There is another Whispering Pines Xin Yang Mao Jian on Steepster, prefaced by ‘High Mountain,’ which is not written on this particular pouch of tea. So despite the leaf looking different than what’s in this photo, I’m going to drop this note here.

Another old’n. The dry leaves are green-grey-blue and fuzzy silver-fawn thin, tight twists. Smells like walking from the edges of a sweetgrass meadow into the depths of a mossy forest. All the leaves sink to the bottom after filling the cup with hot water. Not much of an aroma. The liquor is buoyant, viscous and smooth with with most of the taste happening in the back of the mouth — like steamed broccoli stalks and buttered nuts. Mouth-watering, oily and mineral clean. The wet leaf smells tangy with a citrus-berry tone, sweetgrass and florals, as well as with something fleeting that reminded me of a wet rag. Wet rag isn’t a good way to end this note…

Great body. A green tea I’d love to try fresh.

Flavors: Berry, Broccoli, Buffalo Grass, Butter, Citrus, Flowers, Forest Floor, Mineral, Moss, Nuts, Smooth, Tangy

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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If you’re an aspiring or current tea grower, let’s talk! I am slowly beginning a tea farm here in Northern California. Currently growing are young plants pulled from the ground and gifted to me after a visit to Fairhope Tea Plantation in Alabama. The parent plants are sinensis variety from a defunct Lipton research project. I’ve also started seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The types include Camellia taliensis, an assamica variety, and 3 sinensis varieties including “Small leaf” “Large leaf” and “Black Sea.” I also picked up 2 older plants from a a local nursery. They were grown from seed supposedly acquired from a tea farm in Washington. To learn how to process tea into different styles, I plan on traveling to China and Taiwan if/when COVID becomes a relative non-issue. I’m taking Mandarin classes to aid in this journey.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came, following a lone tin of some Tie Guan Yin oolong many years prior, in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng pu’er, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most.

Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently. Drink a variety of teabags at work. Herbal teas/tisanes provide balance. Unfiltered tap water heathen (it’s good here).

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes.

One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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