Organic Silver Needle from Teahouse Kuan Yin

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Teahouse Kuan Yin

Product Description:

Silver Needle is the rarest and most prized of white teas. It is comprised of only the downy tea buds before they open, so that they resemble soft white needles. Its flavor is extremely fresh, because so little processing takes place in Silver Needle production. The leaves are very lightly oxidized, and undergo no frying or rolling process. Our Silver Needle is IMO-certified organic.

Taster’s Review:

I love the light, crisp taste of this Silver Needle!

Generally speaking, most white teas possess a delicate flavor, however, this seems to be even more delicate than most of the white teas I’ve tasted in the past.

The flavor is somewhat floral – like a mist-covered, flowery meadow lies somewhere in the horizon, but, not easily seen.  It whispers of its presence to the palate.  There is also a hint of a leafy flavor:  not quite vegetable, and not quite grassy, but somewhere in between, and ever so faint.

This is such a pleasant, sweet tea.  Very relaxing and meditative.  These needles can be resteeped several times with no loss in flavor, so I encourage you to take full advantage of the unique and rewarding taste that awaits you!  I brewed this tea in my gaiwan, using a little extra leaf and steeping for a very short time.  By steeping this way, I find that I really get the most flavor and enjoyment out of the tea… even the steeping process becomes a restorative exercise!

A lovely tea, indeed.

Snow Jewel from Lahloo

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Lahloo

Product Description:

Snow Jewel white tea is the true queen of teas! Pure elegance! This rare wild Dai Bai silver needle tea grows high in the Fujian mountains.

♥ Downy buds plucked in the spring just before they open
♥ Exquisitely refreshing and delicate
♥ Ripe fruits- peaches, lychees, pear

Taster’s Review:

I absolutely LOVE this tea.  The aroma is amazing!  It smells sweet and fruity, somewhat floral and leafy, and reminds me of the air here in the Pacific Northwest just after it rains (which it does a lot here).

The dry leaves are fuzzy and even though they resemble spears or “needles” – they are light and fluffy.  Silvery!  And the flavor they produce when steeped is so delightful.

The flavor is delicate and sweet.  I can taste peaches!  Fresh, delicious peaches!   The taste is crisp and slightly vegetative.  Clean and invigorating!

The mere act of sipping this tea is truly a meditative process.  First, inhaling deeply to experience its sweet fragrance, and then taking a sip and allowing the flavors to develop onto the palate, all the while I can feel the stresses of the day disappear as my spirit rejuvenates.

I love this tea!  This is a tea I could drink every day and never grow weary of it.

Bird of Paradise from Alice’s Fine Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Blooming/White

Where to Buy:  Alice’s Fine Teas

Product Description:

This bloom unfolds into beautiful birds perched in a golden nest surround by green. Not only is it visually surprising, but the taste is surprisingly spicy and reminds one of autumn, like pumpkin pie!. One of the favorites at Alice’s Fine Teas, a delicious, warm, soothing tea. Ingredients: Marigold (believed to help circulation and ease stomach ache), Lily (said to enhance energy and to have a cooling effect) and Silver Needle Tea.

Taster’s Review:

I enjoy blooming teas, but I don’t really brew them very often.  I blame the gadgetry – I am a self-professed anti-gadgetite (I just made that up) – and when I brew a blooming tea, I have to watch it brew, right?  I guess I am just going to have to promote my glass teacup to the status of essential tool rather than its current status of “gadget” so that I can enjoy the beautiful art of blooming teas!

I steeped this bulb for four minutes in 165° F water and after the four minutes, the bulb had not completely opened.  Only a hint of the orange-y blossoms that would display was showing at the very top of the bulb.  But this is a good thing!  It means additional infusions… which means MORE tea!  Yay!

This really DOES taste like pumpkin!  There are very gentle spice notes in the background, which contributes to the “pumpkin pie” like taste that is mentioned in the above product description from Alice’s Fine Teas.  I wouldn’t say it tastes just like pumpkin pie – but it does have similar characteristics.  The squash flavor is distinct … and quite yummy.

