This was one of my more recent sipdowns. I bought one of these dragon balls back around the start of 2017, but I decided that I wanted to see how it would age and resolved to break it out after I finished what I had of the spring 2017 production of Yunnan Sourcing’s Feng Qing Silver Needles. Though I finished what I had of that tea some time ago, I only got around to drinking this 2016 silver needle dragon ball last week. I found that it had kept very well in storage as it had not seemed to lose any of its youthful vigor. Compared to the spring 2017 Feng Qing Silver Needles, this was a more astringent and slow-burning offering likely due to a combination of its compression into dragon ball form and its age.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped the entire 7g dragon ball in 5 ounces of 176 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 19 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, 30 minutes, and 40 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry dragon ball produced aromas of hay, straw, sugarcane, and eucalyptus. After the rinse, it emitted aromas of cream, pastry, vanilla, malt, and marshmallow. The first infusion then introduced subtle scents of almond and butter. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered delicate notes of cream, vanilla, malt, sugarcane, and eucalyptus that were chased by hints of lemon. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of wood, lemon, honeydew, and oats. Notes of almond, hay, straw, butter, pastry, and marshmallow came out in the mouth along with slightly stronger lemon notes and impressions of wood, minerals, oats, apricot, lychee, honeydew, and honey. At the time I decided to end the review session, I could still detect notes of minerals, cream, butter, sugarcane, oats, vanilla, and marshmallow that were backed by hints of wood, almond, lemon, and eucalyptus as well as belatedly emerging impressions of watermelon and steadily building astringency.
This was a very satisfying white tea, though it did not offer anything that one would not expect of a Feng Qing Silver Needle white tea. If you, like me, are a fan of Feng Qing Silver Needle white teas, then this tea will very likely be up your alley, but if you are not a fan, then I doubt this offering will be the one that converts you. Compared to the 2017 Feng Qing Silver Needles I have tried, this tea was a bit simpler and more astringent, but overall, it was still very enjoyable. In the end, though, I just think teas like this are probably best left to fans of such niche products. Feng Qing teas, in general, seem to be offerings that people either love or just find to be kind of odd at best.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Astringent, Butter, Cream, Eucalyptus, Hay, Honey, Honeydew, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Marshmallow, Melon, Oats, Pastries, Straw, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Wood