11 Tasting Notes
This year’s harvest is a bit different. The bud are MUCH larger, many a full two inches long, yet are still the full downy-haired leaves and not a later harvesting. The end result is that the tea is much sweeter, almost like a bai mu dan rather than the sweet hay flavor of earlier years. Although it’s still delicious, Spring Cottage Tea House obviously knows this deviates from the “ideal” silver needle and the price is therefore twenty dollars a pound less this year.
A better-balanced blend of ginseng to oolong than most “emperor teas” of this variety. The base oolong isn’t of the highest quality, but then you wouldn’t want it to be as the subtleties would be wasted underneath the blanket of sweet ginseng. It’s a nice pick-me-up or something to drink when your palate isn’t clean enough to appreciate more refined teas. A fun and comforting tea. It’s a tea I’d buy again from Vital Tea Leaf
We needed a jump-start this morning so we went for the heavy hitter — the highly caffeinated silver needle white from Spring Cottage, which we’ve dubbed “Mom’s White” since the shop owner’s mother grows it on her farm. They only get a few pounds a year and we always buy a full pound (vacuum sealed into 1/8th lb bags) to last us until the following year’s harvest. For such a light tea it certainly packs a punch! Fresh leaf buds concentrate caffeine more than people realize.
Infused in my gaiwan and drank in the bright mid-morning sunlight (only a couple of days of sun before the rain returns – ah, spring in the Pacific Northwest) and sipped the sweetness. I’m so glad I learned to brew this correctly — my first half-dozen tries were wayyyyy to astringent (hint, avoid boiling water, long infusions, or too much leaf).
The sun finally came out, so what better way to celebrate than with a cooling tea, and the first green tea of the year on the market? Although this isn’t the highest grade of dragon well by a long shot (the leaf size and shape is very inconsistent) it’s brisk, fresh, and far sweeter than most dragon wells on the market. Nummy!