The tea has a very pleasant sweetness to it (I don’t recommend adding sweetener to this tea, it would overwhelm the delicate flavors!) and a light yet smooth mouthfeel.  Very little (almost no) astringency to this cup.  A very pleasant, mild cup of tea that makes for an excellent topic of conversation as well as a refreshing beverage.

For the second infusion, I steeped for five minutes and achieved another delicious cup of tea.  The bulb had not yet fully opened until I infused for the third time (for six minutes), and the tea was still quite lovely, although the pumpkin flavor had subdued a bit by this time.  There were still faint notes of squash and spice, but mostly what I tasted by this time was the soft, fresh notes of silver needle with a delicious buttery finish.

When the bulb finally did completely open, I enjoyed the sight – it looked like two swans dancing (ever go to Disneyland and watch the swans in the pond outside of Sleeping Beauty’s castle?  Every hour when the sounds of a singing Sleeping Beauty can be heard, the swans dance together).

This was an incredibly fun tea to steep and to drink.  The flavor was delicious and surprising, and the colorful display from the bulb made tea time all the more entertaining.

Elixir of Love from Alice’s Fine Teas

Tea Type: Blooming Tea/Flowering Tea

Where To Buy: Alice’s Fine Teas

Product Description:

Sweeping jasmine arch over a bright lily. This tea is mellow, even buttery, with a hint of sweetness from the jasmine. Absolutely delightful! Ingredients: Lily (said to enhance energy and to have a cooling effect), Jasmine (sweet fragrance, said to moisten the skin) and Silver Needle Tea

Tasters Review:

I’ve said it before and I will say it again…I LOVE Blooming Teas/Flowering Teas.  Elixir of Love from Alice’s Fine Teas is no exception.

It’s Relaxing, semi-sweet, mellow, floral, and extremely lovely!

This is a sweeter jasmine than I am used to!  And I really like it!  I mean REALLY like it…I think I would like all my jasmine’s to be sweet or semi-sugary-sweet from now on!

Yup!  Alice’s Fine Teas has raised the bar on Jasmine for me!  This is incredible…the key is the naturally sugary-sweet of this Jasmine that makes it special!

 

 

Silver Needle from Eteaket

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Eteaket

Product Description:

Silver Needle tea is the most famous of all white teas, and for good reason. The delicate downy buds (packed with antioxidants and very low in caffeine) give a delicate but complex flavour with a hint of melon, fresh citrus notes and a lingering finish. Forget silver, this tea deserves a gold medal.

Taster’s Review:

The fragrance of the dry leaf is different from many white teas I’ve encountered – it has a light, leafy scent that is fresh and is intermingled with a delicate melon note!  It smells very nice.  It looks nice too:  the thin spear-shaped leaves are soft and fuzzy.  The look as fresh as they smell.

The flavor is very pleasing.  It is not at all delicate like one might imagine a white tea would be.  It has a strong fruity presence, as the description suggests I can taste hints of citrus and melon.  There is also a vegetative note lingering in the background.  There are even soft notes of spice that are somewhat uncommon for silver needles!

I really like this deliciously different silver needle.  It tastes smooth and rich.  There is no bitterness and no astringency.  It is sweet, delicious and incredibly relaxing to sip.  Ahhh!

Bird of Paradise Tea from Alice’s Fine Tea

Tea Type: Flowering Tea/Blooming Tea

Where To Buy: Alice’s Fine Tea

Product Description:

This bloom unfolds into beautiful birds perched in a golden nest surround by green. Not only is it visually surprising, but the taste is surprisingly spicy and reminds one of autumn, like pumpkin pie!. One of the favorites at Alice’s Fine Teas, a delicious, warm, soothing tea. Ingredients: Marigold (believed to help circulation and ease stomach ache), Lily (said to enhance energy and to have a cooling effect) and Silver Needle Tea

Tasters Review:

Surprisingly this DOES taste a lot like pumpkin or maybe more of a butternut squash with yummy spice notes underneath!  As it cools at room temperature it does taste more like pumpkin…not really pumpkin pie, but pumpkin.  It’s almost like a flavored silver needle!  It’s very nice – very surprising!  It’s also slightly peppery in the middle of the sip but finishing somewhat soothing and flatter.

