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70
drank Silver Needle by Adagio Teas
933 tasting notes

A while back I bought a number of Adagio sampler sets and never got around to tasting most of them. I’d been reading a number of tasting notes on Adagio and it seemed like most folks on Steepster viewed them as a starter or gateway loose leaf, and I started with specialty tea bags and sort of vaulted over them to Upton samplers and beyond. Then every now and then there’ll be a note about someone really liking an Adagio tea. So I’m thinking, I probably owe it to myself to taste them. I may have unfairly categorized them in my mind. And it would be shameful to be unfair to tea, don’t you think?

So I’m going to make an effort to start tasting my Adagio samplers now, and so you’re likely to see a lot of Adagio notes coming up. I’m sure I’ll get distracted by other bright shiny teas along the way, however.

Since I just tasted the Harney & Sons Silver Needle, I thought the Adagio namesake would be a good place to start. Besides, it’s after 10 p.m. and I can’t exactly start with the black teas now.

I’m steeping according to the Adagio suggestion of 180 and 7 minutes in the Breville. This is very different from the H&S suggested time of 3 minutes, though the temp is close (they suggested 175 for theirs).

The needles look and smell similar to the Harney’s, however they seem to smell a bit stronger. This may simply be a matter of sample density, however, as I’m putting my nose into one of those little sample tins the color of elementary school walls. I get slightly more earth than air and water in this one, but all three alchemical elements are represented. There’s a bit of hay to the smell.

I’m relieved to see that the color of the steeped tea is very similar to what I got with the H&S even with a more precisely measured amount of tea. Very nearly clear, water-like. I don’t get a great deal of aroma from the tea. What I do get smells like a very dilute version of what the dry needles smell like.

Ok. I’m waiting, tea. Where is your flavor? The H&S seems to me to have a lot more flavor even with less tea steeped for less time. Am I crazy? Have my taste buds done gone kablooey after an epic run of tea tasting? (Trying to get to that 400th note, you know.)

Seriously, something is not computing here. I’m getting virtually nothing. Not artichoke, even, which I would not have minded as I love artichokes. The most I’m getting is a vague, dewy sweetness and a little grassiness. And maybe some of that graininess others have mentioned.

Ok, hold the phone. I’m halfway through the cup now and now, I’m getting flavor. Holy way to tease, batman. And you’re lucky I’m patient, you Silver Needle you.

Basically what I’m getting now is the H&S without the deliciously wonderful honeysuckle note. It has the same slightly vegetal downturn at the end of the sip that is mitigated by the sweetness. Though the vegetable in question here is not bok choy. It’s not artichoke either though. This must be a characteristic of Silver Needle?

I prefer the Harney, but this is ok. I think I have some more Silver Needle samples tucked away in the white tea box. Note to self: try some over the next couple of days.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 7 min, 0 sec
-Jessica-

I really like like this comparison! I am looking for some good silver needle tea, and have been contemplating on trying H&S, but I was afraid the quality wouldn’t be as great as some other brands out there! Thank you for this post ;-)

__Morgana__

Keep in mind I’ve only had two. :-) But in my book, the H&S was far superior to this one.

Ricky

Yep, it seems that Adagio’s white teas require a 7 minute steep to bring out the flavors where as other companies only require 3 minutes at most. Perhaps lower quality tea leaves? I think that if I went back through my ratings, a lot of changes would be made.

Cofftea

Ok my taste buds are really messed up then. I swear I get a stronger flavor from a shorter temp. I do; however, measure my leaves by weight which most likely means I’m using more leaf. Maybe? lol. I like 160/1-3min

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Comments

-Jessica-

I really like like this comparison! I am looking for some good silver needle tea, and have been contemplating on trying H&S, but I was afraid the quality wouldn’t be as great as some other brands out there! Thank you for this post ;-)

__Morgana__

Keep in mind I’ve only had two. :-) But in my book, the H&S was far superior to this one.

Ricky

Yep, it seems that Adagio’s white teas require a 7 minute steep to bring out the flavors where as other companies only require 3 minutes at most. Perhaps lower quality tea leaves? I think that if I went back through my ratings, a lot of changes would be made.

Cofftea

Ok my taste buds are really messed up then. I swear I get a stronger flavor from a shorter temp. I do; however, measure my leaves by weight which most likely means I’m using more leaf. Maybe? lol. I like 160/1-3min

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Profile

Bio

I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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