Bai Hao Silver Needle (Yin Zhen) from Life in Teacup


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Life in Teacup

Tea Description:

Production Year – 2012
Production Season – Spring, first day havest
Production Region – Fujian, Fuding County

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I can always count on Life in Teacup to offer some of the very best teas … and this Bai Hao Silver Needle – also known as Yin Zhen – is a perfect example of what I mean by that.  The dry leaves are so beautiful with the coloration ranging from pale green to silvery white, and each needle is soft and covered with fluffy fuzz.  The aroma of the dry leaf is soft, with notes of flower and hay.

The flavor is delightful.  On the Life in Teacup website, there is a short discussion on brewing this tea using boiling water … this is something I’ve not tried (or if I have, I don’t recall having tried it!)  I’ve always used a lower temperature, but today I was feeling a little rebellious and while I wasn’t feeling quite so courageous to try boiling water, I did turn up the heat just a little, using water brought to 185° instead of the customary 160° that I usually would use for a silver needle.  The flavor is stronger … but not too strong.  But … it certainly is no longer the “delicate” flavor that I’d expect from a silver needle.

And while I have a great appreciation for the delicateness of a white tea, I like the slightly bolder flavor of this cup using a higher temperature.  Maybe next time, I might even try boiling water on my white tea!

As it is, though, I’m finding this to be quite delightful.  The flavor is sweet and vegetative … but not a green tea vegetative taste.  It’s more like the flavor of sweet flowers and hay … similar to the fragrance I enjoyed from the dry leaf.  There is an earthiness to this as well … and I find that the earthiness here is where I notice the biggest difference between the lower temperature and higher temperature brewing water.  The earthiness really comes out with the hotter water.

There are subtle notes of fruit to this cup as well, and I notice that as I continue to sip, the fruit notes become more distinguished.  Overall, the cup is sweet, refreshing and light … but with a fullness to it that I find really satisfying.

If you are one who generally finds white teas to be too soft or delicate in flavor, I recommend trying a slightly higher temperature … this really brings out the flavor, and I am not noticing any bitterness or scalded tea taste from the higher temperature.

A really enjoyable tea experience – thanks to Life in Teacup!

White Ginger from Golden Moon Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Golden Moon Tea

Product Description:

White tea leaves and Yin Zhen buds blended with freshly dried ginger root.

When you fell ill in my family, my mother applied her version of an ancient Chinese remedy. It didn’t matter if it was a stomach ache, sore throat or cold or flu symptoms – she would serve ginger tea. She probably knew that ginger tea was said to be healing and cleansing, though I doubt she knew that the white tea it was mixed with was high in anti-oxidants. Nevertheless, it worked, especially served in traditional Chinese fashion – with lemon and honey. I recommend you drink yours similarly.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  What a surprise!  I expected this tea to be a strong, ginger-y cup, but, nothing could be further from the truth.  Sure, there’s ginger in there, but, it isn’t an overpoweringly ginger-y taste.  Here, the ginger is light and ever so pleasant.

Don’t get me wrong, I love ginger, and I love it good and strong.  But, it is really nice to sometimes have something that catches me off-guard, like this tea has.  It tastes warm and peppery, as I would expect from ginger, but, it is so subtle.  Subtle enough to not overpower the soft flavor of the white tea leaves and buds.

And that is what makes this tea so special.  The white tea tastes so amazing!  It is crisp and refreshing.  The flavor is so gentle and soothing and delicious.  It reminds me a bit of the ginger ale I used to be given as a child when I was feeling under the weather … it was always given to me a little bit flat and warm, because I was told that it would help settle my stomach.  I enjoyed it like that (is that weird?), because it was still sweet and spiced, and I wasn’t really very fond of carbonation anyway.

