1122 Tasting Notes
Ok, so yesterday I was sipping the organic silver needle and loving it, but I thought to myself, I’m not sure I can tell the difference between it and the white peony. I didn’t want to do a side by side comparison as they both re-steep way too many times for me to try. Instead I am doing a back to back 2 day comparison.
Immediately, I notice some big differences. First off the leaf of the organic silver needle is made of perfect looking buds of uniform size. The white peony is a lot more random shreddings of various sizes and shapes with some buds. The scent of sweet hay, while steeping, filled the room with the OSN. The WP I really didn’t notice while brewing. A grassy hay scent did develop as the wet leaf cooled in the press waiting for the next steep. Both steeped 2 minutes for the first cup. Each produces a very light, slightly yellow, liquor. The WP is a little darker.
I am a self-confessing Splenda junkie. I resisted the urge at the beginning with both first cups. The OSN produced a complex cup even without additives. The WP seemed flat in comparison. Once I added sweetener the WP also produced the cucumber melon notes I caught in the OSN. There is some difference in the complexity, and this has more of a grassy hay taste, but this is still a really good cup. My use of sweetener evens the playing field quite a bit and explains, to me at least, why I wasn’t sure I could tell the difference between them.
My experience with white tea beyond these two is limited to bagged versions such as Twinings and Stash, among others. Both of the Teavivre versions easily blow all of these out of the water. Compared one to the other, the organic silver needle seems the clear winner, all things being equal, especially if you don’t use sweetener. Keep in mind though, there is a substantial price difference between the two. The white peony is a really good and economical tea choice that is a big improvement over bagged.
Wow, the instant the water hit the leaf the room was filled with the scent of wonderful sweet hay. The wet leaf is a bit seaweed. The first sip, as with the white peony, still reminds me of mild cucumber, but today there is another element that… it reminds me of fresh garden picked sweet peppers. You know the kind with no heat or pepperiness to them, they just taste green. The aftertaste is melon. Multiple cups tell me this packs a pretty good amount of caffeine.
My new tea disciple buzzed me today to ask what made oolong different :) in explaining it to him I mentioned white tea… white tea? I have never heard of that!.. Um, would you like to try some? I think he was in my office with his mug before I could hang up. I showed him the dry leaf, then poured him a cup. He thought it just looked like water but sniffed and caught the hay note. He had the 3rd cup. My 4th was still going strong.
You don’t chug this and run. You get quiet with it and meditate on its subtle flavors. When you do it speaks in a nicely complex way. This is really good.
Since I am already rambling – I had a spinach salad at lunch with cucumbers and mushrooms. As I am biting into the cucumber I am thinking this isn’t quite the same as what I called cucumber in the tea. Then I bit into the mushroom and it tasted so earthy like forest dirt smells, and all I could think was puerh! I am becoming such a tea nerd.
This one stays hidden in the back of the drawer. I broke it out today to share with a co-worker. He recently let me try the Governor Gray he got on vacation. It peaked his curiosity about tea and I thought I would give him some of what I consider the best. He was impressed that it was Fujian. Was amazed at the little pearls and how much it unfurled after steeping. He told me he wasn’t going to drink it. He was just going to sit and smell the cup :) I know how he feels.
He came in much later and told me he got tied up on the phone and the whole time the aroma of the tea was filling up his room. The tea got cold before he got back to it. He was afraid it was ruined until he tasted it. He poured it over ice shortly after and asked for the web address. Time will tell if I have my second convert. He tends to be a hobby of the month person. At least for the moment he seemed to get it.
I continued to drink on the same leaf the rest of the work day.
This is my second favorite Teavivre tea. The first is Jasmine Dragon Pearls. I noticed the video on their website for preparing this tea and it looks like what I have been doing with the exception of they add the leaf to the heated water instead of the other way around. So I did just that this time. The dance of the leaf was great fun to watch. I love the look of the dry leaf. I love the smell of it. I love the vegetable aroma of the brewed leaf. The color of the liquor is pretty. I find the taste refreshing. It’s green but not too green.
This was an exhausting weekend. Friday night and Saturday morning I finally was allowed to work a little overtime to try to dig out from under. Saturday night our praise band opened at a benefit concert. It was too loud. Sunday morning we led worship and once again it was too loud. I am a guitar player – we never say it’s too loud! Our sound guy went to a Skillet concert Friday night (you tube – Feel like a monster) and I think he was still deaf. Last night the house was so hot I couldn’t sleep. Today I have a bad headache and I need caffeine. Chun Mei to the rescue – I hope. Near boiling water and a 30 second steep. Light smokiness followed by grassy green and tapering off into sweetness in the aftertaste. Love it. Several cups – lost track.