Downy Sprout

Tea type
White Tea
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Honeysuckle, Nectar, Sugar
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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21 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Wanted something better than my last tea so I thought this one had good promise. The dry leaves smell a little musty/woody and they feel so freakin’ velvety. I actually held on to one just to pet...” Read full tasting note
  • “Y’all… As some of you are aware, I was just out in San Francisco [or as I like to call it, my future home]. I am now back in Virginia, and yesterday, to mellow out my sorrow, I decided some Downy...” Read full tasting note
  • “I am so, so, so happy to be home after a month away. If someone had asked me several months ago whether or not I was likely to come to love any appliance almost as much as the super-fancy-awesome...” Read full tasting note
  • “Not a bad silver needle. I tend to judge all silver needles against the first one I ever tried – which was a oddly magical experience. I was in Nashville, TN for a training course, and I went to...” Read full tasting note

From Samovar

Origin: Yunnan, China

Flavor Profile: A thick, creamy mouth-feel, with subtle tiers of transparent almost-nutty flavor punctuated by glistening notes of peach and honeysuckle.

Tea Story: Sometimes there comes a tea that really stands apart. This is one of them. The leaves are downier and fluffier and full of more bai hao (white hairs) than any tea we ever laid eyes on. These leaves are just plain plump and stunningly beautiful. The abundance of these tiny leaf hairs create a brew that is so smooth and creamy in the mouth. Let the delicateness and beauty take you away. This organic and fair trade tea will bring you peace… and a smile.

Samovarian Poetry: Velutinous, thick downy sprouts. Honeysuckle hints linger amidst a mellow nuttiness. A clean palate, and a quiet mind.

Food Pairing: Pair this delicately flavored tea with delicately flavored deserts: apricot tarts, blueberry and peach financiers, plum and fig-filled danishes.

About Samovar View company

Samovar's is dedicated to preserving the simplicity and integrity of the tea traditions and inspiring people to practice peace through drinking tea.

21 Tasting Notes

911 tasting notes

Wanted something better than my last tea so I thought this one had good promise. The dry leaves smell a little musty/woody and they feel so freakin’ velvety. I actually held on to one just to pet it. So soft! I passed it on to the husband and he agreed with the soft furry of the leaf then ate it and said it tasted like fresh green beans.

The brewed tea has a similar green bean note. This is a note that I’ve gotten and hated in other white teas (that and soy beans), but that’s because it is an overcooked taste. This one isn’t like that. It’s missing the crisp snap but otherwise brings to mind the taste experience of munching on fresh peas with my granny when I should have been helping shell them. It’s got that type of summery sweetness and fresh green veggie taste going on.

It’s also remarkably cuddly. I mean, this is a good comfort tea. The woody/nutty under note gives it that delightful, “good tea to snuggle with” taste and the fresh, summery sweetness (which I’m guessing is the honeysuckle and peach notes but I’m not adept enough to pick those up as more than anything than general sweet summer) gives it a light and refreshing, happy feel.

This tea is awesome. And will be lovely to sip as I watch the Mythbuster’s MacGyver episode. Awesomeness all over the place.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Yay! At least found something that you liked better!


AHHH I adore Mythbusters!

Also, glad you liked the tea, almost more so the fuzzy leaves! [They’re just so pretty! I’ll also cop to petting them.] I also just realized how long it’s been since I’ve logged this, and I think that’s going to need to be remedied soon. I drink Samovar’s white teas pretty often, and they’ve all grown on me to the point that I might just have to give them all the same rating. They’re so different to me, but also so…drinkable.


Mythbusters is awesome! Is there some sort of tea exchange/trading post on here? It seems like you and Takgoti trade/barter regularly.


Ninja tea surprises? Haha! I love it.


(Deleted and reposted for correction)
Mythbusters is awesome! Add MacGyver to that (and MacGvyer mullets) and this tea and yesterday afternoon was filled with awesome!
@Fred, it’s not so much tea exchange/trading that we’ve got going on as we ended up with each others addresses so now we randomly attack each other with tea. Not really swapping, more like ninja tea surprises.


