1689 Tasting Notes
The leaf on this looks like it was plucked five minutes ago and put into the bag. They are perfect, with many classic examples of a leaf and a bud. The liquor is bright clear and like yellow gold. The taste is complex and changes as the cup cools and with each steep. For reasons I can’t explain, this one just didn’t grab me. The taste starts kind of dusty. Once the cup cools it picks up a woodsy flavor under a vine taste. There is also a touch of muscat grape type flavor. The aftertaste is strong, lingering, slightly sweet, and plant like. The second cup has a duel personality going on. It is darker, more woodsy, and almost mushroom. At the same time it has a brighter, more green sheng, almost bitter but not, flavor. There is a stone fruit kind of thing like almost an apricot present. As it cools I am noticing more of a floral note that reminds me of peonies. The aftertaste is again strong and green vines with a citrus touch. Reading this, it sounds right up my alley. I should love this. Why don’t I? I guess I have to admit, I really can’t love them all. That makes me sad especially since there is nothing wrong with the tea.
I love white tea. I love the deep quiet flavors of it. I really did not know what to expect from an assam silver needle but it is What-Cha and they know how to pick them. The moment I caught the first hints out of the bag I knew I would like this. It is sweet fresh grassy hay, like really fresh cut hay. Yet it is different as this smells nicely of malt. I mean it is assam so maybe I should expect it or at least hope for it, but honestly it surprised me. It looks like silver needle but not. It is more needle like and darker than Chinese silver needle. The tea brews to a light white grape color.
The taste is so good. I taste the hay and light touches of melon that I expect but I also get the malt. This nicely sweet with no rough edges or bitterness. It could stop right there and I would have been happy. But it doesn’t.
I prepared a single mug in my clear teapot. What I loved most, no, what I LOVED most about this was the surprise note of honeysuckle. I almost never taste what I’m willing to call honeysuckle because it grows everywhere here and is one of my favorite spring fragrances. Nothing duplicates it for me. Until now. It even has the wonderful taste of that single drop of ambrosia from inside the flower that we used to harvest as kids and place on our tongue. To get both the floral scent and honey like taste is unheard of for me.
My disclaimer – it is a white tea so it won’t give you the breakfast assam smack down of flavor. If you love a wonderfully gentle and deep flavored tea then I highly recommend trying this one.
What-Cha keeps impressing me with their ability to find the unusual and delicious. The leaf is so white it looks ghostly. Instead of soft tender buds, these seem more crisp. The dry aroma is field grass. Once brewed the first cup seemed more green tea like than white. At first I thought it tasted dairy or milky. As it cooled it became creamy corn. Behind it is a vegetal green flavor and the good type bitter of excellent green tea. This is interestingly complex but not particularly subtle. That is unusual for a white. Had I not seen the dry leaf, I would have a hard time believing. A white tea for people who don’t care for subtle white tea.
The second cup is totally different. It reminds me of sheng. The main flavor is apricot. Along with it is the bright sheng bitter. It doesn’t seem drying and doesn’t have cheek tingle. It just has a neat edge. A shorter second steep might calm it but I’m kind of liking it. So I have a white tea, that is at first like a bold green, then becomes a young sheng. How cool is that?
I am finding Vietnam teas to be bolder and just different than other regions in a good way.
This is just such a neat tea. Maybe the largest leaf of any I have ever seen. It tastes of apricot and peonies in a mountain stream. In later steeps add in plums. It is smooth and mellow with just a hint of bite trying to peek through. To me it is almost like something from Nepal instead of Africa. It is a white tea, so it is on the subtle end. This is the first tea I have brewed in two weeks that I felt like paying attention to detail. Hopefully I am on the road to well. Tea – how I have missed you.
Started my day with sour milk and stale toast. Not a good start. Picked up considerably when I brewed a cup of Golden Yunnan. Smoke and leather. Going to miss this one. Sadly this is the last of it. Also sad that my bag of it lasted longer than the company. When I finally get around to buying more tea, I’ll have to try the Esgreen version for myself.
The last couple weeks what few cups of tea I have made have been mostly back and forth between this luxurious EG and my old Ahmad EG stand by. The color of this one is beautiful. It is between burgundy and black cherry. The aroma is a very smooth bergamot with just enough Ceylon base to make me happy. I always want to taste the base – the main reason I seldom drink Twinings EG is the base is too absent. Nina’s uses a high grade Ceylon that I find doesn’t develop bite. I do miss the bite but this makes up for it with the wonderful smooth bergamot.
I made it to church today for the first time in three weeks. The band has struggled without me, which is flattering, and not at all what I want to see, at the same time. I am better but no where near well. I am going to try practice Tuesday and see if I am able to play on Easter. Happy thoughts and continued prayers welcome.
Can’t post a review on the blog until the 23rd as my data plan hit the limit and it won’t let me upload pictures until the new cycle.
Anyway, this tea is pretty off the rails cool. What it has in common with other white tea is it is subtle and mellow. That’s pretty much it. I’ve had 100g bags of tea that barely took up the volume of this 10g sample. Seriously, the leaf is huge and not rolled or twisted. They are brown like fall. There is no silver haired buds to be found. I agree with one of the reviewers, it is almost like we are being punked, until you sniff it. The dry scent is fruity and malty. Nice.
