This is only the second or third silver needle tea from Nepal I’ve had the pleasure of trying. I’m already quite surprised by the scent of the dry leaf, which has some smokey notes and hay and earthy tones to it, quite different from any other silver needle I’ve tried before. These needles look very thin and delicate. The aroma of the wet leaves is smokey and perfumey at the same time with a sort of tart grape scent. It’s really intriguing.
The taste of the first infusion is not at all what I’d have expected. It’s really sweet, woody, and a little smokey. If you blindfolded me I’d probably think this is Ya Bao, a white tea made from plump, moth-like winter buds from wild tea trees. In some ways this reminds me of wite whine, something spicy and crisp like a Pinot Grigio.
The second infusion of this tea is more sweet and grape-like, now reminding me more of champagne. The smokey element is nearly gone. The taste is a lot more clean in this infusion than the first.
In the third and fourth infusions, the smokey aspect really cleared out and gave way to a really sweet and clean brew, while the flavor stayed somewhat similar, reminding me a bit of white grape with some sweet grassy undertones.
This tea had a rough start by my tastes, but after the initial infusion I was really enjoying it. That said, I never rinse teas except for Shou Puer. Maybe this is a rare case of a tea that I feel could be better with a rinse? Then again, I may not have appreciated those more delicate sweet later steepings without the smokey, earthy tastes up front with which to contrast them. This tea produces many flavorful steepings and really goes a long way.
Flavors: Champagne, Earth, Grapes, Hay, Smoke, Sweet, White Wine