700 Tasting Notes
DO NOT under any circumstance stick your nose in the tin. Let me save you the pain of having ginger straight up the nose. It is not the most pleasant experience but with how COVID can rid one of their sinus ability maybe it’s not such a bad thing. Take a look and you’ll first notice how very broken the leaf is. Sad to see for a white tea. But seeing as how it’s organic one doesn’t have to worry about them using a pesticide-induced leaf on the bottom of the bush. The flavor is very interesting. The ginger adds a nice spicy kick, but not too spicy, it doesn’t make your mouth pucker like ginger sometimes does. The pear adds a lot of sweetness. There is a bit of earthy flavor when you first take a sip but the lemon immediately follows with a wham of pear and the flavors. Suddenly I am reminded of the green sour gumballs. It’s not bad but I honestly don’t think I could have another cup. It’s a bit too much in my mouth. Unfortunately, the white tea is too muted.
Truly a unique tea. The liquor brews up to look like a black tea but the dry leaves definitely look like a white tea. It is a very light tea. Wet earth notes. No aroma for the wet leaf. Just the steam hitting my nose. Flavor is very slight as well. You really have to dig to understand what is being tasted. Accidental one hour steep. Not too astringent but odd medicinal flavor.
The water isn’t in the kettle but I need to start this note now because the dry aroma is mind-boggling. It is all over the tea wheel. White pepper, floral, vegetal, herbs. It’s hard to put my finger on any one note. The leaf is gorgeous. Fuzzy and a mix of different oxidation colors. The wet aroma is stable hay. Farm hay. It always seems to be that note with white tea. It steeps up fairly sweet within the first 30 seconds. Honeysuckle and a light touch of honey. The mouthfeel is incredibly silky. The package says up to 3 times but if steeping gong fu style you can go far past that. However, if steeping gong fu also keep in mind that each steep is shorter. While you could easily steep this to the recommended 4 to 6 minutes, try it at 30 seconds and then at each 30 seconds after. The sweetness hits within the first few minutes and then transforms to more hay and slightly earthy notes.
I’m exhausted so if partway through reading this and it doesn’t make any sense, you know why. This is a really unique blend. You see black tea blended with tons of different things but silver needle doesn’t tend to see as many mixes, much less both being mixed together. The first steep is the best with slight malt, honey, and savory earthy notes. In a gaiwan it is best steeped 10 – 30 seconds. Extra time allows for too many tannins and a strange astringency.
2020 Lot, but drinking the last of it now January 2021. Back in 2020 Silk Road Teas did a tea Zoom in which they featured three different teas. Dragonwell, Silver Needle, and this one. The Black Fragrance I am currently drinking is not labeled, nor does it say kung fu on the page anywhere, so I’m assuming they changed the name. I was going to make a page set aside from this one and label it, Black Fragrance – Hei Xiang – Rare Lot, but because they are the same farm, same nameish, and same processing I figured it would be better to compare notes here. This is one of those teas that you could rate simply based on the price. Price-based ratings are, in my opinion, not the true opinion though because you could really not like it but force yourself to say you do because of how expensive it is. That being said even without knowing the true price still thought this one was stellar and I am grateful to be able to taste something that is not exported out of China, generally, (I guess though now we can say it is? Albeit in tiny, tiny batches.)
Because I bought this in a Zoom package I didn’t see the original price so my opinion wasn’t influenced by it. My initial reaction was it was good but had way to many hay notes. Fresh hay is fine but I’m not really a fan of those hay in stable notes, though I did have a silver needle from Ceylon the other day that was very good with those notes.
This time around I’m smelling clean earth. The flavor still has those farm hay notes but I realized after a few sessions that I liked this one best within a minute of steeping. It then revealed light molasses and sometimes brown sugar. The mouthfeel is very soft with no astringency.
This one started off with a really enticing aroma. Sweet peaches, zippy ginger, and a slightly odd medicinal note that made one feel they’d be cured just by drinking this. Cured of what? I have no idea. But give this a whiff and you’ll see what I mean. I’m not big on the taste. I could see this being great for anyone with a sore throat but it’s not really a flavor I enjoy if I’m not sick.
White tea is the unexplored, underappreciated part of the tea world. I too vastly underappreciate it. Especially one that comes from Ceylon. I wasn’t expecting much to be honest. I wasn’t very impressed with any of their green teas so I assumed the white would be marginal at best. I was wrong. This is fantastic. I’m currently drinking it gong fu style with water that could probably be warmer but the flavors I’m getting are sublime. The first few were filled with floral notes of jasmine and gardenia. The third infusion is earthy. Incredibly soft on the palate with no astringency. You can definitely steep it up to 6 minutes but make sure to try it at least every minute because the flavors at each are great.
The aroma is a bit grassy but mainly filled with hay notes. Like the hay you find in a stable or barn. And over roasted vegetables.
The differences that one can find from one plant is astounding. Even the region of Ceylon, which is generally known for its black teas, has a variety of different types. Take a Ceylon green, a Japanese green, and a Chinese green and you will get many different flavor profiles! It’s amazing! So far in all of the Teakruthi samples I’ve tried I have discovered most to have astringency but this one doesn’t have a bit. There is a bit on the second, though I am also using a smaller steeping vestibule. A unique mix of woodsy and earthy notes. Some nutty notes here and there. Wet forest floor in the wet leaf aroma after steeping but the most amazing smell as soon as the water touched the leaves. (There needs to be a term for this) Instantly my nostrils were filled with wet warm jungle. Like I wasn’t standing in my kitchen anymore. What an amazing feeling that was.
My afternoon ritual general involves a green tea of some sort. But this unassuming blend is perfect for any time of day. Light on flavor with gentle woody notes. Wet forest floor filled with twigs and a few leaves. The aroma is balanced and fair. Nothing too crazy. Soft hints of hardwoods and treebark. A tea like this is not suited for milk or sugar but for those purists like myself who like a cup that has refined flavor and nothing to sit and overthink about. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit and sip and not think about every little flavor and aroma in the cup.
Mint lovers rejoice. Black tea lovers rejoice! If you were looking for the perfect marriage between the two, this is it. The golden amber liquor shines but the aroma of the dry leaf and the wet leaf dazzles the senses and calms the soul. The dry aroma is strong with mint. It’s overwhelming. Mint to the face! The wet leaf aroma tones it down a bit with woodsy notes but the zap of mint in your nose is enlightening. The flavor is much of the same. Wet wood notes and the tang of mint. Palate will feel slight astringency and freshness all at the same time.