Kenya Silver Needle

Tea type
White Tea
White Tea
Corn Husk, Honeydew, Hot hay, Melon, Citrus, Creamy, Sweet
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Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by What-Cha
Average preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec 3 g 9 oz / 266 ml

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12 Tasting Notes

3949 tasting notes

This is an easy drinking white tea with delicious notes of sweet corn and cream. I quite enjoyed this one.

Check out the full review here:

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60 tasting notes

Ripe honeydew melon and gentle sugarcane sweetness fill the mouth, transitioning into lingering notes of anise, vanilla bean, and light licorice. Beautifully complex and silky smooth, this is a sublime Silver Needle and one that I would recommend without reservation.

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27 tasting notes

First time I drank a silver needle tea, and it didn’t disappoint. Very beautiful tea leave needles, with a sweet smell. Also after steeping there is definitely some sweet corn-like flavor (exactly like the package promised!). I could detect some hay as well.

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987 tasting notes

The leaf on this one is really distinctive. I know that silver needle tea is supposed to be long, thin, and needle-like, but these look like tea leaves on steroids! The buds are easily 1-1.5 inches long and covered in a fine fuzz.

Dry, they smelled like sweet hay, with notes of lychee. Wet, they smelled a bit smoky but still sweet and hay-like.

I decided to go gentle on the tea and used water heated only to 70°C. However, that wasn’t really the right choice; I got notes of hay, peaches, and maybe a little strawberry and fruit leather, but the tea was in general so mild and unassuming that I kept on going “I can’t really taste anything! I can’t really taste anything!”

The tea was pale not only in taste but also in colour. All of the steeps were generally a pale wheat/straw colour. Gentle, but not that striking.

I brewed the same variety of tea a few days later using water just off the boil, but that was pretty similar. A little hay, a little smoke. Maybe a deeper, richer scent. Oh, and the colour of the tea was a bit darker too, sort of a deeper straw shading into orange. But still, the flavour was kinda hiding around in the background rather than dancing on centre stage on my tongue.

I will need to play around with this a bit more to see how to get the best flavour out of it. More leaf? Longer steep times? Different gaiwan? So many variables.

Full review at

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627 tasting notes

Hello corn…my roomie and I had this and wished we had sipped it with dinner, it would have made a good complimenting side “dish”.

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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979 tasting notes

This became one of my favorite white teas after a while. I’ve had many since I started on steepster, and only a few have had the natural melon and corn sweetness this one possess. It also steeps fairly strong. And it does awesomely in my tea tumbler. I rated it 85 because I thought I wouldn’t want to keep this one on hand, but maybe get some every once in a while. Now that I’m finishing it off, I just realized how much I liked it in comparison to most white teas. If you’re newly reading my notes on this, I would recommend this as a prime example of silver needle. Just as good light and dark being steeped in a variety of ways.

Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Honeydew, Hot hay, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

I enjoy this one a great deal, too. Alistair never disappoints.

Daylon R Thomas

He really doesn’t. Even the sampler I got from him has lasted me a long time. Interestingly enough, one of the next major white teas I wanted to try were the Malawi Antlers lol. Unfortunately, the Discover Taiwan and Darjeeling samplers went bye-bye…which had all the teas I wanted to get from him. Though there are more things to try from him yet.


interestingly I have never had this one. I will order it next time


Daylon, I think Alistair carries the Malawi Antlers White by itself; however, I can understand being at a place in the discovery journey where the Discover sets fill more tasting needs. When I re-order from What-Cha and get the Antlers again, I’ll alert you and send you some. It’s an astonishing cup!


I have never seen malawi antlers before! That is totally up my street, I know im going to love it.

I’m placing an order tomorrow. One plus of living in the UK is next day delivery from what-cha


Rasseru, I am jealous of that one day delivery! What-Cha ships fast to the USA-usually I get my tea in less than 2 weeks-and it is always worth the wait. I’d be very surprised if you dislike the Antlers. Can’t wait to see your tasting notes.


