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asiatica silver needle white tea

January 12, 2010

This Silver Needle white tea is from a Canadian tea company called Asiatica. Silver Needle tea is the highest grade of white tea, and is also known as Bai Hao Yinzhen. It is greenish in color with tiny white hairs covering the leaves. White tea is the least oxidized of all teas.

Dry, the leaves smell fresh and lightly vegetal, mildly so in comparison to green tea. There is a sweet note to the fragrance, reminiscent to peach and (am I crazy?) cucumber. I am also picking up the aroma of hay, it’s slight, but it’s there, if only in the background.

I steeped the leaves for about 3 minutes, with hot but not boiling water. The color of the tea is a very light brown, translucent and pretty. It smells lightly sweet, I am smelling the stone fruit again, apricots and peaches. Honey. Jam. Caramel. There is a mild floral component to the tea’s perfume, maybe apricot blossoms? Very pleasant fragrances.

The taste is very mild, like a weak and less tannic black tea. In a good way. The subtlety of the flavor is almost meditative. There is a sweetness on the finish, quite like a great agave syrup or a floral honey. Just a touch. The apricot is still there. Maybe a little melon? I taste a little bit of carmelized fruit too, like pear. This is a light and thirst quenching tea.  It has a very refreshing flavor, and could be an everyday tea, but it is a little pricey.

I enjoyed this tea very much. I love the smooth-drinking nature of the Silver Needle and the myriad of flavor profiles that came through during this tasting. I was impressed, as I had assumed that such a mild tasting tea would be less than complex. I was most definitely wrong.

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