I want to point out, first, that the directions for steeping this tea call for 4 minutes and 208F water. This seems to me a good sign, since hotter water and longer steep times work way better for me with white teas than the reverse. I did fudge the temp slightly because I was making it in the Breville which doesn’t have a 208 setting. So I’m steeping at 205.
I have to agree with some of the other notes — this is an unusual tea. The dry leaf has a completely different fragrance than that of other white teas. No woodiness or plantiness, no sharp notes. It’s a rich and round aroma that I can only guess comes from the volcanic soil. Yes, I do smell cocoa. And yes, I do smell raisins. I smell one other thing, which is almost ash — but not in a bad way. Freakin’ weird, but marvelous. Like with the black tea from this vendor, the leaves are extraordinarily long and beautiful.
After steeping, the tea is a rich, golden color and clear. It smells like raisins still, maybe with a bit of plum in there as well. It is not as cocoa-y but there’s still a suggestion around the edges.
The one thing I for sure am not getting that others are tasting and smelling is rose. That, I just don’t get, though there is a more generic floral flavor at the beginning of the sip. The tea has a distinctive raisin-like taste, that smooths out into a more hay-like note later in the sip.
If I buy one white tea, this will be it.
I’m pretty sure there’s still a silver needle out there for me somewhere. I may need to try Samovar’s again if they still have it, or try one from a new company I have yet to discover.
Flavors: Ash, Cocoa, Floral, Hay, Plums, Raisins