Yeah iv read a few things about leaving the stems in increases the sweetness of the brew, using all stems must make it taste really different. I love teas like this

Daylon R Thomas

Wow, whiteantlers, that would be awesome! I was actually going to sample it. What-cha orders are always large for me, and usually are a giant batch of samples. At least the group buy and my first official purchase were lol. And Rasseru, that is interesting. The sweeter teas I like tend to be the stemmy ones.


with green oolong, they remove a lot of stem and trim the leaf edge, so greener brew. you can get one with red leaf edge and red stems, some of it is pretty amazing apparently. Its the same as the type LP uses in his. I think thats one reason I like his tea a lot. Sweetness from these parts of the plant


Rasseru, interesting comment about the leaf edge and stems in LP’s teas. I have not yet tried them but my wallet is nudging me now…


its in the oolberry, which has a lovely berry/oolong mixed aroma, quite perfumed, nice stuff.

I especially like his peachy elixir #9, that one is really good tasting, but ive just bought the last of it. I hope he makes it a staple, but I dont know if hes going to go over old recipes or make new ones.


I will add Oolberry to my “to buy” list. I am looking for good teas for cold brewing; this sounds like it could be quite nice for that. Thanks for the information.

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1108 tasting notes

Today I put 7g of this in my Kamjove at work and added apple spice to it… instant Apple Jacks tea.
This isn’t the delicate white tea I’m use to, it tasted kind of like unflavored cereal and I’m not imagining that. While that sound odd, I was able to get 6 full pots of this at work and I wasn’t complaining at all.
Now at the tea party, when we drank this, it wasn’t the same… it was a bit lighter but I think using 7g kind of changed that. Regardless, I think I like the lighter needles that have a bit of floral notes in them. White tea for me is best when it’s TOO strong or TOO weak, if that makes sense.
Happy with my brewing this morning :)

Terri HarpLady

white teas almost always remind me of cream of wheat :)

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4847 tasting notes


Silver Needle teas are among the most delicate teas that I’ve tasted and while this is also a delicate Silver Needle, it’s not as delicate as a Chinese Silver Needle would be.

I got quite a few lovely infusions from this tea. The earliest infusions were sweet, haylike, with hints of melon-like flavors and a crisp, floral note. Later infusions proved to be even sweeter than the earliest infusions.

Very little astringency with this tea. Just smooth, lovely flavor.

A really good silver needle. I’d recommend this to those who think that silver needle teas are too subtle. This one’s very flavorful.

Here’s my full-length review:

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1719 tasting notes

Prepared this again this morning after my morning green tea powder and milk. I used hotter water (185 F) and a 15 minute steep per Amanda’s method. Using this method, I learned this is an exceptionally forgiving tea. I might try really hot water with the last of this just to test. I also learned Amanda has amazing sensory powers. Today’s cup was pretty much identical to yesterday’s cup for me. Don’t get me wrong that is a good thing. I was just hoping to detect all the awesome notes as she described. The corn is easy. I get a light floral and a bit of fruit – neither of which I can identify.

I was really hoping to catch the peony as a childhood memory trigger. Mom loved peonies when I was growing up. For whatever reason she never replanted them when they moved several years ago. Ha, look at that – triggered just thinking about trying to smell them. Love it. They were right outside my bedroom window. There was no air conditioning back in the neolithic period that was my childhood. I slept with the window open. On really hot nights I would lay my head on the window sill. The scent of peonies filled the night air. During the day the bees and ants loved the flowers as much as I did…


Yep, funny what triggers what. Sight and scent of peonies make me think about ants crawling up my arm :)


I’ve always had a fascination with ants, well not in the house. Spiders on the other hand are just wrong.


I remember sitting in the garden as a kid, with the peonies, and letting ants crawl all over my feet. It’s a surprisingly good memory, considering I became intensely afraid of bugs as some later point.

