Thursday, March 20, 2008

Silver Needles (Organic)

Tea: Silver Needles (Organic)
Vendor: Dragonwater Tea
Price: $29.95 / 4 oz.
Vendor Description:Silver Needles (Organic) Tea. Handmade, organic Chinese white tea consisting of the most tender, down covered buds. This lot contains a fresh, sweet fragrance and true Yinzhen characteristics, highest grade available. Limited supply available.

This was the second time that I have tried silver needles, and I was very curious to see what the difference would be for the same tea from different vendors. Unlike many teas which try to make themselves more unique in their name, Silver Needles are referred to as their own tea. For instance a Darjeeling might be further specified as a Castleton Darjeeling, but as far as I can tell there are no classifications or further specifications on most Silver Needle teas. They are Silver Needle and that's it.

Looking at the needles themselves they look as though they have been handled much more than the ones from Seven Cups. Also a lot of the fine hairs had come off of the leaves forming small balls of fuzz in the package. There were many broken needles and the coloring was not quite as consistent as the Seven Cups tea.

The flavor of the tea was a lot weaker than that of the Seven Cups silver needle, it tasted more like a Bai Mu Dan than the other silver needle did. The flavor felt like it was more generalized than specified. It did taste like a white tea, but like a Bai Mu Dan it was not as refined and blended more towards a green tea in flavor. The flavor was sweet and mellow as a white tea should be. It had no sense of bitterness and left with a medium sense of astringency.

I tried a second infusion with this tea, and the second infusion was very similar to the first, but with a higher sense of astringency and a lighter flavor.

Rating: 3/10

Conclusion: In comparison to the seven cups silver needle this wasn't very good. The appearance of the tea was not as pleasant and the flavor was not as refined. Unfortunately when getting a tea such as a silver needle there is no rating system to know how good / bad one is. Especially considering the price between the two vendors was quite close it is probably better to go with the Seven Cups.

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