Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Taste Test: Silver Needle white tea from It's About Tea

It's taste taste time again, and today we have a tea that I've been looking forward to taste-testing since I started this blog...I guess it's only been a week since I started it, huh?

In any case, today's Taste Taste features probably my favourite tea ever, Silver Needle white tea. Silver Needle is named after the little white hairs that cover the leaves and float around in the brewed tea. Yes, hair in your tea. It's good hair, I swear!

Dry Leaf

Big fat buds covered in a downy fuzz greet me when I open up the bag. Silver Needle is a very attractive tea to look at, and the aroma isn't too hard on the nose, either. It's quite floral, with a slight spiciness.

Wet Leaf & Brew

I usually use cooler water to brew Silver Needle, but I've been doing some reading that indicates that using newly-boiled water isn't going to hurt the leaves any. I decide to play it safe for the first infusion and use water that's not quite boiling.

The newly infused leaves instantly turn from white to pale green and lose their downy hairs. The wet leaves smell very strongly of cooked peas and asparagus, two vegetables I'd rather not eat but are quite nice on the nose.

The first infusion is just a rinse to get the leaves woken up. The second infusion is quite pale yellow, accentuated by the mass of tiny leaf hairs floating in it. The aroma is very lightly floral...if I had to be specific, I'd say "daisies & lilacs", though I haven't smelled enough kind of flowers to really get any more involved than "floral". When tasted, I'm very pleased by the mouthfeel. It's thick without being overpoweringly so. The taste is fabulous, even if it is a bit weak. Slightly sweet and ghostly floral, it builds anticipation for the stronger infusions to come.

The third infusion reveals a very welcome strawberry note. Even using hotter water, no bitterness is present. This note continues over the next three infusions, getting sweeter each time.

Honestly, this tea probably could have lasted more than six infusions. I just didn't have the time. It always makes me happy when a tea is tougher than I am.

If you have the chance to pick up some Silver Needle, I'd say go for it. It can be pricey, but being able to get so many infusions out of it offsets the pain on the wallet. Plus, it's just plain delicious.

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