Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: What-Cha Tea
A great tasting Silver Needle with a delicate sweet taste and no detectable astringency.
Learn more about this tea here.
This Assam 2nd Flush Silver Needle White Tea is quite unlike any other Silver Needle White tea I’ve tried to date. So to brew it, I decided to follow the purveyor’s suggested parameters and heat the water to 175°F (OK, the parameters suggest 176°F, but my Breville heats water at 5 degree intervals, and I figured 1° wasn’t going to make or break the tea.) I measured two pinches of tea into the bowl of my gaiwan and steeped the tea for 1 1/2 minutes for the first infusion, adding 15 seconds onto each subsequent infusion.
Note: The steep time and the measurements that I used were my own, not the purveyor’s suggested parameters. I only used their temperature suggestions. What-Cha suggested 2 minutes steep time and 1 teaspoon per cup. But because I was using my gaiwan, I went with slightly more tea and slightly less time.
As I said, this tea is quite unlike any other Silver Needle Tea that I’ve experienced until now. Yes, there are some similarities to the Silver Needle teas I’ve had in the past. First of all, the leaves look very much like a silver needle, except that these are probably a little darker green than the silvery pale green that I’m used to seeing with a Silver Needle.
And there is a distinct hay-like aroma and flavor to this Assam Silver Needle, and that’s something that I typically experience with other Silver Needle teas. But the hay-like aroma here, especially in the dry leaf, is intense! It smells like the air of the countryside after a field of hay has been cut. Like within the hour of the hay cutting! It’s a strong scent. The fragrance softens when the tea is brewed, but there are still some strong hay-like notes to the cup.
And to the flavor! The hay notes are strong in the taste as well. It’s sweet and delicate – like a Silver Needle – but those sweet and hay-like flavors are stronger than in a typical Silver Needle.
If compared to a Silver Needle tea, this Assam Silver Needle would not be considered a delicate tea. But if compared to an Assam Black, then yes, this is definitely delicate in comparison.
Interestingly enough, I think that it’s appropriate to compare this Assam white tea to an Assam black because there are some similarities to the “more familiar” black tea from the Assam region. For example, I can taste notes of malt to this. I didn’t expect to. Sure, it’s an Assam tea, but, it’s a white tea … and I figured this Silver Needle would be far too delicate to detect the malty flavors. But no! There is a lovely malty sweetness to this cup.
It’s a smooth, calming drink. As the above description suggests, there is no astringency to this. It starts out sweet. The texture is silky. The aftertaste offers a delicate sweetness. I also pick up on a subtle citrus note in the aftertaste.
In later infusions, I began to notice the hay-like flavors begin to soften somewhat, not really waning, but instead, melding with the other flavors and allowing those other notes to come into focus. I started to pick up on gentle fruit notes and a lovely floral note.
A really delightful, deliciously different Silver Needle! This is another MUST TRY from What-Cha Tea. They are becoming THE source for some very unusual marvels of the tea world!