If i came home and saw a shuriken stuck in my door with a bag of tea stuck to it that would be awesome!


I exchange tea among my friends via a secret locker. It’s a drug pickup locker. I package everything up, drop it off, text them a time/date to pick it up. Unfortunately, it’s a one way locker. When I come back it’s empty, no one leaves me anything =(. They even go as far as to steal the little snacks I have stashed away =’(


I’m voting Ricky as the shadiest Steepster member ever. Totally SKETCH.


Lol. Agreed!


Aww. That comment was so sad, too!


What!?!? I’m hurt, soooo not a shady locker =P. More like a locker full of goodies. And in my defense, the drugs are full of antioxidants and other yummy health benefits.


As long as the drugs are steeped and not smoked then that is ok.


ninja tea surprises sound awesome! I’m hesitant to do a real swap, since I’m not sure I have enough exciting stuff…but if it’s just a surprise, then sending something less amazing would be just fine…right?


@Hyrulehippie Actually, Auggy, myself, and I think a fair number of people here on Steepster live by the code that a swap doesn’t hang on the quality of tea, it’s about trying new things. A lot of us are more eager to expand our scope of experience than anything else. Additionally, trying a bad or meh tea for free is better than buying it and getting stuck with a tin! I’m all swapped out for January, I think, but you want to trade maybe a little bit later?


Agreed, Steepster is about sharing / expanding our tea horizons. As long as you post up a review, whether it’s a word or just a rating, I’m happy =) Oh, what I meant to say was, if you’re interested in anything in my cupboard just shoot me an email ( [email protected] ). That really goes for anybody. I’m more than happy to share some of my tea with others. Tea often tastes better when you drink it with others anyways. I mean why else would we have tea parties? ;)

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260 tasting notes


As some of you are aware, I was just out in San Francisco [or as I like to call it, my future home]. I am now back in Virginia, and yesterday, to mellow out my sorrow, I decided some Downy Sprout was in order.

If you were reading along with the insane thread of comments on Samovar’s latest feature in Steepster Select, you may be aware of the new steeping method they discovered for Downy Sprout. It not only produces a very interesting, almost completely different brew, but it’s as if someone went, “HEY! ADD Girl! You want another way to make this tea? Ok, go!” [Speaking of which, who else loves OK GO’s “This Too Shall Pass” video?]

If you missed the thread, Samovar has this teeny tiny 4 oz. glass oolong pot. You fill it with leaves [a heaping tablespoon’s worth] and cover them with boiling water for 30 seconds-ish, then pour it out.

This brew is thick, saturated with flavor, and sings of deeper sweetnesses – honeyed caramels and the darker sugars that come from hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds. At times it gives me those heavy, yet shimmering, humid notes of tropical flowers. I think of orchids in particular. This mixes in with a more rural note of hay.

I recall reading in several places that white teas only have a lower caffeine content than greens if you brew them with cooler water, so with that information in mind this probably wrings out a bit more hihellowhatareyoudoingwhatsthathihihi than your typical cup of white tea.

Anyhow, for those of you currently [or about to be] in possession of some Downy Sprout and an adorable teapot, it’s definitely worth a whirl. Especially since that tea doesn’t quit. I started steeping this some time in the afternoon while I cleaned and unpacked. Hours later, it was still going strong. I don’t know how many infusions I went for, but it must have been in the twenties.

There’s not a ton of brightness at the end of the tunnel that is coming home from vacation, but good tea certainly helps take the edge off.

Oh, and hi, Steepster!

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

Oh I love this tea! I’ve only ever had a sample size, so I haven’t been able to mess with the steeping parameters too much, but I plan on reordering a bigger size eventually.


I am so going to steal that little teapot from Shantea!


