Saturday, January 3, 2015

Golden Tips, Okayti Silver Needle Darjeeling White Tea Second Flush (Organic)

Golden Tips 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.

Sample provided by Golden Tips Tea.

My Review:
It seems the deeper into the world of tea I go, the more I realize I have to learn. Take for instance white tea. When I picture it in my head, I think immediately of China, but white tea is now produced on many estates all over the tea growing world. I reviewed several of those last year. This year I continue the journey by reviewing a silver needle from Darjeeling India by Golden Tips.

Golden Tips have been in business since 1933. By the looks of their sample label, they have it down to an art and a science. The small label includes steeping instructions and the usual, then goes further to include the estate, date of picking, and the grade. The font is tiny but easily readable. I am not sure what more even the most demanding label reader could want.

The 10g sample is packed in a black resealable plastic or mylar pouch.

Opening the bag, I smell sweet hay in the field, and clover. How fresh and inviting. The leaf is long and silvery. Looking closely, you can see the tiny hair of youth on the buds.

The instructions call for 1 tsp of leaf. I am using a lot more as I will be preparing a mug sized serving - about 10 oz. Today I debated which teapot to use and finally chose the clear glass teapot. This was a great choice. Once the filtered 175F water was added, the leaf separated top an bottom, with most leaf standing or hanging vertically. There was some movement in the pot but mostly this was a wonderful posing event. Very appreciated.

The steep was 4 minutes. When I removed the lid it had another field scent. This time I could detect dandelion greens. I haven't even tasted yet and already this is complex.

The liquor, in the mug, is a golden sunshine yellow with a floral aroma. It was nearly clear in the pot but quickly darkens upon cooling. My first thought after pouring was this is very clear. Upon a closer look, the tiny bud fur can be seen floating about. I would not want it any other way.

The taste is a mix of cucumber and nutty. There is zero bitterness detected and no real bite. There is a slight amount of cheek tingle and dryness in the cup. As I continue to process the taste, I am picking up once again on the fresh sweet hay caught early in the dry leaf. As I finished the cup I caught a floral finish that once again reminded me of clover.

Golden Tips calls the taste perfectly fruity. I personally do not interpret the taste that way. What I am calling nutty might possibly be described as stone fruit though it is not a sweet fruit taste. It really is a matter of semantics, brewing technique, and water. The point is this is an excellent white tea.

I love how complex the session has been. The flavors, though more subtle than most black teas, do not hide if you pay attention. Remember to take your time with this one to seek out the nuances. You will be rewarded.

You can find Okayti Silver Needle Darjeeling White Tea Second Flush here.

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