Hello everyone, how are things? It’s been ages since I have contributed anything of note to Steepster. A lot has gone on this year, and I just haven’t had the time or the motivation to do much. Needless to say, the seemingly infinite backlog has grown, and while I have some free time, I wanted to post a new review or two. I’m starting off with a tea I thought I added to the database but apparently didn’t. This tea was first offered by Whispering Pines in either 2020 or 2021 as a higher grade counterpart to the Fujian Silver Needle they started carrying on a recurring basis. I think the pouch I purchased came from the spring 2021 harvest, but I have no way of being sure of that. Looking back over my session notes, I failed to record the production year. I also can no longer find any information about this tea online. I finished the only pouch of this tea that I purchased in either late 2021 or right around the start of this year.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After giving 6 grams of the loose tea buds a 10 second rinse in 190 F water, I kicked off the fun part of any drinking session with a 10 second infusion in 4 fluid ounces of 190 F water. 18 additional infusions followed. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minutes, 1 minutes 15 seconds, 1 minutes 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes. Note that the water temperature was kept at 190 F throughout the entirety of session.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds produced pleasant aromas of cinnamon, pine, straw, peanut, and eucalyptus. After the rinse, fresh aromas of almond, butter, cream, and hay appeared, though I detected subtler chestnut and marshmallow scents too. The first proper infusion then introduced a subtle vanilla scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented delicate notes of moss, cream, honeydew, cantaloupe, butter, oats, and sugarcane that were chased by hints of almond, peanut, pine, vanilla, straw, and eucalyptus. The majority of the subsequent infusions gradually added aromas of moss, basil, oats, parsley, and plum in addition to a noticeably stronger vanilla scent. More prevalent and immediately detectable impressions of vanilla, almond, and peanut emerged in the mouth alongside soft mineral, marshmallow, plum, parsley, white grape, steamed milk, cinnamon, watermelon, and carambola notes. Interesting hints of chestnut, hay, apricot, white peach, grape leaf, snap pea, apple, basil, pear, and golden kiwi lingered around the fringes. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, cream, butter, peanut, almond, moss, watermelon, and vanilla that were chased by increasingly elusive hints of pear, honeydew, cinnamon, basil, straw, pine, oats, parsley, carambola, white grape, and marshmallow.
After finishing my final session with this tea, I was as blown away as I was after concluding my initial exploratory session. I had always read that truly high end Fujian Silver Needles should never be grassy and should emphasize balance, subtlety, depth, and complexity of savory, earthy, vegetal, and fruity and/or floral notes. That is precisely what this tea did. It was a challenging yet thoroughly enjoyable and impressive offering that provided tons of exotic and unexpected aromas and flavors. If there ever were a tea not suitable for beginners, then this was certainly it. I’m glad I took the opportunity to try it.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Basil, Butter, Cantaloupe, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Cream, Eucalyptus, Fruity, Hay, Honeydew, Kiwi, Marshmallow, Milk, Mineral, Moss, Oats, Parsley, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Peas, Pine, Plum, Straw, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal, Watermelon, White Grapes