Myahaaa! CRAZY CAT ALERT!
Okay, so there are times in my tea journey when I encounter a tea that is… for lack of a better term… catnip… to me. In fact, I am surprised this is happening now, because there is only one tea that does that to me up to this point! To elaborate… I am just so intoxicated and shocked by the flavor… it’s like I’m discovering flavors I never knew existed. I can hardly begin to describe the incredible freshness and enjoyability of this tea… and due to not knowing exactly what to think except “WHOA!” I get this giddy cat-on-nip reaction that makes me make vocal noises of pleasure after each of the first few sips. The next several sips all I do is wildly brag to my guests or friends about just how wonderful it is. I preach and yet I feel rather like just flailing around and doing donuts on the carpet. This is only the fourth tea I’ve tried out of hundreds I’ve tried now that I’ve given a perfect 100 score in my review here on Steepster.
Okay, so, where to begin with this? I’ll start with Stacy’s tasting notes from the website because they are spot-on. Fresh cream, churned butter, roasted cashew, grilled corn, banana, and green bean… it’s all there, though if I were to order them by predominance with the most obvious first it’d go like this… Fresh cream, grilled corn, banana, churned butter, green bean, roasted cashew. I will be honest. I ate some roasted cashews about half an hour before I drank this tea… though I had a few palate cleansing foods and drinks in between, so I don’t think that it masked the cashew flavor in this tea necessarily. Rather, having that close of a comparison… I’d say it may be the one tasting note I’m not really getting much of from Stacy’s observations. I wouldn’t describe it as cashew. I will add one though.
Sugar cookie. Oh yes. I wasn’t expecting anything like this. When I poured the first infusion from my gaiwan to the fair cup, nowhere near me, I was met with a whiff of tea steam that made me do a double take. It smelled INCREDIBLE.
I’d say I have a decently sensitive palate. Really light white teas and even some oolong and green can on occasion taste like hot water with a bit of salt or honey or sugar added and not much complexity. I understand that feeling, but I have found that when this occurs I can usually brew the tea a different way and many more flavors emerge (more or less leaf, different time or temp). Also, I can’t stress enough that for brewing very light teas like whites, you really should be using very neutral tasting water. I used spring water for the longest time until I realized a certain evil monolothic chain grocer here in the US has filtration stations in all their stores that use sediment filters, carbon filters, reverse osmosis filters, and uv filters (all 4 together) to give you some very clean tasting and slick feeling local water for substantially cheaper than spring water. Even with home filtration systems, I often taste a lot of mineral and chemical and that can easily overpower light teas. I even did a blind taste test against the spring water I liked with my favorite teas, and the filtered water from the store won out.
Off my pulpit about water quality, just a tip for those who say they are tasting “hot water”, this tea was very full of flavor and is a totally different creature from any of the Chinese Silver Needles I’ve had before. Those tend to have notes of fruits like peach or melon, sweet honey and nectar notes as well. This tea is creamy, light and yet rich… like a chantilly cake. The ending notes of a sip carry the light vegetal quality, which is a bit like a sweet green bean or snap pea. I can see where others say this is like a mellowed down Chinese green tea.
I used 2 grams of needles per 100ml of water (that’s about a heaping tablespoon per 3 oz). Brewed it gongfu style for 1 minute, adding 15 seconds each time at 185F. There was never any dryness at all on any infusion.
Now I need to see how long I can prevent myself from ordering insane quantities of this tea.
Flavors: banana, Butter, Cookie, Corn Husk, Cream, Green Beans