I steeped this at 176F for 3 1/2 minutes. It gives you a beer colored brew. The taste is apricots drenched in fresh mountain streams. It is slightly malty. I catch lovely floral notes of peonies. It is so mellow and lightly sweet.
I sense more resemblance to a light black tea than to a white. Now, stout black tea lovers will most likely never make that connection because it is such a subtle tea. The cooler it got the more I loved the taste. It had almost a wine like bouquet with the floral notes. The trouble I had with it was that at room temperature it becomes a gulping tea as I found it that refreshing.
If you enjoy a mild meditative tea, this one from Africa should not be missed. If you more inclined to enjoy big bold flavors or highly roasted notes, then you are probably going to be underwhelmed. Me personally, I don’t ever crave highly roasted oolongs, or chai. I am pretty picky about flavored teas. I want to taste the base, unless it is something desserty or intentionally overpowered like H&S Hot Cinnamon Spice, or pretty much any good Earl Grey.
Moving slow today but moving.
This is my last sample from Simple Loose Leaf. I didn’t save it back on purpose but I’m glad it did get held back. This tea I would rename The White Rabbit. It took me way down the rabbit hole. I’ve read several reviews. They are all over the place. I recall them being positive but everyone found something different. Here is my take:
The dry nuggets remind me of the scent of strawberry tops. Too subtle for scented but present. The moment the leaf hit my warm damp press I could smell American biscuits. After steeping the leaf was more baked bread with strawberry and apricot marmalade along with more typical lightly roasted oolong notes. The scent of the white grape colored brew was lightly floral and fruity.
Once the leaf unfurls it is humongous.
Then I tasted. Yeah, caterpillars smoking questionable pipes and Cheshire grins abound. The flavors flew by so quickly. First, I tasted biscuit and baked bread, then strawberry tops. I have not seen any other reviews that caught this same note, so it is just for me, and I appreciate it. The next flavor to fly by is a brief moment of walnut shells. Then it settles into a fruity and floral oolong flavor. Mixed throughout I catch brief roasted notes. This has an interesting kind of tart that leaves a little tingle around the lips and gums. It is also a bit sweet. The feel is a bit milky or almost foamy.
It is a very curious cup.
Desperate need for comfort tea today. I’ve tried for two days to review my last Simple Loose Leaf sample, and I have a stack of What-Cha and Whymm to get to, but at the moment it is just not going to happen.
I haven’t posted much lately. Really haven’t felt well for a couple weeks. The medicine the pulmonologist put me on 6 weeks ago worked fine for a month. Got it refilled and it was like a switch flipped. I’m back to not being able to do much of anything without becoming out of breath and I’ve never smoked a day in my life. Even making tea is work at the moment.
Checked with the pharmacy, his records show the refill is from the same supplier. He exchanged the old ones for some out of a different bottle but it appears the problem is me. Guess I will be making the trip back to the doctor for a different medicine.
On top of that, I got my welcome to Medicare packet in the mail. Kind of a reality jolt. It won’t kick in until July. It takes two and a half years once you admit to yourself you are disabled to get Medicare. My doctor tried to convince me so a year sooner – stupid man pride. The last year I worked, I would sit in my car for 5 minutes after everyone else left while I waited for my blue fingers to turn pink so I could drive home. Here’s your sign.
You have to be unable to work for six months to be considered disabled by the government, then two more years before Medicare kicks in. It’s stupid. The intention is to prevent abuse I guess but really it is much easier on the abuser to go without during the waiting period. The politicians and the press have turned it into a political football. Having been on both sides of the issue, I do understand. Anyway I am feeling a little old and battered today.
Sorry for the over sharing. Just hoping it might encourage someone who is struggling to hold on. Tomorrow is a new day.
While I wait for better days ahead with some new drugs, I am enjoying this my favorite peasant tea.
This is the last of the white tea samples I received from Nannuoshan (Thanks!). I saved the silver needle for last as I love silver needle. This one wins the award for best fragrance as the gorgeous dry silver haired buds hit the hot damp teapot. It has the usual hay fragrance but amped up and more wine like with fruit – apple I think.
The liquor was only slightly yellow tinted after a 30 second steep. The wet leaf is fresh and green, having an almost toasted scent. It also seemed slightly malty.
The taste was at first like scraping the white part of the rind of a watermelon slice. Next was cucumber. I caught notes of grass and hay, as well as floral and fruit. The floral was described by one reviewer as honeysuckle. It is light and glancing notes but there.
The second cup (45s) was darker in flavor, slightly more intense with a peppery note up front while hot. The aftertaste of both cups was hay and floral.
Sadly, I don’t have time to take this further today. I am running out the door for praise band practice. I have invited an awesome guitarist friend to come worship, jam, and otherwise have great fun with us. I’ll try not to make my wife too upset by rolling in really late, but no promises.
To wrap this up, this is one of the top silver needles I have tried. Once you get near the top I don’t know if you can single just one out, but this is definitely in the running.