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921 tasting notes

As some of you might know, I make tea themed advent calenders each year for Christmas, it started as gifts to friends and has exploded into me selling them. I had to do pre-orders early since I will be in Pennsylvania for the holiday (really three months that also include holidays) and as of now, four days before pre-orders close, I am making ten calenders. I am so excited for all the folding of origami envelopes and awesome tea I am going to be introducing people to. I am like some sort holiday elf spreading tea joy to people, which is really fun.

Today’s tea is Kenyan Silver Needle White Tea by What-Cha, as you can tell by the name, this tea comes from the Mount Kenya region of Kenya, Africa. Usually when you see Silver Needle (Baihao Yinzhen) it comes from Fujian, China, but this fuzzy tea brings a unique twist since it is from a whole new terroir. The aroma of this particular silver needle is nothing short of mouthwatering, which is why I advise pouring the tea you wish to sniff out of the bag, don’t want to ruin tea by drooling. It is incredibly sweet with notes of peaches and sweet corn, this transitions to floral notes that very much so brings to mind blooming peony flowers. This tea is very fragrant and so very sweet!

I decided to go pseudo-gongfu for my first brewing of the leaves. I discovered (thanks to the power of books and experimentation) that if you brew a silver needle at 185 degrees for 15 minutes, it is fantastic. So I used my gaiwan and tiny cups (mainly for aesthetic reasons, I really like my auspicious gaiwan) and just used less leaf than I would for a usual gongfu session. The brewed leaves have a very strong aroma, even more floral with notes of peony being dominant with a touch of honeysuckle and hyacinth. There are also notes of sweet corn giving the tea leaves an extra sweetness and richness. The poured off liquid is very creamy and sweet with notes of sweet corn and honey.

After a slightly long wait (the only real problem with a 15 minute steep) the mouth feel is very smooth with just a hint of fuzz from the leaves. The taste, well it is fantastic, it manages to be delicate and very rich, it fills up the mouth while not overpowering. The tea starts out very sweet with notes of hay and sweet corn, this transitions to sweet sesame seed, like Halva. After the sweetness there is a strong peony blossom that that lingers into a nectar like aftertaste. The finish is surprisingly fuzzy, adding a delightful tickle to the back of the tongue.

I will admit, I have become mildly addicted to this tea, it Grandpa Styles wonderfully and I have found myself sipping on it for hours. As the tea loses its steam it becomes more floral and slightly vegetal with a lettuce tinge at the end. This tea has become one of my go-to teas to use in my travel steeper, especially on my Thursday game nights where everyone comments on the pretty leaves floating in water. For those wondering how it compares to Silver Needles from Fujian, I would say it is definitely sweeter and has a wonderful sweet corn note that the Chinese variety lacks, the Fujian Silver Needle is much milder and tastes more of fresh vegetation and sweet flowers. I still love the Chinese Silver Needle, but Kenyan Needle has stolen my heart.

For blog and photos:

Cathy Baratheon

Tea advent calendar!! What a clever idea :D


So wait, how can I get in on this tea advent calendar?! It sounds AWESOMETASTIC!


Also, the tea sounds wonderful. Silver needle does wonderfully grandpa style. I think it’s my favorite style of tea to do this way.


This sounds amazing! I’m loving the white teas lately, so I need to pick some of this up!


Cheri: I just sent you a note about it :)

I totally recommend this tea, I have had another Kenyan Silver Needle (review happening eventually :P ) and it had a lot of the same elements, it did lack the peony flower notes so that makes this one my favorite :)


Can you clarify or point me to a definition of ‘Grandpa Style’?


Of course! Here is a great description (with pictures) I have also seen it referred to as ‘cup brewing’ if that helps :)


OIC. Wish I could use it. It takes me a long time to drink tea that things get bitter if I brew them without a way to get them out again.


It does for me as well, I have only found a few so far that I can sip on for hours that do not get bitter.

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