The 2nd infusion…is completely different.  It’s floral from start to finish and a little bitter…but floral bitter, not bad bitter.  I would say more marigold, specifically.

I will say this is one of the more perfectly bloomed Flowering Teas I have had…it had no problem blooming whatsoever!  It was very beautiful and it was very aromatic even before infusing.  This is certainly a tea for special occasions and certainly a piece of art!  I enjoyed this quite a bit.

Jasmine Silver Needles from Upton Tea Imports

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Company Description:

An exquisite offering for the Jasmine tea enthusiast. The white tea base is an extra-fine plucking composed of select leaf buds, some as a set with the small first leaf. A judicious scenting with jasmine blossoms yields a mellow, complex cup with sublime jasmine flavor and aroma.

Taster’s Review:

I have tried a few Jasmine Silver Needle teas, and of those that I’ve tried thus far, this one is my least favorite.

The jasmine flavor is much too sharp here, while the delicate white tea base tends to be overpowered by the jasmine notes.  The flavor should be (and could be, based upon my previous experience!) much more balanced, with delicate notes from each component rather than what is in my cup now.

I have tried brewing this several different ways, all with disappointing results.  I have tried a few different teas from Upton Tea Imports, but this is the first one from this company that has really disappointed me.

If you’ve tried this tea and have found it to your liking, I’d love to hear from you, especially if you’ve some tips to help make this more palatable!

Jasmine Silver Tip Tea from Rare Tea Co.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Rare Tea Co.

Company Description:

Jasmine Silver Tip Tea is the most delicate and delicious jasmine tea available anywhere.

Among it’s many admirers are acclaimed chef Tom Aiken and the sommelier Katie Exton.

Rare Tea’s jasmine silver tips comprises only the most tender spring leaf-buds which have been carefully mixed by hand with fresh jasmine flowers.

After the silver tips have been plucked from a tea garden high in the Fujian mountains they are taken to a jasmine farm.

They are crafted by night when the flowers give off their heady perfume.  At an exact temperature and humidity the tender silver tips absorb the jasmine’s scent. The tea is then dried and the jasmine flowers removed. This process is repeated six times, over six consecutive nights to add a unique depth of flavour.

Although the scenting is deep the silver tips retain their delicate sweetness.   The jasmine aroma is all in the ‘nose’ leaving the flavour both subtle and soft.

No flavourings or oils are used.   This is completely pure tea that has been mingled with flowers to take on their scent and then the flowers are removed.

Taster’s Review:

I love jasmine teas.  And until a year or so ago, I thought that jasmine pearls were the pinnacle of jasmine teas, and then I was introduced to silver needle jasmine teas.  And now, It would be a difficult decision to choose between the two.  I just hope there is room enough at the top for both!

This is one of the finest silver needle jasmine teas I’ve encountered.  It brews to a beautiful pale golden color which emits the softest, loveliest jasmine fragrance imaginable.  It’s so enchanting and soothing.

The flavor is amazing.  The white tea flavor is very delicate but in perfect balance with the jasmine essence.  The flavor is light and sweet.  There is no real “vegetative” taste to this tea, just fresh, floral and lively.  There is also a very light mouthfeel that is soft and silky.  For such a light tea, there is an abundance of pleasing flavor.

One of the best things about silver needle jasmine teas is that they produce many very flavorful infusions and this one is no exception.  I managed five very tasty infusions from one measurement of leaves.

If you like jasmine teas, you really MUST try this one.  You can thank me later!

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