Golden Moon Tea is one of my favorite companies (I have several favorites!) and the reason is not only their fantastic selection of high quality teas but also their commitment to providing the best customer service.  I placed an order with them very recently, just a small order containing several samples that were not just for me, but also for a friend of mine, as I was putting together a gift package for her and wanted to include some tea.  I was a little concerned about getting my order on time, because I had a deadline that I needed to get my package mailed, and the order was a last minute “afterthought.”  I contacted Marcus from Golden Moon, and he made sure that I got my order in record time – even though this IS the holiday season and the postal service’s busiest time of the year.  I can’t thank them enough for helping me make my package all the more special!  Golden Moon Tea rocks!

Silver Needle (Yin Zhen) from Canton Tea Co.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Co.

Product Description:

This high grade Fuding Silver Needle is entirely made up of soft, plump young ‘needles’ or immature leaf buds that are densely covered in tiny silvery hairs. Very high in antioxidants, the buds are hand- picked at dawn and scattered in the sun to dry. The liquor is the colour of champagne and has a light creamy, delicate taste with sweet notes of melon. Try nibbling on a bud of this top Silver Needle after infusion: it will be sweet and delicious, unlike lower quality Silver Needle which can be bitter and woody.

Taster’s Review:

There are a lot of Silver Needle teas out there.  And quite a few are very good!  I think that this Silver Needle from Canton Tea Company ranks right up there with the very best.  It has such a beautiful, serene quality that seems to wash away the stress of the day.  So relaxing and rejuvenating!

As the description above suggests, this tea does brew to the color of champagne – very pale and lovely!  It has a sweetness to it that is as light as the color, the flavor is very delicate and smooth.  I am tasting the melon-like notes, along with a whisper of floral tone in the background.

I do recommend using a little extra leaf when steeping this Silver Needle.  This will give the cup an extra creaminess that is almost buttery – reminiscent of a green Oolong but without the heavy quality that an Oolong might possess.

While silver needle teas tend to be more delicate than other teas, I really enjoy them, especially later in the day.  It is a very gentle taste and seems to not only calm the body but restore the spirit.  A wonderful tea, indeed!

Grand Earl Grey from Caraway Tea Company

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black & White

Where to Buy:  Caraway Tea Company

Product Description:

You’ve not tasted an Earl Grey like this before, unless of course, you’ve tasted this one.  One of our top teas, this Earl Grey starts with top quality Keemun tea, adds just the right amount of bergamot, and tops it all off with a sprinkle of Yin Zhen white tea.

Ingredients:  Keemun Tea, bergamot, Yin Zhen.

Taster’s Review:

I love me some Earl Grey, so I was very happy for this opportunity to try this one from Caraway Tea Company.

And this is a superb Earl Grey!  The black tea base is a Keemun tea which lends a more robust background flavor than is often found in Earl Grey teas.  There is a strong, smooth flavor to the black tea.  It tastes rustic, like freshly baked biscuits.  There are even some vague hints of wood and a touch of smokiness to the cup.  A very pleasantly complex Keemun.

All of these interesting features of the Keemun offer a very beautiful backdrop for the bergamot flavoring.  It tastes vibrant and authentic – like real fruit without a chemical aftertaste.  There is very little of the floral note that is often associated with bergamot.  Not at all soapy or perfume-y, this Earl Grey.

And then there is the “sprinkle of Yin Zhen white tea” and I can’t say that the white tea is a particularly profound flavor in this blend, but I will say that it does influence the flavor.  There is a delicate … almost creaminess to the taste of this cup.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t taste like an “Earl Grey Creme” at all.  But there is a certain sweetness that mingles perfectly with the tangy bergamot flavor that almost portrays itself as a creamy note without tasting like cream.  A smooth, supple flavor that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced with an Earl Grey tea before.  It’s quite lovely.

There is no bitterness to this tea, and very little astringency.  What little astringency there is seems to hit just after swallowing the tea, as I begin to contemplate the aftertaste, I notice the very faint puckering sensation on my tongue from the astringency.  It dries the palate only slightly.

This tea can be re-steeped with similar results.  The flavor is a little lighter and smoother.  Not quite as rustic tasting.  But still very delicious.

This is one of the most amazing Earl Grey teas I’ve yet to encounter.  It is right up there, in my top five, at least!  I love this one, and I am going to have to order some soon so that I keep it in my permanent collection!