With just a little bit of honey, this tea becomes the most soothing, syrupy elixir of any tea I’ve tried. By far my favorite for chilly evenings; I close my eyes and sink into the aroma, taste and sensation of this fine tea.
“Dear Silver Needle: Thank you for keeping me company on my commute this morning. I very much appreciated that you were not planty or heavy, like your colleague, White Symphony. Thank you for being...” Read full tasting note
“So, I didn’t get to taste this infusion, but this tea absolutely saved me today. I crushed my finger in the automatic car window today and broke the bone. Serious serious...” Read full tasting note
“Soooo. I forgot about this one while I was steeping it. Like I acknowledged the timer, and flipped it off, and then somehow I let the tea keep steeping. So it went about 5-6 minutes. Luckily,...” Read full tasting note
“I’ve tried this before in a sample pack I had back when I first started drinking whole leaf tea. I didn’t write a note, though. It might actually have been before I joined Steepster....” Read full tasting note
White tea from China. Silver Needle is among the most revered of Chinese teas, produced in the Fuding and Zhenhe districts of its Fujian province. Gathered only in the few days of early spring, the preparation of this tea is governed by strict requirements to ensure a premium product. This dedication to perfection is evident in the cup, which is sweet and delicate with a clean, airy fragrance. Our ‘Sublime Needle’ is a Special Grade (Bai Hao) version of this exquisite tea.
Adagio Teas has become one of the most popular destinations for tea online. Its products are available online at www.adagio.com and in many gourmet and health food stores.
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I received a free sample sachet of this tea as part of an Adagio order a couple months back and I just got around to trying it a couple hours ago. To be honest, silver needles never excite me. I tend to find them bland and boring. This one did nothing to change my overall impression of this type of tea.
I utilized a three step Western infusion process to prepare this tea. I started off with a 3 minute steep in 8 ounces of 180 F water and followed it up with 5 minute and 7 minute steeps. The water temperature was suggested by Adagio. I stole the brewing process from Whispering Pines.
The first infusion produced a light ecru liquor with a very mild nose. I was just barely able to detect fleeting impressions of hay, straw, eucalyptus, and something resembling mild cinnamon. In the mouth, I got very subtle notes of straw, hay, grain, butter, cream, eucalyptus, and cinnamon. The second infusion was a little stronger, but not by much. The nose was fruitier and slightly spicier. In the mouth, I was once again able to pick up grain, straw, hay, cinnamon, cream, butter, and eucalyptus, though I also detected traces of apricot, cantaloupe, honeysuckle, and oatmeal. There was also a little minerality on the finish. The third infusion was mostly a wash. I found the nose to be pretty much nonexistent. In the mouth, I got mostly mineral notes underscored by impressions of apricot, cantaloupe, oatmeal, butter, straw, and hay.
Well, this one was a downer. I kind of knew it was going to be though. As stated above, this type of tea does not really do much for me. I was willing to give it a chance, but I could tell that this was a low quality silver needle. You see, a high quality silver needle will be comprised of full, slender leaf buds and will actually appear to be silver or white in appearance due to the presence of numerous downy hairs on each bud. This tea did not look like that. It was comprised of mostly light greenish, hairless leaf material. I did not see many full leaves, as most were broken into small pieces. Some of the leaves even appeared to have small ruddy or brownish spots. This was obviously not a silver needle even remotely on par with, say, those offered by vendors like Whispering Pines or even Tealyra. Judging from the weak, lifeless aroma and flavor displayed by this tea, as well as its lack of staying power, I am not sure I can even recommend this as a budget introductory silver needle, so I won’t. Instead, I will offer the following advice: if anyone reading this absolutely has to try a silver needle tea this year, just pony up for Whispering Pines’ silver needle instead.
Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Cantaloupe, Cinnamon, Cream, Eucalyptus, Grain, Hay, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Oats, Straw
Very earthy aroma, with a hint of seaweed. While steeping it is very aromatic, smells strongly of honey and flowers with a slight whiff of dried grass/hay. At the end of steeping, the remaining leaves smell even more like dried grass/hay and honey (in a very pleasant way).
First steep was 3:00 at 180F. Very mellow and sweet taste in first steep. Flavor lingers on the tongue slightly longer than other teas. It is very floral. I’m having a hard time describing the taste, however it is very good.
Second steep was for 3:30. The flavor was the same, just slightly less intense. Still very good for the second steep. I really enjoy this tea and look forward to trying more Silver Needle.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Earth, Flowers, Hay, Honey
For some this tea is probably perfect. They can likely enjoy the muted spectrum of flavor and scent that is mostly lost on me. As much as I’d like to be in their camp, I need the volume on my white tea to by dialed just a bit higher. That said, what I do taste and smell is not bad. This is an enjoyable, if muted, tea with a slight floral scent (and like another reviewer explained it, some bread dough) and little to no bitterness (no matter how long I let this sit).
I’ve also noticed that the leaves have this marathon quality, so I can get the same weaker cup of tea out of this for several long steeps.
First infusion: There’s a little artichoke smell to it among the floral. Taste-wise, I love it. I taste a little floral, a little fruit and a little sweet. Tiny ghost of hay maybe. Refreshing, and warm. Leaves a moist sensation that has a sweetness and coolness to it on the tongue after you’ve swallowed the sip. I’m still new to loose tea, but I enjoy this cup a lot. I’m trying to enjoy teas without added flavorings or sweetener, and for a white tea this one has enough layers to enjoy unadulterated.
Second infusion: Can’t find the fruit smell anymore. Still a little floral and maybe more of the honeysuckle now. Just it’s very subtle. As it cooled off, there’s still artichoke-y and grass-y in the finish. That cooling/moist tongue sensation is still there.
This tea makes me happy I stopped smoking and stopped eating foods with a lot of added artificial flavors and salt. Every sip has different notes to it as the temperature changes. It hits different nerves in my nose and tongue each sip. Cooled off, I don’t think I’d like this iced on it’s own. It’s just too much like mildly caffeinated spinach water once it’s cold.
EDIT: finished my sample packet today. After all the oolongs I’ve been sampling lately, this sure tastes like grass in comparison. Tiny hints of nutty, floral and sweet. But I steeped it 2 minutes longer this time. I personally prefer the shorter steep, I think.