I am once again starting to clear out my backlog of tea reviews. I think I finished what I had of this tea right at the end of October. It was either the last or next to last sipdown of the month. As silver needle white teas go, I found it to be tremendously enjoyable. It was oddly a heavier and more accessible tea than many of its Chinese counterparts.

Naturally, I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted aromas of hay, eucalyptus, vanilla, and malt that were underscored by hints of smoke and corn husk. After the rinse, I detected stronger corn husk and smoke scents along with aromas of cream, celery, and butter. I did not notice any difference in the tea’s bouquet on the first infusion. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of hay, smoke, eucalyptus, cream, corn husk, and butter that were backed by hints of vanilla. Subsequent infusions introduced scents of green beans, sugarcane, apricot, fennel, puff pastry, and marshmallow as well as well as a subtle honeydew aroma. Stronger vanilla notes emerged in the mouth as well as belatedly emerging impressions of malt and celery. New impressions of minerals, green beans, sugarcane, apple, puff pastry, honeydew, marshmallow, apricot, fennel, and orange zest also emerged. At the end of the session, the tea liquor had grown a bit astringent, but I could still pick up mineral, celery, cream, fennel, butter, and sugarcane impressions framed by accents of hay, honeydew, apple, vanilla, and eucalyptus.

This was an absolutely fantastic silver needle white tea, one that I would honestly rank up above some of the better Chinese silver needles I have tried. I think I would even put it above the few Darjeeling silver needles I have tried to this point. I would recommend it highly to anyone with an interest in quality white teas, especially someone looking for something more exotic than the traditional Chinese offerings.

Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Butter, Celery, Corn Husk, Cream, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Green Beans, Hay, Honeydew, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pastries, Smoke, Sugarcane, Vanilla

185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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