It’s getting late here, but I want to get at least one new tea review posted before I head for bed. This was my most recent sipdown and a tea I had been looking forward to trying for months. After going through several Yunnan, Fujian, and Guangxi silver needles over the course of 2021, I had a couple pouches of Fujian Wild Silver Needle, this one from What-Cha and one from Whispering Pines Tea Company, left to try. Both came from the spring 2021 harvest in Zhenghe, or at least I think that’s the case. I still haven’t tried the version offered by Whispering Pines, but I finished this one off today. My overall impression was that it was a great offering with a fairly unique character compared to the other Fujian silver needles I have tried.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the loose tea buds in 4 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 20 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted powerful aromas of almond, peanut, hay, straw, and cinnamon. I could tell that this tea was going to offer a different experience immediately. Silver needle white teas usually offer a very gentle dry bud fragrance, but this tea was incredibly aromatic. Looking at the dry buds, they were also smaller and thicker than other teas of this type. After the rinse, I detected strong aromas of kale, peas, broccoli, and cabbage. The first proper infusion then added a somewhat subtler aroma of fresh green bell pepper. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of almond, peanut, hay, straw, green banana, kale, broccoli, snap pea, cabbage, cream, vanilla, and sugarcane that were balanced by subtler impressions of pear, cinnamon, and minerals. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of white pepper, cream, butter, sugarcane, moss, green wood, and green banana to the tea’s bouquet. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of minerals came out in the mouth alongside notes of butter, green bell pepper, chili leaf, white grape, moss, green wood, and watermelon rind. An interesting melange of white pepper, white peach, apricot, macadamia, guava, coconut, pineapple, birch bark, orange zest, and honeydew swirled in the background. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to play up clear notes of minerals, hay, cabbage, broccoli, cream, peanut, almond, butter, and green bell pepper that were underscored by lingering moss, straw, orange zest, green banana, white grape, green wood, guava, white peach, apricot, honeydew, and watermelon rind hints.
This was a very unusual tea. It came off as being a little more rustic than other Fujian silver needles, but it also produced an aromatic and satisfying tea liquor of tremendous depth, complexity, and texture. Definitely one for the connoisseurs, this would most certainly not be a tea for beginners or casual drinkers. In the end, this was a very worthwhile tea, but if you haven’t tried at least a couple of different Fujian silver needles, hold off on trying a tea of this type for now.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Bark, Broccoli, Butter, Cabbage, Chili, Cinnamon, Coconut, Cream, Green Bell Peppers, Green Wood, Guava, Hay, Honeydew, Kale, Macadamia, Mineral, Moss, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Peas, Pepper, Pineapple, Straw, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Watermelon, White Grapes