[Speaking of which, who else loves OK GO’s “This Too Shall Pass” video?]

Is that the one with the marching band hidden in the scenery?

(I am awaiting my very own tiny teapot eagerly, although alas I have no Downy Sprout to go in it!)


Cannot wait to try this one when the cute little teapot comes in! Yay! I have enoguh Downy Sprout that you sent me to probably make a regular cup, and then a super-charged-oolong-little-pot-of-wonders cup. NOM NOM.


Hehehe….evil Shantea out Now I’m curious about that small tea pot….
rational Shanti No!! There’s no more room in your apartment!

How much water are you supposed to use for this new steeping method?


I’m assuming 4 oz. to go with the baby teapot?


YAY! Welcome back! You’ll have to tell us about your sit down tasting over at Samovar.


nods Lots of us missed you when you were away in Samovar-land. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your adventures!


I gotta try this!!!


Welcome back! Nice review :D


I tried this last night. In the cute little teapot (which is TINY..easy to forget how little half a cup really is when you’re drinking two cups of tea every time you steep…adorable, though). It was good! But I had wondered, at about 5 this morning, whether or not it really is as caffeine-free as one would have imagined. Now I know.

No regrets. So good.

And yes, that video is the bee’s knees. But their stuff almost always is.


@Erin Completely worth it. It’s like getting two completely different teas. Phenomenal.

@Ricky Aww, poor little teapot.

@Cait I haven’t seen that version, except in thumbnails! I’ll need to check it out. I’m referring to the crazy Rube Goldberg machine one.

@teaplz Eeeexcellent. Whee for Samovar orders! I’ll be perfectly honest and cop to putting another one through just recently. I cannot get enough, it seems.

@Shanti I just fill it as far as I can so it won’t spill over. So a little less than 4 oz., I’m guessing. I missed you too! …And oh no. I don’t know how many of y’all watch Southpark, but I have the Imagination-land song playing in my head now. Oh. No.

@LENA I shall! Maybe now, actually. Time to make my mark on the Places section of Steepster.

@Jacqueline Please do! So good!

@Harfatum Thank you! Good to be back! And unfortunately getting ready to disappear again for midterms!

@sophistre I know, right?! I used my little 6 oz. Bodum cup for it, but it still seems teeny. And yet, I’m sure that I ended up drinking just as much anyway since it’s so easy to keep steeping it. Mmm…


The OK GO video is awesome! Always impressed by those guys. Good song too :)

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158 tasting notes

I am so, so, so happy to be home after a month away.

If someone had asked me several months ago whether or not I was likely to come to love any appliance almost as much as the super-fancy-awesome food processor I got last year, I would’ve found that very difficult to believe (I’m certain as I type this that reserving affectionate emotions for things like appliances means I must be officially old now, whee). Nevertheless…

I am so happy to have access to my Zojirushi again. Good grief.

I wanted to celebrate my return home by ripping into various samples that have been waiting for me since my departure, the Ryokucha not least among them, but the lateness of the hour, my aching jaws and my exhaustion after a day of travel delays all-together seemed to suggest that I err on the side of responsibility and save them for tomorrow, sticking with something caffeine-free tonight.

This was a delightful option. The color to which it brews is fragile and barely-there, and so is the flavor…or at least, that was the case for me. After a long day of airport hustle and on-the-go food, that’s probably to be expected (to say nothing of my still-recovering mouth). Sipping it slowly as it cooled was an interesting experience, and the flavor gradually seemed to sweeten, and what had seemed to be a foundation of gently-steamed-greens (of the edible type; I can see where Auggy picked up her green bean note, though it’s thankfully subtle) mixed with warm fruit gave way to sweeter, more nectar-like white tea and the honeysuckle finally came through. I smell it more than I taste it even now, but the balance of the cup is good even on resteep. Nibbling a white-chocolate-and-strawberry chocolate bar and finishing off this second steep has made for a winning way to end a very long day. I can’t wait to try this again when my mouth isn’t so baffled by this long roster of various pills and pains.

