lost my sense of taste and smell last year around this time with Covid. I did my own version of olfactory retraining, just getting out some essential oils like lavender, peppermint, and orange that have very different scents, sniffing them deeply, and imagining the scent as I remembered it. My daughter and I both did this and both recovered our senses of taste and smell quickly. Ashman did not and took longer, but he also had a much worse case that we did.

ashmanra

I hope you can fully enjoy your teas and food very soon!

Keemunlover

Thanks, Ashmanra! I’ve been sticking my nose in the various spice jars here at home and also taking sniffs of my jasmine tea to try and retrain my nose. I do seem to get faint whiffs of things, so hopefully it won’t be long in coming back.

Keemunlover

Been drinking a lot of this one lately while I wait for my Yunnan Sourcing order to arrive, and it is growing on me. I’m noticing that this tea reminds me of persimmon! Bumping up my rating a little bit.

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90

I like this! It is nice and relatively sweet with some Yunnan “funk.” Notes of what I might consider a typical delicate spring green tea are there, with the addition of some hay-like grassy notes which tend towards richer grain/bread tones. I suppose these same characteristics might have been described by the vendor as “beany,” and I could see that. I am not at all sure if this was a spring-picked tea, though. 2nd steep is okay, but clearly dropping off. I am not noticing any floral elements yet, but will continue to experiment with this one.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML
Keemunlover

I’ve noticed that 175 degrees is probably a bit too hot for this tea, so I’d recommend brewing in the 160 – 170 range for best results.

Keemunlover

Bumped up my rating on this one from an 85 to a 90. I’ve really come to enjoy this one even more after a few sessions with it. Just make sure not to brew too hot or for too long. Second and even third steeps are enjoyable. Brew around 165 – 170 for 2 minutes on first steep. Nice that Mark T Wendell offers this tea, as not too many US vendors seem to offer Yunnan green tea.

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90

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90

This is a really nice basic roasted oolong. Great value for the price, and I could see this being a staple tea. Roasted flavor up front, but not offensive. Caramelized sweetness, orchid florals, and a touch of oak round out a tea which has perhaps a black plum fruitiness at its core. A great combination!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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78
drank Decaf. Earl Grey by Mark T. Wendell
2169 tasting notes

This would definitely benefit from an extra teaspoon of tea. It’s weaker than I would like. I know it’s delicious though because when I steeped it stronger for my smoothie it was perfect with some milk and honey added. I think that might be the key here.

Flavors: Bergamot

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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78
drank Decaf. Earl Grey by Mark T. Wendell
2169 tasting notes

Mastress Alita’s Monthly Sipdown Challenge
June 2022 → A tea smoothie

I’ve been excited to try this decaf Earl Grey, so I found a recipe using EG in a smoothie for today’s sipdown prompt.

https://www.rhubarbarians.com/earl-grey-tea-blackberry-smoothie/

Of course I had to try it before mixing it into the smoothie and it’s just really good. I don’t think I would have been able to tell it’s decaf honestly. It holds up really well to milk and honey, both of which I added before mixing with the blackberries, which doesn’t seem to be the case for other decaf black teas. Of course, to be fair, this was steeped up really strong for the recipe. The smoothie itself was alright, not anything incredibly special, but I do really like this EG.

Flavors: Bergamot

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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73
drank Pomegranate Green by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

Looks like a light green tea, smells fruity of pomegranate. Smooth, good for a change, though in general I prefer black teas and find green teas sort of weak.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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70
drank Raspberry Black by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

cut leaf black, fairly smooth. Raspberry always seems to sound better than it delivers. It foes have raspberry overtones, but it’s nothing like a fresh red raspberry, unfortunately. Not bad for a flavorful change, but not a daily tea either (at least for me). Again, I steep light and no cream or sugar.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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77

Light, Fruity, Definitely Tropical.
A nice tea when you want something that is only minimally tea-tasting. Sometimes you just ant something different.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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73
drank Hu-Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

I thought this was a Lapsang “blend”, but after having a few cups, it’s really “just” lapsang souchong. It’s a good one, I still think Upton’s Lapsang is slightly better.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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75
drank China Jasmine by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

fairly light, very flavorful; reminds me of Harney & Sons “Paris” in its floral notes.
Very light colored steep, no real bitterness. Nice variety.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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75

Smooth, very much the same sense of oolong as from the twinings I just drank, but smoother and more flavorful. A nice change of pace, a very nice oolong.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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75
drank organic ceylon by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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87

Excellent, light, golden tea. Smooth flavor, only challenge since it’s a full-leaf tea is in getting it into the tea ball!

