This was one of my more recent sipdowns. I think I finished what I had of this tea a little less than two weeks ago. Even though white tea, in general, is very hit or miss for me, I almost always end up loving the Jinggu white teas that I try. As a matter of fact, I do not recall ever trying a bad one. Jinggu silver needle, in particular, is one of my favorite white teas. I always love the regular Jinggu silver needle white tea that Yunnan Sourcing stocks, so I jumped at the opportunity to snag one of their higher grade offerings. Like the lower grade offering I recently reviewed, I found this to be an exceptional tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 180 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 19 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, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted aromas of hay, grass, eucalyptus, sugarcane, and marshmallow. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of straw, peanut, wood, lemon, and basil. The first infusion introduced aromas of cream, butter, chamomile, and birch bark. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of hay, grass, sugarcane, lemon, straw, eucalyptus, cream, and butter that were balanced by hints of oats, vanilla, sweet corn, marshmallow, chamomile, basil, and birch bark. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of oats, wheat toast, thyme, cinnamon, honeydew, lychee, malt, dandelion, and camphor. Stronger and more immediately apparent impressions of oats, vanilla, marshmallow, basil, and chamomile appeared in the mouth alongside notes of peanut, minerals, lychee, apricot, rosemary, cinnamon, wheat toast, thyme, malt, camphor, plum pear, watermelon rind, white peach, honeydew, green apple, dandelion, and wintegreen oil. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized impressions of minerals, hay, oats, cream, wheat toast, butter, basil, lemon, and watermelon rind that were chased by subtler notes of grass, plum, green apple, pear, chamomile, wood, dandelion, lychee, thyme, honeydew, and eucalyptus.

This was a ridiculously complex and satisfying Yunnan white tea. One thing I especially appreciated about this tea was that it so clearly built on what its lower grade sibling had to offer. A lot of the aromas and flavors it displayed were similar, yet they often had more depth. In comparison, this was a much richer and somewhat more nuanced tea with a few more challenging characteristics, though it was not as drinkable and easygoing as the lower grade offering. Overall, this was a great tea, but I do not think it would be suitable for less experienced drinkers.

Flavors: Apricot, Bark, Butter, Camphor, Cinnamon, Cream, Dandelion, Eucalyptus, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Hay, Herbaceous, Honeydew, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Marshmallow, Melon, Oats, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Straw, Sugarcane, Sweet, Thyme, Toast, Vanilla, Wheat, Wood

180 °F / 82 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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