Organic Okayti Silver Needle Second Flush Darjeeling White Tea from Golden Tips

okayti-whiteTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Golden Tips

Tea Description:

Handpicked from the most delicate and tender portions of the tea bush, early morning and just before sunrise, this Okayti White is a class apart. The fluffy silver needles are manufactured to perfection and display an opulence only found in certain select White teas. The nose to the infusion is superb with a delicate character combined with grassy notes which follow sweet hints of honey. The liquor is pale and almost colourless. The flowery character in the flavor is extremely complex and perfectly fruity. With no grassiness at all, the flavor keeps on developing in the mouth once you keep rolling it for a few seconds till it peaks and flushes your mouth with a unique sweetness. If you love white tea, you should not miss this.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh, this is a lovely white Darjeeling!  It seems like the Darjeeling region focuses primarily on their black tea production, but I find that the white, green and Oolong offerings that I’ve tried to be just as delightful – if not more so! – as the black teas and so when I do discover a white Darjeeling like this one from Golden Tips, I’m a very happy sipper!

To brew this tea, I used my 2 cup teapot (it’s a little ceramic teapot) and I ‘eyeballed’ a measurement of leaves that is approximately 2 bamboo scoops.  (These leaves are very fluffy and difficult to measure with an actual bamboo scoop.  So I must imagine that my hand is the bamboo scoop.)  Then I poured water heated to 170°F into the teapot, put the lid on the teapot and let the tea steep for 3 1/2 minutes.  Then I strained the tea into my brand new mug that my daughter gave me for Christmas.

And ah!  This is truly a delight to sip.

The flavor is delicate – it is a white tea! – but not as delicate as you might expect!  This has a stronger, more assertive flavor than a Chinese Silver Needle, but it’s certainly not as assertive as another leaf type.

It’s sweet with a very pleasant, thick texture.  The description above suggests floral notes, and I am tasting those, but I’m also tasting delicious notes of melon and sweet grape.  The sweetness comes not only from these fruit notes but also a honey-esque sweetness.  There is an enjoyable balance between the fruity notes, floral tones and honeyed sweetness and I like how these play on the palate.

And this is a white tea!  That means multiple infusions!

The second cup is darker in color.  The first cup was quite light, almost colorless!  This time there’s more of a light yellow-amber color to the cup.  The flavor is stronger too, but I’m finding that balance between the fruit, floral and honey notes to remain.  Each of those flavors is stronger with the second infusion but the flavors are still balanced.   The texture seems a little thinner than the first cup and the best way I can think of to describe this difference is that the first cup was almost “creamy” in the consistency although it didn’t taste creamy.  The texture of this cup isn’t as creamy.

With later infusions, I noticed the flavors change a little.  The honey notes softened somewhat and I started to pick up on distant nutty tones.  The tea is still sweet, just not as honey-like.  I started to pick up on orchid notes.  I could taste floral notes throughout, but I couldn’t really distinguish the flower I was tasting and as I continued to steep these leaves I began to taste more defined notes of orchid and maybe even a hint of honeysuckle.

The grape notes started to become more wine-like to me, too.  Like a gentle white wine, but not such a dry or astringent finish as I’d experience from a white wine.  Quite lovely!

If you’re one who tends to avoid white teas because you find that they taste too delicate for you, try a Darjeeling white tea like this Okayti Silver Needle.  I think you’ll find the flavor more pronounced and much more satisfying!

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