Preparation
3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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75

Very Good Lapsang; smoky without being overbearing.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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72
drank Brandy Oolong by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

lightish oolong, nothing special going on here.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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90
drank Hu-Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
3 tasting notes

Has a very distinct tobacco smell very much like a cheroot cigar. But do not think that this will be a harsh or overactive flavor, the tea is a smooth one with an appealing sweetness as well as a wood aroma.

Flavors: Smoke, Smooth, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 130 OZ / 3844 ML

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98
drank Hu-Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
2 tasting notes

The tea has a gorgeous deep coppery orange color that you could spend a great deal of time admiring in its own right. Along with a beautiful color comes a truly sweet smell loaded with pine smoke. The taste is light and elegant, sweet and with balanced smoky nuances that linger delicately. I found the cup to be really surprising, and quite unlike other Lapsangs I’ve been able to try. Of several I’ve tried, this one is remarkable to me in that the smoky scent and flavor is pervasive, to be sure, but is wonderfully balanced and tasteful. The taste of smokiness doesn’t linger in the mouth as a cloudy, campfire sort of residue but rather as a bright and piney, fresh crispness. The cup has a fine, surprising elegance and lightness to it that is most enjoyable and eyebrow raising considering the power that a smoke flavor can sometimes have to make a cup heavy. This cup is truly light. That a Lapsang could come across as both full of its hallmark flavor as well as delicate and elegant seemed a marvelous achievement to me.

In my experimentations with leaf proportions, I found that a scant to precise teaspoon yielded the best results for my tastes. A slightly higher amount of leaf, roughly 1.5 teaspoons per 8 ounces, definitely brought to light a sturdier cup. While still excellent in taste, the lesser amount of leaf allows a just perfect natural sweetness to shine through along with the smoky flavors. The sturdier cup exhibited interesting sour notes rather than notably sweet ones. I thought the lesser leaf steeping would pair well with savory items and the stronger cup seemed to request a sweeter pairing.

A second infusion is well worth the time. I found the tea quite forgiving and never prone to bitterness in terms of either the first or the second infusion.

Flavors: Almond, Apple

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 45 sec 12 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML

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99
drank Hu-Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
254 tasting notes

I don’t usually comment on a tea unless I am completely responsible for the brewing process. That is, I personally break the seal on a new package, scoop out a precise measurement of leaves, activate the exact time and temperature settings, and witness the entire steeping process myself. However, my wife and I had such a nice experience today at the French Market Cafe Tea Room in Cornelius, North Carolina, that I am compelled to break my rule and talk about this Mark T. Wendell Tea Company Hu-Kwa Lapsong Souchong tea that I tried. Besides, the very generous and personable proprietor, Kathy Montbleau, allowed me to observe most of the preparation by bringing the infuser pot to my table immediately after boiling.

Kathy permitted me to smell the unbrewed leaves in their package before the setup began. The dark brown leaves had a strong, but pleasant, smoky aroma. There also was a light sweetness to the smell that I hadn’t experienced before in smoky teas.

I watched the steeping brew become a dark liquor for five minutes. The odor was pleasingly smoky and sweet. The color was similar to dark molasses with a golden aura around the sides of my cup, like a dark sunrise.

The flavor was nothing short of splendid. It was marvelously smoky, sweet, and smooth. Kathy brought my wife and I an ample pot to share. Fortunately, my wife does not care for smoky teas so I was able to enjoy it all to the last drop. Even the aftertaste was stunningly mild and gentle. Astringency was completly nonexistent.

This just might be the BEST smoky tea I’ve ever had. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the tea, I GREATLY RECOMMEND Kathy who is a wonderful tearoom owner with a FANTASTIC personality and ENORMOUS generosity (she very kindly let me sample the tea without charge and gave me a large portion of unbrewed leaves to take home with me), and I PROFOUNDLY RECOMMEND the French Market Cafe Tea Room as an extremely friendly and elegant little shop to sip fine teas, munch on tasty biscuits, and let the stress of your work week blissfully slip away.

Flavors: Smoked, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML
ashmanra

Good to know! If I am ever in Cornelius, I will look for them. I was curious about this tea for a very long time and finally bought it for my daughter and we love it!

Stoo

Hi ashmanra! I was not familiar with the company but I will be looking for other Mark T. Wendell teas to try. This one and the nice tea room in Cornelius were both great finds!

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