Friday, August 8, 2014

Teavivre: Silver Needle White Tea (Bai Hao Yin Zhen) A Tea Review

Happy Friday everyone, I am currently typing this from my nice antique writing desk in the bedroom. Ben was a real sweetheart and set up a temporary 'tea lair' for me until we are able to redo the room, so far I am really loving not having to walk up stairs. One thing I am really excited for when setting up the tea lair in the bedroom is I am going to use my writing desk as a dedicated tea station and I will have all my crafts and other stuff on my other desk. It is going to be awesome to a less cluttered tea area.

 Today's tea is Teavivre's Silver Needle White Tea (Bai Hao Yin Zhen)  probably my favorite of the white teas, it is beautifully fuzzy and delicate, and it is amazingly forgiving when brewing. I have been known to take a silver needle and spend the day brewing it in different ways, enjoying all the subtle variations in taste. This particular Bai Hao Yin Zhen is from Fuding, Fujian, China, harvested March 22, 2014 just a few days after the Vernal Equinox. The aroma of these adorable silver fuzzy leaves is like a field of wildflowers, there are notes of fresh vegetation, hay, flower nectar, and wildflowers. There are also notes of honey, sweet corn, and lettuce. Silver Needle is a complex yet delicate smelling pile of leaves, I have always enjoyed that about it.

I decided to brew this tea in the new style that is all the rage with tea sippers, Grandpa Style! Ok, it is not a new style, people in China have been drinking tea this way for ages, it is the way of sipping for the common man. If you have not had the pleasure of trying it, simply get a bowl (or cup, I prefer tea bowls) toss in some leaves, add water and sip your tea. As the day progresses you just add more water until your leaves are done. The aroma of the steeping leaves is delicate and sweet, there are notes of fresh vegetation, hay, and wildflowers with just a hint of lettuce.

It is not really the first steep, but the first sipping is delicate and sweet. There are notes of honey, fresh hay, lettuce, and a touch of wildflowers. The mouthfeel is smooth and slightly tickly from the fuzzy trichomes, I always find myself becoming really happy when I can feel the fuzzies in my mouth, I know some people prefer to strain them out (giving their strainers a nice velveteen coating) because it makes their mouth itch or makes them cough (my mom is in that boat) but not I.

I added more water and sipped on the tea for the better part of three hours, it is hard to translate that into steeps, but my electric kettle politely informed me that I used half a liter. The more I sip the sweeter the tea gets, more honey sweet and a touch of sweet corn. There is also a note of sage that gets stronger and then eventually fades.

When I get to the end of the tea's life pretty much all that is left is faint honey sweetness and a touch of lettuce. The tea never gets bitter, and if you let it get chilled (be leaving the room to make food, just an example) and come back to it, the taste is still pretty good, though I prefer it warmer. I certainly recommend giving Silver Needle a go Grandpa Style, it is relaxing and refreshing...perfect for a warm summer day.

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