As the name suggests, this is a Silver Needle tea, but with a bit of a twist. These buds are from Yunnan, and are of the local Da Ye varietal, the same one that usually ends up in Pu-erh.
According to House of Tea’s notes the tea was hand plucked and processed, and was from the first flush, i.e. pre- Qing Ming, of 2019. The buds were sun dried.
The aroma released when I first opened the packet was fantastic. It would have been familiar to anyone who has ever home brewed beer from a kit – it had the same hoppy, malty qualities.
|Water Used:||Filtered tap water|
|Weight of dry leaf:||6 grams|
|Infusion style:||Asian / Gong-fu|
|Steeping vessel:||150 ml glass gong-fu teapot|
|No. & duration:||10 infusions of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, and 120 seconds.|
After the first infusion the wet leaf smelled of old hay. The liquor, however, was candy sweet. At first, it vaguely reminded me of Skittles, but after the second sip I realised exactly which memory button it was pressing.
I’ve often waffled on about tea’s ability to dredge up long dormant feelings, and this sensation was another one to add to that collection.
Suddenly it hit me, like meeting a long lost childhood friend on a crowded street – Pink Panther bars – a UK treat from the mid-1970s that cost a whopping 2 pence.
Just one infusion later that feline gentleman, scholar, and acrobat had hopped into his groovy automobile and gone elsewhere, and that sweetness had morphed into something more fruity that had me thinking of peaches.
There was also a hay thing going on, which had brought with it a delicate, background floral note. It was like being stood in a barn storing hay, and catching the fragrance of a nearby rose garden on the breeze…
In my experience bud teas can often be a bit on the thin side in the mouthfeel department, but this tea was packing a body that weighed in somewhere around light heavyweight.
Right throughout the session I never once registered the slightest hint of bitterness.
Something that was a tad out of the ordinary was what I can only call an inverse Qi hit.
Normally I tend to slide into a dreamy state of mind when a tea’s Qi comes out to play, but here the opposite happened. I was feeling a bit run down, tired and a bit unfocused, but by the mid-point of the session I was wide awake and fizzing like 8 packets of Mintos dropped into a small bucket of soda.
The fifth round saw things starting to slide a little, so I bumped up the infusion times to compensate, but after a 2 minute long 10th. steeping it was crystal clear that the session had run its course.
The overall impression I was left with was that this was like a Supersized Silver Needle on steroids, if that makes sense, in other words similar to other Silver Needles in principle, but with just so much more of everything…
Lately I’ve been reading quite a few reports where people have been pushing white teas a bit harder, by infusing them with boiling water. I think that will make for an interesting experiment. There might just be something extra here waiting to be uncovered by hotter water, maybe even something a bit more Pu-erh-y.
Even if there isn’t, it’ll still be fun trying, won’t it?
Watch this space, etc…