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Now I can truly say, “Welcome Home” and back to Steepster =]


Welcome back! :D takgoti sent me some of this, and I’m definitely going to have to try it very, very soon!

And I need to know the brand of your white-chocolate-and-strawberry bar. That sounds amazing.




Aw, phew, I’m glad you found this pleasant. As strongly as I feel about some teas, part of me is always slightly terrified that someone’s gonna be all WTF when they try something I like. [Then again, if we all liked everything the world would be extremely boring and blah blah blah insert more first grade lessons of wisdom.] Anyway, it would have been sad to end a trying day with a tea you didn’t enjoy. Anxiously awaiting your Ryokucha log!


Welcome back – and yay for being back with the Zojirushi! Even just a week away was tough on me – I can’t imagine a month!
And gently steamed is a really good way to put the green veggie taste in this – it’s fresh and sweet so thankfully not a boiled green taste.


Honeysuckle and white tea sounds yummy, as does white chocolate and strawberry. Also, you’re from Cambridge! Me too! Awesome, welcome home :)


I remember really liking this tea from takgoti. I’ll have to try it again before I review it…your green bean notes are throwing me off. hehe :)



There you go. :) I picked it up at Whole Foods when I was doing some cookie-baking, and then decided last night that I was just in the mood to eat it instead. Gonna have to call that a good call on my part, it was delicious.

Thanks you guys for the welcome home!

Shanti, glad to see there’s someone else in my area. :D I’m still sort of tea-newish, so local stuff is really something I have yet to explore.

Lena + Auggy – I think that steamed-green element is probably where the nutty flavor comes from, at a guess. Green beans and peas (of the large snap-open variety, like Auggy mentioned in her review) are slightly nutty to me when I think about it. It didn’t make me think of greens or oolongs, per se, but I could find it without any trouble, especially while hot. Obviously more taste-tests will be needed to be sure. ;)

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411 tasting notes

Not a bad silver needle.

I tend to judge all silver needles against the first one I ever tried – which was a oddly magical experience. I was in Nashville, TN for a training course, and I went to go scout out the tea shop I’d be meeting Lena at later in the week. I got there right as they closed, so I couldn’t stay long, so I ordered something I’d never tried before to go, just so I would have tried something.

I then drove around trying to find a restaurant that didn’t exist.

Because I was driving at the time, I let the tea cool more than I tend to normally, and the buttery flavor of the tea got amplified. I was really in awe. (And I think the lady was a little heavy on the leaf). It was good tea.

Trying this tea – I get the buttery, and even some of the peach overtones they mention. But the flavors aren’t as strong as I’d like. And yes, I know this is a lighter tea, but the mouthfeel and the light flavor of the white tea are lighter than I’d like.

I wish there was more in the sample, so I could try the other steeping method mentioned, but alas, this is just a sample. I am enjoying it, and I do enjoy silver needle in general. However, I think I’ve had other silver needles I enjoy more.


FWIW, I prefer the 175 cup. The hotter cup is interesting, but the flavors aren’t as round and full to me.


Oh, and I need to say – the leaves on this are just mightily beautiful. Some of the prettiest silver needle leaves I’ve ever seen.

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828 tasting notes

I’ve been thinking of this tea ever since the unveiling of the 4oz pot steeping method. Finally I got some and it’s really good. I wanted to do a few cups normally before the intense steeping method, so that’s what I’ve been doing this morning. Just over a teaspoon to 4 oz, resteeped several times. I have to agree with Ricky: if you weren’t paying attention it’d be a good white tea. Really paying attention turns this into a really good cup.


Yeah, it’s a weird cup of tea. It’s very hit and miss. I made it yesterday, but it wasn’t as good, however today’s cup tastes amazing.


I am finding that to be the case, too!

