Monday, March 3, 2008

Silver Needle

Tea: Silver Needle 2007
Vendor: Seven Cups
Price: $17.25 / 50g
Vendor Description: Our certified organic Silver Needle is the highest grade of white tea made entirely of white tea buds picked in spring and rich in nutrition. It has a very fresh floral aroma and slightly sweet taste. While the flavor is mild, it has a depth that will leave you enjoying the many nuances of this fine tea. While green tea is the most popular tea in China many of the world's best-known tea experts consider high grade white tea to be even finer that green tea.

Other Vendor Information:
Location: Fujian Province
Tea Bush: Da Bai Cha (Big White Leaves Tea Bush)
Tea Master: Wu Si Jia
Harvest Time: before April 5th
Picking Standard: 1 bud
Brewing vessel: glass cup, gaiwan, glass or porcelain pot,
Brewing Guidelines: 1st infusion 1 1/2 Tbs per 20 oz 160F for 2 min
Infusions: at least 4 times

This was my first silver needle that I have tried. I was unsure of whether or not there are different grades of silver needle, and I still am unsure. Silver needle is a very interesting form for tea, it only consists of the top bud so it is very labor intensive to pick, and does not change much in size or shape when steeped. Most leaves unfurl, uncurl, or otherwise unfold in some way, silver needles retain their original shape. The few exceptions to this that I know of are certain forms of Bancha, Kukicha, and some yellow teas like the Meng Ding Huang Ya. The Meng Ding Huang Ya is also a bud only tea so it retains its form for the same reason. Bancha is roasted and left as a flat leaf, and Kukicha consists primarily of stems which don't get changed by the processes.

Silver needle steeps into a very clear tea, because of the very intact buds. One interesting thing to notice about the tea are the silver hairs which coat silver needle come off into the tea, they are hard to notice, but you can see them floating around in the tea.

The brewed liquor is a pale light brown color, as white teas interestingly turn more of a brown color with heavier steeping. The interesting part of silver needle is the leaves all dance vertically in the pot, they slide up and down which is quite a sight to see.

The flavor of the tea is very pure. It truly would be described as the essence of white tea. If you have ever had a Bai Mu Dan you have a feeling of what makes white tea different than other forms of tea, and silver needle tastes like purely that difference. It is pure and clean. No bitterness, no astringency. It also has a very pleasant sweetness to it.

Rating: 10/10

Conclusion: This tea is pure and clean, leaving me with a pure taste of white tea. I have yet to see how it compares to other silver needle, but it leaves me very hopeful for other silver needles.

1 comment:

Salsero said...

A lovely and informative review. Thanks for posting.