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236 tasting notes

This tea from takgoti has beautiful long light green leaves fragrant with the smell of light fruit. They seem light enough to float away on any passing breeze. Once the leaves are submerged in hot water they develop a stronger fruit fragrance coupled with a light nuttiness. The taste is slightly tart with a nice apricot flavor.

Much thanks to takgoti!

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Yay! Glad you liked it! It’s a very pretty tea, no?

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111 tasting notes

Okay so you all have me very intrigued by your awesome reviews of Samovar Teas. I placed an order of about 8 samples and got it in the mail today (yea!). I thought since it ‘s late afternoon I should start with something mellow sorta low key and so I picked Downy Sprout. As I believe it was Takgoti who mentioned the leaves are beautiful like green and fuzzy and they are beautiful I agree. I steep the leaves for 2 minutes and out came this champagne colored liquor (another quote from Takgoti’s tasting note) there’s simply no other color match that better suits it other than Champagne color. The nose is a cross between fresh hay and tea and I do love the smell of fresh hay so that’s a compliment. The taste is buttery and I don’t know why but I just want to say the flavor is calm? I guess because it is very relaxing not alot of flavors going on I mean it is an unflavored white tea so I didn’t expect alot of flavors to be going on and it’s quite pleasant nice actually. There’s a very light flavor that I can’t quite place which is probably because I haven’t had anything with this flavor. It has no bitterness and it seems almost like a honeysuckle flavor when I slurp it I definently get honeysuckle but when I just sip the honeysuckle is not so noticeable. A very classy cuppa in my opinion a very sophisticated tea (if tea can be called sophisTEAcated) So this tea note comes to end along with my first cup of Downy Sprout.

Update: Bumping up rating I steeped it for the second time this morning and it was more enjoyable.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec



My samples arrived today too! Can’t wait for a quiet moment to try one. May be a while….


Morgana- YEA on the tea arriving!

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639 tasting notes

This is a gentle, soft, flavorful, white tea. I’m watching An Affair to Remember, and I’m astonished how much I like it since the main hero is kind of despicable in the beginning. But what a classic Hollywood film. It’s a shame most people in my generation don’t know who Cary Grant even is. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. You can watch it instantly on Netflix.

Anyway, this is a tea review not a film review. This is a lovely, delicate white tea. I’m detecting sweet honeysuckle notes and the hay-like quality I find in all white teas. The liquor is the palest of yellows, and the aroma is subtle and sweet. No bitterness or astringency.

First steep at 175 degrees for 1.5 mins. Second steed at 185 for 2 mins. Third steed at 195 for 3 mins, and this tea is still going strong. I’m not gonna’ lie; every cup tasted exactly the same as the last. This tea is quite good.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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176 tasting notes

Yum. The description is right about the buttery mouth feel. This is some very light, delicate tea. I think I’m getting a bit of honey in the aftertaste, but it’s hard to tell for sure. The overall taste is so simple and harmonious.

As it cools down, I’m tasting a hint of some sort of very light fruit. This is probably my favorite unflavored white tea.


this sounds.. really good.


I can’t wait – I just ordered some (darn today’s special!)

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154 tasting notes

Ohhh my…
Nutty and sweet. It first I thought is was going to just be a nice white tea like all of the others… and then I hit the after taste.
I’m getting hint of floral sweetness and honey? I feels like a richer sweet than just sugar…
In a couple of days I’ll have this tea all figured out but, until then I’m just gonna sip.

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Oh man, reading all of these reviews of Downy Sprout is making me super jealous…my package won’t get here until next week :(

Madison Bartholemew

It’s very good… but, other than the after taste it really is just a nice white. I was more impressed with the scarlet sable.
What are you getting in?
I got downy sprout, scarlet sable, royal garland, maiden’s ecstasy, ryokucha and ocean’s wisdom.
Their tin’s are so classy! lol


I ordered downy sprout, osmanthus silver needle, four seasons, and royal garland. :) I’m soooo excited!

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